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Need to edit down my Slovenia/Croatia Itinerary

Here is what I have planned - I basically followed suggestions from RS
I think I need to remove a couple things so it isn't so fast and crazy.
This is a last minute trip so I cannot change arrival and departure locations or times.

Day 1 - arrive Ljubljana Airport and head straight to Lake Bled
Day 2 - explore Bled, stay in Bled
Day 3 - rent car - Drive through Julian Alps - end in Ljubljana stay the night
Day 4 - tour/transfer between Ljubljana to Rovinj or go by bus - stay in Rovinj
Day 5 - Explore Rovinj
Day 6 - Drive to Plitvice - explore Istria on the way - stay outside Plitvice park
Day 7 - Hike the park in the morning - Drive to split and drop rental car - Stay in Split or Trogir
Day 8 - Explore Split and/or stop in Hvar on way to Korcula - Stay in Korcula
Day 9 - Stay in Korcula
Day 10 - Stay in Korcula
Day 11 - Tour/Transfer from Korcula to Dubrovnik - Stay in Dub
Day 12 - Stay in Dubrovnik
Day 13 - depart

-Considering dropping the stay in Ljubljana and going straight from Bled to Rovinj.

-At a loss for how to handle Split/Hvar/Korcula etc. I would love to see it all but it can't happen this trip. I was having us stay 3 nights in Korcula to slow down a little bit, knowing there are nearby day tours we could take if we feel ambitions (Ex Mjlet)

-Any thoughts on where I could cut back or where I should add more time?

Thank you in advance!

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2968 posts

I can't personally recommend dropping Ljubljana because it is one of my very favorite cities in Europe. it would be a shame to miss it.

I'd probably drop Rovinj and Istria. I loved Rovinj, but it it is tiny. You can see it in about an hour. It's a great base for exploring Istria, but you barely have any time in Istria (two nights in Rovinj right?). I'd add one night to Slovenia. Most people who visit Slovenia wish they had spent more time there, not less.

Go from Ljubljana to Zagreb, rent the car the and go to Plitvice and spend the next night there then explore Plitvice the next morning as planned.

I might add a night in Split, too, later, because you are kind of rushing through there.

In fact, I'd probably base in Ljubljana not Bled. Ljubljana is a great place to come back to at night. While Lake Bled itself is stunning, the town of Bled is nothing special in my view. Bled is a convenient base for exploring the area if you have a few days there, but you don't. When driving between Ljubljana and Bled, consider a detour through the town of Skofja Loka. And consider the scenic drive from Skofja to Bled through the mountains via Jamnik and Kropa, not via the fast freeway - very scenic, beautiful drive.

Note that there is some construction work this year on the Vrsic Pass (to get up over the Julian Alps) so check into that, figure out what kind of delays you might have to endure if any. I think the construction is on and off, maybe detoured certain hours or whatever. Doesn't mean you have to cancel that part of the trip but at least be prepared for it if you had planned a busy day of driving.

When are you going? Korcula in September will be more fun than in October when the season is ending (when I visited). Three nights there probably means two full days given the public transport options, so that's not really slowing down too much; two nights would be a rush with about one full day. On the other hand: are you planning just to relax in Korcula? Explore the island beyond Korcula Town?

Posted by skey OP
5 posts

Thanks Andrew!

This trip is for last week of August and 1st week September (so I really mean it when I say last minute)
I really wanted to see Istria but I'm thinking that might have to be another trip because I really don't want to try to do too much.

Here's an edited itinerary removing istria.

