Croatia and Slovenia Tips: 2006
Croatia and Slovenia are emerging as Europe's hottest new destinations - and we're joining in the fun. This summer we're writing a new guidebook on those destinations (to be published in the spring of 2007). We want your help. If you've been to Croatia or Slovenia, what were your favorite destinations, accommodations, restaurants, or tips? If you haven't been there yet, but want to go, what would you like to see covered in the book?
Tourist Farm Hudicevec
I have read both positive and negatives about this farm. We were there in mid June and it was a highlight of our trip. We were travelling by motorcycle, the place was exceptionally clean, there were 3 families there staying as well, it is a farm contrary to what others have said and we had an end room on the 2nd floor of the B&B. Quiet, a lovely supper with soup, salad, a local main course and dessert, I had a beer my =wife white wine. Breakfast was great (typical German style). All totalled E59.
3 other motorcyclists from Germany were at the breakfast table, gave us great advice on some back roads to Predjama castle which was a memorable ride 1st thing the next day. We did not have any large tour groups stop in for a meal but it wouldn't surprise me since we have wodnered why the main dining room is oversized for the # of rooms.
I guess we were lucky, but don't be discouraged it is a great place.
Millarville, AB Canada Tue 12/26/2006
Croatia and slovenia Are Outstanding
Just a quick note now, more later, but we traveled to eastern europe (6 weeks) and did Ricks itenerary in his book of the best of eastern europe. We have traveled all over europe, but absolutely loved Croatia and Slovenia. It is a must see before the world discovers these places. I hear its a very good place to invest in also. Email me for any questions. We stayed at all of Ricks recommendations, and they were great. Can't wait to go back!! Loved Montronegro and Kotor Bay also.
Brentwood, CA USA Fri 12/22/2006
You have to visit the Logar Valley
We spent two weeks near Mozirje in the Logar Valley this August and it was the best holiday we've ever had. We have two daughters 10 and 12. It is an amazingly beautiful country with wonderful mountains, people and loads of things to do. There is also a big ski gondola nearby. It is also quite affordable. I loved it so much I bought a house there and will probably convert it into two flats for letting out to other families.
Stoke on Trent, UK Sun 11/26/2006
Travel to Croatia with kids (ages 6 and 8)
We are just starting to consider a trip to Croatia with our children, ages 6 and 8 to Croatia. We have traveled twice to Europe with them and have found out that we just can't whiz around like we did without kids. It is best to find a "home base" for 4-5 days and then take day trips out from there.
Does anyone have recommendations about traveling in Croatia with kids? What is a logical 2nd location besides Dubrovnic that merits staying 4 days? Slovenia? Budapest? Boat over to Italy? Generally our trips are 2.5 weeks with 3 home bases.
Also, while I never have done organized traveling (tours, cruises) the idea of seeing the islands with someone else planning it sounds good if it is not a generic huge ship like Carnival. Any recommendations?
Finally, do you have to rent a car in Croatia. While I have done that many times, I want to see if we can get away without renting on this trip.
FYI--we are 3 star hotel types. Thanks in advance.
Seattle, WA USA Sat 11/18/2006
Recommendations for former Yugoslavia
In Slovenia, we visited Bled and Ljubljana. Definitely rent a row boat in Bled in the summer and see the church. Half the fun was getting out there! We also loved the honey liquor that seems to be sold everywhere. Ljubljana had great food--we tried different types of game and dishes with the honey and loved it all.
Croatia was amazing...I plan on going back as soon as possible! In Dubrovnik, our best meal was at Nauticus or something similar--our concierge arranged for a balcony table at sunset and it was the best night.
I agree that you should also visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. We LOVED Mostar, and were able to get so much for our money in souvenirs--like metal skewers, rugs, beads, and you feel great spending it because the people are so kind to Americans. The scenery there is just amazing. In Sarajevo we went to Park Principessa and had a balcony table, and amazing meal with the only good steak I've EVER had in Europe, amazing wine, and dessert. They gave us blankets when we were cold, and musicians in costume performed. We stayed in Halvat House there and loved it. They had clean accomodations, great breakfast, and were very English friendly. We also walked down to a bar that was down the hill from there, and I would love to remember the name--but it was by far the prettiest bar I've ever been in--with a grand piano and vaulted ceilings and old photos all over the walls.
German will help you out a lot here--and a lot of places have German menus and not English...I wish I were planning a trip there myself now...
Chicago , IL USA Fri 11/17/2006
My friend and I enjoyed a fabulous two weeks in Croatia last October. As may be expected, Dubrovnik was a highlight, but Croatia has so much more to offer. Plitvice Lakes National Park was jaw-dropping beautiful - unlike any other place we had been. Except for Diocletian's Palace, we found Split to be depressing. Too many Communist era highrise buildings dominating the cityscape. From Split,we did catch a ferry for a lovely ride to the charming island of Hvar. We spent a delightful day there. The Opatija Riviera has not yet been restored to its former glory days, but we found it to be a beautiful and interesting spot. The promenade walk along the Adriatic Sea offered beautiful views, some great outdoor cafes, and eventually, along its seven mile route, some charming villages that were fun to explore. Unfortunately, one will still find remnants of the '90s war, but great efforts are being made to fully rebuild the country. Croatia is a wonderful destination that I enthusiastically recommend.
Evansville, IN USA Mon 10/30/2006
Slovenia - wine roads
I'm now researching for my trip and I'd love to see information about wine roads.
CA USA Mon 10/23/2006
The old town of Dubrovnik is beautiful and interesting. In October it isn't too hot or crowded. Enjoyed visiting the synagogue, little Jewish Museum and the art store next to the synagogue. Purchased a painting, a shawl and a candy dish with a Croatian design on the glass. Food was good.
Delray Beach, FL USA Mon 10/23/2006
Dubrovnik and surrounds tour guide
We spent a day with Petar Vlasic, a local guide. Petar is a twenty-something owner of his own tour company, Meritum Travel Agency. He took us on a trip to Montenegro. I think he also does tours around Croatia and into Mostar. He was professional, polite and knowledgeable. We greatly enjoyed the day. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
USA Sun 10/22/2006
Hi! Let me be allowed to take your attention to a hidden and unspoiled area of Slovenia, not widely known to most tourists coming into this country. It's called Kostel (by the famous medieval picturesque castle at the peak above the Kolpa river ) and it's located at the south, bordering Croatia, reachable by car from Ljubljana through Kocevje - direction Croatia. This is a vast area of forests and unspoiled nature, very rarely inhabited, with old villages and many renewed old houses. The bordering river Kolpa (SLO-CRO borderline) is still unspoiled, clean and relatively safe for swimming (in the summer only), canyoning, rafting and all sorts of water-fun! Local hills and forests provide many trekking and biking routes. I'd highly recommend this part of Slovenia to those who need few days off, to enjoy total peace and renewing of energy, being in the full contact with primary nature. Local larger town is Kocevje with its own interesting history (65 km from Ljubljana, 20 km from Kostel, reachable by car) with a hotel. In Kostel there are some private accommodations available, like in the village of Banja Loka (20 km from Kocevje) where a local - Mr. Selan, is renting a room with own bathroom or a whole house ( in 2005 totaly renewed old house with a high level of comfort, suitable also for families with children ), but for detailed informations you should check out few internet sites or local tourist information points; some sites about this area:
LJ, SLO Fri 10/20/2006
Tourist Farm near Lake Bled
We spent one night in a tourist farm which was absolutely wonderful and wished that we had planned 3 or 4 nights there instead. The food was prepared using their homegrown fresh ingredients in typical Slovenian dishes. Our room was spacious, like new, and quite nice. Our host spoke English and was eager to suggest day hikes in the Julian Alps and around the lake, as well as local sites of interest. email@example.com www.mulej-bled.com
Betty & Ted
Texas USA Thu 10/19/2006
Tourist Farm near Maribor, Slovenia
We just returned from 2 weeks in Slovenia and Croatia. I highly recommend a tourist farm that we stayed at. We even added an unplanned night there to extend our stay with them. The "inn" and its rooms look brand new and are impeccably clean. If you choose the half-pension, that is to have dinner and breakfast, you will experience wonderful food, with all fresh, homemade ingredients. The family is warm, hostess Barbara speaks English well and you have as much privacy as you desire. The farm is just south of Maribor near the town of Fram (where squash oil is manufactured). http://www.kovacnik.com/ or contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org - for a delightful experience. By the way, the scenery is gorgeous and hiking is a must.
Tomball, Texas USA Thu 10/19/2006
I found a website that lists tons of tourist farms (in Slovenia) on http://www.slovenia.info/?lng=2&id_country=38 Has anyone been to any of these farms? I'm interested in the Julian Alps and Savinjska Region. I've read some recommendations to a couple on this website that I found on the Slovenia website- thank you, it really helps! Anyway, it sounds really nice to be able to sit at a table topped with homegrown and homemade dishes, from the bread to the salami to the pear brandy. It's just too hard to choose one or two, or three!
CA USA Wed 10/18/2006
Croatia and Slovenia are great!
Just returned from 23 days in Eastern Europe and couldn't have done it without Rick's guide. It's like a Bible to us! Slovenia, Croatia and Poland were our favorites. After reading about the difficulties some had reaching Plitvice, we decided on a car rental from Avis in Zagreb for 48 hours. Plitvice is worth the extra effort to get there.
We stayed at the Knezvic's B&B in Mukinje(close to Entrance 2) and we had a lovely, clean comfortable place for 35 Euros. We spend the whole next day walking the whole 10 miles at the Lakes. This is a totally unique experience, hearing and seeing those waterfalls! What a glorious and awesome park this is. It is still unspoiled! Visit as soon as you can! One comment. We would not recommend eating dinner at Licka Kuca, the park-run restaurant. It was very high priced for the area and the food only passable. It's definitely a tourist trap because most visitors are captive there if they don't have a car. We went the second night to a restaurant on the highway and had a beautiful meal for a third of the price! Having a car made it easy to do this and the driving to and from was pretty easy, except for getting through Zagreb on Friday evening rush? hour.
Slovenia was just as great as everyone else thinks it is. The caves, castles, mountains, Bled, Piran and charming Ljubljana made us glad we arranged extra time there. Next time we will go back see the entire coast of Croatia! The people are very nice in both countries, but hurry before it all changes too quickly. Write if you have questions or comments
Barbara DeFeo and Jan Fraker
Chula Vista, CA USA Thu 10/12/2006
Croatia Car Rental
Croatia Car Rental: I just got back from 3 weeks in Croatia/Slovenia. Used www.novacarhire.com for Croatia since there is not a one-way drop fee. This alone can save you $250-$400 drop fee.
