Backing in Croatia and Montenegro
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Dec 8, 2012 10:09 PM Last Post By: jayanraj
Nov 13, 2012 6:16 AM
Backing in Croatia and MontenegroHi,
I am planning a 3-4 week trip in May. I had previously thought that I would go to China (I still might), but I have also considered Croatia and Montenegro. I have traveled backpacked before (Turkey, Guatemala, Italy, Germany, England) and want to go to a country that is pretty well setup with public transportation.
I guess what I'm worried about with Eastern Europe is that I won't be able to get to the National Parks without renting a car. In general, hos easy is it to get around? Will I need to rent a car? Do must locations have hostels?
What else can you tell me about Croatia and Montenegro?
Nov 13, 2012 7:32 AM
1Most public transport in these countries is by bus. If you stay in the main towns you can certainly survive without a car.
If you want to be able to see many places within a short time, and/or to visit places like national parks, monasteries and faraway villages and you should definitely rent a car: perhaps you can organise your itinerary so that you only require a car for 3 or 4 days and do the rest without one.
Please also notice that, while it is generally allowed to rent a car in Montenegro and drive it to neighbouring countries (Albania and Kosovo being sometimes included and sometimes not), it may be more difficult to take a Croatian can abroad. Ask the rental company.
Nov 14, 2012 2:56 AM
2I love these mental borders. As soon as someone mentions Eastern Europe, it's like a different planet. Always some problems to encounter there.
Anyway, renting a car would be useless in many national parks because they are mostly bodies of water or mountains. Yes, you can rent a car in Plitvice (reachable by public transport), but the best parts are reached by foot only. The same with mountains- you gotta go hiking there. Ultimately, it depends on the national parks you want to visit. Also, some Croatian NPs are islands, so...
Since you are coming in May, I am pretty sure it would be already possible to have an organized transport with some agency.
Larger cities have hostels, but there are many private apartments in both countries. You can camp in most national parks if you like that.
Nov 14, 2012 3:01 AM
3There is decent public transport to most National Parks but it isn't always from the city that you want so you may need to make connections. That doesn't mean that it isn't possible. Lots of people travel in this area using public transport. While renting a car may be easier, it definitely isn't necessary. I and many others have managed with buses but there are very few trains in the area.
Most accommodations in this region are NOT hostels although there are some. More common is to rent a room or an apartment. Look at the hostel websites like hostels.com, hostelworld.com etc and you'll see that this is the case.
Nov 14, 2012 3:51 AM
4I was not meaning, at all, that travel in this part of Europe is more problematic than elsewhere.
My only point was that, especially in less urbanised regions (which is equally the case for many parts of France, Italy, Greece and so on), a car increases a travellers' freedom by a lot and, among other things, also gives the ability to access a wider selection of accommodation and subsistence shopping, while public transport generally forces you to stay in urban areas.
To give you an example, with a car I was able to leave in the morning from the Adriatic coast (I was staying in Senj), get to Plitvicka Jezera, visit the park (of course on foot) for nearly half a day, then cross into Bosnia-Hercegovina and drive several hours through very nice mountain and countryside scenery, and finally re-enter Croatia for dinner at Nova Gradiska (conveniently located along the Zagreb-Belgrade motorway).
Another time, I was able to leave from Tuzla in the morning, drive in Croatia for a small stretch, have a late lunch in Novi Sad, stay overnight in Kikinda and be in Timisoara at lunchtime the following day (4 countries in approximately 24 hours).
The same itineraries, on public transport, would have been very strenuous to plan and would have probably required at least two days per trip, rather than one day.
As a third example, with a car you can visit 100% of an island like Hvar on a day trip from Split. By public transport you can barely see Hvar Town and, with some effort, Jelsa.
So, in my opinion, in all these instances the cost of a car and fuel is entirely worth because one can see more places in a shorter timeframe.
If I had just been visiting main towns like Zagreb, Sarajevo, Belgrade etc, I would have taken the opposite approach: no car, and public transport between each city and the next.
This is why I was suggesting to study the itinerary first, possibly combine together a few days when a car is likely to be more useful, and use public transport the rest of the time!
Dec 8, 2012 10:09 PM
5Few months back I spent close to 3 weeks in Montenegro.
In Montenegro bus transport is quite reliable but always check for timings. Some routes have very less frequencies. Even though it is a very small country travelling from coast to North-East or North-west can take much longer than you think. I flagged down car for to / from Podgorica airport transfers but apart from that I relied on public buses. You can cover almost whole country within 12 days but if you have special interests then it is upto you.
Just check http://www.booking.com and http://www.hostelbookers.com for accommodations.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$134.33 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$101.20 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$171.47 per night