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Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

Winnipeg, Canada
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Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

Hi everyone,

I'm looking at going to Croatia next year (or possibly even the year after). I've never been, and have a few questions to help me get started. Any answers you can give are greatly appreciated.

1. How easy or difficult is it to travel between towns? I don't drive, so renting a car is not an option. I'd like to see 2-5 different places (looking mainly at coastal areas rather than inland), but if travel is hard I'll probably stay in one place.

2. If I do stay in one area, I'd do a couple day trips (either organised tours or places I can reach by bus/train). Where would be a good base for this?

3. How long of a trip do you recommend? I realize this varies widely, but in your opinion. I'd like to see 2-5 places, as I mentioned above.

4. How easy is it to find vegetarian food options? I don't need a wide variety, as long as there are a few options for me. Are some areas better than others for this?

5. What is the best time of year to visit in terms of weather? Price? (I realize these will likely be opposites - that's okay!)

Thanks!

Durham
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1. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

1 It is straightforward to get around by bus. The catamarans and ferries to the islands are cheap for foot passengers, but the number of sailings is lower outside peak season.

2. Don't stay just in one place.

3 If you've got the time - 2 to 3 weeks.

4 There should not be a problem getting vegetarian food.

5. Second half of Sept/early October is a good time to go. Appreciably cheaper than high season and the air and sea are still warm.

Brighton and Hove...
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for Trogir, Ciovo Island
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2. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

I would say end May or early June (although the sea is not as warm). Weather can go off in October and the nights are getting shorter too then. Buses are excellent as apt22 says and getting down the coast using bus and boat transport is easy. Lots of pasta and pizza - the Adriatic coast is opposite Italy and much of the food is similar.

Belgrade, Serbia
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3. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

Depends on what you're looking for. A simple overview of the country's coast or a deeper, more thorough exploration? For an overview, you should try to visit main tourist centres, starting from Dubrovnik, then Split and the Islands, moving towards Rijeka, Pula, Rovinj and the islands of Krk, Cres, Lošinj and Brioni.

However, if you're looking for something more, I'd recommend concentrating on fewer locations. Perhaps still catch Dubrovnik and Split but just 1-2 islands, spending 3-4 days in each location. Then moving to Istria which is always my number one because of incredible varieties in very short distances. Rijeka, Volosko, Opatija, Ičići, Ika, Lovran, Medveja and Mošćenička Draga in the east. Pula, Brioni, Rovinj, Poreč, Umag in the west. With some unbelievable medieval towns inland (very short trips). Total time recommended at least 2-3 weeks but you can make the most even from less if needed.

Wether wise, June can be bautiful. But last year, it was raining in the northern parts from Sep 19 to Oct 19. And it was quite cold. In 2011, septembre was great. July is usually the best month, but also the most expensive.

You can check my MTB Street view movies from places around Rijeka, Istria and the Kvarner Bay.

Rijeka: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7VTsHBfvYs

Volosko: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG54dRgBWSY

Opatija: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXKdKyvQbQE

Mošćenice and Mošćenička Draga: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6strAAXnK7U, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oat_XIUMkEg

Rovinj: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M35I33JH00

Krk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JOKfDT0phw

And there are many more movies from Croatia in my channel, so do browse.

Winnipeg, Canada
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4. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

Thanks for the replies everyone!

Looks like I'll be able to see a few places no problem. Though, I forgot to mention that I'd prefer to fly in and out of the same airport if possible (for price reasons - 2 one-way tickets tend to cost more than a round-trip in my experience).

Any suggestions on which airport to use? Somewhere I can get to from the start and end of my trip?

Glad to see that food won't be a problem. Unfortunately, length of stay can't be as long as these recommendations though (2 weeks should be okay, but not much more than that)

Belgrade, Serbia
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5. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

It depends on what you decide your trip to be. Croatian coast is not circular but rather stretched. If you fly in Dubrovnik and go all the way to Istria, it will be more expensive (and certainly time consuming) to go back to Dubrovnik just for the flight. Krk airport offers limited destinations but should get more in the following months. Also, if you end your trip in Istria, it's ~2 hours from Zagreb international airport where you have much more to choose from. Also, in high season, roads are much busier so you should keep your transfers to a minimum.

I guess it would be most convenient for you to stick to Istria alone, but it would be a shame to miss Dubrovnik and Split when you live so far away. So, I'd still recommend fly to Dubrovnik then bus to Split and ferry to some island for the first week. Then bus (or even a cheap boat if you can find it) to Rijeka and Istria for the rest. Then simply check your flights from Pula, Rijeka (Krk) and Zagreb to see which will suit you best.

Winnipeg, Canada
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6. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

Thanks, at least I know my airport options now.

I couldn't find flights into/out of Pula or Rijeka (I could do that, but I'd have to book those flights separately I guess)

Roundtrip between Winnipeg and Dubrovnik is about $1900 on the sample dates I tried. Roundtrip Winnipeg and Zagreb is less than $1500.

Conversely, one-way from wpg to dbv is over $2300, and one-way zag to wpg is $2600 (looking at $4900 for flights alone this way, at least $3000 extra dollars!)

As much as I'd love to see Dubrovnik, I think I might stick to Istria and add Dubrovnik onto another trip sometime.

Durham
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7. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

A one-way flight with Croatian Airlines from Zagreb to Dubrovnik is only about 340 kuna if you book in advance so you could fly on to Dubrovnik and work your way back north or you could travel south along the coast and fly back to Zagreb from Dubrovnik.

Belgrade, Serbia
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8. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

Rijeka airport (in Krk): www.rijeka-airport.hr/DEPARTURES_2013.pdf

Zagreb-Dubrovnik is probably your best option, though it sounds extremely expensive.

You can invest some more time and effort and try to find/combine the cheapest Winnipeg-Europe and some low cost operator going to Croatia. Ie, RyanAir goes from Rijeka to Brussles, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Oslo and Stockholm.

Virginia
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9. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

Are you checking open jaw flights or just two one-way flights? I have rarely found open jaw to cost that much more than round trip.

I have visited as a vegetarian, and your main problem will be boredom (with pizza, salad, etc.). The best thing is that you can rent an apartment with a kitchen, and there are often great markets so you can prepare at least some of your meals.

Saskatoon, Canada
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for Istria, Croatia
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10. Re: Solo Croatia Trip - early planning help

As a fellow Canadian I understand the difficulties with booking flights. We encounter the same problems and we travel to Croatia a lot. I would do as others suggest and stay in Istria (maybe try to get to Plitvice Lakes) and venture down a bit to Zadar. In two weeks you would have the time to do that. That is IF you cannot get south to Dubrovnik (we have flown from Zagreb to Dubrovnik and back inexpensively).

Depending on when you go, (my favourite months are May and September/October) you can find delectable veg food. April/May is wild asparagus season so many places in Istria have it on offer in all forms - often with eggs. Are you vegetarian or vegan?? Anyway, the end of September is when the prized white truffle makes its appearance. I would recommend polenta, pasta and all kinds of risotto. The markets will be your friend for fruits and vegetables and nuts (in autumn). Istria is also known for its cheeses (if you can have it) as well as olive oils. A great meal is fresh cheese, fresh bread and olive oil and olives. Add some fruit and you're ready to go! :) Though I am not vegan I have celiac disease and must be extremely careful of what/where I eat so your concerns are understandable.