Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and environs

Hi everybody. Long time observer of the site. First time poster. I'm backpacking for 5-6 weeks at the beginning of July and have some questions. My itinerary is as follows: Reykjavik 4 nights (non-negotiable, meeting a friend) Long travel day to dubrovnik - 3 nights Kotor 3 nights Mostar 1 night Sarajevo 3 nights Split 3 Hvar/brac/Korcula 2 Plitvice 1 Ljubjana 3 Lake bled 2 Venice 2 Mykonos, iOS/Naxos, santorini, Crete - 14 nights Athens 2 days then fly home I will be travelling by public transport as a solo traveller. I lose interest in museums but try for a little culture. I prefer outdoors and exploring. Plan on lots of hiking. As a solo traveller I need to be 'in the mix' so a happening place is preferred. So, is my itinerary too rushed? I was able to find a $200euro flight from Venice to Mykonos (direct) which explains the Venice detour. Any suggestions on the allocation of my time?

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

What are you planning on doing around Kotor? Seeing other towns in Montanegro? Hiking, etc? It's beautiful there, for sure, but I would add a little more time to Mostar and less to Kotor. Mostar is fascinating and you can do side trips from there, such as the waterfalls of Kravica. I was there only 1 1/2 days and regret I didn't have more. If you stay in Split for 3 nights, you should take day trips to Trogir and any of the islands (Brac, Hvar, etc) - that will fill up 3 days easily. Split has a wonderful uphill hike on Marjan hill you can also check out - you'll get a beautiful view of the city.

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
916 posts

What an amazing trip this will be! A few comments: Three nights might be a bit much for Split; I'd change it to 2 and give another night to the islands. Hvar has more nightlife than Korcula ... not familiar with Brac, but that might also be a good choice. I've seen Ios from the ferry, and it's gorgeous. I did some research this spring and found this: http://journeytom.com/ios-greece-partyisland/ . I think it's a little too happening for me but probably perfect for you. You may also want to check out the island of Milos. It's near Santorini ... not a party island but is smaller and might not be so overrun with tourists as Crete. You're going to be hitting Greece at the beginning of August, which is the busiest time. Not sure if you were planning to make reservations in advance but you may need to (especially for Mykonos and Santorini). That might be worth posting a separate Helpline question. Have a great trip!

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

3 nights in Split is too much - I agree. In Ljubljana, check out Hostel Celica. I don't know what your plans are for staying but it is a fun place to hang with locals and tourists at night.

Posted by Owen
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4 posts

Thanks everyone for the replies. This is good info Agnes - in Kotor I plan on spending a day hiking, and the part day just seeing kotor and its surroundings. The last day is up for grabs so allocating elsewhere is definitely an option. Honestly, my initial plan includes Mostar only to break up the distance between Kotor and sarajevo. Maybe I need to consider your idea of using that third day for Mostar. The research continues..... Haha Charlene - I read about the party reputation of Ios. Clubs and the like aren't my thing and I've done spring break years ago. Perhaps there is another alternative that isn't at the extremes of party-central and family-getaway? Something in between that makes sense given I'm going from Mykonos to santorini? And yep unfortunately I'm booking hostels in advance Paul - thanks for the hostel tip. I like hostels that have some kind of bar service. And to all of you for Split: you've convinced me to drop a day. I was concerned about a long day from sarajevo filling up almost all of the first day in Split. I figured i really only had 2 days so I thought I would need 3 nights As for where to go, I'm also concerned about the travel time from plitvice to Ljubljana. I might add a day in lake bled and go there from plitvice first. Rather than add the day to hvar, brac, etc as Charlene has suggested. Thanks again for the replies

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

Owen: Just to be clear, Hostel Celica has a very nice bar in the courtyard, and I had several fine local beers there. Ljubljana was a great regret on our trip. We spent only 1 day there. Way too short. It is a fun town, with lots of college students, too much graffitti, lots of weird quirky bars, and nice folks. We were at the farmers market and there is a little bar there. Some crazy guy sees me looking in and pulls my family in, buys a glass of wine for each of us, and we talk for an hour. He was a retired airline pilot. What a nut! A nice evening.

Posted by Owen
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4 posts

Haha hostel celica sounds intriguing. I'm going to check that out. Any other hostels fitting that style along my route?

Posted by Lee
Oregon
1641 posts

As far as Greece is concerned, 4-5 islands in 14 days is too much. Relax, slow down and get into the rhythm of your surroundings. Take it one island at a time and you'll know when it's time to move on.

Posted by James
Frisco
1804 posts

Everyone's style is different, but with five or six weeks you really have the opportunity to do more than tour. You have the opportunity to experience. I would slow down if it were me I would slow down a little.

Posted by Erich
Piedmont, OK
52 posts

That sounds like a great trip! Some ideas for Kotor. There's a great morning market outside the city walls. I would also go to the nearby Lustica penninsula, where you can check out the blue cave and snorkel in it. I would short a day in Dubrovnik or Split before i would short a day in Kotor, in my opinion there's more do in and around Kotor. I agree with the Mostar visit and checking out Kravica Falls-its beautiful and you can swim in the falls, its a great side trip and very close to Mostar. If you plan on hiking around Sarajevo be careful, there's still mines around, might need a guide to be safe. Have a great trip.

Posted by Owen
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4 posts

Thanks everyone for the replies and info. I have some decisions to make. Or I can just quit my job and travel indefinitely. That would be nice but irresponsible of me haha Thanks again

Posted by Jase
tuscaloosa
1 posts

This is indeed a great trip! I'm currently in the middle of a very similar one using RS as a guidebook. I'm typing this from a little cafe in Mostar by the little river... Oh, and I'm traveling alone also. Personally, I preferred Split to Dubrovnik. More personality. Hiking Plitvic is great. Go before they open (7am) and the park is all yours. Otherwise you gets tour buses of Asians. You'll love Iceland. Not sure 4 nights is enough. Probably the best nightlife you see on the whole trip. Any other questions, just message me. Pura vida,
Jase

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

For PL, the tip about going early is good. Also, simply do things in the opposite way from the tour book. Some books recommend taking the bus to the top and walking down. If you walk to the top, you can take an empty bus down. And the top is only a couple hundred feet higher than the bottom. It's an easy walk. Counter-crowd. We were there on Croatian National Day (just shoot me now). It was crowded, but we always looked for the lines, and went the opposite way. Worked fine. We did start at the very first moment.

Posted by George
Canada
836 posts

Owen, I would add another day to Lake Bled. Use the day to go to Bohinj, catch the cable car up and spend the day hiking up top - great views of the lake and Triglav. This is a terrific hike UPPER VOGEL CABLE CAR STATION - SIJA - VOGEL - here's the link - it makes for a great day of hiking - http://www.vogel.si/summer/vogel/hiking-trails