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Renting one place for 2 weeks in Croatia, Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Every time my wife and I go to Europe we move around too much. I keep thinking wouldn't it be better to rent a house for a month and just make side trips. The problem is we always want to see and do everything It's exhausting. So here is what we are thinking. Croatia and Slovenia are on our bucket list so 2 weeks in each country. But lest say we fly into Zagreb and spend 2 nights there and make a day trip to the lakes. then go to Split and rent a house or apartment for 2 weeks. Can we use Split as a home base and still see enough? Someone said forget Dubrovnik. they said it was too touristy. But from Split we can do 1-2 day trips to islands etc. Are we limiting ourselves? IS Split the right place to use as a home base? if not where?

Slovenia, same thing, Is 2 weeks too long in Slovenia? Where should we stay as a home base. or do we need to do this at 1 week at a time instead of 2 weeks and rent 4 places. Also our schedule makes next August the best month for u to do this and I have heard it is a total tourist zoo in Croatia in August. Is that true since the pandemic. Any thoughts on next August? Thanks everyone for your input and help.

Posted by
6113 posts

Anywhere coastal is expensive and a zoo in August, not just Croatia. The south of Croatia will also be hot.

Personally, I wouldn’t want 2 weeks in Dubrovnik - Split is a better option. Many places on the islands have a 3 night minimum stay in August. From Split, you can see Plitvice (better if you stay there the night before) and Trogir - a World Heritage site.

I prefer Stari Grad and Jelsa to Hvar town if Hvar is an option. Brac would be an alternative.

Posted by
3223 posts

Others will have more knowledgeable thoughts, but I would choose 2 bases for a week each for myself. In Croatia, you could even choose a base in Istria for one of the weeks and then Split or an island for the other. I liked Dubrovnik but Split would make a better base for me of the two. And I truly loved Istria - so much within an hour’s drive, say from Rovinj.

For Slovenia, two weeks is not too much - I would love to back for two weeks. But having only spent 5 nights there, I don’t have enough experience to suggest base locations.

Posted by
847 posts

If you want a sightseeing trip - as opposed to just hanging out somewhere with the occasional sightseeing trip - then you need at least the four bases. For one thing, some of the 'beauty' of a place is seeing it late and early in the day when all the day trippers/ cruise shippers are not there and that can only be done by spending the night. Also Croatia is long and distances quite far and public transportation not that great. Even with two bases you won't see all the 'biggies' in Croatia which I think most people agree would be Istria, Split, the islands and Dubrovnik. I would probably make Istria one base for a week - you could rent a car for a few days for day trips there. Then drive to Plitvice Lakes and overnight just one night there to see the lakes, then on the Split for the next week. You can see Trogir and Brac as day trips. Maybe even Hvar but Hvar and Korcula deserve a couple nights each. That's similar to a two week trip we did a few years back. That doesn't even include Dubrovnik but as much as I loved it I wouldn't go there in August (or July).

Slovenia is a lot smaller. I spent about a week there and felt I saw much of it, but I moved around.

Here are some trip reports I wrote about those countries. I've done three trips, each as part of longer trips which included other places but I think you idea to combine the two countries makes sense. The problem is that a lot of places just don't lend themselves to a lot of day tripping. Maybe you could piece together something with several 4-5 days stops - so not moving every day or two, but not basing for two weeks either.

Posted by
24804 posts

There are multiple good day-trips possible from Ljubljana, but I suspect you'd miss out on some nice places in the Julian Alps. But Slovenia is rather small and Ljubljana is actually quite centrally located. It's one of the very best countries in Europe to attempt to see from a single base. And Ljubljana itself is charming. We need input here from someone who has traveled around Slovenia with a car. I've only used public transportation, which limits one's day-trip options.

Take a look at a map and you'll see that Croatia is an entirely different kettle of fish. There is no one point from which you can see all or even most of Croatia. That's a fact. I know Dubrovnik has become very, very touristy (I haven't been there since the 1990s except to change buses). But I wouldn't want to skip it unless I simply didn't have enough time. The drive around the Bay of Kotor in northern Montenegro is also a world-class experience. I agree that Istria is also worthwhile. As already mentioned, full appreciation of Plitvice Lakes National Park (one of Europe's top sights) requires that a night be spent in or near the park. (I've done it as a day-trip as recently as 2015, and it was a very sub-optimal experience.) And Zagreb is quite different from coastal Croatia and--to me--worth more than one day.