Day 1 - Stay Ljubljana (Arrive in evening)
Day 2 - Stay Ljubljana - explore town/Bled/Julian Alps
Day 3 - Stay Ljubljana - explore town/Bled/Julian Alps
Day 4 - Ljubljana > Zagreb - Stay Zagreb (Do you think 1 night in Zagreb is okay?)
Day 5 - Explore Zagreb drive to Plitvice - Stay Plitvice
Day 6 - Hike the park in the morning - Drive to split and drop rental car - Stay in Split or Trogir
Day 7 - Stay in Split or Trogir
Day 8 - Explore Split and/or stop in Hvar on way to Korcula - Stay in Korcula
Day 9 - Stay in Korcula
Day 10 - Stay in Korcula . (Yes plan for Korcula is to relax, swim etc.)
Day 11 - Tour/Transfer from Korcula to Dubrovnik - Stay in Dub
Day 12 - Stay in Dubrovnik
Day 13 - depart

Posted by skey OP
5 posts

Actually I would amend that to take out the overnight in Zagreb and just do several hours there on the way to Plitvice from Ljubljana.

That would give an extra night for split or islands

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2968 posts

Some people really like Zagreb and would recommend you spend at least a night if not more. I didn't care for it that much, so I'd be OK with just a long day stop. I would try to give yourself at least half a day to explore the town. Rick Steves even makes this recommendation: train from Ljubljana to Zagreb, explore the town the same day, pick up the car and drive to Plitvice.

You would need to confirm that there are still luggage lockers at the Zagreb train station and that you rent a car that is near there. Zagreb has a good system of trams, and as I recall you can take a tram from the train station around and up to the main square and start exploring from there..

Have you started looking at lodging? It might be a challenge to find this late in some places. I'd probably nail everything down pretty soon.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
9383 posts

I'm one of the people who really likes Zagreb, but a lot depends on whether any of the museums interest you. In addition to traditional art and decorative-art museums there's a fine though small museum of naive art and the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships. The latter might elicit different responses from different visitors, but I enjoyed it a lot and it is very popular. If none of the museums is important to you, it's a matter of how much time you want to spend exploring the old town. It's on 2 levels and not right outside the train or bus station, so it's not visitable in an hour. I'd say you need 3 hours to a full day. Lots of nice cafes for relaxing.

Online info that looks current indicates that there are lockers at the train station and a left-luggage service at the bus station. The latter is farther from town than the train station but is a much, much busier place.

Posted by John R Scott
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
75 posts

I can see a couple of challenges. You will be charged more for dropping off the car in a second country. If you just rent inside Croatia you will not. Also getting to Rovinj by car from Slovenia is not as simple as it looks, due to road route and construction delays. Although I love Rovinj and Istria, you could skip them this trip and take a direct bus from Ljublana to Zadar in Croatia and rent the car there. Flixbus is one of the bus companies to look up. My house guest just flew home and took that exact route to Zadar to meet his family. The bus driver can handle the mountain and coast roads. This adds in Zadar, a wonderful site, and you can drive on to Split,etc. Nova rentacar, a newish Croatian company, rents cars in all the major cities and Trogir, their HQ. As for Plitvice, maybe you could go on the way back or cut it out. The coastal cities are unique, water falls not so much. Plus in this record setting heat, many people and possibly less water. I would also drop Hvar for another trip. Korcula is worth exploring from one end to the other - with your car.
Long distance buses inside Croatia are comfortable and frequent. Use Croatia Bus website. For latest news on forest fires, etc. check out the Total Croatia News website, an English resource for all the country.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
9383 posts

I think Plitvice is truly special and would try to keep it in the itinerary. But you must spend the night nearby and get into the park very early to avoid an unbelievable crush of day-trippers.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
9383 posts

I don't think I'd enjoy it much in heavy rain. I'm not sure about days when the ground is wet from earlier rain. The footing could be quite slippery. I'd make my decision as late as possible, depending on the weather.

Posted by skey OP
5 posts

Acraven thank you so much for your input.

