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Slovenia itinerary

Hi everyone. I have a tentative itinerary of three weeks driving n Slovenia and a bit of Croatia. We will be travelling 26th May to June 16th.
The idea is to fly Emirates to Zagreb and included in the fare is Go Opti to Ljubljana ..where we will hire a car. Or we can hire a car in Zagreb and drive to Ljubljana. And return car to Zagreb and fly out back home.
So the plan is
Zagreb-Ljubljana -Bled-Bohinj-Bled-Vrsic-Trenta-Bovec-Kobarid-Dobrovo-Nova Gorica-Lipica-Piran-Porec-Rovinj-Pula-Plitvice-Zagreb
Or we could do Zagreb-Plitvice - Ljubljana -bled-Bohinj-bled-vrsic-Trenta-bovec-kobarid-dobrovo-nova gorica- lipica- Rovinj - pula- Zagreb
What would your advise be
We want this to be a leisurely trip and take our time and winging our accomodation along the way when we decide at the end of the day where we would like to stay.
I have got the rick steves book as well as googling places to see/do and driving routes , from the forum. Hubby John is a very good driver and I know we have to get a vignette for Slovenia as well as an IDL. If we have a few extra days left we will do a bit more of Croatia before heading back to Zagreb. So any input/advice/places to see and do/routes etc are most appreciated. John also love hiking and I don't mind just strolling along towns and meet locals. My knees are not good for hiking. He love the Dolomites when we were in Italy last July and we were there three days and he said it was not enough and so we will probably spend a few days in the Julian Alps area.
So, any recommendations for hotels, routes dinner etc etc are most welcomed and thank you so much.
I know there is not much info on what we will be doing on my route but I have a general idea and still googling. The idea is to let you all know our planned routes for the moment. And if you think it is not feasible any advise on changes are also welcomed . I did not put how many days we will be at each place but all depends what is there and how much we like the place and we can do day trips from some places. Thank you . Rocky

Posted by
4700 posts

Hi Rocky. I think you should make an attempt at a night by night itinerary. That will make it easier for people to offer specific advice.

For example (this is just off the top of my head):

Zagreb (2 nights)
Rent car, drive to Ljubljana
Ljubljana (4 nights)
Drive to Bled via Skofja Loka (worth a stop) and the scenic mountain drive to Bled via Jamnik and Kropa
Bled (4 nights) (explore Bohinj from here)
Julian Alps drive as you leave Bled
Kobarid (1 nights)
Detour to Lipica as you head toward Piran
Piran (2 nights)
Rovinj (4 nights)
Plitvice (2 nights)
Zagreb (1 night)

That's 20 nights. Tune it how ever you wish. That's slower than I would travel, but it sounds like you have a slower travel style than I have.

One advantage of flying into Zagreb to start is that you avoid the one-way drop fee for car hire, of course. However, you also must pay to park the car in Ljubljana for a few nights. A one-way drop fee between Ljubljana and Zagreb may actually not be that steep (try Sixt for rates, compare both ways). You could still fly into Zagreb if that works and even take a GoOpti directly to Ljubljana from the airport...or settle in Zagreb for a few nights to get over jet lag if you feel the need to. Then train to Ljubljana and pick up the car only when you depart Ljubljana (you probably won't want a car in Ljubljana - very walkable and compact). That would mean four fewer days of car rental and four fewer days of paying to park it.

Could be flying Emirates to Zagreb is the most practical for you - but also check flying to Venice or of course into Ljubljana directly, if the one-way car fee turns out not to be a big issue.

It's also possible to avoid the one-way drop fee by renting in Ljubljana, dropping the car near Piran, taking a bus or transfer (e.g. GoOpti) down to Rovinj, and picking up another car there. But it may not be worth the hassle, and as I said, a one-way drop fee between Ljubljana and Zagreb may not be much. I would check the rates both ways so at least you know what to expect in terms of costs.

Posted by
61 posts

Hi Andrew. Thank you so much for your advice. Sorry I did not have time to write out the night by night stay in each place as I was still googling of things to see and do but you have come up with a brilliant itinerary for us. For that, thank you so much and so I will stick to yours.

*Land in Zagreb (2 nights) rent car drive to Ljubljana
*Ljubljana (4 nights) Drive to Bled vis Skofja Loka (stop) and scenic mountain drive to Bled via Jamnik and Kropa
*Bled (4 nights) explore Bohinj from here
*Julian Alps as we leave Bled
*Kobarid (1 night) detour to Lipica as we head towards Piran
*Piran (2 nights)
*Rovinj (4 nights)
*Plitvice (2 nights)
*zagreb (1 night)
In the past we zoomed our travels and I feel I (not hubby) did not get to explore more. This time I am determined we are not going to do an amazing race type of holiday. Having said that, if we feel we have seen/done, all we could at our stops, we will drive on to the next. And at the end of our above itinerary we find we have a spare few days, we will go further towards Croatia. And that will be a bonus as it was not in the original plan.
P.s I was wondering, would it make any difference if, instead of going to Ljubljana first from Zagreb, we do Plitvice then Ljubljana.? It's just a thought. If it doesn't make any difference we will stick to the original plan. Is there such a thing as ZTL zone in Slovenia ? I have not researched that yet. Also I will get a local SIM card for my phone and use google map as well as paper map as well as a Slovenian road atlas. I am very well armed with maps when I travel ha ha! Hubby John does all the driving and I do the navigating IF we get lost. Once again, thank you so much Andrew

Posted by
1426 posts

I've often expressed the opinion that there is no bad itinerary in the Balkans. There are so many wonderful places to see, you can't go wrong.

