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Please advise on 7days trip to Croatia

We have finally planned our first trip to Croatia with our 11yo son, arriving on July9. We will have 7full days on the ground, flights have been booked into and out of Zagreb.
Straight from the airport in the evening of our arrival we will drive to Plitvice and sleep in one of the hotels in the park for 2nights.
Then drive to Kuterevo and visit the Bear Sanctuary.
Drive to Istria, sleep in Rovinj for 5nights from where we consider daytrips to: Pula, Motovun (truffle hunting) and the hilltop villages, Dekleva lavender farm, Kanfanar (concert in the wee church), medieval festival, beaches.

Please advise on the itinerary, local food restaurants and attractions that I missed.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
3977 posts

Please don’t get off a long transatlantic flight and hire a car for a 3+ hour drive. It’s dangerous, so spend the first night in Zagreb.

Staying at Plitvice the night before you go into the park makes sense.

Your trip is July. The truffle season is September to November. The lavender may be cut between late June and the first week of July, depending on the weather during the growing season. The hilltop villages can easily fill two full days.

Posted by
3112 posts

For me renting a car upon arrival and driving a couple of hours isn't a problem, but the majority of people find that they're too jet lagged to drive safely the day of arrival. The last part of the drive will be on winding 2-lane roads and, depending on when in the evening your flight arrives, it could be dark or getting dark as you reach that part of your drive. You'll have to make a judgement call on this.

Unless you have an afternoon or evening flight out of Zagreb, I would consider spending the last night in Zagreb rather than Rovinj.

It appears you plan to stop and visit the bear sanctuary on your way from Plitvice to Rovinj. If you take the coastal road north after visiting the bear sanctuary, get onto the E65 expressway (connects to E61) before you get to Rijeka. I once made the mistake of driving through Rijeka to get to the E61 expressway and it added a lot of time to the drive.