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Croatia Trip Report

Boulder, Colorado
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Croatia Trip Report

My apologies for taking SO LONG to get this out. I reviewed acommodations,restaurants and sights on TA when we returned in October. Perhaps you will find some info here to “push your button”. Since I spent much time on this forum receiving information,I felt I needed to give back.

Our time in Croatia represented the last leg of travel that began in August 2013 with a week in Paris, followed by a week in Hamburg, followed by 2+ weeks in Slovenia.

For us, the bus from Piran to Rovinj was like a “slow boat to China”. When we arrived in Rovinj on September 16th it was a holiday and a madhouse, so the taxis were not running. We had the privilege of schlepping our baggage over cobblestones to TREVISOL 40…..our home for 5 nights. Our apartment was lovely, even though there were no sea views.(booking.com). We also had a convenient parking spot a short distance away.

Through economycarrnetals.com we picked up our wheels at ORYX the following day: a TDI VW Golf. Using Rovinj as a base, we drove to Bale,Vodnjan,Buje,Groznjan and Motovun. GROZNJAN was our favorite….a photo op at every turn & not inundated w/ tourists. IMHO Motovun doesn’t hold a candle to Groznjan. That’s travel…..we all respond differently to different places and that’s OK.

We had a good lunch at RESTAURANT BELLAVISTA while waiting to pick up our rental car, a terrific dinner at MALI RAJ (downstairs from our ap’t) w/a lovely couple we met on the bus to Rovinj and lunch at RESTORAN MAESTRAL which didn’t excite us.

The day we headed to VRSAR was delightful. We had a late lunch in Gradina at GRADINA GRILL/GRADINA KONOBA. Our “chateaubriand” w/veggies and fab fried potatoes was memorable and even though the LIMSKI FJORD was filled with tourists we walked off a portion of lunch.

During our 5 days, we did spend time walking around Rovinj and enjoying the ambiance. Rovinj is definitely an excellent place to use for “bumming around” Istria. Expenses totaled $535 for the ap’t plus $247 for Koznum,gas,restaurants,etc. Total: $782.

On Saturday, September 21st it took us 3 hrs. & 20 minutes to get to HOTEL DEGENIA, not far from Plitvice NP. Spent Saturday afternoon @ the Park (ENTRANCE 1) and also Sunday.(ENTRANCE 2)…with a 2 day pass. For us, the biggest waterfall was not impressive, but walking the Lakes was lovely. Vintgar Gorge (Bled: Slovenia) pushed our buttons more. Sunday was less crowded and we continued to enjoy the Park…..and the wild mushrooms.

We ate at the RESTORAN DEGENIJA both evenings. Veal baked in an oven: superb…..pizza & grilled veggies de-lish.

Would recommend Hotel Degenia (booking.com) in a heartbeat & glad we DID Plitvice.

Plitvice expenses: Hotel $250, expenses $140 = $400.

Our room at the hotel was upgraded gratis and it was beautiful and had a smashing bathroom.

On Monday, September 23rd we left Plitvice for TROGIR, but stopped in SIBENIK first. The Catedral was a great diversion. We took the sea road, not stopping in Primosten, but taking a break further along….perhaps it was Rogoznica: devoid of people and divine.

We negotiated the drive to APARTMENT BELAS in TROGIR easily and our 600 sq ft. “digs” were gorgeous. Spent 3 nights here. (booking.com)

Ate @ RESTORAN TOMA in Trogir and FIFE in Split . OK meals, not exceptional.

The Bura line boat to Split was enjoyable both ways and we loved walking around DIOCLETIAN’S PALACE.

Expenses: $379 incl. $281 for the ap’t and $98 for meals,etc.

