Croatia - March

Hi All, I have heard great things about Croatia for years. After speaking to some friends who have been there we have decided on meeting my parents there over spring break this year (March 10-17). We are flying in to Venice and then plan to rent a car and drive ourselves. I was hoping someone out there may have some experience they would be willing to share. These are some things I'm wondering about... I know this is the off-season is there anything specifically I should be aware of when travelling this time of year through Croatia? We are travelling with our four children (ages 4-9). We had planned on picking a location and renting a house for the weekend (maybe near the northern national parks). Does this sound reasonable? Are we better off to make it a road trip week? Any cities (close to the Italy side) we should see? Thanks so much!

Posted by stan
Kansas City, Missouri
220 posts

Lindsey, nobody has responded yet, so I'll throw in my two cents. Never been to Croatia, but based on reading a lot of threads here, suggest that you look into whether or not you would be allowed to take a rental car from Italy to Croatia. Also, whether you can get a vehicle big enough for 6 people and luggage.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17789 posts

Lindsey, I'd also suggest checking long range weather forecasts, as the weather in mid-March may not be too pleasant. For example, on 15 March this year, the high temperature in Dubrovnik was 4C and the low was 1C (just above freezing - I believe the average temperatures are a bit higher). Coming from Saudi Arabia, that might be a bit of a "shock"! I'm also tentatively planning on visiting Croatia next year, but will probably be travelling in September. Good luck with your planning!

Posted by Emily
Vienna, Austria
312 posts

I highly recommend Istria, a lovely coastal area in northern Croatia known for its beautiful villages, truffles and coastline. Porec, Rovinj, Pula and Motovun, for example, in Croatia and Piran in Slovenia. The weather will be nippy, for sure. I have been in this area in late April/early May and it was just fine, but earlier could be iffy. There are ferries that regularly travel from Venice to Porec and Pula, but not sure if they are operating in March. If they are, take the ferry over (it is just a few hours) and then rent a car in Croatia upon arrival.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

Yes, the ferry schedule is likely to be less frequent, especially to the small islands. And the weather may not be ideal, depending on your expectations for warm/sunny weather. Since you will have 4 kids with you, renting a house sounds like the most viable, practical, and affordable option. I can't answer the road trip question - I guess it depends whether you can rent a large enough vehicle and whether your family would enjoy being on the road for lengthy stints.

Posted by Jerry
Madison, WI, US
72 posts

Hi - Just got back from visiting Croatia and Slovenia. I did rent a car (from Sixt) in Dubrovnik and returned it in Zagreb. I had a problem renting the car with my credit card. My credit card doesn't have raised numbers on it....therefore Sixt couldn't use it to run the car deposit on my card through the old fashion credit card machine. I suspect this is a problem not only at Sixt but all car rental agencies. Driving and parking was no problem at all. There is no parking in the historical centers though. You do need a toll sticker in Slovenia....getting one was no problem. Of all the cities in Croatia my favorite was Rovinj. I think Rick Steves also raves about it. It's close to Italy. You could take the ferry across and then rent a car. Are you flying back out of Venice? Consider Zagreb (or Ljubljana) ....another nice city. Venice, Rovinj and Zagreb (or Ljubljana) might be all you'd have time for. One thought...not sure if you've been to Venice before. If not it's beautiful....the city I'd most want to visit again if I only had one day. It is very expensive though. Finding a place for 8 people will be pricey. Venice is an adult city. While the kids will enjoy riding the boat taxis i think they'd prefer the beaches (and boat rides also) in Croatia. Fly into Dubrovnik and out of Zagreb...visiting the coast line cities in between.

Posted by wayner
stevens point, wi, usa
186 posts

Hello from Wisconsin, We were in Croatia in mid to late march three years ago. It was cool, some wind and rain. But it could be wonderful when you are there. I would say visiting the islands is just not possible as a tourist unless you get real lucky. e had all the time in the world. Really weeks to hang around. And we couldn't justify hanging around for days waiting for a ferry to take us out and then uncertain timing on return. Dubrovnic, Split, Zagreb, Ljublijana, and other places make the area great. Don't regret going one bit in march. Plitvica National Park closed until later than when we were there. wayne iNWI

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2664 posts

We're also just back from Croatia. We enjoyed the time we spent in Istria. We found great, reasonably-priced accommodations all over Croatia. I would pick a couple of spots for variety. Here are some options to consider: * For a little more of northern Italy, drive from Venice to Trieste. Make sure you stay in the Old Town near the harbor. We didn't but wish we had. * Piran, Slovenia was a great small city. You could consider a night or two there. * For a longer drive, visit Plitvice National Park. We stayed at House Tina (in Rick Steves' book.) It's just 5-10 km. from the park entrance. A day or two would be all that you'd need to hike in the park. * I also agree that Ljubljana, Slovenia (our favorite city!) and Zagreb, Croatia would be good options as well. There are so many options! With 6-7 nights and travel with small children. I'd limit it to one or two.

Posted by Lindsey
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
2 posts

Thanks so much for all of your help. If we just wanted to take a ferry from Venice to Rovinj (where we will rent a car) is that possible or is it better to plan on renting in Venice and driving? Again, any advice is appreciated!

Posted by Frank
Wilmington, DE
1476 posts

Venezia Lines offers ferry (actually hydrofoil) service between Venice and Istria (Porec/Rovinj), but I believe they only run from April to early October. You can check their website for schedules.

Posted by Barbara
Woodbridge, CA, USA
6 posts

Hi! We rented a car in Venice last September(2013) and headed to Istria. Our company was EuropCar through Auto Europe. All that was necessary was to inform the rental company that we were going to go to Croatia. I assume that an additional fee was added to our fee. We had to purchase a green sticker once we arrived in Slovenia at a gas station, I believe(maybe 15 euro or so) and we were on our way. Had no problems whatsoever driving in Croatia, but we only were in the Rovinj area. Fun trip.