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Wonderful two weeks, Slovenia and Croatia

We are a family of four, with an 18 and 14 year old and thanks to this forum and Rick’s book we had a phenomenal two week trip. We went from July 13 until the 29 and was one of the best trips to Europe we’ve done. To summarize the itinerary, we flew to Zagreb, rented a car (Sixt), drove straight to Ljubljana and stayed there four nights. Two days in the city, one for Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge, and one for the Julian Alps. We drove to Plitivce stopping at the Posotjna Caves and Predjama Castle. In Plitivce se stayed at the Miric Inn, which was fantastic. Next day, toured the park and drove to Split. Left the car and stayed three nights (Antiq Hotel, a gem). We did the blue umbrella walking tour and a day trip to Trogir taking the ferry. We took the Ferry to Korcula (gorgeous if expensive Hotel Korsal), and spend three nights there. If you are looking for a little beach break, do not miss Pupnatska Luca beach. It’s a beautiful little cove with clear water, and a cash only beach bar and restaurant that will blow you away. I wouldn’t visit lumbarda beach at all (we thought it was terrible). From there, ferry to Dubrovnik. Four nights (VRBO). We did a private walking tour with Maris Marković, since Roberto (recommended by RS) was busy. She was great! maris.markovic@gmail.com
We used Petar (RS) to visit Montenegro for a day and there aren’t enough good adjectives to describe his services. The transfer to the airport was done by Pero Klaic (RS), excellent as well. I’ll be happy to provide more details for those interested. Our trip was extremely enjoyable and very easy to do. As many here, we were concerned with driving, language, etc. Don’t hesitate, Slovenia and Croatia are so beautiful and welcoming, we already want to go back!

Posted by JS
Bay Area
3120 posts

I agree although I went on a complete guided tour , it was wonderful.

Posted by CathyG
Australia
110 posts

I’ll be there in September!! It was so great to read your post. I think I’ll book an airport transfer. Have you got the details of the person you used? Also I’d love the details of your Bled / Vintgar day as we’re llanning the same. Our car is with Sixt too. Were they ok?

Posted by CathyG
Australia
110 posts

Oh!!!! And could you tell me how you found Trogir and how long you were there?

Posted by KB
42 posts

Hi,

Did you have any trouble taking the ferry to Trogir? I was going to take the bus since it’s quicker, but reading Rick’s book, it would seem the bus is unreliable and the ferry more scenic. I’m going in September.

It seems the Vintgar Gorge was open? That’s good because I’d read it was closed.

Posted by globulen OP
31 posts

Sixt was very good. Like RS says, they try to “sell you” upgrades for this and that. We picked it up in Croatia, drove to Slovenia and back to Split for the drop off, to avoid returning the car in a different country (fees). Even with that, the rental was not cheap. Initially, I had booked a manual car and had decent car and personal theft insurance. The lady at Sixt recommended to cancel the theft insurance completely (she said she’d never seen a single instance) and instead fully insure the car. We did that. She also offered an upgrade to an automatic car with GPS. We did that, concerned about the drive into the Julian Alps. The GPS didn’t work so immediately they gave us a GPS unit that we mounted on the windshield. As it turns out, the drive into the Julian Alps is easy, and the turns are not “next to the cliff”, so no reason to be scared. The automatic transmission was helpful though, as it made the drive much less tiring than if we had to shift all the time. The GPS was fantastic, and helped us tremendously throughout our drives.
Airport transfer (from RS book): pepoklaic@yahoo.com (white car, forgot the make). He was very nice and about the same as a taxi. Picked us up from the Pile Gate in Dubrovnik.
Lake Bled: we went early but a little later than our original plans. Got to Vintgar first, around 8:30. The way in was great, but it started to get busy on the way back (harder to take pictures). But being there at 8:00 should be good I believe. Then, we went to Lake Bled. Walked around, took the Pletna boat to the island, ate Potica, rang the bell, had lunch at Vila Preseren, quickly looked at Tito’s palace, took the views from the castle (didn’t go inside), and returned driving through Sofka Loka where we took some photos (small medieval town, google it!). I would’ve stayed a few more hours in Bled, but it was the World Cup final which was so much fun to experience on the cafes.

