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Should I take a 'spontaneous' trip to Croatia?

Hello, All! I hope that everyone is doing well.

At one point I had a nice trip to Slovenia/Croatia planned out in detail. Obviously my husband and I didn't go last year and earlier this spring we pretty much decided that it would be too tricky to go to Croatia this year. However, as I've read that people are visiting this beautiful country, and that things are going rather smoothly all things considered, I've wanted to hop on a plane and go! (My husband and I are both fully vaccinated and realize that there is an online form to complete.) Delta has some great, roundtrip prices from Atlanta to DBV. The original plan was to fly open jaw, but the round trip pricing has me considering a revised trip if other considerations make sense. Here are my questions:

  1. Would it make sense to fly into DBV (stay 3 nights), then take the ferry to Korcula (stay 3 nights), then head to Hvar (stay 1-3 nights), then on to Split (stay 3 nights), etc.? We would pick up a rental car when leaving Split and go to Plitvice Lakes Nat'l Park (stay overnight) then on to a stay in Istria (probably Rovinj). On the return to Dubrovnik we would leave from Istria and drive the coast to enjoy Zadar, the Makarska Riviera (staying somewhere), etc. on our way back to DBV (where we'll spend the night before our flight). In other words, does it make sense to mostly ferry one way from DBV and drive the coast back?
  2. Am I deceived in thinking that the crowds really will be significanly less than normal right now? Based on what I had read previously on this forum (and TA), I swore I'd never go to Croatia in July or August. However, I just retired this June and my husband last April. We're pretty eager to have an adventure... but we can also be patient.
  3. The weather in Atlanta in July and August is pretty oppressive with the humidity factored in. We love to hike and be out and about. Is the weather equally 'oppressive' in Croatia during these months?

Thanks for considering my Croatia temptation. I welcome your feedback. Honestly, Fall is a possibility and so is next June. I just thought a little (well thought out) spontaneity might be fun.

Sincerely,
mcalico

Posted by
4678 posts

How long is your overall trip? Rovinj is quite a way from Plitvice and unless you have a week for Istria, I would limit the trip to Dalmatia.

At that time of year, I would stay in Stari Grad on Hvar, not Hvar town, which will be full of young partygoers. SG has a pretty harbour plus great restaurants and you can catch the ferry from there to Split.

The ferries run in the morning from Split to Dubrovnik and in the afternoon back to Split, so I prefer travelling north to south.

It makes sense to take the ferry one way and drive back, but you must ensure that your car hire company permits you to drive this route (out of the EU). Hiring a car in August won’t be cheap. Hiring the same thing in September is usually significantly cheaper.

I can’t comment personally on the crowds this year, but most of Europe has opened up to other Europeans and as Croatia has been encouraging tourism, I can’t see why it would be much quieter than usual, as it’s peak school holiday season.

I have been to Hvar in July and September and it is often too hot to do much other than sit on a beach. Certainly too hot for much walking. I recall one July sitting in a restaurant at 9pm and it was 36 degrees (97 F).

September would be less busy and cooler if that’s possible for you.

Posted by
2018 posts

July and August are brutal in Croatia, especially the further south you go. I worked in the NYC school system so had to travel then, but am retired now and won’t go in the summer. This year we are going mid-september. Your plan sounds fine to me, I have been everywhere you mention except Hvar. Historically and visually, Split is my favorite city. Since they built all the new roads, driving down the coast isn’t hard at all. You’ll have better luck with parking in September when all the European tourists head home, the majority drive. The r/t to Dubrovnik is a big deal. I can understand why you want to do it this way. They don’t fly from Split to your aiport? The appeal of Croatia is it’s natural beauty, it is not heavy on museums or churches or must see sights that aren’t parks. It’s almost like a vacation within a vacation. The cities themsleves are the ‘must see museums’. Try and add Sibenik to your itinerary.

Posted by
4283 posts

Pretty sure most of Europe is heading to Croatia this summer…

Posted by
12314 posts

Am I deceived in thinking that the crowds really will be significanly
less than normal right now? Based on what I had read previously on
this forum (and TA),

I will let you know in two weeks.

Bookings were no problem so I don't think it will be more crowded than usual, and i suspect less. Also, most of Europe is open now so there are options for Europeans.

If you enjoy Croatia, then think about Montenegro too. Actually my preference between the two.

We are here now. To answer your question regarding the weather. It’s hot. But not New Orleans can’t sit outside in July and August hot. I am sitting on my balcony of our apartment in Pula. Enjoying a breeze and my cappuccino. If you want to escape the heat then Croatia in the summer probably isn’t the best option. Having said that we are having a fantastic time. We plan certain activities like walk the old walls in Dubrovnik to start at 8 am. And others sitting in cafe, drinking cappuccino, and people watching for mid afternoon. A dip in the ocean for late afternoon with a return to our apartment for wine and relax before heading out for dinner, a stroll and or sunset viewing. Having the proper light and loose clothing, plenty of water, and making time for gelato and fresh made juices makes all the difference in enjoying our days. Kayak trips instead of hiking would be ideal. I hope you decide the travel to Croatia. From what I hear the crowds are much more manageable this year because of the reduced cruise ship traffic.