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Venice to Dubrovinik by Car

Spending two weeks. Going to rent and return in Venice as its CHEAP for me to do it and the flight was cheap.

end of October so no ferries available.

Ive already done Venice so wont need much time there. FLight gets in at 12 Noon Sunday.

Any recommendations for 2 week tour by car?

Posted by
169 posts

Friends in Croatia like their new toll roads, but many prefer the old roads. Driving the old Magistrale coast road is a bucket list thing. I prefer to drive on the inside lane, not the cliff edge Adriatic side. Maybe you could work out a return route that gave you some mostly north to south coastal sections. Mix and match. Keep the gas topped up and fill the windshield washer tank. It can rain heavily in October out of a clear blue sky. My favourite month after September in Croatia. Stop often at orange and produce stands. But do not drink and drive. Save that for the evenings. Zadar sunsets for example.

Posted by
5687 posts

Let me give you a completely different option as an alternative:

Take the bus from Venice to Porec or Rovinj. (Or take a GoOpti shuttle.) Rent the car in there, drive down to Dubrovnik, and return it there.

Fly from Dubrovnik to Zagreb (cheap Croatia Airlines flights, direct). Take the train from Zagreb to Ljubljana, Slovenia, Take the bus or a GoOpti shuttle back to Venice.

This will save you having to drive back the same way you came and save you a lot of driving in general.

Alternately, you could drive round trip but drive inland via Bosnia back up. But two weeks to do this isn't much time, and I'm not sure what the weather may be like for all of that driving. (Otherwise, driving in Croatia and Bosnia is easy.)

Posted by
244 posts

Good suggestions!

My main thing is Ive done some looking and it seems like a small country (Ive google mapped some routes), and also REnt and REturn in Venice is cheap (its costing me $400) lol

Posted by
5687 posts

Yes, $400 plus fuel (not cheap in Europe) and tolls.

I don't think what you are proposing is a mistake, but I would ask more questions and spend time planning an itinerary. What is it you really want to see and do?

Are you able to drive the Italian rental car out of Italy? Out of the EU? Croatia is in the EU, but Bosnia is not. If you are driving as far as Dubrovnik, you either have to drive through a small slice of Bosnia (Neum corridor - look carefully at the map) or take a ferry around it. (Will the renal car company allow you to take the car on a ferry?)

Are you renting a manual transmission as the norm in Europe or paying extra for an automatic? (I enjoy a manual transmission on occasion though I drive an automatic at home. Some people don't know how to drive manual transmission.)

I have driven down the Dalmatian coast a few times. It's generally really easy though driving in a few of the cities can be a challenge. A few years back, I did something roughly similar to what you propose. I flew into Venice, made my way to Croatia, rented a car and drove down the Dalmatian Coast past Dubrovnik and into Montenegro, then drive back inland through Bosnia and returned the car in Zagreb and flew out from there. I had been to Croatia before so was able to skip some things.

If you are able to take the car on a ferry, you could drive to Dubrovnik via the coast road and drive back partially through Korcula via ferries.

Posted by
244 posts

Yes, National Car Rental has bases in all countries so I dont see a problem.

My rough itenary is as follows. Mind you I dont sleep much on vacation so lol

Venice
12:10 PM Arrival

Sun, Oct 29
============================================

–Drive to Rovinj (3 Hours)

10/30/2023 Monday
Explore Istria
10/31/2023 Tuesday
Explore Istria
https://matosevic.com/en/ - Wine tasting
http://www.istria-gourmet.com/en/home_page

https://www.istra.hr/ -< Agrotorusimo

11/1/2023 Wednesday
Drive to Plitvice Lakes National Park (3 Hours).
Explore
Drive to Split (2 Hours)
11/2/2023 Thursday
Explore Split
11/3/2023 Friday
Explore Split - Day Trips
11/4/2023 Saturday
Drive Dubrovnik ( 3 Hours)
11/5/2023 Sunday
Explore Dubrovnik
11/6/2023 Monday
Explore Dubrovnik Day Trips
11/7/2023 Tuesday
11/8/2023 Wednesday
11/9/2023 Thursday

Drive to Venice ?
11/10/2023 Friday
11/11/2023 Saturday
Fly Home

Posted by
5687 posts

National's cross-border policy according to their website states:

"Vehicles can be driven in all countries of the European Union including Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. "

What about Bosnia?

Will you be able to drive the car on a ferry?

Posted by
5687 posts

I think you will want to add a night at Plitvice instead of doing a day stop on the way to Split. If you visit mid-day, you'll visit at peak tourist group time and have to compete with a bunch of tour groups - not very pleasant, kind of feels like Disneyland. If you add the night, you can stay in the park, take your time, and see some of the park the first day, some the next morning and have a much better experience.

That gives you about four nights at the end after Dubrovnik to get back to Venice. That's reasonable though that means a lot of long days of driving - seeing what? Its kind of wasted time unless you have time to stop and enjoy places.

As I suggested, you could instead ditch the car in Dubrovnik and fly to Zagreb, maybe spend a night there, take a train to Ljubljana (really lovely city) and spend a few nights there, then fly out of Venice (take a GoOpti shuttle or bus from Ljubljana to Venice, depending on the departure time of your Venice flight out. I had a noon back to the US out of Venice last October and the GoOpti shuttle that morning worked fine, about a three hour ride).

And on the way in, take the bus or a GoOpti shuttle from Venice to Rovinj. That avoids having to drive a few hours right after a long overnight flight where you might be tired. You probably won't be able to rent with National, but the cost to rent in Croatia may be cheaper. And most rental cars rented in Croatia make an exception for driving through the Neum corridor (Bosnia) on the way from Split to Dubrovnik. Maybe National does too, but I would absolutely confirm this very clearly ahead of time.

Posted by
244 posts

What about the bridge at *
Komarna ?

I looked at opti shuttle...with two people that adds a lot more and less flexibility. Im thinking of hitting split on the way back up to break up the trip maybe?

Posted by
5687 posts

Good call - the Pelješac Bridge did finally open last year, allowing you to bypass Neum. I missed that.

Posted by
33123 posts

so three hours driving on arrival from transatlantic flight?

The fact that the rental company has offices in the counties you will be visiting doesn't mean that cars from one can visit another without special permission and likely a fee. Those questions upthread about ferries and crossing borders are genuine concerns.

It is best that you study up on and prepare for TUTOR and ZTL.

Posted by
4535 posts

I would also discourage a three hour + drive on arrival after a night in anything other than business class. Maybe you can find somewhere about an hour away to recuperate before embarking on this? Another option would be to spend a night in Treviso and pick up the car there.

Posted by
244 posts

Thanks for the advice.

Ive driven 8+ horus after a flight. I sleep well on flights and am in good shape! Ive called National Car Rental, no issues crossing borders or ferries.

My new plan is slighty better.

Arrive Sunday

Drive PLtivice Park (5 hours) (Hotel at entrance)

10/30/2023 Monday
Explore PLitvice
Drive to Dubrovnik ( 5 Hours)
10/31/2023 Tuesday
Explore Dubrovnik

11/1/2023 Wednesday
Explore Dubrovnik

11/2/2023 Thursday
Drive Split (3 Hours)

11/3/2023 Friday
Explore Split - Day Trips

11/4/2023 Saturday
Explore Split - Day Trips

11/5/2023 Sunday
Drive Rovinj(Istria) 5 Hours

11/6/2023 Monday
Explore Istria

11/7/2023 Tuesday
Explore Istria

11/8/2023 Wednesday
Explore Istria
11/9/2023 Thursday
Drive Venice (3 hours)

11/10/2023 Friday
Explore Venice
11/11/2023 Saturday

Posted by
5687 posts

I'm sure there is no issue crossing borders now that the Pelješac Bridge is open - you can drive from Venice to Dubrovnik without leaving the EU. You could not do that two years ago (without taking a ferry).

In any case, your plan looks fine on paper, and if you think this amount of driving would be fun for you and doable, go for it. It's too much driving for me in a short time, so I wouldn't do it. I found driving in Croatia easy enough, but I also found it kind of exhausting, and I wouldn't dream of driving five hours on the same day I landed after the red eye flight, but if you can, go for it. Even though I do tend to not be a "slow traveler," your pace is still too fast for me to be able to stop and enjoy some of these places. We all have to know our own travel styles.

I would urge you to try to be flexible and not pre-book much as far as hotels and sobe (B&Bs). This is off-season in Croatia, so if you have a working phone or internet device, it's easy to book stuff lodgings on-the-fly. I did this on my last driving trip in early May a few years ago, and only one town was pretty booked up (and yet I still managed to find a great last-minute deal in a town that was almost sold out - lucky!). It would be a shame to lock yourself into visiting Plitvice on a day when it could be pouring rain but be sunny and clear a week later on your way back...but that is probably the one place you will have to lock in if that is your first night in Europe.

Posted by
244 posts

yeah locked it in. Rain doesnt bother me. I have full rain gear and enjoy all weather.