Croatia for a month in May 2013!
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Feb 28, 2013 5:32 PM Last Post By: mbecker
Nov 14, 2012 4:44 PM
Croatia for a month in May 2013!Hi - my wife and I will be taking a 6 month journey across SE Asia and making our back west to Europe. We plan on taking a train from Vienna to Zagreb and then doing this list of places in Croatia for an entire month. We are looking for simple things, like good "not so crowded" beaches, good local cuisine, and a chilled, laid back atmosphere. We live in the rain/gloom capital (Seattle) and just want to get plenty of sun rays on Croatia's coast. It's our first time visit to Croatia.
From the research I've gathered online, it looks like buses and ferries are abundant in May so we shouldn't need to rent a car. Few questions, is English spoken at most of the places we are visiting?
Will the beaches and sea be warm enough in May for swimming, snorkeling?
1) Zagreb - 4 days
2) Plitvice - 1 day and overnight stay
3) Bus to Zadar or Sibenik (can't decide which one) - 4 days
4) Bus to Split - 3 days
5) Ferry to Vis - 3 days
6) Ferry to Hvar Island - 4 days
7) Ferry back to Split, stay overnight
8) Bus to Dubrovnik - 5 days
9) Ferry to Korcula - 3 days
10) Ferry to Mljet Island - 2 days
11) Ferry to Dubrovnik for a few days before ferry to Bari, Italy
Is there a way to skip Italy entirely and get to Corfu, Greece?
Nov 14, 2012 11:56 PM
11. Me, I would stay in Zadar and spend a few hours in Sibenik when traveling south to Split.
2. May is a little chilly in my mind for swimming but it will depend upon the weather and your tolerances for cold.
3. Beaches in May should not be crowded because it really isn't warm enough for swimming.
4. Have you looked at taking the ferry from Split to Dubrovnik? I think you can stop in Korcula but the ferry schedules in May are not as frequent as in summer.
5. There is no easy way to get from Croatia to Greece. You can skip Italy but it means buses and furgons through Montenegro and Albania. It's an interesting routing with lots of places to visit but it will take longer. Look at the balkanology.com website for some information.
Nov 15, 2012 1:09 AM
2In an average year, swimming does not become comfortable until late May when temperatures start to exceed 64f reliably.
As Ruth suggests, May will not be busy at all along the Adriatic and you should be prepared for beach venues and their related outlets to be shut. It will be very chilled out - indeed maybe too chilled out away from the major centres. But this is not to say it won't be lovely. Spring will be well advanced and daytime temperatures in the low twenties will be typical. Any unsettled spells, whilst not uncommon should be short lived. The sun, when it is out, will be strong and you should take care under it.
The ferry which runs the coast does not start until the very end of May / early June and beware ferry schedules outside of the June to September period which are slack. Bascially, Dalmatian tourism has not, as yet, on the whole woken up to the potential of May & October tourism.
Perhaps too long in Zagreb. Howzabout throwing in Varazdin into the mix?
Zadar & Sibenik both deserve visits. En route there are the Krka Waterfalls albeit Plitvice may render this option less 'essential'.
Trogir instead of Split?
Perhaps instead of Korcula, which as suggested, will be very quiet plus you will have experienced island culture already - what about Mostar instead?
Some ideas. Happy planning! cvb.
Nov 15, 2012 2:47 AM
3I agree with including Varazdin and possibly Karlovac, although they are small towns and probably worth just a few hours' stop. Vukovar is another such place (a surprisingly pleasant town on the Danube, very nice to visit in summer) but is definitely out of the way from the rest of your itinerary, unless you want to continue to Belgrade.
I also definitely agree with visiting Trogir, but again it could be as a quick stop en route to Split, or as a day trip out of Split. Personally I would rather spend the night in Split where there is much more life.
As an additional suggestion, from Dubrovnik I would rather continue to Cavtat (another place worth a short stop) and then cross into Montenegro, spending at least one evening in Budva and perhaps taking the ferry from Bar to Bari the following evening (much more pratcical than backtracking to Dubrovnik).
One final remark: you should look into flights as well. If you book on the website long in advance you can sometimes find Croatian Airlines tickets from Zagreb to Split or Dubrovnik at very low prices, saving you a day's travel. Same thing for flights from Belgrade to Podgorica or Tivat. If you wanted to skip Italy altogether, you could also consider ending your itinerary in Belgrade and flying from Belgrade to Thessaloniki or Athens. A one-way ticket from Serbia to Greece on JAT may cost in the region of 100 euro (i.e. possibly less than what you would pay to travel by ship via Bari), and saves you a lot of hassle.