Seattle, wa USA Tue 10/03/2006
Dubrovnik: The Sobe Stankovic
Rick recommends sobes (literally "room" in Croatian) as a great value with an opportunity to meet locals while in Croatia. He's absolutely correct!
My stay with the Stankovic family was one of the most memorable and rewarding I have ever had in nine years of European travel. Their hospitality was wonderful and they really took the time to make me feel as if their house was my house.
We discussed everything from travel to cultural difference to what it was like to grow up in the former Yugoslavia to whether Bosnia or Croatia had friendlier women (something I enjoyed as a single guy!)
Zoran is one of two sons and the main proprieter and a very friendly guy who picked me up at the airport. His brother Igor and his mother Miriana speak very little English and yet between their efforts and Zoran's translations I enjoyed getting to know them as well. Miriana made some great Turkish Coffee. Igor went out of his way to help me find my way around Dubrovnik.
The rooms were very clean and very inexpensive, most of which have an absolutely incredible view of the Stari Grad (old town) of Dubrovnik.
Though the 300-plus step climb up to their house from the Old Town would be too much for the elderly or the seriously-out-shape, hardier travelers would definitely find this gem both rewarding and memorable.
A link to their website:
Washington, DC USA Mon 10/02/2006
Don't forget Bosnia!
If you go into Croatia don't forget to take a side trip into Bosnia, or even go there and take a side trip into Croatia. I lived in Bosnia for over three years and never had a problem. The people are great and the food is wonderful. Liked it so much I married a local girl ? Mostar is a great place to visit and Sarajevo should not be missed. You can take the bus from any city into Mostar and though to Sarajevo.
I would recommend Hotel Hollywood in Sarajevo. http://www.hotel-hollywood.com.ba/e_hotel.htm
Also don't miss Vrelo Bosna, a beautiful park. From Hotel Hollywood you can take a short walk and then a carriage ride to the park. Worth it any time of the year. Also go to the Stari Grad (Old Town) for shopping and sightseeing. For your night time you can go into town and see lots of clubs or stay right next to the hotel where they have a great little walking street with clubs and coffee shops.
VA USA Fri 09/22/2006
just came back from a wonderfull
vacation in croatia/slovenia.
went to porec/piran first
porec has better hotels
and piran has two only, i think.
piran hotel is better with a
nice breakfast room.
ljubljana-kamnik is a good solution
to hotel prices in ljubljana and
a 50 minutes bus ride. they only
have pensions there, no hotels
also went to bled, bohinj
bled is better by bus because
the train station is further
and bohinj in the alps has
a charming lake to see by bus.
a little train goes around the
lake in bled and they have
very nice hotels, see
www.bohinj.si and www.bled.si
slovenia will have the euro
next year but prices will still
be good for appartments, pensions
or private rooms
canada, USA Thu 09/14/2006
Walking to the Skojcan Caves
This past summer, I was in Slovenia and visited the Skojcan caves (via public transportation). No matter where I looked, on guidebooks or the internet, there wasn't any detailed information on how to get there - everything just said get off at Divaca and ask for a map at the train station.
So I thought I'd post that information here, for anyone who might be interested - because I know it's something I wished I had known beforehand! Guidebooks say from the Divaca train station, the caves are 4 km away. That may seem far, but really, it translates to an easy 30-40 minute walk. When I got to the train station, the ticket window was closed and nobody was around. But outside on the platform, posted to the wall, was a rough map to the caves. And better yet, when I exited the train station, and looked to the right, on a post was a little green sign, with a symbol of a man hiking, and "Skojcanske Jame" on it, with an arrow pointing to the right. So I walked in that direction, and every so often, came to another green sign pointing the way. The way to the caves is very well signposted- if you are looking out for them, you won't get lost.
You are going in the correct direction if you leave Divaca via the main road, crossing a bridge over the train tracks, then turn left and cross the highway when it's safe, you keep walking and end up crossing a bridge over the freeway and then you come to another little village. Here, the signs point to the right, down a dirt road. This is about 10-15 minutes. Then the road changes into a hiking trail through forest - follow the signs straight for about another 15 minutes, and you'll come out at a great viewpoint of where the church is over top of the caves.
Hope that might be helpful! The cave is DEFINITELY worth a visit, even if you don't have a car!
Canada Mon 09/11/2006
We returned from 12 days in Slovenia and Crotia. Go before these beautiful countries get overrun with tourists! We drove everywhere since our trip ranged from Lake Bled to Plitvice National Park. Lake Bled (go walk thru Vintgar Gorge!) was a good alternative to going into the Julian Alps when it's very rainy. Ljubljana was charming but not worth more than two days. The walking tour listed at the TI gives a good overview of Ljubljana. Plitvice Natl. Park in central Croatia is an undiscovered jewel for American tourists although much of Europe seems to know about it. Don't miss this unique series of 16 blue-green lakes tumbling down waterfalls and cascades into each other. We also liked Dubrovnik. Yes, there are many walled old towns in Europe but how many have survived a 1991 seige due to those walls? Visit the Room of Remembrance near Orlando's Column and learn more about this sobering time in their history. What a great trip - we intend to go back soon.
Jane & Bob Wallace
Walnut Creek, CA, CA USA Fri 09/08/2006
Cars in Slovenia
There are many major car rental companies in Slovenia. Avis, Hertz, Budget, and a whole host of local companies. Many of the major companies have offices in Croatia as well and you can return your car there for an extra fee.
I had our hotel call the car company and they delivered it to our hotel and picked it up when we were done for about 20 Euros. Slovenia has better roads than most of Europe and is easy to get around. But save some money because their highways are toll roads.
Billings, MT USA Fri 09/08/2006
In 2004 I traveled fairly extensively throughout Slovenia and had an amazing time; it's an incredibly beautiful country with friendly people and a wide range of great tourist attractions. Ljubljana (the capital) is the obvious starting point, with a small airport and central location. The city, although the largest in the country, is quite small (pop. 300,000) and accessible. It is centered around the ancient castle and small river downtown, and the old area is cobblestoned and closed to traffic. It is lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes. There are a few interesting and state-of-the-art museums. The city is young, sophisticated, and has a wonderful mix of medieval and modern architecture. In the summer, we stayed at the university hostel. Don't miss the Dragon Bridge. There are other great places to visit, and since Slovenia is quite small, all are very close (within a few hours). The best is Bled, with its picturesque lake and church-island. It has to be seen to be believed. Also, do not miss the Postojna Caves. On the small coastal area, there are a cluster of small, fantastic towns. The biggest is Koper, a nice place to stay, but the best is Piran, where you can wander the small streets, old churches, and antique shops. We even took a day-trip to Venice on a catamaran (only 2 hours to Italy). Overall, Slovenia is my favorite country to visit, and you will not be disappointed. There really is something for everyone there, and for scenic beauty with modern conveniences, it cannot be beat.
Jackson Heights, NY USA Mon 09/04/2006
Ljubljana to Sibenik car rental
Looking to rent a car in Slovenia (ljubljana) and return it in Sibenik, Croatia. Does anyone know a car company that will let you do this? If not, I noticed that some rented a car in Ljubljana and returned it in Zagreb. Is there a preferred car company? I noticed one person used Avis...
Santa Barbara, CA USA Fri 09/01/2006
Visited Slovenia in 2001. On advice of travel agent, rented puddle jumper with stick shift but this one had a flaky clutch and balked at third gear. If you rent a car, go with automatic. You need to get going quickly when merging as they drive fast there. Bled is interesting for first time but I think it's overhyped. Skofja Loka is a neat town. The "old section" only allows pedestrians and bikes. There are nice restaurants and an interesting museum atop a hill. Ljubljana is great to walk in but driving is confusing. Also visited Postojna caves in south part. It's worthwhile and driving local roads between there and Ljubljana was a pleasure.
Naperville, Ill USA Wed 08/30/2006
Thanks Liz T for the helpful information. I am having trouble finding lodging for next July in Piran. Other than Rick's top-end hotel suggestions has anyone stayed at a pension that can be recommended?
USA Tue 08/29/2006
I've been to Slovenia 3 times, now - 2001, 2003, and 2004. First trip was by train and bus from Switzerland directly to lake area. It was very difficult with no second language. (German would have helped.) After that,I flew to Lbj connecting in Zurich or Munich, both easy. I took taxi from airport to hotel. Would love to know which bus to take to save $$. I also had friends who trained from Venice with success. The train station is walkable to hotels - assuming you don't overpack.
I discourage a car in Ljubljana -the city is very busy and parking hard to find. I use the Hotel Turist. English in the capital is common. Buses in town are great, as are taxis and as are trains to 2-3 major cities. The castle and market and walking tour (see the i tourist center near the market)are things I repeat each visit. I have a favorite place for coffee and pastry near Franciscan church. Pizza is great and inexpensive, as are crepes (palacinta).
Outside of 2-3 major cities, you need to rent a car or manage with small local buses - but if I can do it, anyone can! It helps to have your destination written on a piece of paper to show the bus driver or train conductor - along with perhaps a Slovenian phrase meaning "Please help me be know when this stop is coming." Pronunciation varies and I could never tell what was being announced. I located family of my grandparents who showed me lovely Jerusalem winery. Asside from the capital, and my extended family, my favorites 'tourist' locations were Bled area, Ptuj (beautiful, less traveled than Bled, use the small hotel in town), Bohinji, and a large craft show I attended for business in Celje would catch a repeat if I were touring in the area. Murska-Sobota has a wonderful cultural museum of interest to children of Slovenian immigrants. Please don't underestimate the language barrier outside of the major cities - and do tread softly in this lovely country. www.slovenia.info is a helpful official site. I intended to try to do a farm vacation next trip - I understand there are accomidations available.
I used the Lonely Planet guide as it was the only one available and was very helpful. I look foward to having the Rick Steve's guide for my future trips! I'm using Rick Steve's guide for Italy at the moment!
