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Two weeks with Dubrovnik as base to explore

Traveling solo, first time to this part of the world. Flying in to Dubrovnik Nov 3 with two weeks to explore. Just started doing research and it looks like Mostar and Bay of Kotor are easily doable and worthwhile. Would appreciate advice on what else to see and do at this time of year. Would like to use public transport mostly but can also rent a car where that makes more sense. Interests include: hiking, historic old towns, culture, and great food and wine. Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions!

Posted by valadelphia
569 posts

Are you set on staying in Dubrovnik the whole time?
Splitting with the Split area would be my suggestions if doable. Other than what you identified, there is not a whole lot else within day trip range.
PS The Bosnia tourism website is really good, so if you are driving to Mostar there are some neat things to see.

Posted by Thomas OP
5 posts

Thanks for the reply. I am free to stay wherever in the area and ok with travelling some distance to see areas that are worthwhile. I have two weeks to explore, I just need to fly in and out of Dubrovnik, no other restrictions.

Posted by valadelphia
569 posts

Oh great--Dubrovnik is small with not a ton of "day trippable" things by nearby (less so in November when islands are less of an attraction), but it's just a four-hour bus to Split. It is much larger. So, I would spend time in Dbv, visit Montenegro places of interest (see article in this weeks NYT), and then you could explore Bosnia en route to Split (buses would get you to Mostar and then to Split). From Split, do an island day trip if the weather is sunny, but you can also visit Trogir, maybe Sibenik. You could stop at Korcula four a couple nights by ferry on the way back to Dubrovnik. There is a bus from Korcula to Dubrovnik. Enjoy!

Posted by cjleisch
Normal Illinois part of the year/ Green Valley AZ in winter
53 posts

SOLO in Croatia worked well for me 3 years ago...in MAY + JUNE. I would agree with previous posters that SPLIT is a good base. From there I had some great day trips. The ISTRIA peninsula is not easy to do with our a car so I did a tour.
Have you thought about Slovenia for a 2-3 day visit? I did an interesting day tour to Montenegro
Lots of places to visit via ferry...ENJOY!

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
3136 posts

Did you read about overcrowding in high season in Dubrovnik? I suppose it's better in November.

https://nyti.ms/2OKTIC8

Although we were there on a 19-cabin cruise ship, I also do not recommend sleeping in Dubrovnik for two weeks. (And I hate changing hotel rooms.) The key is to think about what interests you most, and select a few cities on that basis. I mean, Roman Monuments, gardens and parks, hiking and scrambling, wineries and food, sports (basketball and water polo), or whatever.

There are periodic reports of border delays going from Dubrovnik to Mostar or Kotor. That happened to our bus from the cruise ship, but a long time ago. One issue with public transportation is having a chance to visit neat places along the way. i.e., our bus had a long rest stop at a historic baths and mosque location on the way to Mostar. See if Plitvice Lakes park is still attractive in November. You might even want to overnight there, it's so nice.

It is difficult to overstate how attractive coastal Croatia is. Each medieval town center is pretty in its own way, and marks of 19th century empires are visible too.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
9425 posts

Sarajevo is worth several nights. Very different from coastal Croatia.

Montenegro has much more to see than the spectacular Bay of Kotor, but I don't know what things will be like in November. Herceg-Novi, Cetinje, Budva and Ulcinj were all interesting in late September, but Budva's historic area felt a lot like Kotor's (but without a walkable wall), and they were beginning to roll up the sidewalks in the historic area by the time I got there.

Posted by Thomas OP
5 posts

Here is my intended itinerary so far: 3 nights in Dubrovnik, rent a car and spend next day and one night in Kotor, then perhaps take a different route back to Dubrovnik via Garhovo / Trebinje, another night in Dubrovnik before heading north along the coast to Split, spending two nights in Split, then hit Korcula for a night , then back to Dubrovnik for last night before flight home.

Questions:

  1. how expensive will it be to have and drive a rental car for that many days? I want the freedom to stop and explore at my discretion.
  2. would taking the different route back from Kotor via Garhovo be worth it for the scenery or small towns?
  3. any recommendations for skipping Split and venturing further south from Kotor before heading back to Dubrovnik?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Tom

Posted by Barbara
Brooklyn, NY
864 posts

I wouldn't miss Split, so much history, so different from Dubrovnik. Trogir is a lovely small town and you could easily spend a leisurely day there. I agree with the poster above. We stayed in Split, ferried to korcula, then went to Dubrovnik, you can ferry there.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
1005 posts

Kotor is worth 2 days. Never been to the other place you mention.

As to crowding during the time you mention, you will have no crowds. We found very inexpensive sobe accommodations in Nov. Nothing in Dubrovnik was crowded.

Dubrovnik is 3-4 nights in my opinion. You can take the catamaran to Hvar, Korcula, and Split. I'd spend 4 days in Split. You can do a day trip to Trogir as well.

Mostar is a day trip from Dubrovnik. Sarajevo is easily gotten to, but when we were there in 2014, the bus service from Mostar to Dubrovnik was ended for the season. Sarajevo is a mountain town, and was the site of the Winter Olympics in 1984. In other words, it might get to be very cold there. We were there Oct 24-27, and were happy to have light jackets. It was cold at night.

In 2011, we drove in Croatia, which has easy roads and gas stations in many places. There is one part of Bosnia which goes to the Adriatic, and I don't know about the process of border crossing here. Also taking cars into B&H might be difficult - it used to have a special cost rider.

When we were in Sarajevo, we hired a guide for the "Time of troubles" tour, which brought us to many of the specific sites for the Civil War. He was a native, and I am very glad I did not drive. The streets in the hills above Sarajevo are really small, and there is little room for error. In addition, signs and directions are not like in the US. The directions can be quite confusing. Dubrovnik, another town I have never driven in, has 1-way streets throughout. We missed the turn to our sobe, and this required a 3 KM round trip to get to the turn again. So, driving in small ancient Croatian/B&H towns can be very challenging. It's not like driving in Massachusetts.