We are traveling to Austria, Slovenia and Croatia in May (18 nights excluding travel). After spending 4 days in Vienna we will be flying to Zagreb and renting a car which we will immediately drive to Plitviice, then onto Opatija, Rovinj, Tomlin, Bovec, Bled, Ljubljana and back to Zagreb where will will overnight at the Esplanade (which I believe is downtown). Being unfamiliar as to the ease of travel in Zagreb, would it be best to return the car to the airport before we head to the hotel and take a shuttle both to and from the hotel or drive and park the car for the return trip the next day? I'm concerned about the time required to return a car in Croatia and the ease of driving in the city. Also any must see's along the way would be welcome.
The hotel website makes no mention of parking, so you could check if they have a dedicated lot/garage, but it's probably best to just drop the car. You will want hotels with parking in Rovinj and Opatija. Between those two, how much time do you have? I have been along the coast and to Cres/Losinj, but I have not explored Istria yet.
Yes there is parking in Opatija, and lot parking outside of city center with golf cart transfer to the Hotel Adriatic in Rovinj. The hotel in Zagreb also has parking which costs 22 Euros. We have 1 night in Plitvice, 2 in Opatija, 3 in Rovinj.
Usually by the end of a trip we feel fairly comfortable even with city driving, but if your outbound flight is early, it could ease stress to be done with the car the day before and just use a taxi.
Between Opatija and Rovinj, you could do a coastal route and stop at Pula if you want to see the arena.
You don't have a ton of time, but Istria is small and the hill towns are tiny, so I would focus on planning those driving routes.
Thanks for the suggestion of driving the coastal route between Opatija and Rovinj, I did want to see Pula and this would be a great way to do it. Our flight isn't until 11:45, but it's on Sunday so I'll probably double check with Hertz to see if Sunday drop offs are difficult. Again thank you for the suggestions.
We stayed at the Esplanade with a car. The hotel is next to the train station. An easy walk to the center of the city. We paid for the outdoor valet parking. It was fine. Driving around zagreb isn’t too difficult, not like other big cities. We then dropped off the car at the airport before our flight. You’re going to love the hotel. Opatija’s parking is a little more difficult. There are parking lots around but they are on steep inclines which always makes me nervous. Pula is worth the stop, the colosseum is really quite spectacular. You can also visit the underground where they stored wine, and they have a lovely museum shop.
Great information thank you! You have eased my mind and it sounds like a good idea to keep the car that night. Did you eat at the hotel, if so did you like it or have another suggestion for dinner close? We are staying at The Hotel Laurus outside of town in Opatija, it looks like parking is ok...but who knows. Pula will be a great adventure, and the additional stops sound great.
We had breakfast at the hotel in Zagreb. Our favorite restaurant is Vinodol. It’s not on the menu, but we always ask for schnitzel. My husband likes it and it’s hard to find a good one. Unfortunately p, most of the museums in the lower town are still closed, except for the ethnographic museum. It is worth a visit. The museums in the upper town are open.