Brookfield, CT USA Tue 08/29/2006
Do I need a car in Slovenia/Croatia
Fellow Travelers: I am going to Slovenia/Croatia for 3 weeks in September. How important is it to rent a car vs. taking the bus. I will start out in Ljubljana, visit Bled and the caves, Piran, Umag, following the Istrian coast to Pula and then back up to Opatja... then following the coast to eventually end up in Dubrovnik. Is it a good idea to take your car to Brac, Hvar, and Korcula? I've traveled to Europe 6 times (West. Europe) and the trains have always been efficient. If you do rent a car, any suggestions on who/where/when? Thanks, kerri . Please respond to "email@example.com"
Bothell, WA USA Mon 08/21/2006
Slovenia - Lake Bohinj area
In 2003 I spent several days in Slovenia. From Ljubljana, on the advice of some other travelers, I took a local bus to a place called Ribcev Laz, on Lake Bohinj (pronounced "Bokkin," by the way) and checked into the first pension I saw after getting off the bus. Can't remember its name, but it was great - friendly multi-lingual staff, close to the lake, very reasonable. Although Lake Bled is recommended in all the guidebooks, I would bypass it and go directly to Bohinj - excellent hiking, many pensions and hotels to choose from, and you're right in the mountains (the Julian Alps.) That part of Slovenia seemed to be what Switzerland or Austria might have been like many years ago - not too far from the days of subsistence farming, definitely tourist oriented, but not overrun with tourists. Lots of English there, all on very reasonably priced tours.
Seattle, WA USA Mon 08/14/2006
Hotel Perisil in Split Croatia
We just returned from a months journey around Eastern Europe. We ended our trip with a week in Croatia. We were in Croatia last summer and enjoyed it so much we returned this year. We stayed 3 nights in Split. We stayed at the Peristil for 3 nights in July 2006. I can not say enough good things about this hotel. Last summer we stayed at the Hotel Park. The rooms at the Hotel Park were tiny, A/C was marginal and the rates were 2X the Peristil. The Peristil is a far better choice. It's location is just inside the walls of the Diocletian Palace. Actually parts of the hotel incorporate portions of the Palace walls. This provides a really impressive setting given that these walls are from the 3rd century. The Peristil is first classs all the ways. The rooms are spacious for European standards. Our room was very nice. We were on the first floor above the lobby. I had requested a low floor because we had a lot of luggage and the hotel does not have an elevator. The staff gladly carried our bags up for us. I think the rooms on the higher floors are even nicer. The beds were comfortable, bathrooms well equiped and the A/C was probably the best I have experienced in my many trips to Europe. My room got so cold I actually had to get up in the middle of the night and turn it down. The hotel restuarant was excellent. Breakfast (which is included in room rate) was cooked to order. Anything you want. We ate on the patio which is just stunning. We also ate dinner twice at the hotel. The food is really outstanding. There is also a very nice inside dining room if it is too hot or raining outside. The food is fresh. We watched the owner carry in a whole fish one morning that he had just purchase at the fish market. We ate it that night and it was outstanding. The staff at the Peristil was truly outstanding. The owner, Miele, is a very involved owner. He was always around to help and supervise his staff. He was extremely helpful assisting us with an airline lost luggage situation. Also one night, I had asked Miele about a restaurant recommendation. He provided a couple of suggestions. I was sitting in the bar having a glass of wine waiting for my 3 girls to get ready (.....the story of my life) and Miele returned and said that he had a better idea. He said that as soon as my family was ready he would drive us to a great restaurant. I could not believe what I was hearing. When my girls finally came down, Miele went and got his car and we all piled in. He took us to a restaurant outside of the Palace area. I can not tell you how impressed I was with his hospitality. It was way above and beyond the call of duty. The restaurant was outstanding. The wait staff was also really good. Friendly, great english and great service. They were Mario, Miele 2 and Gorana. I was told that every other male in Croatia is named Miele. The Peristil has two. The only downside I can think of is that it is a little challenging to find the hotel. It is inside the Palace Walls and you can not drive inside the walls. The cabs let you off a few blocks away and point. The signage on the hotel is not real obvious so you can almost be standing in front of it and not know you have reached your destination. After asking for a few directions from shop owners I found the hotel. A better map on the website would be a big help. When I return to Split I will absolutely stay at the Peristil again. We also spent 6 nights on a yacht we chartered from a harobr near Split (Primosten). What a fantastic way to see the islands of Croatia. Absolutely beautiful. Charming small ports and crystal clear water.
Scottsdale, AZ USA Mon 08/14/2006
Dubrovnik impressions and tips
Just got back from 3 days in Dubrovnik. It was beautiful but quite frankly didn't live up to the hype. Probably worth one or two days in my opinion. I've travelled to 26 european countries so I just may be spoiled traveller and expect too much at this time. It was not by choice but I definately would not go in August again (crowds, heat). As Rick says, don't waste your time in Cavtat as it is highly forgetable! Take the three island cruise with lunch. My final impression of Dubrovnik is that its charming but there are better and easier places to get to. Cinque Terre for one.
Orlando, FL USA Mon 08/14/2006
Ex Barka, Piran - fabulous wine bar & bistro
We enjoyed an evening of excellent bistro food (no menu, ask owner what's cooking that day), a superb selection of wine (all available by the glass) and a cast of colourful locals in this quirky wine bar.
The somewhat eccentric owner has a wonderfully deadpan sense of humour, a penchant for Nick Cave's music and a generous pouring hand. He also has something against fish and is proud that his establishment is the one place in town where the ubiquitous seafood doesn't feature on the menu.
Ex Barka can be found just behind the main square in Piran. Finding your way out again after sampling all that wine may not be quite so easy...
London, UK Thu 08/10/2006
We stayed at Villa Kate (on the web at http://www.lozica-dubrovnik.com/) just outside of Dubrovnik. Fantastic accommodation with own beach right outside our door. Went swimming daily in the Adriatic. Private accommodation very friendly owner Elizabeta and her husband. We did have a car and parked at the Marina (5 min drive)and then took the local bus into the old city. Very easy!
Edmonds, WA USA Wed 08/09/2006
accommodations in Croatia
We stayed at Perisa Modrinic (firstname.lastname@example.org or 00385 (0) 20-711-400) in Korcula. He has several rooms but ask for one of the larger 2. Peter will meet you at the dock. Peline Apartments (email@example.com)in Dubrovnik were quite nice and situated inside the Old City. We had less success in Split & ended up at Hotel Split. It was outside the Old City, close to bus #17 but somewhat costly. Best of luck.
Leesburg, VA USA Tue 08/08/2006
Private Accommodations in Croatia
We are planning a trip to Croatia in September. We'll be hitting Split, Hvar, Korcula, and Dubrovnik and would like to arrange private accommodations rather than stay in a hotel.
I've been looking at listings on websites, but would love to hear if you have personally stayed somewhere you would recommend. Top criteria are that it's clean and in a good location. (I don't need parking, TV, etc.)
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 08/01/2006
Can anyone suggest a good place to stay in or around Dubrovnik? We are also interested in visiting the coast and would like suggestions on where to stay.
New York, NY USA Tue 08/01/2006
Just returned from 2 weeks in Slovenia, based in Ljubljana. We stayed at Domacija Apts (firstname.lastname@example.org) with about the best hosts we've ever had anywhere and in walking distance of the beautiful downtown! I'd highly recommend them to anyone. We made day trips and some over nights to greater Slovenia and Croatia. Things we learned: It is difficult to find a cheap and easy way to Slovenia. We got a good price on a flight into Munich thinking it would be a pleasant 4&1/2 hr drive across Austria but found that the 2 single lane tunnels involved result in hours long back ups making the trip a grueling 8 hrs long! I'd find another way in if I had to do it over, like overnighting in London to take Easy Jet.
The Skocjanke caves now definitely enforce their no picture taking policy. After the guide repeated the prohibition multiple times the only person to persist in taking pictures was an arrogant Frenchman.
The best museum in Ljubljana was the City museum. It had the best and most comprehensive presentation on the independence struggle running through the end of September. Don't miss the Communist Relay poster contest deception! They now charge for admission but you get a discount if you show your ticket stub for the TI city tour. The Contemporary History museum was too haphazard in its presentations to give more than a vague impression of what was going on and completely skipped over wide swaths of time.
For those interested in Roman history you can tour an excavation site with an in situ mosaic for free the 3rd Sunday of every month, ask for details at the City Museum.
Touring the Barje area just south of the city was a good outing. This area is a marsh land substantially drained for farming. We toured it by car but it would be great by bike. You can find a unique Plecnick church that the priest might let you into. Also it was where we saw the most beehives including a well decorated one on a small rocky knoll - take the first left after the Plescnick church coming from the ring road exit and then the next right.
Skofja Loka was a neat old town to wander through with hidden courtyards and distressed frescoes, and the church of John the Baptist just east of the town had interesting frescoes to view that are presently being restored. When we arrived the restorers-instead chasing us away-invited us in to view their work while they explained the images and their technique!
We found a terrific hole in the wall restaurant near our apt with no menu but a great 4 course lunch deal on week days at the corner of Recna ulica and Kladezna ulica (I can't remember its name)
Rick needs to give us parking ideas for Zagreb. As we were a family of 5 and heading to Plivitce later in the day so a train from Ljubljana made no sense. We had difficulty finding a garage and ended up violating traffic laws to finally get to one. Thankfully the traffic cop involved just waved us through seemingly accepting the fact that we were typical moron tourists. The Naive Art museum here was fascinating!
At Plivitce we stayed in a wonderfully air conditioned sobe which we needed in the heat but were disappointed with the restaurant at the northern most entrance as the food was plain and the service cold and relatively expensive for us. I'd try one of the places along the road among the sobe instead.
The Slovenes were for the most part very accommodating and seemed tickled that we were visiting their country and we were asked a number of times why we chose to come there.
Philadelphia, USA Sun 07/30/2006
HELP! Should we change Schedule??
Thanks Chris for sharing your trip. It was great. I am rethinking my trip. I leave Sat. and we're kinda doing the RS Best of Eastern Europe revised. Should we delete Vienna(1 nite) and Budapest(3 nites) and spend more time in Dubvrnik? We only have 2 days there. We are going to (2 nites each area) Split , Bled, The Karst Region, Plivice,Korcula and leave from Dubrovik fly to Amsterdam and Bruge. Think we should eliminate Amsterdam and Bruge (5 nites total)and stay down in Croatia and see more sights and enjoy the coast, rent a boat etc? Any helpful suggestions would be great .Thanks all!!!