I liked Istria a lot, but I think with a rental car you wouldn't need a full week there unless you want some beach or veg-out time.

I do not like rushed trips myself. I always stay longer at each stop than just about any other traveler; I find interesting day trips in order to justify spending (often) four nights in even small cities. Still, I would never recommend that someone spend two weeks in a single location in either Slovenia or Croatia unless that person had a project that was going to significantly limit the time available for sightseeing--remote work, taking language lessons, writing a book, etc. There's just too much to see to be hampered by having to make a bunch of (often long) round-trip drives.

I also wouldn't split my time equally between the two countries, given that Croatia is so much larger and its highlights so much farther apart. This is not to say Slovenia isn't worth two weeks of your time--it probably is, though each of my trips has been shorter than that, but Croatia really needs more time.

I'd plan no more than 10 nights in Slovenia and the rest in Croatia. Before finalizing that division, I'd dig into a comprehensive guidebook to Slovenia (Rick doesn't have enough coverage to be your only resource). You might find you could manage with a bit less than ten days in Slovenia and still see the key sights. Those include at the very least Ljubljana, Lake Bled (beautiful but tiny), the Skocjan or Postojna Caves and the Julian Alps. Vintgar Gorge is nice, and Lake Bohinj is less touristy than Lake Bled.

Posted by
1970 posts

I can only speak about Slovenia. We spent 5 nights on Ljubljana (with a car) and absolutely loved it. It’s a beautiful city for exploring. We took a day trip to Lake Bled. Another day trip to Postojna cave. On our last day, we drove to Kobarid and then continued on to Venice. I would have LOVED to spend more time along the Soca River. You might consider basing in Ljubljana and do an overnight near Bovec to really explore that area. It is stunning.

Driving in Slovenia is easy. The highways are great and well marked. We didn’t drive the Vrsic Pass because we get carsick. But it looks spectacular if you’re up to it. I would have loved to see Lake Bohinj also.

It’s only 2 hours to Venice, if that’s close enough for a day trip for you!

We like to spend about 5 nights in one spot to really experience it. We easily could have spent a few more days in Slovenia, but I would consider two bases: one in the mountains near Kobarid/Bovec, the other near Ljubljana.

Posted by
3516 posts

Especially if you fly into Zagreb from the U.S., you should stay at least 3 nights (= 2 days). I would plan on spending a night at Plitvice Lakes so that you can be there when the park opens. We liked Dubrovnik; it has much of historic interest. However, we were there in the spring, when the weather was optimal.
I found Slovenia to be pleasant, but not compelling enough to warrant a 2 week stay.

Posted by
6774 posts

Our trip was back in 2005, and there wasn’t a zoo situation then. It was also very early summer, so a different month and a different decade, but . . .

We had 2 nights in Zagreb, then stayed in a sobe one night near Plitvice Lakes Park, then saw the Lakes the next day on the way to Split, where we spent the rest of our Croatia nights. Actually, we stayed in Solin, just outside Split. It was ideal for daytrips, plus for Split itself.

The Slovenia time was more on the move, with a night in Piran, and two nights each in Bled and Ljubljana. I wish we’d had more time in Bled, and to see more of the Julian Alps. With 2 weeks, I’d suggest maybe 1 staying in Bled, and 1 in Ljubljana.

We had a car, and actually rented it after landing at Venice, Italy, drove thru Slovenia, then Croatia, then turned it back in in Venice. We finished with 3 days in Venice.

Posted by
1487 posts

Our travel mantra is "slow down, we move too fast, you got to make the moment last" thus opting to stay a minimal of three nights in a location. Croatia is geographically a long and narrow country with the majority of common destinations accessible by sea. Hence consideration of commencing the journey in Dubrovnik for three nights, then taking a seven day small ship cruise to Split. The small ship cruise means unpacking once and leaving the driving to the captain while using the same mode of transport utilized for centuries in this beautiful area. The benefit is getting to experience a number of island based villages and being able to commingle with fellow travelers at a leisurely pace. Split leads to the Plitvicka Lake (sic), well worth and overnight stay and then to Zagreb for the remainder of your Croatian stay. Consider renting a car in Split and dropping it in Zagreb, then train into Slovenia.