Nov 15, 2012 10:37 AM
Nov 15, 2012 10:44 AM
5Most years I start swimming in May, sometimes on May 10th, but mostly close to May 30th.
English is spoken basically everywhere, at least to some extent.
1. From Zagreb to: Varaždin, Trakošćan and Veliki Tabor castles, Samobor and Marija Bistrica
2. 4 days is too much for either Zadar or Šibenik. Zadar is larger, livelier, but culturally Šibenik offers as much, if not more. Both are good bases for day trips. From Zadar you can reach Kornati NP, Nin, islands of Pag, Dugi otok (nice sand beach called Sakarun), Paklenica NP (hiking)... From Šibenik you can reach Kornati, Krka NP, Zlarin island, Primošten and St. Nicholas fortress maybe. Trogir is worth a stop too.
3. You won't see the best parts of islands unless you rent a bike, at least.
4. 5 days for Dubrovnik is too much. There will be quite a lot of tourists in May already.
5. Since you are looking for good cuisine and laid-back atmosphere, it's a shame you are skipping Istria.
Nov 15, 2012 5:11 PM
6I would add that if you aren't opposed to doing some driving, there can be some great car rental deals that time of year. You could pick up a car after a couple of days in Zagreb - drive over to Istria, have lunch in Motovun and explore some of the cool interior towns then continue on to Rovinj or other coastal town for an overnight or two. The you can drive to Plitvice, which I think is easier to have a car for - overnight/hike and then continue on to Zadar and drop the car off there.
We did this (in reverse from Zadar to Istria then Zagreb) and were really happy we did. I was afraid a car rental would be a hassle but it really wasn't.
We're also from Seattle and you really can't go wrong anywhere in Croatia that time of year. It will be warmer in the south of course, but anywhere there will have mostly sunny blue skies. If you plan on skipping Italy, do try to work Istria in to your Croatia trip. There is a strong Italian influence on some of the food there and the truffle pasta dishes in the interior are crazy good.
Nov 17, 2012 7:36 PM
7We were in Croatia in October and the transportation options do change off season. However, we were able to get to all of our destinations by bus, train, and catamaran it just took a little longer. One of our favorite places on our entire adventure was Korcula Island. We stayed at the Korcula Waterfront Apartments and when they say waterfront they are not exaggerating. The owners were on site and absolutely committed to helping us to plan our arrival, our stay and departure. When the catamaran was canceled they worked to find an alternative way for us to leave the island. Hvar is close to Kocula, so going to Spilt and then Dubrovnik and back to Korcula would be a lot of extra driving. The ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula will most likely not be running in May. You can take a shuttle from Dubrovnik and catch the catamaran or visa versa. You can also take the bus. The price is similar but the shuttle picks you up at your hotel. We had 3 days in Dubrovnik and thought that was plenty. We also thought Dubrovnik was the most expensive place we visited in Croatia. We did a day trip into Montenegro, we scheduled it at the information center in Dubrovnik. There were several vans and they all went to the same places, same prices and English guides. We had no problems with English and we were in many of the same places you have scheduled. Our only complaint would be the very grumpy women selling the tickets for the trains and buses. They really were rude. If you do have a problem, look around for a young person and they will most likely speak English and be very willing to assist you. Have a wonderful adventure, from Sunriver, OR. where it is cold and snowy.
Nov 21, 2012 8:13 AM
8The best way to see coastal Croatia is sailing. You can get a yacht charter with skipper and explore the many islands. Or join a sailing tour - there are sailing holidays for every budget - from your own private yacht to large Gulets. I especially recommend sailing from Split to Dubrovnik. You can stop along the way anywhere that catches your fancy - Hvar, Brac, VIS, Lastovo, Plakleni islands, Korcula, Mljet - everything from chic hot spots to deserted islands - all there for you to explore. You can move at your own pace in your own floating villa.
Sounds like a wonderful trip - I hope you enjoy Croatia!
Feb 18, 2013 2:13 AM
9Your plan sounds great. Nice tour. I would recommend to rent a car because then you can easily explore everything you want, buses are not so reliable. Last summer I've been in Vodice and I think it is a ideal base for exploring Zadar, Šibenik, national park Krka and Kornati, island... especially in may, Vodice are small, peacefull place and usually is warm enough for swimming.
Edited by: shikibu
Feb 28, 2013 5:32 PM
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