Trogir is worth a half day if you’re in Split for three nights. We went to the ferry stop (right across the Riva) about 30-40 minutes before departure and got the tickets right there. And this was the peak of the summer! We went in the morning, had lunch, and returned around 6:00 PM. The ferry was a nice mini cruise, like Rick says. If taking the bus back, I’d be careful as there was a guy by what seemed (but I believe it wasn’t) the bus station and he was offering “drivers” to take you back to Split. Maybe it was OK, but it seemed fishy.

Posted by klbullard
1 posts

So, just to be sure I know what to expect, rental cars from Croatia can be driven in Slovenia without an issue? I'd like to fly into Zagreb, spend a few days in Slovenia and then drive down the coast, returning the car in Dubrovnik. Is that do-able? Also, did you do theft insurance? Can you recommend your car rental company?

Posted by sshightower
3 posts

Did you rent a car on Korcula? If not, how do you get to Pupnatska Luca Beach? We found it convenient that we could take the bus to Lumbarda Beach (we didn't think it was terrible-we got there early-but it did get crowded later). One day we rented a car to tour the island but it was so expensive. At least the gas was for sure. Planning another trip and wondering how to do different. thanks

Posted by CathyG
Australia
110 posts

Thank you so much for your replies! It is great to hear from someone who has been there so recently. Can you tell me more about the drive into the Julian Alps? It was good to read about it not being near the edge of cliffs as I’m a big scaredy cat! How steep is it? How easily do rental cars handle it? Is it just a drive or did you stop in places? I googled your village!!! Definitely going there!!!!

Posted by globulen OP
31 posts

You can drive the car from Croatia to Slovenia. Make sure they give you the insurance card and that you buy the “vignetta” (forgot what it’s called) that pays for your road use in Slovenia (you can buy it immediately after the border, on a kiosk on the right). I’m not sure what you’ll do with the car in Split (can’t drive in the old town, see RS book for more), although you may want a car in Korcula (we didn’t need it).

Cost for four on a private car to the beach we went to in Korcula was u$60. Well worth it if you ask me. Lumbarda was not appealing to us at all, the sand, the crowd, etc. But if you thought it was good, you’ll love pupnatksa luka. Some people rent scooters to go around the island I think. Otherwise, your other choice is the bus. We stayed near the old town, toured that one rainy day and went to the beach the second day. With one more day, maybe we would’ve done one of the boat tours (snorkeling, fishing, etc), but we are not “boat people”.

Posted by globulen OP
31 posts

I found the Julian Alps drive really easy and beautiful. Not the “Mission Impossible” drive that I pictured at all. We followed Rick’s guide and stopped everywhere he recommended for photos, coffee, etc. It was one of the many highlights of the trip. And don’t forget: huge tour buses do it, so your rental will be just fine!

Posted by CathyG
Australia
110 posts

Thank you! I’m not feeling nervous about the drive there now. I was picturing precipes and cliffs and me dangling over a lookout lol :-)

Posted by esiegler
1 posts

Hi, I found your post very helpful, thank you! My husband and I will be in Croatia and Slovenia in October. We arrive in Zagreb and plan to spend two nights there and then drive to Ljubljana where we'll spend the day and then head over to Lake Bled for two nights.
On day three we'll do the drive through the Julian Alps. We want to eventually end up in Plitivce but would like to stop at the caves on the way (thinking Skocjan). Is it doable to do the Alps, caves and arrive in Plitivce all in one day? From reading your post, I am assuming you did this?

Posted by kmkwoo
Massachusetts, USA
33 posts

Did you do the drive over the Julian Alps in one day? And you returned to Ljubljana the same day, right? I am thinking of doing something similar next spring. Our trip will be the last week in April and first week in May.

Do you mind sharing the costs of the guides? Especially Petar, who drove you to Montenegro. I assume he took the route around the Bay of Kotor. How long was your day?