When we left Trogir on 9/26/13 we arrived at the IMOTSKI border in 2 hours. Then it was another hour to MOSTAR via Grude and Siroki Brijeg. We spent a night at PANSION CARDAK (booking.com) walked the Old Town and had dinner at HINDAN HAN. The mixed grill and the homemade house wine did not disappoint. There were lots of tour groups in Mostar and one night’s stay was more than enough for us. We would have been just as happy to spend a few hours in Mostar and head to SARAJEVO the same day.(Different strokes for different folks.)

Our Friday AM drive to SARAJEVO took 3 hours. We drove thru the Neretna River Canyon,Jablonica w/the lamb spits, Konjic and finally after the tunnel,wound our way to Sarajevo. Our “digs” were the ADA HOTEL,close to Bascarija & the Old Town. We adored Adlina, who made many useful recommendations and contributed to us “loving the vibe” in Sarajevo.

Really enjoyed Bascarija,Ferhadija,the covered market, the market hall,GAZI HUSGEV BEY MOSQUE,eternal flame,the Orthodox Cathedral,Catholic Cathedral,Bosnian Jewish Museum,etc. With a US State Dep’t guy at our hotel, we wandered the nearby cemeteries and VRATNIK Fortress.

The city’s charisma truly IS intoxicating…..even with it’s tragic past. You can eat your way into oblivion in this city. We took a taxi into the foothills to dine at KIBE MALA……THE best! I salivate when I think of the lamb there.BUREGDZINICA BOSNA had fabulous BUREK. CEVAPI @ PETICA FERHATOVIC (yum), chicken stew at BARHANA and the “tea place” CAJDZINICA “DZIRLO” a block from our hotel.

We had our first day of rain on 9/30/13 in Sarajevo after being “on the road” for 49.

Expenses in Mostar & Sarajevo totaled $643.00….$177 for meals,etc and $81 for Pension Cardak and $384: Hotel Ada.

When we left Sarajevo on Tuesday 10/1/13 our destination was DePolo Apt’s on KORCULA. At METKOVIC the line was short, at NEUM we just drove through.

We stopped at BAKUS in Ston for lunch. Not only did my brother and sil eat there it was also a travel guide rec. For us it was the 2nd worse dining experience in 50 days! Hmmmmm.

Wineries galore on the PELJESAC Peninsula. We didn’t stop at any. The ferry over to KORCULA is short, but by the time we arrived at Rezi’s DEPOLO Apt’s it was 5 PM. Our ap’t was very basic, but you can’t help but adore Rezi.(booked directly online).

We were really surprised HOW quiet Korcula town was the first of October……really dead.

Meandering in the car one day we stopped at RACISCE & took a few photo op’s of the bays. PUPNATJESKA LEKA was quite a ride down to the bay and we were underwhelmed . On the other hand, BLATO is areal & beautiful town. When on Korcula if you have wheels (a bike will do) you must experience RESTAURANT MATE. Simple food, but gastronomique. The location is PUPNAT…not far from Korcula town.

For whatever reason, we did not experience the MORESKA. We walked to the monasteries,took in the town and the market and enjoyed watching children competing in a fundraiser for the Red Cross. Also had dinner one night @ KONOBA MASLINA, just outside of town on Lumbarajska Cesta BB.

Expenses on Korcula: $200 for the ap’t + $207 for everything else ==$407.00

Saturday October 5th we made the 11AM ferry & by 11:30 AM we were “on the road” to CAVTAT. By 1:30 PM we were @ BACAN APT’S, our home for the next 5 nights.We enjoyed the promenade in town most days. The markets(Pemo & Konzum) provided ingredients for simple delicious dinners at home. DO walk the peninsula in Cavtat…..it IS a treat. We did try PIZZERIA KABALERO: cheap and mediocre, not fabulous. GEMILL’S PUB was better, IMHO.

Walking the walls in Dubrovnik was a definite high point of these last days in Croatia. We began at the Pile Gate, ending at Buza, beyond the Ploce gate.Special views and photo op’s abound. We explored several churches and the Rector’s Palace,people watched…enjoying the Stratum. While we took the bus TO Dubrovnik, we took the water taxi back to Cavtat and enjoyed that too.