Brentwood, CA USA Thu 07/27/2006
Croatia trip review with photos.
My wife and I spent 3 weeks in Croatia (with a side day-trip to Bosnia & Hercegovina) in July, 2005.
I've written a short recap of this trip and posted photos. These can be viewed here:
SF Bay area, CA USA Tue 07/25/2006
I am travelling to split for 4 nights at the begining of october, we are staying approx 2 mile out of town. any tips re weather at that time of year, places to go and are beaches ok at time of year.
we are travelling to zagreb midweek, is it best to hire car. i was planning on hiring car from airport booking before arrive.
any tips would be welcome
derby, united kingdom Sat 07/22/2006
Croatia & Slovenia
We just returned from an 18 day trip to Slovenia & Croatia. Our flight by Easy Jet to Ljubljana from London was cancelled with little warning. We took a 27 hour journey by train instead. Rented a car in Ljubljana and drove it to Lake Bled for a couple of days. Rented the car through Avis & returned it to Zagreb where we rented a second car. The folks in Slovenia didn't want us to drive the first car from Lake Bled to Split. Stayed at the Penzion Berc in Bled & found the accommodations comfortable and owners friendly. The people of Slovenia are nice, speak good English & the country is prosperous. Ljubljana is an up and coming city & worth a visit. Stayed at the Knezevic Sobe outside the Plituice Lakes and found it also comfortable and well run. It is new and slightly outside the park so a car is needed. It wasn't busy probably a reflection of location and competition. The drive down the new highway to Split was an experience. You could see elements of the 1990-91 war on the buildings along the roadway. People seemed less prosperous & there were stands of old ladies selling cheese, ham, and lace along the roadway from Zagreb to south of Plituice Parks. We were shocked at the starkness of the mountains from Plituice Parks to Split. Wouldn't want to breakdown with a car through there. It is best to turn in the car in Split as this city is not car friendly. We stayed at Hotel Split (expensive) because we couldn't find a room. However, the hotel was fine & the breakfast was the best we had ever eaten for 5 Euros. We got to the Hotel from bus #17 as it was outside of the Old Town area. Rode the ferry to Korcula Island & landed at the town of Vela Luka. Then we went by bus to the town of Korcula. The bus driver drove with one hand and talked on the cell phone much of the time as he took the sharp turns. Stayed at Perisa Modrinic's rooms. We had a smaller room (and comfortable) but larger ones are available. The owners were very friendly and talkative. Took a bus to Lumbarda on the island to use the sandy beaches. Sandy beaches in Croatia aren't easy to find. Went to Dubrovnick by ferry & stayed at the Peline Apartments. They are brand new & the Canadian manager was very nice. The apartment is conveniently located within the Old Town. Took a day trip by ferry to Lopud and enjoyed time on the sandy beach on the other side of the island. The trip to the other 2 Elatiti Islands is not as worthwhile. We found 2 restaurants not listed by Rick that we liked in Dubrovnick; The Gaffi (great Tandoor chicken) & the Taj Mahal (tasty Bosnian food). We loved the typical fish meals but needed the variety. The trip by ferry from Dubrovnick to Split was relaxing & the weather pleasant. We took Wizz Airlines from Split (actually Trogir) to London. Bumpy ride but spectacular views. Our Slovenian and Croatian experiences were so incredible that we can't wait to return.
Leesburg, VA USA Thu 07/20/2006
Beaches in Croatia
The best beach area we saw for children while in Croatia was in Bol on the island of Brac. The Golden Horn and beach of Zlatni Rat is large and great for families. We didn't stay on Brac, only visited for a day, so I know nothing about places to stay. There is a very large area of pine trees along this beach, but not at the ocean's edge. There are many lounge chairs with umbrellas for rent here.
For transportation to the islands off Split, Splittours.hr has catamaran's and ferries which offer more options than just the Jadrolinija line.
Cincinnati, Oh USA Thu 07/13/2006
Would like apt/house near water good for 20 month old toddler
Any recommnedations for a good place to stay in Croatia with a 20 month old?
We'd like to rent a house or apartment next to the beach. Would prefer a beach with large shallow area and/or shady area.
Per reading others comments, we are thinking of the Island of Hvar - anyone with any experience or recommnedations with Croatia or children would be very appreciated!
Berlin, Germany Tue 07/11/2006
We have been to Slovenia twice and would go back tomorrow if we could. My aunt lives in Bovec which is a charming little town at the base of the alps. Last year we flew to Ljubljana, rented a car and spent two nights in the city. I would highly recommend it. We drove to Lipica, Trieste then to Bovec. My husband climbed Triglav with a local he met at the TI in Ljubljana. We left from Ljubljana and had no trouble driving. We rented an apartma (apartment) in Bovec and it was very charming and cheap. We loved it and it was very relaxing and beautiful.
Ellensburg, Wa USA Mon 07/10/2006
In Rovinj, don't miss eating at Monte, which is right down from the Cathedral of St. Euphemia, on the hill top. We ate here two nights and they were the best dinners and prettiest restaurant we ate at in Croatia!
We swam off Red Island one day, the boat leaves from the tip of the pier, but we didn't enjoy this island as much as those off Hvar. It is very crowded and has a large hotel on the island.
Cincinnati, Oh USA Mon 07/10/2006
We just returned from over 2 weeks in Croatia and it was a trip of incredible beauty, but not without problems. Information is still hard to find, but the rewards of traveling here are great! We arrived from Budapest, where we began our trip, on SkyEurope Airline. It was flawless. I highly recommend this airline for an inexpensive and easy way to connect European cities. By booking early we paid only $50 per person one way. Dubrovnik is very crowded during the day, it is overflowing with cruise ship passengers. The town in not to be missed though. Day trip during the day, and enjoy Dubrovnik in the evenings. We used Atlas Travel Agency, the largest agency in Croatia for a Day trip to Montenegro, the Montenegro Blue tour. It was excellent. They have a good web site which explains their tours, but don't book your seats on it. We did, they charged us, and then couldn't find our reservation when we boarded the bus for the tour. They denied us seats, but we "discussed" the situtation with them for 15 minutes before they let us stay. This is even though we had their voucher from their own web site, saying we had paid for this tour. Book their tours when you are in Dubrovnik, not on-line.
Walking the walls in Dubrovnik is so hot in the summer. We did the walk from 9-11 a.m. I think evenings might be better?? It's really beautiful though.
Dinner at Sesame, outside of the Pile Gate, opposite the Hilton, just down the road a bit, was excellent, and uncrowded. They had very good food, and live, softly played music and a flowered terrace.
In Cavtat, there are wonderful areas to swim. If arriving by boat, take the walkway to the left, along the sea, under the pine trees, and find a good spot to swim in the clear water. We found a good spot just past the wooden bar hanging over the rocks on the sea edge. You can't miss it. Also just past this area is a nice spot with lots of pinetree shade. The boat ride from Dubrovnik is $12 round trip from the Old Port and takes 1 hour each way.
Instead of a day trip to the Elaphite Islands, you can do a day trip to just Lopud, the best of the 3 islands. There are 3 ways to arrive here. 1. The Nova Boat from the Old Port in Dubrovnik or from Port Gruz. (This is the most expensive option, but also the most convienent). 2.The Jadrolinija Ferry, limited times, you must get the schedule. They leave from Port Gruz and the trip is 16 kuna, l way. 3. Catamaran with the G & V line which goes to Mljet daily, goes to Lopud on Saturdays only. The cost was 11 kuna l way. The hours are very limited. This leaves from Gruz harbor and you buy the tickets at the small office on the harbor that says Marina. It leaves at 9 a.m. on Saturday. We took this there and the Jadrolinija ferry back to Dubrovnik's Gruz port. Bus 1A connects the Pile Gate to Gruz port for 8 kuna. Lopud has a very long sandy beach and nice cafes along the waterfront.
The island of Lokrum, off Dubrovnik is also excellent. It has many pine trees for shade.
We took the bus to Split. It took 4 1/2 hours and you buy your tickets at the main bus station. There are numerous buses each day that make this easy trip. Different bus lines make the trip, some better than others. Ours was Autotrans, and was excellent. We had a 15 minute stop in Bosnia. Your passports will be checked, but there is no problem. When arriving in Split we checked our luggage at the bus station, cheap and easy, then spent 2 hours seeing Diocletian's Palace before taking the Jadrolinija catamaran, 3:00 departure, for Hvar. This trip takes 50 minutes and you arrive in Hvar Town. Hvar was a true highlight of our trip. One day we rented a car from Hertz at the Pelegrini Travel office, at the harbor (the best Travel Office in my opinion, I talked to several) for a drive around the island. There are many hidden coves you can stop at for a swim, and we enjoyed seeing the other towns on the island. We also stopped for a great wine break at Knoba Dvor Dubokovje in Pitve. They open for dinner at 6 p.m. and have no lunch service. Ivica Dubokovic was kind enough to serve us his homemade wine and water. Delicious, and great views of Brac.
We took a day trip to Bol, on the island of Brac, through Pelegrini Travel office. Several offices on the island have boards out front with the day trips offered for the week. You can sign up for the trips 1 or 2 days in advance.
Other good day trips from Hvar are St.Klement island, Jerolim island and Stipanska. All can be reached by a short boat trip from the harbor on Hvar town. The boats have signs as to where and when they leave. Vis can also be visited by a day trip, offered by the travel offices.
We rented an apartment for our stay with a kitchen and terrace, so cooked dinner in several nights. There is a good sized Konkum market and a fresh produce market close to the bus station in Hvar Town. One dinner we enjoyed was at Macondo's, the Golden Shell is also excellent.
Car rental in Split downtown was a bit of a challenge. There are not many cars available, there is such high demand for them. We had a car reserved for 3 p.m. and arrived early. No car was ready for us. We had to wait for 1 1/2 hours for them to find a pretty beat up car with broken fuel gage for us. This was an Alamo rental.
Trogir was the next town we stayed in. Hotel Concordia Tel:+385 21 885-400, Fax:+385 21 885-401 It is in an excellent location and very pleasant, breakfast in included, served outdoors in the summer! We stopped at the Roman ruins in Solin on the way to Trogir. It is very, very hot here. The ruins are ok, but not worth the stop if the weather is hot. It's a long walk and no shade along the way.
