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Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

Benicia, California
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Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

Hello!

I need help planning a 2- 2.5 week trip from the U.S. to Croatia/Italy/Austria for May 2014 (or possibly Sept).

We are pretty low key travelers, in our late 20's, no kids. Like to experience the less touristy areas where possible, and stay in B&Bs/small inns. Hope to send most of the time in Croatia- go hiking, cycling, kayaking, eat good food, explore the national parks, see some Croatian culture/architecture. Only stop in Italy would be Florence because I studied abroad there and loved it, and my husband wants to see a little German culture, hence going to Austria. Thinking there- maybe the Sound of Music tour or at least see the Alps.

My initial thoughts are, fly to Venice -> train to Florence, spend 2 nights -> train to Austria, town tbd, spend 3 nights -> train to central Croatia, OR Istria, then rent a car? 7 nights -> ferry back to Venice

-Thinking late May/early June or early September- any thoughts on which is better?

-Which town in Croatia would be our best "hub" to explore the less crowded islands/beaches/countryside/national parks with day trips? Or maybe a few days on an island then few days inland?

-Individual train tickets or Eurail pass? if so which kind of pass?

-Would northern Italy have the Swiss/Austrian culture we're looking for and save some travel time? Or worth going over the border into Austria?

-Where in Austria? To see nature, and small villages. Don't care to see big cities.

thank you!!

Brighton and Hove...
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1. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

May/June is very light. If you want the Sound of Music you have to go to Salzburg - that's where they do it.

Benicia, California
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2. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

thanks Jude C! I see you're a Trogir expert- any other Croatia advice? How's the sea temp for swimming in late May?

Rijeka
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3. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

Forget trains in Croatia...think bus (between cities) or car hire (better bet for outback)

N Italy (South Tyrol province) has most of teutonic kraut alpine folk lure.If you really have to jump to Salzburg you'll love Salzkammergut lakes and over the border Berchtesgaden.

Everything in Croatia is equally (un)crowded depending on season.As you are leaning towards North maybe you can sit somewhere in Istria peninsula.Although Dalmatia (Zadar-Šibenik-Split...) is just 6 hrs away down the road.

Brighton and Hove...
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4. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

You can swim in late May but you need to be quite hardy because the sea has not warmed up yet. Beautiful spring flowers in May. September is warmer but not too hot to do things.

Atlanta
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5. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

Fly to one of desired destinations, rent a car and make circular trip. That's what I would do.

Firenze-Verona-Trento-Bolzano-Innsbruck-Rosenheim-Salzburg-Jesenice (Slovenia)-Ljubljana-Zagreb-Plitvice Lakes-Rijeka-(one of the islands)-Zadar (than to Ancona by ferry) or Split (connection to Pescara by ferry)

Yes, it's lot of driving. But, it's a lot of territory, too. If you don't want to stop (for example in Slovenia), trip from Salzburg to Zagreb (Croatia) is just couple of hours drive. Yes, it's rent, gas and tolls. But, if you try to do that with any other way of travel, it comes maybe cheaper. But, you would be on the train/train stations all the time.

If you skip maybe Austria, you can save visiting almost similar places in Slovenia - Bled or Logarska dolina (highly recommended in that time of year - it's spectacular!)

This is actually fall picture - http://500px.com/photo/6327762

This is spring picture: terme-dobrna.si/en/…logarska-dolina.jpg

I am sorry, I cannot stand public transportation. So, I would do either that or wait until I can afford it.

6. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

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Zagreb, Croatia
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7. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

if you need to get back to Venice, then staying in Istria would cut down on your travelling time, and Istria itself has enough for more than a week. in Istria, it would be worth hiring a car to make all the great inland daytrips. there you can do all of your outdoor activities, and take in a lot of culture. if you like hiking, you may also think of climing the Mt. Ucka (Cicarija), in the northeastern corner of Istria.

in May, it happens very rarely that the sea is warm enough to swim, that would be rather June or September.

Benicia, California
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8. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

thank you Kefa, Tvrtko1995, StrandsDanville and happybypleasure- great info!

happybypleasure - is the weather much warmer between north & south along the coast? Do you prefer Istria coast over Zadar/Split area or Dubrovnik for less-touristy?

Which town(s) along Istria coast do you like that are good for a home base, and have small town/authentic vibe?

Edited: 27 August 2013, 20:29
Zagreb, Croatia
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9. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

you're welcome!

is the weather much warmer between north & south along the coast? - there's not so much difference, although the south tends to be somewhat warmer; however, that it also depends on weather in general.

Do you prefer Istria coast over Zadar/Split area or Dubrovnik for less-touristy? - Istria has abundant history, culture and nature, all together. And all located within 30 minutes drive, max. 45 minutes, particularly now with the highway up and running. I have no particular preferences, but there is definitely a lot to see there and a zillion options to disappear into privacy, such as inlands in old townlets with fabulous views. Down in the south, the places are more compact and more touristy.

Which town(s) along Istria coast do you like that are good for a home base, and have small town/authentic vibe? That might be Rovinj, but also Vrsar or Fazana in particular.

Edited: 27 August 2013, 21:08
Belgrade, Serbia
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10. Re: Help with Croatia-Italy-Austria Itinerary

And nobody said anything about cycling... ;) If you mean road cycling, it doesn't matter where you go. But if you mean MTB, then the Parenzana trail in Istria is incredible. Ex railway turned hiking/biking trail. Going from Trieste to Poreč, 127 km! Of course, you can only do some sections and I can recommend the one I took - Vižinada to Grožnjan, visiting Motovun as well. It was ~50 km, with detours, breaks, sightseeing and going around Motovun and Grožnjan. Absolutely beautiful and amazing. The best thing - the end point (be it Vižinada or Grožnjan) is just 5 km apart. You can see the entire ride in my MTB Street view movies, starting with - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG_MZgVWUVo. I have many more movies from some great places in Istria, so browse a little. There's also one going from the top of Mt. Učka (Vojak peak, 1400 m) all the way down to the sea (0 m).

As for a place to stay, Rovinj is absolutely beautiful and, as you can see in my Rovinj movie, offers some great cycling/hiking paths and beautiful scenery. Still, I would also recommend the east coast. Lovran is very nice and not too touristy (though, no place is touristy out of season). Still, if you like Austrian architecture, you can simply go to Opatija and enjoy. While it is possibly the best known summer and tourist destination in Croatia, it'll be far from packed in May. And it offers great architecture, amazing parks and a 100 year old coastal path (Lungomare) going from the small fishing village of Volosko, through Opatija, all the way to Lovran! You just have to see it! And, luckily, you can, as I have it in a 3 part movie. :) The best thing is, Opatija is just beneath Mt. Učka and there are many hiking paths to find which will take you to the top.

Finally, even if going to Opatija, if you like small places and the charm of old, I would recommend the forementioned Volosko as a place to stay. Rent a room or an apartment there, overviewing the sea and the small port, with an incredible waterpolo "pool" right in the sea. Hardly any games in May, though. Still, I've been in the area in May several times and although called, the sea was always swimmable. :) Just takes more time to get your body used to the temperature.

Anyway, browse the movies (they are all 720p, in real time, with lots of additional info, my comments and feelings, all in english) and see if Istria is for you. Rovinj - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M35I33JH00, Opatija - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXKdKyvQbQE.