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Zagreb-Zadar-Plitvice-Split-Blue Cave


I would like to do a trip to Croatia from Italy... (I've been to Dubrovnik and loved it!).

I will probably be flying in and out of Split, or into Split and out of Zagreb.

As mentioned in the subject, the places I really want to visit:
Plitvice (I would like to stay 1-2 nights there and get there early in the morning to avoid crowds)
Zadar - for the sea organ and the greeting to the sun (which is in the evening, so probably 1 night there)
Day trip to Blue Cave from Split

Any place I have to see, in your opinion?
Could anyone recommend an itinerary for me? Like how many nights to stay in each place, should I fly in and out of Split or should I fly into Split and out of Zagreb?
Should I stay inside the Plitvice parks or a hotel outside? If I don't have a car then how would I enter the park if the hotel is like 5km from the entrances?
Should I rent a car for that itinerary?
I have the option of going for a 3.5 days trip (reach Fri afternoon, depart Sun evening) which would be early June. Or to go for a longer trip early July (like 1st July onwards). I keep hearing about the crowds in July and I don't like crowds, but would it be worth it for a longer trip and would it be not so bad in the first few days of July?

Thank you for your help!!!!

Posted by
19217 posts

I wouldn't want to squeeze all of that into 3.5 days, so I'd go with the July option. I'd stay in the park and count on my early start for avoiding the worst of the crowds.

Zagreb itself is very nice, so if you've got time to spend 2 or 3 days there, I'd fly into Split and out of Zagreb or the reverse.

I don't have any experience driving in Europe, and I don't know anything about the Blue Cave. I think getting to Plitvice from the south (Zadar) may involve very limited bus options, so I'd consider a car--assuming you can deal with a manual transmission. If you are blessed with extra time, I also recommend Istria.

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks for the info.
There aren't any automatic cars there? I haven't driven a manual since 10 years and I wouldn't like to be practicing in Croatia!

Posted by
19217 posts

I imagine you can find an automatic in Croatia, especially if you rent from a location serving a lot of tourists, but they are uncommon. I've always understood that the cost was much, much higher for an automatic. Unless you've got a lot of folks in the car to share the cost, it might not be cost-effective. That's why I've never rented in Europe, anyway.

Another issue is that if you were really, really counting on the car and--despite your reservation--no automatic was available when you arrived, you'd be in trouble.

Posted by
4895 posts

What you want to cover isn't a 3.5 day trip. Croatia is a great country (I prefer it to Italy) and the best way round is by car. Standard hire cars are manual, but you can book automatics, but these may be more expensive. Renting a car will be cheaper in June.

Your choice re airports. If you are hiring a car, it will probably be cheaper to return it to the same place, but it may mean some back tracking. Driving in Croatia is easy and the drivers are not as aggressive as other parts of Europe.

Split itself needs a full day there plus nearby Trogir needs another day. Both are world heritage sites.

I would allow a minimum of 5 nights to cover this area and if time will permit, 7 nights. The cost of living in Croatia is far lower than Italy.