We drove the newly opened toll road up to Plitvicka National Park. It's an excellent road, but be aware that not all of the tunnels are open and we had to reduce the 4 lanes of traffic, 2 each direction, to 1 lane each direction to go through a rather long tunnel. This caused an 1 1/2 hour back up on a Saturday afternoon going northeast. We also stopped at Krka National Park on the way entering at the Lozovac entrance to save time. This way you don't have to boat in. It was very nice, really worth the stop, but not as good as Plitvicka. Plitvicka was one of the most beautiful National Parks we have ever seen. We spent 4 hours hiking the G2 trail starting at entrance 1, ending at Tram stop 4, taking the tram back close to entrance 1. From here we drove onto Rovinj.
In Rovinj we stayed at Adriatic Hotel right in town square Adriatic@jadran.tdr.hr Phone: 385 52815088 Fax 0038552813573 The room looked dated, but actually was very comfortable with good a/c and very comfortable beds.
We liked Rovinj's old town, but the approach to the town is not pretty. After the beauty of central and southern Croatia, we were a bit disappointed with Istria. We drove to Pula, saw the outstanding Roman amphitheatre (arrive early, the back up getting into town is horrible) the hill towns of Motovun and Groznjan, and to Piran, Slovenia the next day. All nice, but just couldn't compare to the rest of the country.
Returning the Alamo rental car (also a National rental office) in Porec was challenging. There is no rental car office in Rovinj, of any agency. We drove the 1 hour to Porec, found the office which was actually a garage of an apartment building in a residential neighborhood, (you'll never find it without a good map of Porec which we bought while in Rovinj), only to find no one there. The web site says the office is open from 8-5. The hours on the door say 8-12 and 6-9. It was 8a.m. but we had to call the number listed on the door to get an employee to arrive. The public buses back to Rovinj leave at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. No other buses are available between those times. After checking our banged up rental car back in (with objections from the agent) she drove us to the bus station so we wouldn't miss this bus. If we had we would be stuck in Porec until 3 p.m. Gas stations are few, so are very crowded in July and August. There is a long wait for your turn to get gas. They are required by law to be open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day in these months.
We took a public bus at 5:40 a.m.with SAF, an Italian bus company, from Rovinj to Venice, where we had a flight home. The trip was 4 1/2 hours, stopped often and was very easy. The cost was $20 and we bought the tickets at the Rovinj bus station.
Hope these tips are of help to others. Croatia is so beautiful, it is an amazing country and it's so interesting talking to the people that have lived through the war. It's been so hard for them, but they look forward to a promising future.
Cincinnati, Oh USA Mon 07/10/2006
Just returned on Sunday (July 2) from a 10 day stay in Slovenia and Croatia. Family of 4 / kids ages 12 and 15. Arrived by car from Budapest to Ljublana. Stayed in Hotel Emonec (in Ricks book) breakfast included. Very quiet! No air con but good fans provided (the entire trip of 2 weeks we saw temps in the 88-95F range-an unheard of "heat wave" throughout Europe) I had some doubts on this hotel based on research on Tripadvisor (noisy) but we couldn't hear the HUGE rock concert going on in the city square which was just down the side street from the hotel. We arrived late in the evening but had confirmed with CC for guarantee so had no problems at all. We were provided with a private garage for our car (all cars in a private lot) Spent the next morning wandering the city. Very beautiful and very friendly people. My daughter's favorite city on a whirlwind 2 week 4 country vacation. We traveled the next afternoon to the caves in Postojna (fun-we had already done caves in Spain-but the "train" ride made it different). Then on to Predjama Castle for a quick look (no tour). We then continued on to Piran where we arrived at dinner time and stayed at Hotel Piran. Had a suite on the top floor for 4. Great service and very helpful! Excellent breakfast included. Favorite hotel of the trip. Fantastic view of the Sea. Dinner along the beach promenade at one of the many restaurants. Kids and dad swam the next morning just outside the hotel after breakfast while mom packed up and took pictures from the balcony. We wandered the city and wished we had booked an extra night but they were booked solid. Parking was easy, provided by the hotel right across the street. Great little city! We then drove the Postrana just outside of Split. Stayed in a private hotel/apartment Marija Slanic,Grljevacka 162, Postana (Split) +385 (0)21 330 109 found on Adriatica.net (air conditioned). Just South of Splt along sea. Very reasonable with 2 balconies that open out to a beautiful sea view. Easy walk to beach (one small building in front). Great room. Actual apartment with full kitchen. Due to itinerary issues had to continue the next morning to Dubrovnik area. Stayed at Villa Kate (found online). This is actually located in Lozica about a 5 minute drive to Dubrovnik. We found that parking just inside the next village at the marina and taking the local bus to Dubrovnik Old City was the best and saved buckets of money in expensive parking fees. If you have vehicle access, I would HIGHLY recommend Villa Kate (Yes, air conditioned). We had two private rooms with our own bath on the top floor of a private home. There was stair (as in swimming pool stairs) access to the Sea and we found coming home after a long, hot day and floating in the clear blue Adriatic Sea to be the most refreshing and relaxing experience of the trip! Great local restaurant which is a 5 minute walk. Owner will cook whatever you want if you let her know early enough to go to market. Great food. As in Rick's book, Dubrovnik is NOT TO BE MISSED! I felt transported in time when entering the Old City at dusk. Be sure to walk the city walls but advise to do it early morning or at sunset if visiting during the summer. Very HOT midday. Drove back to Split after 3 days and stayed in Trogir at Hotel Concordia. We staying in the top floor rooms (2 next to each other...only rooms on the floor). Air con in each room (blessing). Trogir was wonderful. Great location, good beaches, and quaint with a very safe and comfortable feel to the city. Very quiet hotel yet lively promenade and fantastic medival alleys to ramble in for gelato or restaurants. Traveled to Split for one day and didn't really connect with this city. Interesting but seemed a bit impersonal after Trogir. Wandered around, shopped, but returned to Trogir earlier than expected. Dropped the car at Split airport (closer to Trogir than Split) for flight to London on 3rd day. Things not to be missed: Swim in the Sea. Doesn't compare to anything else. Visit Dubrovnik! Be careful to ask the price of fresh fish when dining in the old city. Mine was $50! Assummed the menu price was the "fresh catch of the day" when it was not. This was even at a budget restaurant. Completely caught us offguard.Stopped in Ston (between Split and Dubrovnik for lunch at recommendation of Marie (Postrana accommodation) and had the best meal of the trip at the local restaurant (all of us agreed!). Part of Hotel Ostrea which has 3 restaurants. This one in the middle. I think the name was Kapetanova Kuca (Captains House). Very quaint tiny village founded in 1333 just off the mainland. Easy access by car. Thoughts: Spend two nights in each hotel as Rick suggests if possible especially if traveling in summer.We were slowed by hot weather and felt much more relaxed when allowing 2 nights. I had CD's made of digital pictures along the way as needed. Very inexpensive even in Dubrovnik.We found driving the coast to be fun and spontaneous! Car rental company: Sixt. Best price for inter-country drop fee. Great service and car. Yes, some crazy fast drivers but saw no accidents during the entire trip. I drove quite a bit and just let them pass me when they felt comfortable. Down side...access to the islands takes a lot of planning if you have a car. To do this make sure you have enough time. Ferries do not run even in June. We had to skip this portion due to the car. Prices were a bit higher for everything than quoted in the book but not too much. Almost all Eastern Europeans under the age of 40 speak good English. We mainly had to learn "Thank you and Good bye in the other languages (just to feel a part of the culture!) Eastern Europeans seem to be looking forward to the arrival of the American Tourists. We were given very good treatment and hospitality everywhere we went (Hungary too!).
Edmonds, WA USA Mon 07/03/2006
Croatia and Slovenia
We just returned from Split and Dubrovnik. Driving is not a problem, but the coastal road, while stunning, takes concentration and focus. Native drivers like to pass even on the hairpin curves, and motorcyclists are suicidal. We had good luck finding accomodations through unibookers.com for Split, and dubrovnik-apartments.com for Dubrovnik.In Split we stayed at the apartment Vinca (Bruno Vucica, Senjska 4, Split +385 (0)98 977 3633 )- small, but clean and friendly with a great view. About 95 euro a night for 4 persons. In Dubrovnik we stayed at the Lapad peninsula (a 10 min bus ride to the old city) at the apartment Klara (Kreso Gudelj +385 98847 100). Also 95 euro per night for 4. New,large, clean, air-conditioned, great view of the sea. Getting to these apartments was difficult. In Split, a friendly native led us to the bottom of our "street" on his bicycle. The street is actually steps leading up into the residential areas. No way accessible by car from the lower city. We later learned from our host to drive up and around and park at the top of the hill, then walk down rather than climbing up. Much easier with luggage! Same story in Dubrovnik, although our host explained this in advance, and met us at an easily found place in the harbor. We found all of our restaurants by chance, and never had a bad meal. Check out the swallows in Dubrovnik! At dusk they cover the skies. Euros are widely accepted everywhere along the coast.I found prices for food and lodging to be very reasonable, except for seafood. People were friendly and welcomed tourists. The old cities in Split and Dubrovnik were fascinating - I wish we had taken the time to do an english-speaking tour. Croatians are very proud of these two cities, although Dubrovnik is ahead of Split in preservation. All in all, we preferred the southern coast and Dubrovnik. One note about Slovenia: we stayed a night in Ljubljana at the Hostel Celica. This is a former prison renovated by art students into hostel "rooms". Each room is a cell with cell doors still attached and used. Shared bathrooms - gender separation not always enforced. Very interesting, but perhaps better suited to the younger crowd. We found the surrounding area to be intimidating - it was a popular hangout for the local "goths" and other fringe groups. We did not venture out after dark.
Wiesbaden, Germany Mon 07/03/2006
We traveled to Slovenia for two weeks in Sept of 2005. The Slovenian people are warm, friendly, highly educated, and hardworking. They welcome visitors and like to talk, talk and talk. The entire country is immaculately clean.
Slovenians are proud of their language but because there are only two million of them they have always had a second language. Formerly it was German but now it is English. All young Slovenians (under 30 or so) speak fluent English, most with an Iowa accent!
The entire country is booming. Since declaring their independence from the former Yugoslavia less than 15 years ago, they have rapidly moved toward a market economy. Everywhere you look, in large towns to small villages, homes and business buildings are being rehabbed. Last year they were admitted to the EU. Their currency is still the Tolar but the Euro is widely accepted. What follows are the high points.