But even with a very leisurely itinerary, I think you could see and do more. I am wondering what you will do with 4 nights in Bled, and I think 2 nights in Piran plus 4 nights in Rovinj are too many. I spent an hour exploring Piran and felt that was adequate.

I would add a night to Kobarid for sure.

Since you plan to decide as you go, you will figure out as you go where you want longer or shorter stays. But I have no idea how feasible that is. For example, when you arrive in Rovinj, will you book a hotel for 4 nights? And then if you decide to leave after 2 or 3 nights? Or will you book for a night and then try to extend your stay on a daily basis?

Plitvice would be significantly out of your way (practically the opposite direction) driving from Zagreb to Ljubljana. From a driving perspective, it makes more sense to do it returning from Istria to Zagreb at the end of your trip. Plus, if you find you want to head further into Croatia after Istria (say Zadar or Trogir or Split), Plitvice is on your way back to Zagreb.

I don't remember encountering any ZTLs in my driving in Slovenia or Croatia. There are parts of some towns (Rovinj and Piran, for example) where no or limited cars are allowed, but there is a gate to restrict entry. They let us in for like an hour to drop our luggage when we checked into our hotel in Rovinj.

Posted by
19388 posts

Early June may be OK, but I had problems extending my stay in Rovinj in late August 2015. In my experience in many European countries, aside from major festivals, the toughest places to find reasonably-priced, last-minute accommodations are coastal towns that get summer-holiday traffic. In the absence of recent-experienced-based conflicting information from others, I suggest that you not count on finding a good place to stay upon arrival in a new town of that type. Having a car will be be an immense help, since you won't be tied to staying right in Rovinj (which might cause parking complications anyway).

Posted by
3319 posts

In Bled I highly recommend the Old Parrish House guesthouse. It's right on the lake, in a gorgeous old square right next to a church and at the base of the stairway that leads up to the castle. It's very low-key but extremely well run and reasonably priced. Stayed there for 5 nights in September and didn't want to leave!

Posted by
61 posts

Hi Lane. Thank you for your response. Yes I know our travels will be very leisurely and we may have a few extra days after Rovinj. As I mentioned the nights in each destination dei ends on how much there is to see. We will just book accomodation for one night and extend if need be. We did this travelling in the US and it worked fine as well as in Germany so hopefully this new destinations will be the same. I usually just put the name of a hotel in the GPS at the end of the day. Or ring them up before hand to get prices. Fortunately we are not travelling on a budget so if it's a little pricey it's okay. Thank you for your I out on whether we do Plitvice after Zagreb then Ljubljana. We will stick to Zagreb then Ljubljana etc...and do Plitvice at the end of the trip. If we have extra days we may even get to Dubrovnik!

Hi Acraven. Thank you for replying. I like staying in small villages at the end of the day and t is handy to have a car. Because hubby like to hike, I am not sure how many days we will be at the Julian alps.. We spent three days in the Dolomites Italy and he said there was not enough time to do more hikes. So I will have to research deeper into hiking trails in that area

Hi Anita.. Reading the forum I read about the Old Parish church. I have yet to google but I've read good reports about it and highly recommended by you also. So thank you

For anyone who's done hiking in the Julian alps any advise would be much appreciated thank you

Posted by
50 posts

Use where you can book any accomodation in advance and cancel it free if you change your plan. You travel early and out of main season and booking shouldn't be problem anyway.

Posted by
19388 posts

I use heavily, but it's important to pay attention to the specific cancellation policy of each lodging place. They do vary. And some hotels offer both cancellable and non-cancellable reservations.

Posted by
61 posts

Thank you astitovski and acraven. I am looking at So many to choose from but I always read reviews and recommendations. So looking forward to our trip. The last time I was in what was then Yugoslavia was in 1980. I did a driving holiday for 6 months in Europe. No gps no google so this time should be easy right?😬

Posted by
19388 posts

Aah, Rocky. You and I might have been there the same year! One thing I can assure is that you'll find the food has improved (a lot) and many more people now speak English. It's a lot easier to get around. But the hot spots have a lot more tourists.

Posted by
61 posts

LOL acraven. Brought back memories. We went to a fancy restaurant. We didn’t speak their language they didn’t speak English. Food was scarce then. My daughter drew a chicken laying an egg. We got fried pigeon but no eggs 😂 And looking for a bank I was escorted by two soldiers! We drove to KRK and bought cherries on the roadside as big as plums! Cheap. And people lined up for coffee. Yes I can imagine a lot of changes today