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CROATIA/SLOVENIA Itinerary Help, please.

Hi, we're a couple of old, active Alaskan Hikers hoping to do the trip we'd planned 2 years ago. I'd love your comments on below:

Aug 14-25 Hut to hut hiking the Italian Alta Via, ending in Belluno, Italy. (booked)

Aug 26 Somehow travel to Lake Bled.
(Belluno via Venice to Ljubljana to Lake Bled by train/bus.? We fly into Venice so could leave rolling bags at a hotel
there before our hike and then return there for a night or two on 8/26. We've been to Venice, but a day could still be fun)
Aug 26, 27 Venice
Aug 28. Onward to Lake Bled via Ljubljana or direct......bus? train?
Aug 28 - 31 Lake Bled with guided day in Julian Alps, bike to Vintgar Gorge, day at the lake
Sept 1 To Rovinj.....bus? train?
Sept 1 -3. Rovinj with day drives to Pula and Motovun
Sept 4. Drive to hill town which is on the route to Plitvice (or a night in Motovun?)
Sept 5, To Plitvice
Sept 6. Hike Plitvice
Sept 7, 8 Drive to Spit and turn in car
Sept 9, 10. To Korculan
Sept 11 - 14 Dubrovnik. (tour to Mostar)
Sept 15 Long flight home

We enjoy hanging out, hiking, adventuring. Should we skip Korcula for more time in Split or Dubrovnik? Is there a reasonable way to mail/ship/send our hiking backpacks, boots and poles from Venice to Dobrovnik so we don't have to wrestle with them??

Posted by
20838 posts

Allow me to introduce you to the Rome2Rio website. It has some serious limitations. You should never trust the fares, travel times or frequencies it displays. But it's usually accurate about what basic transportation options exist (train, bus) and where you might need to transfer. If you keep clicking down through the website, you'll find the names of the transportation companies Rome2Rio is suggesting. Go to their websites (links are often provided) to find accurate schedules and fares.

Rome2Rio is suggesting you can put together a bus connection (via Trieste) that will get you from Venice to Ljubljana in less than 4 hours. I haven't done the digging to see whether that's accurate. It involves two different bus companies, which is a bit nervous-making. I believe the train schedule is such that it would take longer to make this trip by train, but I haven't verified that.

Quite a few folks from this forum have used GoOpti to travel between Ljubljana and Venice or other cities in the area. They all seem to have been happy with the service. As I understand it, you can either book dedicated transportation for just the two of you at your choice of time, or you can book two seats in a shared van, in which case the company chooses the departure time, and I believe you don't find out what that time will be very far in advance (maybe the previous day??). Needless to say, the first option is quite a bit more expensive than the second. I don't know whether there would be enough demand for shuttle service from Venice to Bled to make a shared transfer to the lake an option, but there's bus service between Ljubljana and Bled, and even taxi service between the two wasn't horribly expensive when I visited the area in 2015.

For the trip from Ljubljana to Rovinj there is no rail service. You're crossing a border, and international buses typically run infrequently. Rome2Rio lists only Flixbus as an option, and just once a day. The time is given as a bit over 3 hours. I traveled that route in 2015 by bus (not necessarily via Flixbus--I don't remember), and it was pleasant enough. In my experience there can be delays at border crossings between Slovenia and Croatia. I've heard they are often caused by beach traffic, so the day of the week you are traveling could be a factor there.

It will be handy to have a car for traveling between Rovinj and Split, but for what it's worth there are public buses connecting Rovinj to Pula, Porec, and the cute little coastal town of Vrsar. As of summer 2015 there was limited bus service from Rovinj to either Motovun or Groznjan (another town in the interior), but having a car would make you a more mobile and efficient traveler.

I generally tell people they can manage with just one night at Plitvice, but that's on the assumption they won't try to do any more hiking than the longest marked-out route through the park. If you want to do more than that, you may appreciate having the extra time. Before the pandemic the park was selling two-day passes as well as one-day passes, but there was an occasional report that if you stayed in one of the park hotels (rather pricey for what they are, apparently), the hotel would endorse your single-day ticket so you could use it the next day. I have no idea whether that is still going on. After multiple years of grotesque overcrowding in the park (including on the day of my visit), a new policy was put into place: You aren't guaranteed to get into the park if you haven't bought a ticket in advance. I do not know whether the number of tickets sold was reduced from the too-high (probably unlimited) level of 2015, but at least you don't have to stand in an hour-long line, as I did.

If you run out of things to do in Dubrovnik, there's bus service to Kotor that takes you around a large part of the scenic Bay of Kotor.

Posted by
12949 posts

Where in Alaska? I lived in Fairbanks many years ago, working for the UofA.

There is a ferry from Venice to Piran that runs once a week in summer; if this day works with your schedule it could be fun and scenic. Piran is a lovely town and worth a night or two. We were there 4 years ago as part of a Slovenia hiking tour that included the Julian Alps. I especially enjoyed swimming in the Adriatic there. IN August, I would choose hang-out time in charming little Piran over time in Venice. It is our favorite place in Italy (we spent all of October there a few years back), but in August it is too hot and crowded to be enjoyable during the daytime.

A bus will get you from Piran to Ljubljana. From there to Bled it is bus or train. The bus drivers were on strike the day we needed to go from Bled back to Ljubljana, so we took the train.

If the ferry schedule does not work out for your timing, there are various options by train and bus, as acraven explains.

Before meeting our hiking tour, we spent 4 days/3 nights at Bled, as my husband was participating in a Masters’ rowing competition there. We stayed at Pension Kaps and highly recommend it:

We used their free bikes to bike to Vintgar Gorge and back on a day my husband did not have to row. That was a good way to get there.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you both....helpful information.
Lola, we live in Seward, Alaska....not as dark as Fairbanks, but no as many nights of Aurora either!

Posted by
132 posts

(We lived in Eagle River from 1971 to 2015 and miss AK still. Always enjoyed Seward, especially silver fishing after the Derby).
We traveled Croatia, Slovenia & Venice in fall 2013. Into and out of Venice Marco Polo from/to US. Upon arrival there, took Croatia Air to Zagreb via Dubrovnik. Rented a car in Zagreb for rest of trip. See "Looking for Croatia/Slovenia Travel Itinerary Advice" - posted by laura evans in Croatia forum for our simplified schedule. We had no problems driving in Croatia or Slovenia even tho' 70ish at the time. We looked into buses when in Zagreb and our apt host said not good for traveling with luggage. The econobox car was ideal for the narrow side roads and tight parking. Worked well also for impulsive stops. Flew Croatia Air from Dubrovnik to Rome to Venice for a week stay there. I checked and Croatia air upgraded their planes and partnered with Lufthansa. All flights now go thru Frankfort! If you do get a car, suggest renting and returning in Croatia as the fees for returning in another country were high. You will love both countries. The people seemed a bit reserved until we chatted with them, butchering their language. (As the Car Talk Guys said, "Hawaii needs to sell them some of their extra vowels"). They usually just laughed and practiced their English.