I'm just starting to put an itinerary together for 16 or 17 days in Croatia and Slovenia. I will be flying into Venice and have seen different options to get into Croatia. From there I'll rent a car and drive down the coast as far as Dubrovnik. I'm trying to figure out logistics from Dubrovnik back to Slovenia. I could drive back but I don't want to go the same route which it seems to look like for the bottom half of Croatia let alone the length of time to drive with only 16 days. I was thinking of dropping off the car in Dubrovnik and flying to Zagreb, then train to Ljubljana. Can someone advise how long this takes taking into account from leaving Dubrovnik till reaching Ljubljana? I'd like to drive around part of Slovenia so I was wondering if there's a better place closer to Zagreb to pick up a car in Slovenia. Any other options I haven't thought of yet? Our flights are not booked yet, but after Slovenia have the option of flying home from Venice or Graz.
Train from Zagreb to Ljubljana takes about 2.5 hours and I think that would be the best place to pick up another car. How to Look Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it; all schedules through June 13 and some later. You probably already know that train does not extend as far south as Dubrovnik. For flight options, try www.skyscanner.com.
How about flying home from Dubrovnik? (Or Split?) Or starting in Dubrovnik, drive the rental car to Zagreb, train to Ljubljana?
You could drive up and down the Dalmatian Coast different routes: one via the coastal road, maybe the other direction via islands and ferries. You could also drive to Dubrovnik, drop the car, and bus/ferry up to Korcula and Split and fly out of Split. (I did it that a few years ago.)
You'd also have the option of driving back from Dubrovnik to Zagreb via Bosnia: Mostar, Sarajevo, etc. (I'm doing this in a couple of weeks.) Of course, that's a lot of extra driving.
There are of course many options how to do it. If you happen driving from Split to Zagreb, stop in Plitvice National Park.
I am flying to Europe with my frequent flyer points so not as many options for where to go in and out. I would have to use 25% more miles flying into/out of Croatia or Slovenia which is why I’ve been looking at Venice or Graz for flights. I may end up giving in and flying in and out of Zagreb but will play with these other spots first. As well, Dubrovnik is also not an option to fly in or out as it looks like I’d have to do 2 or 3 layovers over a 24 hr period.
The more I look at it, the more I’m convinced I will have to drive. I now realize between getting to Dubrovnik airport, waiting for flight, the flight itself, getting to train station and then train to Ljubljana is only marginally shorter than driving. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I think it could be about 6 hours from Dubrovnik to Ljubjlana taking the flight and train.
So now considering driving, taking the ferry from Dubrovnik back to Split could be a good option and will look into it. I will definitely be visiting Plitvice National Park one of the directions. So back to mapping out places to visit and stopping at some on the way down and others on the way back. I think for this trip I will concentrate on driving back in Croatia and leave Bosnia for another trip (although will look into a day trip to Mostar from Dubrovnik).
The car rental will then be the next challenge as I’m assuming drop off charges in one country to another will be horrendous so any suggestions on where to drop off a car in Croatia and easily get over the border to pick up a car in Slovenia would be appreciated for me to consider as I build my itinerary.
You can always fly to Venice, bus to Slovenia, rent a car there (if need be) drop the car, bus or train to Zagreb, drive the rental car to Dubrovnik and drop it there or in Split and fly from there to some other city by cheap flight. (In other words, don't head back to Slovenia.) easyJet for example has flights from Split to Amsterdam, some pretty cheap (many under $100 USD, some under $50 USD, though that doesn't include all of easyJet's extra fees).
You can even ferry from Croatia back to Italy (probably overnight) and train back to some city in Italy where you can fly home.
To get from Slovenia to Croatia to get another car, try taking a bus from Ljubljana to Porec or Rovinj or a train to Rijeka or Pula (if you say wanted to start in Istria instead of Zagreb). You could drop your Slovenia car in say Koper, Slovenia, and bus from there down to Porec or Rovinj - but if you want to start in Zagreb, just take the train or bus from Ljubljana to Zagreb.
Thanks everyone. I'm getting some ideas now how to tackle this and look at the various options.
There are no car ferries from Dubrovnik to Split, just a catamaran for foot passengers only. You will not need a car in Dubrovnik so you could do a one way drop. Also you will need to check with your car hire company that you can take the car through Bosnia, which you will need to do to get to Dubrovnik. My car hire last year did not permit me to drive there. Other companies charge slightly more to permit access.
Kathy- Many car hire companies don't allow you to take them on car ferries. Make sure you check this out before booking. Also we've found that the surcharge for drop off in a different location can vary greatly. Not always exorbitant. Have a good trip!
I wasn't aware about potential car ferry problems. Thank you for advising. I will be sure to check this out.
Just back from Croatia, Slovenia, Mostar. Took rental car in to all countries, on car ferry from Drvinik to Hvar, and on car train (Kobarid to Bled). No problems from our rental car company but we did check with them ahead of time. Rented with Fleet. Did have to buy a vignette on crossing the border into Slovenia (15 euro at gas station).
We just did the same trip.
Flew into Zagreb, rented our car with Sixt - 2 weeks rental was $455.
We drove up to Ljubljana, Bled, down into the Istrian Peninsula, Plitvice, Split, car ferry to Hvar, Mostar, Kotor, and ended in Dubrovnik where we dropped the car and flew out.