Italy and Croatia in August and September 2014

We are in the midst of planning a trip for the end of August and the first week of September to see Italy and Croatia. I'd like some advise or suggestions on our itinary. We know we are hitting some places really quickly but are trying to see as much as possible in a rather short amount of time. Here is our schedule so far...are we trying to see too much to fast? Thanks!

  1. Arrive in Croatia and spend first afternoon and night in capital of Zagreb a. Renting a car in Croatia and driving to Italy first then back to Croatia. Issues/Recommendations about rental cars?
  2. Leave early Saturday morning for the drive from Zagreb to Udine Itay.....with short stops in Solvania (I've read in the guidebook about the sticker for the car for Solvania.) Arrive in Udine Saturday evening. Explore Udine area on Saturday as we arrive
  3. Driving to Verona from Udine on Sunday......all day seeing Verona and driving back to Udine
  4. Venice all day Sunday from Udine
  5. Leaving early Tuesday morning for Split Croatia......yes, it's a long day but looking forward to the drive actually
  6. We have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday to see the area near Split and going to try and take ferry to Vhar for one day
  7. Heading back to Zagreb on Saturday but stopping at the P Lakes on the way. Right now driving to Zagreb Saturday after the lakes.
  8. Full day in Zagreb before flying out on Monday morning. Do we get a hotel near the lakes and take our time driving to Zagreb on Sunday? Gives us more time at the Lakes and a free day on Sunday to take our time getting back to Zagreb
  9. Fly out from Zagbred and back in LA on Monday afternoon.....call in sick on tuesday for work. LOL

I realize we are hitting Venice and Italy quickly......trying to fit alot in I guess. We've booked everything but the rental car so far. I got one quote from Hertz for about 950.00 (includes insurance) for the car. Seems very high to me so asking what other companies would be recommended.

Our main hub is Split in Croatia and want to do the ferry to Hvar.....suggestions? We will have a rental car and don't mind getting "lost" while driving around the area...suggestions on things to explore?

I bought the Solvania/Croatia guidebook yesterday and plan on bookmarking alot of pages. Love how detailed the information is in the book.

Thanks for any and all advice and information you could provide for the trip. Don't be afraid to tell us it's too much is too short of time...especially the Italy portion. I think we can do it and see the highlights but want advise too.

Tom

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1620 posts

If I understand correctly, it seems like you have 7 full days on the ground? You're covering a lot of territory in a very short time.

I'd suggest dropping Italy, since it doesn't seem like you're going to have much time out of the car to explore. Using Udine as a base for a day in Verona, I would guess you're going to spend about ~4 hours in the car round trip, then more time finding parking and orienting to where you are; that doesn't leave much time for exploring Verona.

Minimally, if you want to do this, I would suggest combining Verona and Venice in an overnight trip. Maybe drive to Venice, park, check into a hotel, and jump on a train for a day trip to Verona. Return to Venice for the night and the entirety of the next day. Then drive back to Udine late. And although I normally wouldn't recommend this location, for this type of hit-and-run trip with a car to deal with, it might be easiest to stay in Maestre, the town on the mainland that's adjacent to Venice. The train station there can get you to Verona in about a half hour and to Venice proper in about 10 minutes.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
6455 posts

You could put fewer kilometers on the car and find plenty of sites to enjoy in Slovenia. Once you get into reading that book, you'll want to save Italy for another trip! If you have a reason to visit Udine, then it's not as far, and I enjoyed this restaurant. We would not daytrip from Udine to Venice (1.5 hours min drive each way) or Verona.

When I was driving around Slovenia, of an August, I had no trouble finding rooms and asked a rural innkeeper, "Where is everybody?" He said, "You'll see when you go to Croatia." Driving the coastal road from the Slovenian border to Rab island on a Saturday in August was stop-and-go all day, as half of Europe seemed to be heading to the beach. So you should reserve accommodations and expect traffic.