Ljubjlana is a beautiful old town area, especially at night. Union Executive hotel is a great central location with a high-end restaurant. Sorry, Rick, at our age creature comforts like elevators have a place. Visit the central square at night, variety of free live music. Walk along the river and watch the young adults have fun at the eateries along the river (60,000 university students in Ljubljana), attend a concert by the Slovenian philharmonic, take the city sponsored tour, don't miss the outdoor market behind the cathedral and especially the lower level fish market. Highly recommend the restaurant adjacent to St James (St. Jacov) church, Aska in Volk-it's Bosnian! (Aska and the Wolf). Try anything slow baked in the traditional oven and especially the baked pears for desert.
Pension Stare in the Triglav National Park: This is more a Rick place. Wife is the cook, Grandma makes the deserts, and husband does everything else. Great value. Rooms are small but comfortable with balconies with a view. Food is as good as you can get anywhere. Superb Slovenian wines. Walk halfway around the mountain lake and return by the turisticna ladja (tourist boat.) Hike the mountains, or if you are a fly fisherman have the manager, Joze Stare, arrange for a fishing guide (mine was D. Erjavec) to take you grayling fishing in the high mountain streams. Check out their web site at www.national-park-hotel.com.
Bled: The most German and touristy of all areas we visited. This was Tito's cash cow. Take a pletna to the island with the church, visit Bled castle, and by all means leave the confines of touristy Bled and drive up into the surrounding mountains and visit rural villages. Hotel Mayer was the only lodging of the entire trip that was a disappointment and the restaurant in it was the only one we found to be rude and unwelcoming.
Vintgar Gorge- Worth the drive thru the small villages. Slovenians love to eat and drink outdoors. Every village has at least one gostilna. Most have outside tables. A gostilna is like an Irish pub but with a larger bill of fare. They are very clean. The food is superb, the wine good as well as cheap, and the service is helpful and friendly. In Slovenia an excellent inexpensive meal is always nearby in a gostilna. Immediately before you arrive at the Vintnar gorge is one of the best. Try their plum anything!
Idrijia: Small local museum is very interesting and staff is extremely helpful. Be sure to visit the Idrijia lacemaking school (call first. A young woman at the museum called for us.) This was a highlight of the entire trip and a great place to buy souvenir lace made by the instructors.
Hotel Rakov Skocjan- located in a state park. Rick's kind of place. Small. friendly, clean, inexpensive. Conveniently located near Postojnske and Skocjan caves and the famous Predjama castle. Food excellent. Say hello to Robertina. Postojnske caves, well worth a stop. As you leave notice the charred exit area and the small plaque to memorialize the partisans who blew up the German fuel storage depot inside the cave.
Predjama castle, a very short distance from the caves is always pictured when Slovenia is mentioned. They are in the process of installing exhibits with life size figures. Gostilna Pozar on the castle grounds is great place for lunch.
Lipica, Home of Lipizzaner horses. Tour well worth the time.
Piran: Very touristy, Italian with gorgeous views of the Adriatic Sea. Cuisine is Mediterranean, not Slovenian. The resident Italians are a constitutionally protected minority. Italian and Slovenian are spoken on the street, Italian coffee and gelato are served and everything is cooked in olive oil and garlic. Hotel Piran has beautiful private balconies overlooking the Adriatic. Take a boat trip north to visit other coastal towns such as Izola. There is a beautiful Croatian boat called the Burla that goes south but it is impossible to find anything about it. Animosities run long and deep .
Roads and driving, Main roads and highways are very good. Smaller roads less so but much better than Ireland. Easy country to find your way around in.
Of our ten trips to Europe this was one of the best probably because of the friendly Slovenians.
Diane and Larry Varsek
Shorewood, Il USA Sun 07/02/2006
Driving in Slovenia and Croatia?
Should we drive in Croatia and Slovenia?? We are doing the rick steves best of eastern europe iteneriary. Once we arrive to Ljublana do you think we should rent a car to do the caves, Bled, Plitvice Park, Zagred and then drop off car in Split? Or maybe drop car back off at Zagred, but then we'd have to double back. Do they rent cars for those 2 countries/ What rental place? should I reserve in Us first or wait to rent there. Seem it would be easier to have car considering all the different places, might be hard by public transportation. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
brentwood, ca USA Tue 06/27/2006
Croatia from Italy
Has anyone had experience with taking a ferry from Ancona, Italy, to Split, Croatia? We want to continue from Split to Dubrovnik and are looking for the best way to do that.
Monterey, C USA Tue 06/27/2006
My husband and I traveled by train from Vienna to Slovenia in the fall of 2004. My husband is Slovenian and we were fortunate enough to stay with some of his relatives in Veliki Gaber. They took us everywhere. I remember Lake Bled especially. We rode in a large gondola out to the Island and toured the church and island on foot. We rang the church bell and made our wish. Lake Bled is definetly a good place to visit so are the Caves at Postojnska Jama and Lipica Stud Farm and definate must for horse lovers. We also went to the Isle of Krk where my husband's relatives have a summer home in Croatia. We got to swin in the Adriatic. Very cold. Ljubjana is beautiful. Take the tour of the town and Castle lead by an English-speaking student guide. And don't forget the marketplace. It is hugh and fun. We are going again this year and taking my husband sister and her husband with us to meet her relatives for the first time. Slovenia is beautiful and well worth the trip. There is more I could say but....
Fair Oaks, California USA Thu 06/22/2006
Lodging in Croatia
Need recommendation for reasonably priced lodging in Split,Makarska and area close to Plivice Lake!Hard to find review for lodging in Croatia!
edmonton, AB canada Thu 06/22/2006
I was there in November
I have been to both countries in the last 6 months and the Plitvic Lakes in Croatia are a must. Also feel free to hitch hike this route from Zagreb. While staying in Zagreb stay at the Buzz Hostel which is not even a year old yet. As for Slovenia, skip the town of Bled. Although very beautiful it is a quick trip around the lake and that is it. Seek out one of the cave structures in the region instead.
Denver, Colo USA Sun 06/18/2006
Medjugorge...Going to Prague,Vienna,Dubrovnik and Medj. in mid Sept.Rick does not cover Medj. in his books.Do any of my fellow travelers have any tips,advice on Medj. or any of my destinations?
islip, n.y. USA Tue 06/13/2006
Croatian car rental
A friend and I have a week in Croatia, flying into Split and hopefully out of Dubrovnik. I am looking at renting a car as i have done in the past on other european trips. The trains seem to be getting very expensive and I like the freedom to see small towns etc. That being said what are ppls experince with this in Croatia and particalury the islands of Damlatia. How were the ferries? Was it worth the car? Any info would be appreciated! please email me if possible!
Calgary, AB Canada Thu 06/08/2006
Spent the month of May doing Rick's sugested visits in Hungary,Croatia,and Slovenia. The weather, sites, and people were wonderful. Budapest was much more enjoyable than I expected. After four days of seeing the sites, the Szechenyi Baths were a much needed break. Slovenia was as wonderful as Rick states in his book. Saw several wedings at the island church in Lake Bled. Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park was one of the highlights of the trip. Transportation is a problem, because scheduled buses do not always show up. However, it is still worth the visit. The island of Korcula was very beautiful and our second best place to visit in Croatia next to the Park. Split was ok, but I would rather have spent the time on the islands of Hvar or Vis. Our bigest disappointment was Dubrovnik. The old town is not much to look at, and the place is overrun with tours from the crew ships. If you must go, I would walk the wall at 8:00 AM when it opens, and before many of the tour buses show up. I would than leave the old town until three or four in the afternoon. That is when the tour buses leave to go back to the ships. Between walking the wall and coming back in the evening, go to the beach at Lapad. Very nice area with alot of good resturants. All the food we had was really good, except for the seafood. It does not come close to seafood along the Gulf Coast.
Houston, TX USA Sun 06/04/2006
accommodations in Dubrovnik
My husband and I are still trying to find accommodations in Dubrovnik. We have tried most everything found in the Rick Steves' East Europe book except the places that require a phone call. Can anyone give us any other places where they have had a positive experience. Thanks. Chuck and Sally
Leesburg, VA USA Sat 06/03/2006
Need suggestions on accommodations in Split and Dubrovnik. Had to book vacation late due to unforseen events! Accommodations hard to find. Please either post or email if you have any fairly recent suggestions (within the last year).Thanks!
Edmonds, WA USA Sat 06/03/2006
How much per passanger should people pay for tips per day for tour guides and bus drivers in Slovinia?
Lincoln, NE USA Sun 05/28/2006
Essential for 2007 Croatia/Slovenia Guide
In your upcoming Rick Steve's Croatia/Slovenia guide, I would really like to see lots of info, on bed & breakfast recommendations and a large section on driving around the country.
I will be travelling to Slovenia this summer and am finding it very hard to get B&B recommendations in the country.
If anyone has any recommendations for me now, since Rick's book won't be out until next year, pls email me.
Canada Sun 05/28/2006
Just returned from Croatia & Slovenia; Dubrovnik absolutely one of Europes most charming, quaint towns; Plitvice was beautiful and shouln't be missed; we used Ljubljana as a "home-base" for the western part (Bled, mountains, etc.); also, senior discounts in Ljubljana (only if you ask) average 50%, for town walking tour, Plecnik house, castle, etc.....did tour by rented auto and never felt safer for the two weeks we were there....of course, some of the drivers are scary.
Mahopac, New York USA Wed 05/24/2006
Slovenia - where to begin!
My family is from Slovenia, the northern part, and my husband and I returned there this past fall. It was amazing to be in the snow-peaked Alps in the morning and, by the afternoon, we were swimming in the Adriatic!
The highlites: Ljubljana is beautiful and easily explored (don't miss the market and catch a concert in the castle). Postojnska Jama and the castle (Podjamski Grad)are unforgetable. For some of the best local wines, make your way to a B&B (Vinjski Hram) in Jeruzalem (the Tuscany of Slovenia), where you can stay for about 60 Euros with breakfast and have some of the tastiest meals we have ever been served (in the fall, don't miss the wild mushroom soup). And the views! Valleys of vineyards.
Bled is one of the most romantic locations we have ever been! Don't miss a chance to row out to the island church and ring the bell and make a wish! And, again, don't miss the castle!
For some relaxation and sun, travellers should wander to Izola, Koper and Piran.
