The Balkans are calling me!

Today I spent a good chunk of my day taking photographs as I walked around Palma. I also had time to relax in my favourite café, Rosevelvet, while I planned by Croatia itinerary.

I still have quite a bit of time until I’m in Croatia. I have less than a week left here in Palma, then I head to Barcelona for 2 weeks, then Paris for 2 weeks, then a week in Slovenia’s capital of Ljubljana before I venture across the border to Croatia. I expect to be in Croatia no later than Aug. 27th.

Once in Croatia, I have almost 2 months to explore various parts of the country as I like.

I’ve researched Croatia destinations and thanks to my extremely helpful new friend Nicole (thanks for the hookup, Ivy!) and recommendations by Rick Steves, I’ve come up with a tentative plan:

  • Rovinj and/or Pula
    • From Ljubljana, I can take a train to Pula (almost 5 hours) or a bus to Rovinj (about 4 hours). I may decide to visit both but it just depends if I can find a suitable place to stay.
  • Rijeka
  • Zagreb
  • Plitvice Lakes
  • Split
  • Hvar island and/or Korčula island
  • Dubrovnik
    • Once in Dubrovnik, I may consider day trips to Mostar or Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor per Rick Steves’ recommendations.

I’ll start exploring the northern coast of Croatia in Rovinj or Pula, and then work my way inland to the capital of Zagreb after a stay in Rijeka. Plitvice Lakes National Park is on my must-see list, so I’ll definitely spend a few days if not a week there before moving further south to Split, where I’ll be on the coast once again. Then I should be able to take a ferry to Hvar and Korčula, and a ferry back to Dubrovnik on the mainland.

croatia_map1
This handy map is from the Visit Croatia website.

All this planning is tricky to me because it’s completely up to me where I’ll visit. If I want to spend a month in one location, I can, or I can choose to spend a few days here and there. My only scheduled requirement is that I end up in Dubrovnik sometime before Oct. 26th because I need to catch my flight from the Čilipi Airport in Dubrovnik to Dublin. (Then I’ll be in Ireland for about a month!)

I had to make sure easy, reasonably-priced public transporation exists between proposed locations before deciding which ones I’d include on my itinerary. I won’t be renting a car so I need to rely on public transportation, namely trains, busses, and ferries to travel to each destination. I will most likely purchase all transport tickets in person since most tickets aren’t available online. The few train tickets I researched so far only cost $10-17. That isn’t much compared to the trains in the UK! And just because I like to be super organised, I’ll check the cost of ALL train, bus, and ferry tickets taking me to each destination before I finalise my itinerary.

Now that I’ve researched the possibility of public transportation, I will then need to look into affordable accommodations in each place. I already have a week of accommodation sorted in Ljubljana (thanks again to Nicole!) so now I just need to sort out accommodations for my time in Croatia. I’ll start browsing Airbnb for flats or rooms for rent closer to the end of July. And I can always adjust my itinerary if I can’t find a suitable place to stay, but I’m sure I can find something. I just hope it’s in my price range!

This is the longest stretch of my 6-month Euro trip as I’ll be in Croatia for two whole months. I’m looking forward to it! Though I expect I may decide to simplify my itinerary….I’ll see how I feel after Barcelona and Paris!

Have you visited Slovenia, Croatia, or any of the Balkan states before?

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