I've edited yet again but curious on anyone's input on where to add a day

Day 1 - Arrive Ljubljana -
Day 2 - Lake Bled - Stay Ljubljana
Day 3 - Drive Julian Alps - Stay Ljubljana
Day 4 - Bus to Zagreb, several hours in Zagreb, rent car, Stay outside Plitvice
Day 4 - Morning Plitvice park - continue on to Split - Stay in Split
Day 5 - Explore Trogir/Split - Stay in Split
Day 6 - Split daytrip to Solta or Brac return to Stay in Split --OR-- Ferry to Hvar explore for day, evening ferry to Korcula and stay Korcula
Day 7 - Stay in Korcula
Day 8 - Stay in Korcula
Day 9 - Korcula
Day 10 - Stay Korcula --OR-- Stay Dubrovnik
Day 11 - Dubrovnik
Day 12 - Explore and Stay in Dubrovnik
Day 13 - depart

On the way from Korcula to Dubrovnik plan is to do a private wine tasting/transfer that takes a day leaving us in Dubrovnik in evening.

Having a hard time deciding how to divide up middle days between Split/Korcula/Dubrovnik.
Would love any additional input, THANKS!

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2968 posts

Consider stopping between Plitvice and Split/Trogir: Zadar, Sibenik, and/or Krka National Park would be decent stops (not necessarily all of them). Maybe a night or two?

Are you keeping the car all the way through Korcula using ferries? Or are you dropping it in Split and taking catamarans? The catamarans probably have more practical connections between Split, Hvar, and Korcula than the ferries do.

If you don't have a car in Korcula, then that seems like a lot of days there. Are you planning rent a car just there or take a tour of the island? Just chill in Korcula Town and relax for a few days? If not, that sounds like a lot of time in Korcula. Nothing wrong with slowing it down and just relaxing, though, if that's what you desire - Korcula is a good place to do that in late August/early September.

Posted by Mark
Johns Island, SC
172 posts

This a great trip! Too much to see, so little life left! Take more time. I know I'm no help. We picked up car at AP in Lj and dropped it off in Split. Spent a great cheap night at lakes. It was worth it. Did not need car between Split and Dub. after we arrived there.

Posted by Khark
Alexandria, va
1 posts

Hello! I am planning a trip for the same time next year and was considering a similar itinerary— curious as to what you decided, and if you have any recommendations based on your experience. Thanks!

Posted by Nancy
268 posts

We did the opposite and flew into Dubrovnik and out of Zagreb. We did that so we could pick up our car in Croatia and drop off in Croatia. We picked up our car in Split and kept it through Ljubliana (love that town), Lake Bled (I agree a walk around the Lake and then off you go). We stopped off at both National Parks on our drive up to Plitvice. Both were amazing. We also loved Split but Korcula was my absolute favorite. Charming town, we took a tour around the island and stopped at a couple of wineries. Went to a local beach to swim. Amazing. With 3 nights in Korcula you can probably go to Hvar but we were so happy with our decision to relax and enjoy Korcula. Looks like a great itinerary. Enjoy!

Posted by Maya
India
1 posts

Hi - we are planning a trip next year in Spring and my itinerary looks similar but I'm not able to find any option to go from Ljubljana to Zadar. I see a mention of Flixbus. Is that direct? Are there any shared door-to-door shuttle service?
My itinerary looks like this - we won't drive. Would love any advice. Thank you!

April 25 - Day 1: Arrive Zagreb - train to Bled ( or stay in Ljunljana and do day trip to Bled)

26 - Day 2: Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorje – stay at Ljubljana

April 27 - Day 3: Ljubljana

April 28 - Day 4: Ljubljana - Tour to Postjona caves and Predjama castle

April 29 - Day 5: Bus to Zadar

April 30 - Day 6: Tour of Plitvice lakes

May 1 - Day 7: Zadar to Split by bus

May 2 - Day 8: Split

May 3 - Day 9: Spilt to islands – Hvar or Korcula (which one to choose)

May 4 - Day 10 – Dubrovnik

May 5 - Day 11: Dubrovnik

May 6 - Day 12: Day trip to Medugorje

May 7 - Day 13: Day trip to Montenegro and bay of Kotor

May 8 - Day 14: Fly to Zagreb to catch return flight home

Posted by Dejan
Slovenia
387 posts

It would have been a better idea to start your own thread, but just regarding the Flixbus - yes, there is a direct bus running between Ljubljana and Zadar. The question is whether it runs in May as it's geared towards holidaymakers. There are shuttle services that can take you to Zadar, but again the question is whether the demand is there to make it affordable. If they expect you to be the only ones on the shuttle, the company will quote you a higher price.