Croatia's jewels are most definitely Dubrovnik, Split and the other islands.
Deana & Roland
Ottawa, ON Canada Mon 05/22/2006
I've been to Belgrade a few times and had a wonderful time. There is so much to do and see and the food is wonderful. Here are some sites to see. The Tesla museum, http://www.tesla-museum.org/meni_en.htm
The Belgrade Military museum
Belgrade Zoo, it's part of an old fortress.
And be sure to take the American Tour. It's a tour of the city where they point out all the hospitals/bridges/schools and other buildings (we) the Americans bombed. I can't tell you how interesting it is to hear people's comments from the "other side" on a war that took place in my lifetime. It really you thinking. Should we have done what we did?
San Francisco, USA Sun 05/21/2006
We've been to Igalo - Herceg Novi in Montenegro several times. We rent a water front apartment. Its 30 minutes from Dubrovnik, R/T airfare from Frankfurt Airport is only $99.00.
People speak English. accept Euros, and go out of you their way to take care of you. It's very kid friendly and there's a lot to see and do. And it's very very inexpensive.
Rick Montenegro is so beautiful. They have the European ver of the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. And don't miss Kotor and the "secret" submarine base. My kids loved swimming in the carves.
This area is so different from the rest of Europe and the food is fantastic!
San Francisco, CA USA Sun 05/21/2006
Croatia/Slovenia Photo Site
We started doing research for a trip to Croatia and discovered a terrific photo web site that is a must see not only for this area but many others as well. Scroll down til you see the actual index of pages. Enjoy. http://www.sandy-travels.com
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA USA Sat 05/20/2006
Add driving directions
Single most important improvement to the Croatia/Slovenia book is: better driving directions. RS books on western European countries often have excellent driving tips, parking locations, and estimated driving times to the next destination. Please add these! We really missed them on our trip to Cro/Slo last year. Rick recommends renting a car (esp. in Slovenia, so it seems odd that there are so few driving helps in the guidebook. Thanks!
Sammamish, WA USA Sat 05/06/2006
Travel By Tram in Zagreb (Croatia)
The network of trams throughout the city of Zagreb, Croatia, is a fantastic, inexpensive, and convenient method of getting around town. The most important thing to remember is to buy a tram ticket at a newspaper/magazine kiosk or directly from the tram driver. I made the mistake of boarding my first tram without a ticket after just arriving in Zagreb. There are plain-clothes conductors on the trams randomly asking riders to show their tickets. These conductors do carry official identification -- just in case you think it is a scam. The fine for riding ticketless was 158 Croatian Kuna (US$25-US$30 approximately), and you must pay the fine to the conductor. Fines should be paid out in Croatian Kuna, but I have heard rumours that some conductors will accept Euros. Regardless of this incident, I enjoyed the trams; but some routes are used very frequently by the locals and the tram cars get filled to capacity very quickly. Avoid using these tram routes during the morning and afternoon business rush hours. As always, be warned of pickpockets. I had nothing stolen from me during tram rides. Be alert, but not paranoid.
Jerry Scott Horn
Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA Fri 05/05/2006
While In Dubrovnik, Check Out Cavtat (Croatia)!
If you are staying a few days in Dubrovnik, Croatia, spend some time in the charming coastal town of Cavtat (pronounced "Tsav-tat"), just sixteen kilometres southeast. Rick Steves recently described Cavtat in his 2006 Eastern Europe guidebook as "forgettable"! Shame on you, Rick! A day trip inside this tranquil town was one of the highlights of my four-week backpacking holiday in April 2005! You can either drive to Cavtat or take the convenient, hourly #10 Libertas bus from Dubrovnik bus depot (12 Croatian Kuna each way). There is also a ferry service between Dubrovnik and Cavtat. Check for schedule times and fares. Take a relaxing stroll along the shady waterfront promenade in Cavtat. There are delightful shoppes, cafes, and restaurants to visit. Towards the end of the peninsula is the residential section. Check out the home-museum of Croatia's most famous painter, Vlaho Bukovac. Step inside the nearby Franciscan Monestary to see lovely Renaissance paintings, then into the Rector's Palace for more paintings by local lad Bukovac. Late in the afternoon while the sun sets, climb up the forested hill at the end of the peninsula to see the town cemetery; including the imposing Racic Mausoleum, designed by Croatia's top sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic. Savour the view of the mountainous Dalmatian coast while it is bathed in soft hues of red and orange from the setting sun. This is an image that I will never forget -- and will cherish forever! Great moments do not need to be on a grand scale. Very often it is the quieter, gentler events that we remember most. I enjoyed my visit to Croatia in April 2005, and I am returning in 2007! Please contact me if you have any questions or need advice on visiting Croatia.
Jerry Scott Horn
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Florida USA Wed 05/03/2006
After Seeing Lake Bled, Check Out Lake Bohinj (Slovenia)!
If you are staying at Lake Bled, Slovenia, for a few days, take advantage of a day trip to nearby Lake Bohinj. Although a public bus does go there, it is too infrequent -- so best to rent a car. Drive westward on the main road along the southern shore of Lake Bled called Cesta Svobode. At approximately two-thirds the length of the lake, the road forks; turn left on the road leading to Bohinjsko Jezero (Lake Bohinj) and enjoy the leisurely drive for twenty-six kilometres southwest. The road follows a river, runs through beautiful pastoral landscapes, then cuts through numerous small villages. Be careful when driving through these villages: decrease your speed and watch out for one spot where the road narrows to one lane. Near the end you enter Triglav National Park (no admission fee) and the tiny village of Ribcev Laz, at the eastern end of Lake Bohinj. This is a good spot to park the car, visit the Tourist Information Centre for all the recreational options in the park, see the statue of the Slovenian folkloric chamois Zlatorog (Goldenhorn), and walk across the little stone bridge to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist (Cerkev Sv. Janez Krstnik). Check with the staff at the T.I.C. for visiting hours. Afterwards, continue driving on the main road that follows the southern shore of Lake Bohinj, and deeper into the forests and mountains. The road ends at a rustic parking lot at the start of the hiking trail to Savica Falls (Slap Savica) -- the waterfall that flows into Lake Bohinj and, further away, Lake Bled. Admission to the hiking trail is 400 Slovenian Tolarjev. There is also a parking fee, but an attendant is not always present. The hike to the falls is not long (20 minutes, plus or minus) but has a steep incline with log steps that can prove exhausting some people. Take a full bottle of drinking water and make frequent rest stops on the way up. The falls are truly worth the effort! Spring is the best time to see them at full force from the melting snows in the mountains. I visited beautiful Slovenia in April 2005 and I am planning on returning in 2007! Please contact me if you have questions or need advice on visiting Slovenia.
Jerry Scott Horn
Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA Wed 05/03/2006
How about Montenegro?
Have you considered adding information on Montenegro as well?
If you land in Dubrovnik, it's just 20 - 30 minutes south to Kotor Bay -- one of the most spectacular natural beauty spots in the world. Although the hotels are not fully up to world standards yet, the prices are great and there is a lot to see and do.
Astoria, NY USA Wed 05/03/2006
Croatia Ferry Schedules
Has anyone been to Croatia in the summer and taken the ferries from Split to Korcula? What was the schedule like?
Thank you for the answer. You can email me offline if you want.
Minneapolis, MN USA Tue 05/02/2006
My husband and I went to the island of Rab in Croatia in September 05 for 3 days. We drove from Trieste and took a car ferry from the small mainland town of Jablanac. Rab is a very unique island...part desert-like, part lush, and beautiful beaches. There is a historic town (also called Rab) with a harbor where you can find inexpensive boat excursions. We pitched a tent at campsite San Marino, right beside a gorgeous beach. The beach might be exclusive to the campsite/hotel. I would highly recommend visiting this island!
Buffalo, NY USA Mon 05/01/2006
fast food in slovenia
try eating in the slovenian version of macdonalds - real real?? the only thing that tasted familar was the soda, the rest is like cardboard. or is that also just like macdonalds? anyway it was fun. also be sure and try the local soft drinks.
omaha, ne USA Fri 04/28/2006
My fiancee and I stayed in Zagreb for nearly a month last May and June to do research (and I will be stopping through in June on my way to Zala Cave to do some archaeology). So if anyone has any questions, feel free to email me. I'll do the best that I can to help.
USA Tue 04/25/2006
experiences in Slovenia and Croatia
Lake Bled was beautiful and worth a two day stay.Plitvice Park is a must. Trigor was a great place to stay then travel to Split as a day trip. Split farmer's market is great. Hotel Concordia has great views of the harbor.Split guide Vesna was excellent. The Island of Hvar was our favorite resting stay. Stayed at Hotel Palace. Had great view of harbor. Great dinner at Luna Restaurant twice. Dubrovnik is full of charm and history. Walking the wall was a highlight. Great meals at Moby Dick's and Dundo Marofe. Had good pizza at mea Clupa. The closer to town you can stay, the better. The tour buses fill the town from 11 to 3.
Jerry and Joanna Olmstead
Anacortes, wa USA Tue 04/25/2006
Mary Jo: Homestay in Dubrovnik
I took the advice in the May 2005 edition of Rick's Travel News and made a reservation at the Villa Ragusa homestay in Dubrovnik. http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/east/east2.htm We stayed there for about four nights and were quite satisfied. The manager met us at the ferry dock and drove us into town. The home itself is located within the walls of the old city. Only drawback might be the steep path on which the house is located.
One caveat: make a reservation ASAP as the place is very popular now that it has been recommended by this site!
Spokane, USA Sat 04/22/2006
Slovenia is a great place to visit. My parents were born there and most of my relatives are still there. I have visited over a dozen times and would like to recommend a few sites and restaurants. The area I am referring to is called Ilirska Bistrica, about 20 miles south of Postojna. The Postojna Caves are wonderful to see. There is an escorted tour, available in English, that takes you through the cave by tram and walking. Very informative. There is also the Predjamski Grad (castle). I highly recommend it. It is near the Postojna caves. The castle is small and there isn't much to see, but it is located in a beautiful area up against a hill. The Lipica Stud farm is also something to see. I still haven't seen a show, but just going on a tour of the farm and seeing the horses is great. Skocjanske Jame (cave) are also a great site. They also have a great restaurant called Gostilna Pri Jami. One of my favorite restaurants is called Finida. Located on the route from Croatia to Trieste, in a village called Obrov. It is right on the main road, easy to find and always has good food. Just outside of Ilirska Bistrica is another great restaurant called Skorpion in a village called Recica. Great food and good pizza. I think it would be hard to find a bad restaurant. Everywhere I go I have a great meal. Slovenians are great cooks and are concerned with quality and freshness. Although one thing I must admit is that service in most places tends to be slow, but this is also part of the culture. Remember, they won't bring your bill until you ask. Happy travels.