Since the weather was far from perfect…..rain,wind and cool temps….we decided not to drive to Kotor.(sigh).

We literally left Cavtat with a B A N G! We decided to take a drive before turning in our trustworthy car on 10/8/13. We got to MOLUNAT & turned around and about 1 km south of Plocice on D516 a driver in a white car in the opposite direction coming around a curve at over 100 km/hr swerved in to our lane & hit us & kept going. We stopped and he didn’t Our cell didn’t work and so we headed to ORYX at the airport.

The staff was sympathetic and wonderful.. We filled out paperwork and waited for the police. Afterward, a staffer drove us to our ap’t. The scary part was DH coulod have been injured badly …or worse. This is after driving a good 1800 km in 3 weeks.

We contracted with economycarrentals…..we were responsible for the excess(5000kn or $909.00). Because DH had enrolled in the AMEX rental protection program, after several weeks we did get reimbursed for that excess.

On October 10th, we boarded an early flight to Frankfurt and then a plane to Denver, Colorado. 59 days of independent travel,memories galore and many new friendships along the way.

Cavtat costs: totaled $590..plus our rental car costs were $852 for 3 weeks. In a nutshell, costs totaled around $2550 in Croatia (not incl. the car rent), less than Slovenia, but not by much.

It would have been interesting to ee our reaction to Croatia if we had stopped there first, instead of Slovenia. While Dubrovnik may be on your “bucket list” unless you really have the time….it is a schlepp. Perhaps Montenegro would add some diversity, but we surely had that with Sarajevo. In all homesty, we couldn’t get that enthused w/Trogir and Split. But again remember, we were on the road for 59 days…..and always”different strokes for different folks”. Our reactions to anything is a culmination of the experiences we have in life.

I planned our 59 days and they were flawless…..except for the car incident. If I can do the planning, SO CAN YOU. If you are travelling in the next few months or in 2015, wishes for a terrific time.

Hopefully, March/April 2015 will find these “old folks” ensconced in their favorite ap’t in Buenos Aires, enjoying the vibe for 6-8 weeks.

CHEERS…………..& HEALTH.

Martinez,CA
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1. Re: Croatia Trip Report

Thanks for a great report. Sounds like it was a great trip. We're doing a similar trip in September so this information helpful. The only part I didn't like was the accident. We also have a car from economycarrentals but used United Visa. Our credit card supposedly covers the excess but will double & triple check before we leave. Thanks again.

Boulder, Colorado
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2. Re: Croatia Trip Report

Please check that United Visa card. We have one too. In fact, if economycarrentals didn't take care of so much of the damage......the AMEX protection program covered us up to $75,000.

We had a car rental in Slovenia also......everyone drove appropriately.....but Croatia was different. We didn't have close calls, but at least 2 other times cars ventured over to our lane.Hmmmmmmm.

Martinez,CA
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399 posts
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3. Re: Croatia Trip Report

Thanks - we also have AMEX, so we'll check with VISA and have an alternative VISA doesn't cover the excess. Glad the rest of your trip was was great. We expect ours will be, too. Happy travels!

Ely, Minnesota
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for Dubrovnik
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4. Re: Croatia Trip Report

Great report! Thanks for posting!

Perth, Australia
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for Zadar
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5. Re: Croatia Trip Report

Hi, thanks for your report and I am glad no one got hurt in your accident.

I am lucky enough to have visited Plitvice 3 times. The first two times it was early and mid- summer and the last time was on the 1st of October. I can see why you weren't impressed with the big waterfall as we weren't either on our last visit compared to the first two times I have seen it. In fact all the waterfalls weren't as good. I think it is much more impressive earlier in the season after all the snow has melted. It's a shame you didn't get to Krka. Now that was spectacular!

I prefer Groznjan too. It's a lovely town.

6. Re: Croatia Trip Report

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