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Options for days before/after Best of Adriatic Tour

I am so excited to be signed up for the Best of the Adriatic tour next June! I’ve never been to either Slovenia or Croatia. For those who have taken this tour and didn’t just stay extra days at the beginning & ending cities - Ljubliana & Dubrovnik, where did you go?

Initially, I’m wondering about possibly spending a few days in Zagreb before taking a train to stay one night at the RS Ljubliana hotel pre-tour. And after Dubrovnik, I don’t have an idea, yet. I could stop at Amsterdam a few nights before flying back to the Spokane, Washington airport but open to anything.

I will also be traveling to Italy in September to take my daughter, so I don’t want to begin this trip in Venice, or end the trip with a few nights in Rome.

I will be traveling solo, and renting a car is not an option. I like to travel by train or if needed, by bus.

Thanks!

Posted by
21317 posts

I haven't taken that tour but have spent some time in the area.

I like Zagreb a lot for its atmospheric, bi-level historic district and its museums (both large and small/quirky). It has been mentioned here that some of the museums are still closed due to earthquake damage, so if museums would be a big deal for you, you need to check the individual websites to determine the current status.

Montenegro packs a lot into a small country. The national parks are unfortunately not served by public transportation as far as I know, but buses will get you around the gorgeous, fjord-like Bay of Kotor and to the towns of Herceg-Novi, Kotor, Budva, Ulcinj and Cetinje--among other places, of course; those are just the ones I got to. Kotor is a bit of a mini-Dubrovnik: very nice on days when there's no monster cruise ship in port but sadly overrun when a big ship shows up. The ride around the bay, though, is something else. There's public-bus service between Dubrovnik and Kotor (probably stopping in Herceg-Novi); it's not terribly frequent, but it's perfectly usable if you're moving south for a few days. I don't know how well it would work for a day-trip if you were just trying to manage the ride around the Bay of Kotor and return to Dubrovnik.

Posted by
262 posts

An inexpensive full day tour from Ljubljana covering the Skocjan Caves, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Predjama Castle, and the coastal city of Piran was a major highlight and wonderful introduction to Slovenia. I enjoyed it tremendously. Half day or cave only tours were also available. Unfortunately the link to the company that I used in 2017 doesn’t work. At or near your hotel pickup and drop off was included. It is best scheduled. Additionally, our RS hotel staff was able to make recommendations. The Adriatic tour was amazing!

Posted by
13732 posts

Montenegro as mentioned above is beautiful. Either the nature in the highlands, or the towns along the coast. But after Dubrovnik I wouldn't spend much if any time in Kotor For transportation and guiding if you like I can send you the name of an individual that planned ut all for a friend. They went a few weeks back and said they had the time of their lives. I don't know how much time you are planning, but there is also a non-stop flight from the capitol after Montenegro to Budapest 2 or 3 days a week. About an hour and a quarter and under $100.

Posted by
3472 posts

Jean, I am excited for you. This was our favorite RS Tour. We spent a week in Venice prior to the tour and arrived in Ljubljana 2 nights prior to the tour. If we were returning we would extend time in Montenegro and/or Zagreb. We didn’t have the time to do this in 2018. In addition, we would use Ljubljana as a base and arrange a couple day trips from there. For example: This latest thread: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/searching-for-family-history-in-slovenia

In Ljubljana we spent our extra nights at Mescanka Apartment on the river prior to the RS Hotel. We enjoyed the vibe of the area. Ljubljana is pedestrian friendly and minutes from sites & wonderful restaurants. Our host mentioned that the RS staff have stayed there when visiting.

Posted by
2545 posts

I would do Slovenia before the tour and suggest flying to Zagreb after the tour for maybe 2-3 nights. Since you will be by yourself it is more economical to fly then hiring a driver. The museums that closed due to the earthquake will most likely not be repaired by next summer, they are working on the Cathedral but didn’t see any work being done on the museums this past October. FYI, we did not tour the upper town this trip, we went to the Ethnographic museum in the lower town, it was the only one open. Check all websites. From Zagreb you could take a bus to Budapest. Not too long a ride and we sometimes find it easier then going through the hassle of the airport. Or, as you suggested, you could stop in Amsterdam which is “on the way” home. The tour takes you to enough places along the coast to get a real good feel for Dalmatia. Zagreb has a more big city vibe, not as laid back. It is a good way to end your stay in Croatia.

Posted by
185 posts

I highly recommend exploring Kotor and the bay after Dubrovnik. The bus takes less than 3 hours and is very affordable. I went to kotor earlier this year and fell in love. Then took the bus to Dubrovnik to finish my way up the coast of Croatia. Zagreb is also a great city, but I would rank Budapest high above it.

Posted by
154 posts

We took the train from Salzburg (It was beautiful) and arrived a day early. The tour to the caves was unavailable so we took the train. After, we booked a day trip to Kotor with several tour members and the help of our guide. We then went to Sarajevo for a couple days (interesting bus trip there). The Adriatic tour was excellent.

Posted by
4612 posts

Thank you, everyone, for your ideas! And I’m glad to hear you liked this tour!

Posted by
16 posts

Took this tour May, 2018 and can't really help with your question as we just flew into Ljubliana one day early. Hindsight being 20/20 definitely would have added some days on either end. But, wanted to let you know the tour itself is excellent -- enjoy!

Posted by
4612 posts

I found an excellent option! The RS Prague & Budapest Tour opened some slots that will end two days before the Best of the Adriatic Tour begins. So I’m signed up for that one, too! So, I will just fly home from Dubrovnik.

I will arrive in Ljubliana a day early after coming from Budapest, so I could still do some of the options you’ve mentioned during that day and the half day before I meet up with the Adriatic group.

Posted by
58 posts

This was one of my favorite tours! We spent 3 days in Ljubljana before the tour and could have stayed longer. After the tour we took a ferry from Dubrovnik to Hvar, explored all over from there, then took the ferry to Split. We stayed in Split 2 days and flew back to the US from there. It was a perfect trip, I wouldn’t have changed a thing! It was all very easy and we used public transportation.