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.