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Visiting Croatis July 23 - August 2 --- NEEDS TRAVEL TIPS


There will be 9 of us (all between the ages of 22-31) taking a trip to Croatia from Philadelphia (U.S.) in almost a month. July 23 - August 2. We want to relax and not be running around the whole time. We will also obviously take some days to see the touristy sights as well. Also, we wanted to do a one day "booze" cruise from Hvar to see the Blue Grotto and maybe Vis? Any thoughts on that? Should it be done from Split instead or are there other sights we should see?

I have been doing so much research about where to go, what to do, and most importantly how long to be in each spot and how to get to each place. I am starting to go cross-eyed. Can someone with experience give me some insight on my itinerary (below)? Are we doing too much? Should we cut out any days in one area and add to another? Cut anything out altogether? Any information is helpful!

Also, information about the Ferry's to and from Split/Hvar and Hvar/Dubrovnik. Do we HAVE to drive from Hvar to Dubrovnik?

23rd - land in Zagreb 11:30AM, spend day/night
24th - Zagreb - spend day/night
25th - Leave Zagreb (rent car) in AM and head to Plivtace Lakes for day ( about hour and half ride from Zagreb by car) then head to Split for the night ( about 4 hours by car )
26th - Split - spend day/night
27th - Split - leave Split for Hvar - spend day/night in Hvar ( I think we return car and take ferry - about an hour and a half and very picturesque )
28th - Hvar - spend day/night
29th - Hvar - spend day/night
30th - leave Hvar for Dubrovnik (on Ferry - ) - spend day/night in Dubrovnik
31st - Dubrovnik - spend day/night
1st - Dubrovnik - spend day/night
2nd - flight out of Dubrovnik at 6:30 am

Posted by
1425 posts

I think you have a very sensible 10-day itinerary. Renting your car in Zagreb and returning it in Split is a good idea. (How are you going to fit 9 people in one car?) You can definitely get to Dubrovnik from Hvar by ferry.

Last year I spent two nights each on Hvar and Korcula, and that was sufficient for me. But I can't give you specific advice about the Blue Grotto or Vis.

Don't go cross-eyed! People have a lot of opinions about Croatia (which island they like better than which other island, what you absolutely shouldn't miss, etc.), but in the end you can't go wrong. It's a beautiful part of the world.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you!!

By "car" I actually mean 15 Passenger Van (which I saw they do have) or 2 Cars if the van is not available.

OK, great. I am glad to hear that it isn't too crazy of an itinerary. What was your favorite part of Croatia?

Posted by
4700 posts

My opinion here: as you will arrive early enough, pick up the car, maybe spend 2-3 hours buzzing around Zagreb, then head to Plitvice and spend your first night there. (Or just skip Zagreb.) It's an easy drive to the park. I know you'll be tired from the long flight - but will there be more than one driver? On the downside: if you want any sort of city scene (bars, restaurants) there's basically none of that near Plitvice. Plenty of that in Zagreb. But Plitvice (perhaps my favorite spot in Croatia) is really best in the morning, before the tour groups arrive. And with your itinerary, you'd have to squeeze a stop to Plitvice between a long day of driving first from Zagreb to the park then from the park to Split.

(And Zagreb wasn't my favorite town in Croatia.)

That would give you two more nights somewhere else - another island, a stop in Mostar, or a few more days in Dubrovnik (I highly recommend a day trip from Dubrovnik down to Kotor).

Posted by
4882 posts

Re car hire - you may find that you cannot get insurance if you are under 25 or it will be more expensive. You are travelling in peak season and larger rental vehicles may not be available and 2 vehicles will mean double petrol etc so will cost more. For 9 of you, this is 4 in one car and 5 in the other so with all your luggage, a basic small car will not be big enough. Whatever you hire, DO NOT DRIVE straight off a transatlantic flight. Croatia doesn't have the cheapest car hire in Europe.

You need a full day in Plitvice and get there early to avoid the crowds.

The major issue is that you don't seem to have booked any accommodation and you are a large group, which maybe a problem in places such as Hvar. If you can't find Hvar accommodation, drive down the coast and stay in Makarska where party boats go daily to Hvar and Brac.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you both for that info! I will start looking at Hotels this weekend and hopefully find some to book, along with the car rental. I will actually think about spending less time in Zagreb....the only thing is the last part of our party arrives the 24th. So we have to stay until at least the 24th.

Posted by
334 posts

First, your itinerary is very reasonable. There are a few things that I would like to highlight.

  • You could rent your car a day early and take a day trip of some sort from Zagreb, but there is nothing wrong with spending two days in Zagreb.

  • With a rental car, you could easily stop at Rastoke on the way to Plitvice Lakes. It is a very picturesque little mill town that doesn't take long to see, but is well worth it.

  • The time you really want to avoid arriving at Plitvice is 10:00AM. That is when the tour busses from Zagreb (and some from Split) arrive. You can either arrive super early and get ahead of those groups or arrive a little later and be behind them. The tour busses start to leave at around 4:00PM.

  • Pay attention to the ferry schedule. This can sometimes trip people up that there is a town of Hvar on the island Hvar. Some ferries from Split will go to Hvar island, but dock in Stari Grad not the town of Hvar. It's about a 20 minute taxi ride from Stari Grad to Hvar town.

  • You might want to consider moving one day from Hvar to Dubrovnik. Of course, this all depends on your tastes and what you want to spend your time doing. Right now you have three days in Hvar with one of the days being a sailing day trip. One day would obviously be spent in Hvar Town. If you're intending on exploring other parts of Hvar island, then your three days makes sense. If you are giving yourself two days for Hvar Town, that's a little too much -- I would just head to Dubrovnik a day earlier.

  • You do not have to drive from Hvar to Dubrovnik. Kapetan Luka has a catamaran that connects Split to Dubrovnik with stops on Hvar, Korcula, and a couple other islands along the way. That catamaran is by far the easiest and most comfortable way to get from Hvar to Dubrovnik.

  • During your time in Dubrovnik, I would highly recommend a day trip to either Mostar, Bosnia or to Montenegro (Perast, Kotor, Budva). If you want to continue a trip with an Adriatic feel, go to Montenegro. If you want culture and history, go to Mostar. You won't go wrong with either.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you! I will talk to everyone about that extra day in Dubrovnik Vs Hvar. Also, I am glad to hear we can take the Ferry from Hvar to Dubrovnik - I agree that sounds much more comfortable and easier than driving.

OK, thank you for the tip on the Ferries!!

Posted by
334 posts

One other thought... if you do remove a day from Hvar, you could just simply hop to another island, such as Korcula, and spend a day there. However, that might add more complication to your hotel situation with so many in your group.

Posted by
208 posts

We (a 50ish couple) went last May. We didn't visit Zagreb, instead coming down the coast from Slovenia.

Get to Plitvice Lakes early! That place is amazing, and best enjoyed at least in part before the tourist hoards arrive. We stayed in a small, unspectacular but quite serviceable hotel right by the park, had a misty morning, and felt like we pretty much had the place to ourselves for a couple of hours.

Split was fun. I would try to find a place in or next to Diocletian's palace, if possible.

Hvar was sleepy, but very enjoyable, when we were there (May). It should be quite the party place when you are there, though.

Korcula was also very charming.

Dubrovnik was spectacular. Go up to the fort as early as possible. Find one of the bars outside the walls, and enjoy the sunset. We spent a 1/2 day in the newer part of town, and found that interesting as well.

Be safe and have fun! Croatia is great!