Since you plan on visiting Plitvice from Zadar, I suggest you visit before getting to Zadar to avoid backtracking. Take a bus or train from Ljubljana to Zagreb and then take an afternoon bus to Plitvice. Spend the night in Plitvice, visit the park in the morning and then take a bus to Zadar in the afternoon.

Posted by skey OP
5 posts

We ended up with the following itinerary, it was an AMAZING trip and would highly recomend

Day 1 - Arrive Ljubljana - rent car - Stay Ljubljana (stayed in heart of town and left car in parking lot, this city was awesome by foot)
Day 2 - Explore Ljubljana - Stay Ljubljana (**give yourself time to get over jet lag)
Day 3 - Explore Lake Bled - Stay in Ljubljana (I don't feel like we missed anything by not staying in Lake Bled, one full day there was plenty)
Day 4 - Drove Through Julian Alps and countryside (SO GORGEOUS), ended in Slovenian wine Country in Dobrovo, Stayed at the Hotel Gredič - can not recommend it enough. amazing accommodations, great food at the restaurant, friendly staff, did a wine tasting was LOVELY! (we did not plan this and it was last minute, such a fun addition)
Day 5 - Drove from Dobrovo to Plitvice with stops along the way including Piran (this was a lot of driving) - Stayed in Plitvice
Day 6 - Up early to explore Plitvice Park - Drove to split (Stay in old town, parking car was a nightmare but was better not to have it)
Day 7 - Enjoyed Split - Stayed in Split
Day 8 - Ferry with car to Korcula - Stay in Korcula (old town)
Day 9 - Explore Korcula Island - Stay in Korcula
Day 10 - Ferry from Korcula to mainland, drove through Ston, stopped for oysters. Stay in Dubrovnik Old town (returned car)
Day 11 - Explore Dubrovnik (stayed in guest house forty four - was a bit pricey but WORTH EVERY PENNY)
Day 12 - Relax in Dubrovnik (beach day)
Day 13 - depart for home

I'm happy to provide more information if you'd like to know anything specific. This trip was amazing.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
9383 posts

Thanks for checking back in! I'm glad you enjoyed the trip so much.

Posted by ValG
1 posts

Your trip sounds amazing. How did it work out renting a car in Slovenia and dropping off in Croatia? Did you have to pay a big drop off fee or did you find a rental company that was more reasonable? Where did you stay in Ljubljana?

Thanks

ValG

Posted by Digbydog
Cincinnati
61 posts

ValG—if you are looking for a place to stay in Ljubljana, we stayed in Emmi Apartment a couple of years ago, and it was fabulous. It is in the heart of the old town on the river.

Posted by Leia
Ankeny
35 posts

ValG- We traveled to Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia for three weeks in May of this year. We rented an economy car from Sixt for 4 days. We picked it up in Zagreb and returned it to Ljubljana, our rental agreement included a navigation system (totally worth it IMO), and I think the fee to return the car in Slovenia was $106. Total cost $243.

We were very happy with our lodging in Ljubljana. We stayed at B&B Petra Varl for €70/night. Location was fantastic - at the base of Ljubljana Castle and right across the street from the market.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2968 posts

The one-way drop fee from Sixt seems to depend on how far away from the origin city you are dropping it. So renting in Zagreb and dropping in Ljubljana would be a lot cheaper than renting in Dubrovnik and dropping in Ljubljana. You can verify this for yourself by doing test bookings (without completing a reservation) on the Sixt website - it will tell you the one-way drop fee. The rent/drop between Ljubljana and Zagreb would probably be worth it for many, especially when there are multiple people in the party.

Navigation systems in cars are unnecessary for anyone with a smart phone. Google Maps "offline" works without data if you download the map ahead of time on WiFi. Although I had data on my phone, I used it "offline" (in airplane mode) anyway most of the day just to see how navigation would work: surprisingly well if not perfect.