I have been to Europe multiple times and so when I began to think about traveling to Croatia/Slovenia around October 21, I did not realize that timing may be an issue. We were going to try to fly into Dubrovnik and do Korcula/Hvar to Split, up to Plitvice, Istria and then to Slovenia, but it seems like the books say things begin to shut down second/third week of October and transporation becomes more sparse, especially in key places like Korcula, Hvar, and Rovinj. I'm just wondering if it is still worth it or if I should look into a different country unless someone knows it won't be as dead as they are making it seem. Plus we are speedy travelers and afraid some transporation issues will hold us up. Thoughts?
That's still a nice time of year to be in Croatia and Slovenia. As far as transportation goes, there shouldn't be much of a problem. For the fast catamaran from Korcula to Hvar to Split, the main difference in the "off season" schedule is it doesnt't stop in the small town of Prigradica on the west of Korcula island. (Google "Split Korcula catamaran" to see schedules). I was in Korcula during the third week in October a few years ago. It was definitely quiet- very relaxing and peaceful. I guess a few restaurants were closed, but there were still plenty open. Dubrovnik and Split were bustling. I suppose most of your other transport will be on land- buses and trains run similar schedules year-round.
Thanks, Will, that helps. I guess another concern is that with the only bus at 3:00 pm from Dubrovnik to Korcula arriving 6:30 pm, we'd have to stay in Korcula a whole day (unless we can just see things that evening) before ferry left next morning for Hvar (6 am), and then have another whole day, before a morning ferry left for Split. It seems like a lot of time (w/o flexibility) in our fast-paced trip. With some things closed and not a lot of water activities, is there enough to keep busy? I'm just wondering if we should rethink this area or if they shouldn't be missed.
I spent two nights in Korcula, and it's true that there's not much to do. I suppose I did get a bit bored by the end of the second day. I did not stop in Hvar- that may have been too much relaxation. So you could think about just picking one of those two islands, or skipping them altogether. I think doing one of them is a good idea as it gives you a small-town Dalmatian coast experience to contrast with "urban" Split and Dubrovnik. But then if you're going to other small coastal towns in Istria or Slovenia you can get a similar experience up there. I'm sure you'll have a fine time regardless- it's hard to go wrong in that part of the world. Good luck!
Also having trouble for bus/train timetables travelling from Trieste to Slovenia. Does not seem to be many options particuarly between Christmas and New Year - not sure if car hire is the answer.
Why don't you just rent a car? For some reason, people are very leery about renting. I have gone to Europe many times, and have rented a car many times. Last summer, we rented a medium size car from Avis. We had the car for 15 days, took it all over (Vienna-Budapest-Split-Ljubljana-Vienna). The cost was $650 for the 15 days. With 5 adults, we would have spent 4x that on mass transit. The key in Europe is to use the car between cities, but use public transit or walk in cities. Split was a nightmare for drivers, but once we parked, we just walked all over with no trouble.