Zagreb: Transportation: The white Croatian Airline’s bus directly outside the terminal will take you to the city Bus Station.
Careful: we then took a taxi which should have been a few blocks to the hotel Arcotel but the old Mercedes with no identifying marks took us on an expensive joyride around the city. Hotel: Arcotel. We paid about $107 a night including breakfast. Hotel was perfect. Room clean, hip and cozy. Staff at the front desk wasn’t very “tourist” friendly. Location is great…it’s a short walk to the center of Zagreb. Budget rental car is next to the hotel. The man that assisted us there could not have been more helpful. He assisted in our last minute itinerary of driving to Split in 3 days. It was expensive about $350 (this includes a large one way drop off fee). But for us it was well worth it.
DRIVING: from Zagreb to Split was very easy…road was as good as any in the states and it was mostly flat….on Sunday morning there was no traffic.
First stop was Plitvice Lakes I highly recommend a visit. You really only need one day. There is an easy path that you walk all along the lakes. The waterfall is beautiful and you can walk close to it. The whole park is beautiful. And there are buses that will transport you back from where you started. DON’T buy a map of the park, you do NOT need one. The back of your ticket will have the only map you need. You may want to bring those water shoes to change into. Part of the path was covered in ankle deep water (I didn’t want my sneakers soaked) and walking the pebble path barefoot hurts! We found our first SOBE there. After looking at the hotels and the fact that we had a car we decided we would stay at a trip adviser recommended SOBE. It was located next to the park entrance you will see the sign Rastovaca. There is a road with every house offering rooms. I cant remember the name of the one we went to.
From there we drove to Krka National Park I enjoyed the last park so much we decided to make a stop here too. It was another good choice. Just as beautiful and fun to walk around. Here you can swim in the freezing water directly under the waterfall.
We were going to stay in Sibenik but when we arrived we felt the city was too spread out for our liking so we decided to go on to Trogir. This is a neat city. Parking is difficult but we got lucky…we went down the road that past the pedestrian only city walls on the right and just over the bridge we found the Hotel Villa Sikas. The staff there, Anna, couldn’t have been more helpful. They found us a place to park right outside the hotel, this was key in the area. The room was nice, clean and had a beautiful view of the city. I HIGHLY recommend this hotel . Be careful because there are two hotels in the same building but their reception is on the ground floor on the left when you enter. www.-vila-sikaa-r.com
From Trogir we drove to Primosten which was a quaint small city. It had a smaller pedestrian only walled in city. There are only a couple of hotels. We stayed in a SOBE that had parking. The cost was about $40 a night.
We then drove to Split arriving in the morning so we had the day to sightsee before we boarded the ferry to Hvar. We drove to the ferry dock first to drop off our bags. There’s a storage area. We also bought our tickets then we drove to the Budget office to drop off our car. It is an easy walk from the Budget office to the Grand Palace which is right next to the ferry departure docks. One day of sightseeing here was fine to do a quick tour. If you like big cities you may want to consider spending at least 2 days here.
Hvar was as all places we visited a beautiful island. We spent two days there. That said there wasn’t much to do if you aren’t there to sunbathe. There is some shopping with high end stores and more then enough outdoor cafes and restaurants. Do not make the mistake we did. Since the ferry arrived late in the day we were anxious to just find a place to stay. We walked around the port to the first hotel we saw, the Hotel Delfin. (others were under construction) This hotel we found not just overpriced but dirty. The location was good but it was not worth it. The room was depressing and really needed a good cleaning. If we would have kept walking we would have found a bunch of other places that the folks we met seemed happy with. Or a SOBE would have been a better bet for us.
From Hvar we took a ferry to Korcula. Unfortunately we did not spend as much time on this island as I would have liked. Korcula had a different feel then Hvar. We felt it had more character and a cozier feel. This time we exited the ferry and went directly to the travel agent on the dock. This is where we found a SOBE and booked a ticket for a tour to Miljet. The SOBE was a bit of a walk but it was situated above with beautiful views of the old city and the port. Sorry I don’t recall the name. we had already planned on spending 3 days on Miljet but we had no way to get there. There was not a ferry. So we booked a tour.
The tour dropped us off directly in front of our hotel Hotel Odisej. If you choose this way to travel to the island make sure the tour guide gives you your entrance ticket to the park so you don’t have to buy one. This hotel was wonderful. Our pleasant experience started when we emailed the reservation department asking for advice on how to get to the island. The woman responding couldn’t have been more helpful. The hotel has amazing views of the beautiful port. There are a few restaurants, and I mean a few, in the hotel area. There is a pool. It is clean cozy and highly recommended. From the hotel it’s a short walk to the lake. The lakes have a good paved road for walking or riding a bike around them. You can rent bicycles. Depending on your biking skills you can rent them either in front of the hotel or after you walk the unpaved path with steps to the lake. We ventured out from the hotel. The hill was difficult enough that I walked the bike most of the way. But we were able to cut over to the paved lake road and that was a wonderful, flat easy ride. Hindsight I would have rented the bike down by the lake. Three days can be a lot unless you are good at entertaining yourself in a quiet, slow laid back yet beautiful environment.
We had the hotel driver take us across the island to meet a morning ferry to Dubrovnik. The most expensive place we stayed was here at the Villa Dubrovnik. It cost just under $300 a night but it was worth every penny. It is a 2 or 3 star hotel, operated like a 5 star hotel and I was told it will be closed this winter to renovate so it can be named a 5 star property. Then you can expect the price to rise even higher. The breakfast included was served individual…coffee, baked goods, fruits…it is not to be missed. The view of the old city can not be beat. If you don’t stay here, if you get a chance, I recommend visiting the bar which has sandwiches and looks out at the old city. It is spectacular. The hotel has a bathing and swimming area. The big perk is the boat that transports guests to and from the old city. The reception will give you a schedule. The reception personal can help you with just about anything they are knowledgeable and very pleasant. We spent three days here. One of those days we did a day trip to Montenegro with a tour. We didn’t find it worth the time spent in the car. I think we spent about 8 hours traveling and 3 hours visiting places. Montenegro was pretty and interesting but it was a long long trip for just 3 hours. If you get car sick beware the mountain road is a never ending and seems to go in a circle forever. As for the old city. It is a very busy place. If the cruise ships are in the streets are just packed with people. Having a hotel outside, and one with swimming is a nice break from the tons of people in the old city. Walking the old city walls is a must!!
Honestly the only thing we would do different was to probably skip Hvar. Obviously others will have a different opinion about this. As they say to each their own