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Suggestions needed for itinerary

We are planning to spend 21 days in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. We plan to leave Atlanta, GA about May 25 flying nonstop to Venice. We will be renting a car for most of our trip. I'd really appreciate any suggestions especially regarding time spent in and around the following destinations:
Day 1 Atlanta to Venice
Day 2 Venice to Pula via ferry; pick up car
Day 3 Explore Istria, Rovinj, various hill towns
Day 4 same as day 3
Day 5 drive to Split
Day 6 Split
Day 7 Ferry to Korcula or Hvar (leave car in Split?)
Day 8 Split to Dubrovnik
Day 9 Dubrovnik
Day 10 Dubrovnik
Day 11 Day trip to Kotor then back to Dubrovnik
Day 12 Mostar
Day 13 Sarajevo then back to Mostar
Day 14 Mostar to Plitvice
Day 15 Plitvice
Day 16 Plitvice to Ljubljana
Day 17 Lake Bled then back to Ljubljana
Day 18 Julian Alps then back to Ljubljana
Day 19 Ljubljana to Pula; turn in rental car
Day 20 Ferry back to Venice
Day 21 Home
Thanking you in advance for any suggestions to this schedule!

Posted by
2289 posts

hey hey jwest258
nice trip planned. do you have hotels/apts booked already? with you renting a car, research if any countries need an IDP (driving permit). available at
costs about $25, two passports photos, for each driver, get same day, good for a year. some rental agencies may ask for it, some may not. but if you get stopped by the popo, they will ask. be prepared. had friends reserve car, was asked for IDP and they didn't have, reservation declined
it's worth peace of mind with the money you're spending on this trip, what's $25 to be on the up and up. have fun and enjoy

Posted by
7202 posts

Since you don’t have flights, yet, look at flying into Venice and out of Dubrovnik. That would save you a lot of backtrack time. Then place your Day 16-19 at the front of your itinerary. Since you would gain an extra day, I would visit both Hvar & Korcula Islands. I stayed in both of them and liked them for different reasons.

Posted by
17772 posts

Looks good. Great loop. I love Montenegro but you haven't got time to do it well, so I would skip Kotor and add that day to Sarajevo .... another place I love.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you for your replies. I will definitely get the IDP you mentioned if just for the peace of mind! We are considering driving through Mostar and continuing on to Sarajevo which I've read is worth more time. Also going to carefully read up on both islands, Hvar and Korcula and decide which suits us better. Again many thanks!

Posted by
4013 posts

I totally agree with making a multi-city - ending in Dubrovnik and moving Slovenia to the days after Istria. From Slovenia, head to Plitvice, then to Split. If car rental cost is a factor, you COULD return the car in Split and ferry to Hvar or Korcula and on to Dubrovnik. I do disagree, with the limited amount of time you have and the ground you are trying to cover, with trying to stay on both islands. With 2 nights, give them both to one island.

If you turned in your car in Split, you would pick up a second car in Dubrovnik and head to Bosnia. (The alternative is to keep it and use the car ferries but I think these are slower.) I completely agree with Mr. É’s suggestion to steal the day tour of Kotor and giving it to a second night in Sarajevo. It is a fascinating city and a wonderful complement to Mostar. While you CAN do the trip as outlined (and I understand why), I would suggest spending both nights in Mostar together, followed by 2 nights in Sarajevo - with a longer drive back to Dubrovnik to return the car for your final days there.

Day 1 Atlanta to Venice

Day 2 Venice to Pula via ferry; pick up car

Day 3 Explore Istria, Rovinj, various hill towns

Day 4 same as day 3

Day 5 drive to Ljubljana

Day 6 Lake Bled then back to Ljubljana

Day 7 Julian Alps then back to Ljubljana

Day 8 Ljubljana to Plitvice

Day 9 3/4 day at Plitvice, drive to Split, return car

Day 10 Split

Day 11 Ferry to Korcula or Hvar

Day 12 Korcula or Hvar

Day 13 Ferry to Dubrovnik, pick up second car, drive to Mostar

Day 14 Mostar

Day 15 Mostar to Sarajevo

Day 16 Sarajevo

Day 17 Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

Day 18 Dubrovnik

Day 19 Dubrovnik

Day 20 AND you have gained a day to use elsewhere - most of your stops could use an extra night. Lol.

Day 21 Home

Posted by
1743 posts

I actually think your plan is somewhat misguided. I agree with some of the comments you've already received, but I disagree with others.

First off, don't stay in Pula. Stay further north in Istria. I suggest Rovinj; it's got the best selection of lodging and restaurants, and beautiful sunsets. It's less driving on the day you move on.

Second, you need more time for Slovenia. Don't just take my word for it. I can't remember where I read it (maybe in the RS guidebook for Slovenia), but I'm sure it was Cameron Hewitt who wrote something along the lines of "nobody ever wished they'd spent less time in Slovenia."

Third, you need more time for Sarajevo. It's just an extraordinary place, not very crowded with tourists and filled with important history and beautiful architecture.

Finally, as others have suggested, fly open jaw. My suggestion is to fly home from Split.

Here's my take on a good itinerary:

  • Day 1 Atlanta to Venice
  • Day 2 Venice to Pula, pick up car, drive to Rovinj, stay in Rovinj
  • Day 3 and 4 Explore Istria
  • Day 5 Drive to Soča Valley (Kobarid)
  • Day 6 Soča Valley
  • Day 7 Julian Alps to Bled
  • Day 8 Ljubljana
  • Day 9 Ljubljana
  • Day 10 Drive to Plitvice
  • Day 11 Plitvice
  • Day 12 Drive to Sarajevo
  • Day 13 Sarajevo
  • Day 14 Sarajevo
  • Day 15 Mostar
  • Day 16 Dubrovnik (and drop car)
  • Day 17 and 18 Dubrovnik (with day trips)
  • Day 19 Ferry to Korcula
  • Day 20 Ferry to Split
  • Day 21 Fly home from Split

If the tail end feels too rushed and you want more time on the island, two possibilities:

  1. Compress days 5-9 into four days by eliminating the overnight in Bled and hitting that on the way from Kobarid to Ljubljana.
  2. Subtract a day from Dubrovnik.

Whatever you end up deciding, I'm sure this is going to be a wonderful travel experience for you.

Posted by
4013 posts

This is why I love the forum. Lane’s itinerary also works - he just highlights Slovenia more. And what you highlight depends on what YOU want to see.

All of us are emphasizing how you gain days by doing a multi-city itinerary. So if you aren’t already stuck with a round trip in and out of Venice, then look at what your best return flight options are: Dubrovnik, Split, or even Zagreb.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all so much for all of these wonderful suggestions! We will be reviewing them and coming up with a final itinerary very soon.

Posted by
4 posts

Two things:
1. If you're going to Plitvice, consider staying in the hamlet of Rastoke. Waterfalls everywhere - very charming,
2. Hvar gets all the attention, but I would favor Korcula. Stay in Korcula Town. Great food and shopping. Rent a scooter and drive amongst the wineries and olive groves. The Aminess Korcula Hotel is right on the water, beautiful, and staffed with the kindest people. And let Mario at Pepper & Choco serve you dinner!