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Itinerary Help- Romania, Budapest,Prague, Slovenia,Croatia

We will be traveling to Europe next May and was hoping I could get some advice on the early section of our trip or any suggestions on the Slovenia-Istria Portion. We an active group in our late 50's enjoy museums but they are not our priority. More interested in the culture, scenery, local food and people watching.
Day 1 - Romania, (7 nights)we have friends there so will be well looked after.
Day 8- Fly to Budapest (3 nights)
Day 11- Overnight Train Departs at 8:00 P.M. (so would have whole day) to Prague arriving at 8:00 a.m.
Day 12- Prague (3 nights)
Day 15- Fly to Ljubljana (2 nights) Rent Car
Day 17- Lake Bled (2 nights)
Day 19 -Ronvinj & Istria (3 nights)
Day 22-Drive to Plitvice Overnight in Korenica

Day 23- Visit Plitvice Lake then overnight in Split
Day 24- Board Private Skippered Sailboat for 7 nights
Day 31- Disembark take private shuttle to Dubrovnik for 3 Nights
Day 34 - Fly back to U.S.
I am now debating to reduce one day in Romania or cut back to just 2 full days in Prague to get an extra day in Budapest. It seems to be a favorite of most everyone on this forum. I have been to Prague before but my husband and other couple have not. I feel the Castle, Jewish Quarter, Charles Bridge and The Square are the highlights and could be easily seen in 2 days?? Restaurant, Hotel recommendations appreciated.

Posted by
1464 posts

How wonderful to have five weeks for this trip, and to have friends in Romania to help you there.

Since you've been to Prague, you can say best whether 2 days would be enough. I was in Budapest too long ago to advise you on whether 3 nights is enough there. (I haven't been to Prague, but I'm going next spring, and I've been advised elsewhere on this forum that my 4 nights there are not enough...)

I would recommend, however, at least one night in Kobarid or in that vicinity so that you can take your time to enjoy the scenery in the Julian Alps and the Soca valley of Slovenia. Perhaps make it three nights in Ljubljana and visit Bled as a day trip to give yourselves that extra day, and if you cut Prague to two nights, that would give you two nights in the Soca valley before continuing to Rovinj.

One issue: you are renting a car in Slovenia and returning it in Croatia? Have you checked into the cost of doing that? Typically returning a rental car in a different country from where you pick it up comes with a hefty surcharge. You might consider flying to Zagreb and renting the car there and driving to Ljubljana (about 2 hours).

Posted by
13551 posts

Its a great trip, so this is really about preference than anything else.

Budapest needs 4 nights and i haven't met anyone that regretted 5 nights. (yea, read my posts i am biased)
I drove (was driven) Brasov to Budapest once. Its a fun trip if you don't want to fly.
I dont care for overnight trains. I need my sleep. I would fly to Prague. Actually I wouldn't skip Vienna if i had never been there.
Two nights were perfect in Dubrovnik, but 3 would make me batty with the crowds.
Everything i have heard about Plitivice lakes makes me want to stay away.
I wouldn't go all the way to Prague for just two nights, three is probably about right for a minimum trip.
What are you doing for 7 nights on a boat??

Posted by
55 posts

Lane- Thanks for weighing in, good call flying into Zagreb and renting car. Wasn't going to pick up car until leaving Ljubljana as I understand parking difficult. However renting in Zagreb would allow us to keep car and drop in Split. Will look into Kobarid. Many Thanks, Shelley

James E. - Was really hoping you would weigh in!! I've been reading your posts and you were responsible for me increasing our time in Budapest!! Probably right about flying from Budapest to Prague, only $63.00 at the moment. Theres a late flight 8:30 pm so it would allow us a full day n Budapest and an early start in Prague the following morning. I have been to both Vienna and Prague before, my travel companions have not and I felt Prague is an easier place to get around in a short period of time.
Plitvice is also a repeat for me and my husband, key is get there when it opens and get out. We stay in a great little place in Korenica where there specialty is spit roasted lamb and pork, its about 20 minutes from the park. House Rustico
Skippered Sailboat will allow us to travel through the Croatian Islands getting access to the small coves and caves (Vis). We have been to Brac before and we were envious how these private boats would pull into the small villages for their evening drinks and meals.
Thanks again James I have noted your recommendations for accommodations and restaurants. Im excited that the Gourmet Festival will be going on the weekend we are there. I trust that is worthwhile?

Posted by
13551 posts

Shelley, you are going to have a blast. Happy for you. If you were to decide to cut a few nights someplace, maybe someplace you have already been, and wanted to see something new, from Dubrovnik its a short trip to Montenegro for either the coastal towns or the mountain villages. I really, really enjoyed Montenegro - two trips so far and i predict another in the near future.

Posted by
1464 posts

shelley, I stayed at the Slamic B&B ( in Ljubljana, and they have free parking in a secured courtyard. Lovely place, nice breakfast, walking distance to the main areas of interest.

Posted by
470 posts

Try to rent a car and return in the same country, it will save you a ton of money, much more than the a couple of days' worth of parking fees in Ljubljana. If you park in the public garage next to the Intercontinental, you'll be paying about €15 per day, whereas the open-air car park on the north edge of Tivoli Park is less than €10 per day. Much less than hundred(s) of euros for the cross-border drop-off fees. Just make sure to buy a toll sticker (vignette) for Slovenia if renting in Croatia (€15 for 7 days, €30 for 30 days). A Slovenian rental will already come equipped.

Regarding your stay in Slovenia, I do second Lane's advice to stay in Kobarid or somewhere else in the Soca Valley for a night. The loop around the Julian Alps is a very popular day trip, but with all the scenery along Vrsic Pass and in the valleys, as well as the historical sights, it is a packed day trip, so breaking it up with a night along the way is a good idea.

I don't particularly care for sleeping in Lake Bled. It is a natural wonder for sure, but it is overrun and the town itself doesn't have the charm of Ljubljana's old town or the rural appeal of other places like Lake Bohinj. If you can, spend more nights in Ljubljana and use it as a base for day trips with the additional night in the Soca Valley. You could even continue straight on to Istria from the Soca Valley without having to return to Ljubljana or Lake Bled, driving through the scenic Vipava Valley and Karst regions along the way.

Posted by
55 posts

Oh my gosh Dejan I was just drafting a post with questions when your reply came in and answered everything!! Thank you so much for taking the time to weigh in, between you, Lane and James E. I'm feeling pretty darn good about the suggested changes to my itinerary! Do you have any restaurant - hotel recommendations?