We have four or five weeks for this trip, flying to Venice from the U.S., and returning from Zagreb. We will use public transportation rather than renting a car. I am looking for suggestions on this itinerary as to routing. From Venice by bus to Ljubljana, fly to Sarajevo, bus or train to Mostar, bus to Dubrovnik, bus to Split, bus to Plitvice Lakes, bus to Zagreb, fly to Pula to see Istria, and fly back to Zagreb for the flight home. Thanks for any helpful suggestions!
We had a similar itinerary (minus Sarajevo) by car in October. Would you consider renting a car? It provides greater flexibility and a chance to stop in many smaller villages and cities along the way. I'd probably opt for 5 weeks for an itinerary like this so you're not on the road every other day.
One option I'd look at is flying from Venice to Sarajevo. Then bus to Mostar, etc. After time in Istria bus to Ljubljana and end in Zagreb so you don't have to back track.
From Venice you could visit Trieste first, then enter Slovenia that way. Trieste is a beautiful city and has the Miramare and Duino Castles plus a nice town centre. Or you could head to Lake Bled first from Nova Gorica on a scenic train ride.
For either option you could then head to Ljubljana and head onwards.
Public transport shouldn't be a worry, just beware of limited services on the weekends.
I agree with Greg that Trieste is a great city to visit! We were impressed - it's a beautiful, elegant city.
Thank you for the great suggestions! It was my desire to see Plitvice Lakes and Istria that made it confusing for me to figure out a route.