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Plitvice VS Rovinj ? September 2016

We are in the planning stages of a month long trip to Europe. We will be in Lubljana on 9/24 and Venice on 9/27. So, including travel time, we have about 3 nights and 2 full days. We were interested in Plitvice and Rovinj. I have read Ricks description of Plitvice and it sounds amazing, but, really only about 1/2 day to see it. It sounds like Rovinj may have more to offer with the smaller towns to visit. We will have a car and the travel distance to Plitvice is about 3 hours, Rovinj is about 2 hours. We have to drop the car back in Slovenia to catch a bus to Venice on 9/27. Comparing Istria with Plitvice I guess, looking for suggestions.. Oh, I should add that as far as "coastal towns" go, we will be spending time in Cinque Terra and Venice, so, wondering if those are similar to Rovinj?

Thank you!

Posted by
1443 posts

Wow, this is a tough comparison.

Plitvice and Rovinj could both be explored in about a half day. The difference is that Rovinj is a good base for exploring the entire Istrian peninsula, where as Plitvice is just about seeing the park.

You don't give any indication how much time you'll be in Ljubljana before 9/24, and where else in Slovenia you are already planning to visit. If you go to Plitvice for a single night, then what might you do with the other two days? Are you already planning to visit Bled? Bohinj? The Julian Alps and the Soca Valley?

Rovinj is not the same as either Cinque Terre or Venice. It is a charming and attractive town that is worth a visit, but Europe has many charming and attractive towns; however, I've never been to anyplace like Plitvice Lakes NP. I'd give Plitvice my vote, but it depends on how you might fill out the rest of your time.

Posted by
4637 posts

If I have to pick Plitvice or Rovinj it would be Plitvice. Venice is not at all similar to Rovinj. Cinque Terra villages - barely. Maybe some Toscany hill towns but Rovinj has sea. Korcula could be somewhat similar.

Posted by
4866 posts

Rovinj is "similar to Venice" in that it has a Venetian bell tower at the top of the town, as the town was once ruled by Venice. It's a beautiful town but small. I'd certainly go to Plitvice instead if you are also going to Venice later, and it sounds like you'll have your fill of coastal towns later.

But whether it's worth your time to spend 3 hours in a car each way (plus a border crossing each way?) driving to Plitvice instead of, say, exploring more of Slovenia is another question. I assume you are going to Lake Bled? What about Lake Bohinj? The Vrsic Pass through the Julian Alps?

If you drive to Bled from Ljubljana, take the scenic detour via the town of Škofja Loka. It's a nice town and worth a stop, but the the drive from Škofja Loka through the hills to Bled is really beautiful. Personally, I'd rather do things like that than spend 6+ hours driving to a park that by the time you will arrive will be crowded with tour groups. (And I loved Plitvice - I've been twice.) Save Plitvice and Istria for another trip.

As a consolation, you could stop in Slovenian Istria on the way to Venice. The Slovenian coastal town of Piran is lovely - perhaps not quite as nice as Rovinj but close. You could drop a car nearby in nearby Koper or Portorož and take a bus on to Trieste and catch a train to Venice from there.

Posted by
32 posts

For Plitvice, we were planning to drive there on the 24th, probably making a stop for food on the way, etc. then staying overnight and going to the park early the next morning. We are spending about 2-1/2 days in Lake Bled / Lubljana before driving into Croatia. If Plitvice is really only about 1/2 day or so to see, are there any other towns, coastal or other that we can drive to for the next day? We can book 2 nights in Plitvice, just looking for another place to go, possibly an island?

Posted by
4633 posts

Where in Slovenia will you need to drop off the car? I've been to both places and I'd choose Plitvice. It is just so unique and beautiful. I'd spend two night there, giving you a full day to explore. Sure, you can do it in 1/2 day, but we spent the whole day exploring and were really glad we did. Nearby Slunj is a lovely town with waterfalls and historic timber buildings. That would be a nice place to base yourself.

Getting out to an island is really not happening unless you had a couple of extra days.

As you head back to Slovenia (presumably Ljubljana), you can visit Škocjan Caves. If you can drop the car off in another Slovenian town, like Koper on the coast, you can check out Piran, which is just as lovely as Rovinj.

If you do decide to go the Istria/Rovinj route, I much prefer Porec over Rovinj. It is a great base for visiting Rovinj and some of the interior villages like Motovun.

Posted by
4866 posts

Plitvice really doesn't need two nights, unless you are trying to take it easy and have the extra time (sounds like you don't). The park can easily be seen in a good 5-6 hours. (Keep in mind that the park is not exactly rugged hiking territory; it's a highly developed park with boardwalks, boats, and "trains" (buses) to get you from point to point. ) Just get up early if you can and get into the park near when it opens (7am) to avoid the big groups of tourists that descend later, crowding the trails and the boardwalks. Staying at one of the overpriced park hotels might be worth it, too, because you can just walk right into the park first thing. There are plenty of B&Bs ("Sobe") in the area too, but you've have to drive from there to the big park parking lot instead of walking in from a hotel. But there isn't much of a town and almost no restaurants in the area and not really anything to do at night nearby, which is why two nights might be overkill.

If you do stay at a park hotel, they will stamp your park entrance ticket from the previous day so you don't have to pay twice - only an advantage if you arrive early enough the day before to get into the park for a few hours before dusk. The days are fairly short by the end of September, but the fall colors might be starting by then. I saw Plitvice (first time) in early October a few years ago and the fall colors reflected in the water were pretty, but the falls weren't nearly as strong in October as they were last May after the spring rains - but the colors were merely green in May. Still worth going either time of the year.