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Trip Planning Question

My two adult kids and I are planning a week long trip to Slovenia and Croatia from October 6-12 which gives us six full travel days. I’ve read most of RS book and scanned many of the forum posts. Do we have enough time for this itinerary and what kind of weather should we expect?

  • 10/5 -Depart U.S.(overnight flight)
  • 10/6 - Arrive Zurich or Munich
  • Day Trips from Ljublana (VRBO)
    • Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge
    • Soča River Valley*, Vršič Pass, Bovec, Kobraid
    • Panorama Road - ( Logarska Dolina
    • Karst region- Škocjan Caves*, Predjama Castle, Planina Cave, Lipica Farm, Postojna Cave
  • Rovinj*, Pula, Motovun (Istria)
  • Plitvice Lakes* - Croatia Niagara Falls
  • 10/12 Depart for Zurich or Munich
Posted by
25508 posts

It looks like way too much for me. Have you checked driving times, including for the Plitvice-Munich leg? You'll only have five full, non-jetlagged days by my count, since October 12 will be spent doubling back to Munich. I generally recommend 4 nights for Istria alone, and you need to spend the night before your Plitvice visit in or near the park so you can get inside when it opens. It can be terribly crowded during day-tripping hours.

You're traveling during a period that's iffy for outdoor activities, because fall may have arrived, bringing cooler temperatures (not a problem) and considerable rain. You can look at actual, day-by-day, historical weather stats on the website I like to check at least the last 5 years.

Posted by
470 posts

I take it you’re renting a car. The drive from Zurich to Ljubljana is 7.5 hours non-stop, from Munich Airport it’s 5 hours non-stop. Doing it while jet lagged is not a good idea. Add another 2.5 hours to driving times when setting off from Plitvice Lakes on the 12th plus any possible border delays and pit stops. I hope you are planning your flight back on the 13th or at least late on the 12th.

You’re left with five full days to do six very full sightseeing days without spending any time in Ljubljana itself, so some significant adjustments are needed.

The Karst day itinerary is impossible. Postojna and Skocjan can only be visited on two-hour guided tours, which in October are held six and four times daily, respectively. Planina Cave can only be seen on a 4-hour tour that has to be arranged in advance, provided it isn’t flooded. Add everything else on your list and you’ll find you simply cannot fit it all into one day. As the previous poster mentioned, it’s a similar story for Istria.

You can make it an enjoyable trip, but you have to amend your plans. For starters, fly into Venice, Ljubljana or Zagreb to eliminate the lengthy full-day drives on the 6th and 12th, giving you one to two half days that can be spent recovering from jet lag or exploring Ljubljana. Then eliminate one to two full areas from your itinerary and pare down your plans for some other areas. Choose either the Postojna or Skocjan Cave in the Karst (Planina can be enjoyed from the outside and is a quick stop if you’re not entering), eliminate Logarska dolina and skip Pula would be my suggestion, although Istria would likely need further adjustments. It will still be rushed, but at least more manageable.

Consider the weather, too. At least one of your five days is likely to be rainy. If you’re unlucky all five days could be gloomy. The sun will set at around 6pm, further limiting available outdoor sightseeing time. Even pared down, your itinerary leaves no room for inclement weather, so be prepared to have to change plans at the last minute. The good thing is that you’re based in Ljubljana and can switch around day trips on the fly (for example the caves are the same whether it’s raining or sunny outside), but do pay attention to the weather forecast.

Posted by
95 posts

Hi acraven and Dejan, thank you for your feedback! The trip idea started out as Dad and adult kids visiting Eastern Europe (Prague, Budapest, etc.) but I’ve narrowed the focus to Slovenia and Croatia. Considering the shorter days and seasonal weather, should we concentrate our time in Croatia with an open day to travel to Slovenia if the weather is good?

My kids arrive early in Zurich and I plan to fly into Venice or Munich depending on our final destination. I will have additional time after the return on the 12th.

Thanks again and your suggestions are appreciated!

Posted by
470 posts

Ken, whether to focus on Croatia or Slovenia is difficult to answer as both are wonderful. It's not necessary to axe one for the other, just pare down your itinerary for each country and you can still combine them effectively. Plitvice Lakes stick out the most in terms of driving time from the rest of your itinerary but they are such a gem I wouldn't recommend cutting them. Perhaps focus solely on Rovinj in Istria or save the Soca Valley or Logarska dolina for another time. Difficult choices, as all these areas are so lovely and scenic.

I do recommend flying into Venice in any scenario as it is much closer to both Slovenia and Croatia than Munich. There are frequent flights from Zurich to Venice and to Ljubljana. Alternatively, there's also a night train between Zurich and Ljubljana, but it usually costs more than the flight, at least for the comfortable sleeper compartments with full beds. It's an experience but note that there is no scenery involved as it's already dark by the time it departs Zurich HB.