Even though Amalfi & Garda are very picturesque I prefer Dubrovnik & Lake Bled.
For my reasons why, have a look at Dubrovnik trip report with photographs :-
(Croatia is one of my favourite countries in Europe).
I think Bled is a excellent choice. I stayed in Bled for one week as a base and had a fantastic time. Bled is quite small but very pretty with dramatic mountains and a small island with a church in the middle of the lake. We visited the small island in the centre of the lake on a traditional pletne (similar to a gondola) which is a excellent way to see the island and admire the lovely views. It is also possible to rent your own boat. Bled castle is also worth a visit, as you are high above the lake the views are outstanding. It is very pleasant to walk around the lake and enjoy the views.
During our stay in Bled we visited the following places :-
Ljubljana - We caught the bus from Bled station, journey takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. The buses ran approximately every hour. Thought Ljubljana was very pretty, lovely castle with plenty of canals and bridges, definitely worth a visit.
Lake Bohinj, this was probably one of our favourite places to visit. We caught the bus again, journey time around 45 min -1hr. Bled is very pretty but Bohinj is stunning. The scenery literally took my breath away and is probably the prettiest place I have ever visited. There is not a great deal of shops, restaurants etc as the centre is small but the lake is a much bigger than Bled. We walked around Lake Bohinj and it took us over 4 hours. The last part of the walk goes through a forest, we had to stop walking at one stage because a cow was on the footpath! Make sure you have good walking shoes and plenty of water. Can also visit Mount Vogel by cable car but I would choose a clear day to see the outstanding views.
Vintgar Gorge - Approximately 4 km north-west of Bled. Through The 1.6km gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks with lots of waterfalls, pools and rapids. I thought the Vintar Gorge was pretty but after visiting the stunning Lake Bohinj the previous day was a little disappointed, perhaps I set me expectations too high.
Also visited Kranjska Gora but as it was out of the ski season (visited late June) the place was extremely quiet and I must admit that I was not particularly impressed. We only had a quick walk around and a coffee and went back to Bled. I think it would be much nicer in the winter.
The Postonja caves are also very popular. Could also combine this with a visit to the Lipica farm.
I would also consider Portoroz, Piran & Trieste in Italy.
It is worth noting that the weather can be very unpredictable at any time of the year. Suggest you take a wide range of clothing. We visited the end of June and had sun, cloud, rain, thunder & mist all in one day but the temperature was warm. (About 23C on average).
Going back to Croatia, try to visit Plitvice Lakes which is well worth a visit.
Click on the following link to find out why :-
When are you traveling and how much time do you have?
I prefer Dubrovnik to Lake Bled. Croatian coast is unique...
I'm confused as it seems that you will just be travelling all the time. Also if you are inlcuding Prague etc are you flying between places or driving?
If you could do Croatia from north to south, you could then cross by ferry from Dubrovnik to Bari in Italy and do some of Italy as well, after that flying to Prague and flying out from there, making almost a circle. If you start from Ljubljana then Lake Bled would be logical, otherwise don't go there, plenty of places to visit on our coast, or the Italian in this case, or both even, why not?!
Some people prefer to travel at slower pace but others don't, so it's really very individual. Also, the budget and time are important factors too. So good luck with your trip, hope it will be enjoyable one!
Of course I am totally biased on this, but I would hands down spend all of my 18 days in Croatia. Pick a place and do it right! You could begin in Zagreb, drive down to Plitvice and then over to Istria visiting Slovenia also. Then begin to make your way down the coast, leaving Dubrovnik for your final destination.
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