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Advice needed for our Croatia & Slovenia Itinerary in May/Jun 16

Hello!

My husband and I will be in Croatia and Slovenia from 26 May to 9 Jun 16. It's our first time in these countries so we are not very confident of our itinerary. Appreciate your help and advice on making our trip a perfect one! :)

Background:

-We are not skilled drivers, so will not risk renting a car. Public transport the way to go
-Aims for this trip: soak in the nature and scenery, do some water sports, paragliding, chill at cafes/restaurants, visit local markets
-We want to try tandem paragliding, but so far unable to find a place which is near the places we listed, and we're unable to squeeze famous paragliding spots like Rijeka into our draft itinerary.

Draft itinerary:

Day 1, 26 May: Arrive Dubrovnik Airport from London at 6pm. (Flight booked, cannot be changed)

Day 2, 27 May: Dubrovnik -old town, cable car,

Day 3, 28 May: Dubrovnik -Day trip to Lokrum or Mljet

Day 4, 29 May: Dubrovnik -Day trip to Montenegro

Day 5, 30 May: Dubrovnik --> Mostar --> Split

Day 6, 31 May: Split -day trip to Brac or Trogir

Day 7, 1 Jun: Split -day trip to Hvar or Korcula

Day 8, 2 Jun: Split --> Plitvice Lake

Day 9, 3 Jun: Plitvice --> Zagreb --> Ljubljana

Day 10, 4 Jun: Ljubljana --> Lake Bled (join 2D1N Julian Alps hiking tour which starts at 8am)

Day 11, 5 Jun: 2D1N Julian Alps tour till 8pm, drop off at Lake Bled

Day 12, 6 Jun: Lake Bled --> Ljubljana

Day 13, 7 Jun: Ljubljana

Day 14, 8 Jun: Ljubljana -day trip to Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle

Day 15, 9 Jun: Depart Ljubljana to London at 11am

Our main concerns are Day 8 and 9. We would hopefully like to spend 1 night in Zagreb but not sure where to cut short to fund this night. And we need to reach Ljubljana on Day 9 as our Julian Alps tour starts at 8am the next day.

Any kind soul to give some advice on our draft itinerary? Much appreciated!! :)

Posted by
33 posts

Korcula was our favorite town. It is magical at night, especially if you get an apartment on the hill that overlooks the town. I would recommend a little more time there. We found it quite easy to drive, and you can get to some really amazing beaches and vineyards by car. Dubrovnik is beautiful, but CRAZY crowded. Try to be in town early in the morning or in the evening when cruise ships have left. It is a shame that thousands of tourists are allowed to debark on a town all at once that really cannot handle so many people. We loved Croatia! Enjoy your trip!

Just returned from one week in Slovenia and we did tandem paragliding at Lake Bohinj. Lake Bohinj is not far from Bled. You could fit that into Day 12, if you go paragliding before returning to Ljubljana. The paragliding adventure was about 1.5 hours in total time from the van shuttle at the base of the mountain to the drop off point, including the walk to the launch area and the flight.
You could go directly from Zagreb to Lake Bled without stopping in Ljublijana. Then you could avoid travel on the day that you are starting a hiking trip. We took a train that started in Zagreb and arrived in Lesce-Bled at 9:50 PM. It is about a 3 hour trip. Then you could spend some extra time in Zagreb, perhaps.

Note that the distance to the Ljubljana airport is about equal between Bled and the airport and between Ljubljana and the airport so if you visit Ljubljana and cave and castle before the hiking trip you won't be going back and forth as much. Of course, the distances are not so much that it makes any real difference.

Posted by
6766 posts

Day 5, 30 May: Dubrovnik --> Mostar --> Split

I don't know if you can swing it, but I would recommend staying overnight in Mostar instead of rushing through it as a day trip (not that it can't be done, but it would be quite rushed). I loved the Muslibegovic House - it serves as both a hotel and a little museum which can be toured with the owner (it will give you a good sense of the architecture and living spaces of Bosnians, among other artifacts). It's worth staying overnight just to stay there (I swear it was the highlight of my trip).
http://www.booking.com/hotel/ba/bosnian-national-monument-muslibegovic-house.html

Posted by
208 posts

Significant other and I visited Slovenia/Croatia/Bosnia in May 2014. A great trip! Rented one car in Slovenia, one in Croatia, and took buses and trains for the rest.

If you have ever used AirBnB, I would consider using it for some of the places on your trip. We had good experiences with it, and everyplace you stay will be quite inexpensive. (Although don't be misled into thinking it will permit you to make meaningful contact with the locals through your landlord. It likely wont). I would not try and use it in Split or Dubrovnik, though.

We started in Lake Bled. Beautiful place, worth an entire long day itself. Saw the castle, walked around the lake, took the quaint boat to the church on the island, ate dinner in town, walked around more, headed back to our AirBnB place.

Drove through the Julian Alps, stayed in a place way up in the mountains above Kobarid, or Caporetto. There is a lot to see for WWI history buffs.

Then drove to Piran on the coast. Also worth the full day we spent there. Saw one of the caves on the way back to Ljubljana.

3 days in Ljubljana. A very pleasant and civilized city. One of the few places in Europe I think I might be able to live permanently.

Took a train into Croatia, and picked up the car. Visited Rovinj and the Istrian penninsula.

Plitvice Lakes takes a full day, and is very worth seeing. I've never seen anything quite like it. Start your day as early as possible to avoid the crowds!

Got to see some very untouristed towns in Croatia, still full of buildings riddled with bullet holes and damage from the 90s war, while driving on the way in and out of there.

Drove to Split, and dropped the car. Stayed two days at a place in Diocletian's palace. Very interesting old town.

Took the ferry to Hvar. Stayed two nights, at an AirBnB place that advertised the best view in Hvar. Lots of steps to climb, but it did have the advertised view.

Took the ferry to Korcula, spent two nights there. Also a wonderful old city.

Took a van to Dubrovnik. It clipped a motorhome going the other way, which was interesting. and caused a couple hour delay. Totally the motorhome driver's fault.

We spent 3 full days in Dubrovnik, and I thought that was about the right amount of time. In the BnB most strongly recommended by Rick Steves. Lots to do and see there. The old town is very interesting, has a lot of history. Have a drink at one of the bars by the Adriatic. The fort at the top of the cable car ride is also quite interesting. It's also worth taking a quick trip through the newer part of the city, the Yugoslav era waterfront, if you have the chance.

Then a bus to Mostar. We stayed at a AirBnB place right on the water that advertised a million dollar view of the Old Bridge. And boy, it's owner wasn't kidding! Best AirBnB experience we ever had. If I were you, I would stay at least one night there, and try to focus on the Turkish cultural things available there.

Then Sarajevo for 3 days. The most interesting City on our trip, with its mixture of peoples and religions, living uneasily together, all still heavily impacted by the 90s war. Flew home from there.

The thing I most wish we had time to do that we didn't do was visit Montenegro. We planned to do that from Dubrovnik, but there were no tour vans available to take us the day we were planning to go. So make sure you have that covered before you get there.

I would consider going without a car from Dubrovnik, to Korcula, to Hvar, to Split. Take the ferries instead. Rent one car for the rest of Croatia as you leave Split, drop it in the last place you are visiting in Croatia, and take a train to Slovenia.

It also almost seems to me that you might not need a car in Slovenia. There are convenient buses/ trains to get you from Ljubljana to Lake Bled and back. And you could easily pick up a tour group from Ljubljana to the cave/castle.