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mid-June to July family trip: 18-20 days for Slovenia, Croatia Bosnia-Herzegovina & Hungary

Hello, my husband, 13 year old daughter and I are planning an 18-20 day trip in early summer. We are most likely leaving from Seattle and starting our journey in Ljubljana. Initially we were thinking about putting together a driving trip from Slovenia to Croatia, then Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary and back to Slovenia. We have a growing list of places to go to in each country.

But -- now we are entertaining the idea of doing a combination of car rental and public transportation (for fun, cost and comfort) and are wondering if our trip may be too ambitious.

Slovenia (in no particular order right now)
Ljubljana
Lake Bled
Julian Alps

Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Zagreb
Dubrovnik

Bosnia-Herzegovina
Mostar
Sarajevo

Hungary
Budapest
???

We are also interested in finding festivals, workshops or activities that would be fun for our daughter. We have done a lot of CouchSurfing and have an opportunity to stay with a family outside of Budapest for 3-4 days. I would love to get advice from others on: car/train idea, other thoughts on the itinerary and activities/places of interest for a young person (or opportunities to meet other locals her age).

Posted by
14 posts

Hope this helps -- we were in Dubrovnik a few years ago with our teenaged sons. We signed up for a sea kayak tour around the island of Kolocep with Huck-Finn www.huck-finn.hr, which I would highly recommend. The day lasted from 9 - 5 and we paddled around the island, stopping to swim, explore caves and just relaxed.

Perhaps the highlight of our vacation was the day we booked with Zoran from www.vacationindubrovnik.com. Zoran picked us up at 9:00 for our day trip to Mostar. A native Dubrovnian, he was an excellent guide and really engaged our sons in the tour - Zoran is a big sports fan! We stopped at picturesque places and small villages along the way where Zoran would explain the local culture. When we arrived in Mostar we walked through both sides and Zoran took us to a small Bosnian restaurant, which we never would have found on our own, for perhaps the best meal of our trip - meat, cheese and spinach pies along with a mixed grill that was absolutely delicious. He and his wife, who is Canadian, can also help with accommodations.

We also took the local ferry over to Lokrum, went swimming and walked around the island...would highly recommend staying in old town. We rented an apartment, which I would highly recommend.

We were also just in Budapest this spring....I would highly recommend taking a bike tour with Budapest Bike day tours....We took the trip out to Szentendre...we stopped a few times for drinks, pictures, had a great lunch in the town and pedaled back. We booked a private trip and it was well worth it. We also hired My Personal Budapest for a day tour around Budapest....we saw so much, that we never would have found on our own -- lots of tips for our own sight seeing later on.....We also paid extra and had lunch at the home of the owner's parents. They were exceptionally charming, the food was amazing and we felt like old friends before we left....Lastly I would highly recommend the House of Terrors - despite its name. It is an amazing museum of the Nazi/Communist occupation. We are not generally museum people, but everyone should experience this place in testimony to the courage of the Hungarian people.. Hope this helps....safe travels.

Posted by
1147 posts

We did a similar trip in September but we went to Montenegro instead of Hungary. We flew into Ljubljana and out of Dubrovnik. We got a rental car at Ljubljana airport and drove directly to Bled where we spent 3 nights. During that time we visited Vintgar Gorge (great hike in the gorge on boardwalk and paths), drove the Julian Alps up to Vrsic Pass and back, and visited Bohinj Lake. From there we returned the rental car in Ljubljana and spent 2 nights there. We spend some time in Rovinj before going to Plitvice. This is a great choice - lots of beautiful sights on the trails. Near Plitvice we visited Rastoke, a village with houses and water mills build over some waterfalls; a beautiful, fairly short walk with great views about 30 minutes from Plitvice. We did not visit Zagreb; stayed in Trogir and visited Krka National Park (more hiking around, over, under waterfalls) and Split. We did visit Dubrovnik and Mostar.

It seems like a logical itinerary would be Bled, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Plitvice, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Sarajevo, Budapest. If you're flying out of Ljubljana you might want to leave your time there for the end of your trip. Regarding car/train: Not sure we can help you there. We had a rental car for 3 days in Slovenia. It is more convenient to see the Julian Alps with a rental car. We took the bus from Ljubljana to Croatia (Rovinj) and pretty sure you can take the bus to Zagreb. We got a rental car in Croatia and used it to visit BiH and Montenegro before returning it in Dubrovnik and using public transportation there. You can probably do without a car for trip after Bled. Hopefully someone who has done this trip using buses/trains can give you more information.

As for your 13 year old - we have 11 and 13 year granddaughters who would have loved renting a boat at Lake Bled, the walking trails at Vintgar Gorge, Lake Bohinj, and Plitvice, and walking around the walls in Dubrovnik. Maybe others will have suggestions regarding other activities.

We found the places we visited to be very beautiful. Have a wonderful trip!