Duarte, CA USA Wed 04/19/2006
My family and I are headed to Slovenia and croatia this may and into june. We still need to make reservations for a hotel in Dubrovnik. Any suggestions? Someplace with character, but not too expensive. Any other must sees or suggestions would be helpful.
Lakewood, CO USA Tue 04/18/2006
Vivian, I tried to send you an email about Medugorje (with photos from my trip). When I hit "send" it went nowhere because your email address is incomplete, so...........
Bellingham, WA USA Mon 04/17/2006
Travel on From Dubrovnik
Your Eastern Europe itineray for Croatia takes us to Dubrovnik....and stops. We are planning a late summer trip that follows your plan but we want to continue on to Istambul and then to Greece. Is there a practical way of continung toward Sofia or Istambul. I have not been able to find flights, trains or buses that go east from Dubrovnik although there appears to be a highway to Skoopje from Opuzen.
Ottawa, ON Canada Sun 04/16/2006
Don't Forget your Passport!
Slovenia is now a part of the European Union, but for some reason, crossing its border is not the same as other borders. After simply driving across the German/Austrian and Italian/Austrian borders, with no one stopping us, I got lulled into not worrying if we had our passports with us when we attempted to enter Slovenia. After driving 2.5 hours (from Venice), we were denied entry into beautiful Slovenia! I'm still hurting over this missed opportunity!!
Indianapolis, IN USA Thu 04/13/2006
In May,2006 we are planning a trip to Eastern Europe. We found hotels very slow to respond to our e-mails for reservations. Especially Budapest, Ljubljana, and Pllitvice Nat'l Pk. Hotel Mayer in Lake Bled was the only one to respond the next day. The others took several e-mails and a couple of weeks to respond. We eventually got the hotels we wanted from Rick's book, with the exception of Budapest. We had to go to another site to find a hotel, and they were also very slow to respond. The ones from Rick's book finally did respond after we had made arrangements already. So do not give up.
Houston, TX USA Thu 04/13/2006
Hightlights and tips
My wife and I have been to Croatia/Slovenia twice in last two years to visit her cousins in northern Croatia. Our impressions - Zagreb interesting but good maps are hard to find. Easy to get lost getting into old town center. Ljubljana is a fabulous day stop. Plitvice Park in northern Croatia should absolutely be on everyone's list. In Dubrovnik, we stayed at Hotel Lapad, away from walled city. Really a great place. Use the full meal plan. Dinners very cheap that way if you eat at hotel. Separate they are very expensive. Used buses to get to old part, worked well. In Trogir, Vila Sikaa was really interesting - no elevator, lots of stairs. Maybe the best was in Opatija, Hotel Milenji (Millenium). Picked it by chance. Very elegant and upscale, but inexpensive by our standards. Good place to unwind. Also very good restaurant -again take the meal package. Enjoy the street vendors along the beach walk in the early evening. We drove the country both times. Rented cars at Venice airport from Avis, only company that was relatively easy to allow into Croatia/Slovenia. No trouble at all. Watch out for speed trap in Bosnia, where little strip of land cuts Dubrovnik off from rest of Croatia. They selectively enforce limit on cars with EU license plates - not on the locals. Cost us about 30 Euros.
Lawrence, KS USA Mon 04/10/2006
crotia and slovenia
Thanks to my fellow traverers for some great tips about Croatia and Slovenia!I am going in Sept.,Rick has not covered Medjugorge,which is a part of my itenerary. Any thoughts?
islip, n.y. USA Sat 04/08/2006
Traveling in Croatia Was Safe!
We took an early morning train from Ljubljana to Zagreb. Then followed Rick's instructions and took a tram to the bus station, a bus to the airport and flew Croatia Air to Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik was magical-we stayed in the home of Paulina Cumbelic (Tel 385 (0)20 421 327.) The location couldn't have been better-just outside the Pile Gate and the price was right-equal to $50.00 per night. We were surprised that there was a charge to walk the wall but definitely worth it! Watching the sunset from Cold Drinks "Buza" was a highlight. We took a bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula. We were there in October, off season, and we found the people there to be a little brusque. Our best meal on the island was at the Adio Mare-fresh fish and amazing French fries! Our next destination was Split-the ferry doesn't leave for Split every day so you should plan that part of your itinerary carefully. Split was interesting but three days there were too many for me! Our last night in Croatia we stayed in the town of Trogir to catch an early morning flight. We found the Vila Sikaa to be a lovely hotel with a great view of the city! You will find Croatia to a safe and fun adventure!
Decatur, GA USA Wed 04/05/2006
We traveled in October, 2005 and loved Slovenia-we planned to stay in Ljubljana 2 nights but found it so cool that we stayed 4! The TI attendant at the train station was helpful in securing us a room at the Hotel Park. We found the location to be fine-an easy walk from the train station and then to the main area. We did our laundry at the Hostel Celica-they have a washer and dryer and for about $6.00 a load we were able to wash and dry. They provided tokens and soap. Any restaurant along the Riverside was a great place to hang out and we had good food at Sokol. We rented a car and took a perfect day trip to Lake Bled-tour buses are available but we found the rental car a cheaper and more flexible option. In Bled we ate lunch at Gostilna Pri Planincu and as Rick suggested had a kremna rezina (creamy custard-filled cake) at Smon Slascicarna. We hiked around the lake and didn't regret buying a small watercolor painting of the island from a colorful local artist that was set up near the end of the trail. We hiked the trail in Vintgar Gorge just north of Bled-at the end of the trail you round a bend and have a beautiful view of the Alps! After our day of hiking we had a really nice dinner at Mayer Penzion before we made our way back to Ljubljana. Other highlights in Ljubljana were the riverside market, the Joze Plecnik House, and the National and University Library where we found Internet access. We traveled to Slovenia via train from Budapest. Before we left, we exchanged our Hungarian forints for what we thought were Slovenian tolars at a bank in Budapest. When we tried to pay for a meal with our tolars we were surprised to find that the clerk at the bank gave us Slovakian currency rather than Slovenian!
Decatur, GA USA Wed 04/05/2006
sAFE TO TRAvel Croatia?
We're planning to travel to eastern europe this summer, and going to Slovania and Croatia. someone just told me its not safe to travel Croatia. Is their any comments on that? wOULD APPRECIATE IT.
San Francisco, ca USA Wed 04/05/2006
Croatia and Slovenia
My two favorite places. We've been three times so far. Bol is the greatest beach in Croatia. Just a ferry ride from Split and completely uinque and gorgeous. Smooth stone beach that sticks out like a finger into the Adriatic. In Slovenia, the Skocjan Caves are breathtaking and worth any inconveniece of getting there. Just rent a car, it's too complicated in Slovenia otherwise. And the other big highlight is Lake Bled. Completely Idyllic. We took a rowboat out to the island in the lake and jumped in the water and just had a marvelous time. The drive into Austria through the Julian Alps from Lake Bled is also gorgeous and quite close.
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 04/04/2006
Trieste to Divaca
To get to Divaca from Trieste, I'd probably take a taxi to Divaca, stow my luggage at the station, and then continue to the caves either by taxi or on foot (take the 3km. path from the train station marked "Park Skocjanske Jame". The caves are spectacular, and well worth the effort to get there.
Tampa, Florida USA Sun 04/02/2006
Lake Bled is lovely. Slovenia's only island is in the center, with a very old church (ring the bell and your wish will come true....and for me, two weeks later, what I had wished for...DID come true.....just thought you should know) Incredible scenery, extremely nice, English speaking people, they even take euro! Cheap, excellent wine....defiently a place to see. Also Maribor is a lovely little city, it has the oldest still producing wine vine in the world. Accomadation is a bit hard to find, as they are re- doing the Hotel Orel, but it is still worth seeing.
Sacramento, CA USA Sun 04/02/2006
Visting Skocjan Caves
My wife and I are going to visit Slovenia in mid-May. We are flying in to Venice and then going to travel from there to Ljubljana by train. We would like to visit the Skocjan caves on the way, but there seems to be no easy way to do this in one day.
There are hourly trains to Trieste from Venice, and fairly frequent trains from Divaca (where the caves are) to Ljubljana, but no way to get the 8 miles or so from Trieste to Divaca.
Boulder, CO USA Thu 03/30/2006
Crafts and Local Cooking in Slovenia
My traveling friends... I am a Seattle descendant of Slovenian immigrants and plan on visiting my grandparents' home villages in the Fall of 2006. A guide book with an appreciation of local crafts, to complement the usual information on the more-touristed art museums, would be much appreciated by all of your readers, I'm sure.
I haven't been to Slovenia, but I know some of the local styles of south-Slav food (from my aunts & uncles) and would like to see this covered in your next guidebook.
In my travels to Europe over the past 25 years, I've always sought out restaurants where the locals eat, serving up home-style cooking. This turned out to be a tough assignment in Venice, but I lucked out once by walking into a quiet trattoria (they didn't speak English), and trying out some gestures along with pidgin Italian keywords, on my part (rustica, pasta di casa, specialissima di cucina). Some research to help us find the local hang-out places in Slovenia and Croatia (in the tourist towns) would be a good thing to include.
Seattle, WA USA Mon 03/27/2006
For anyone going to Istria, I highly recommend staying near Labin as a staging area for your day trips. We stayed at Palaea Lazzarini-Battiala. Their website is www.sv-martin.com/en/index_en.htm. They met us with a welcoming meal and great wine. We had friends who visited them on their travel through the area after we had left, and although they didn't stay there, they were also treated to a big dinner and wine after the owners found out they were friends of ours. Tears were shed on our departure and the warmth of their hospitality will never be forgotten.
Other than that, be sure to visit Split
and Trogir. In both places we were able to find great accomodation upon arrival through local travel agencies. Ferries were easy to make connections on, even with our car.
We flew into Ljubljana from London on Easyjet and picked up a car we had reserved in the States. If you stay on the island of HVAR, consider staying in Stari Grad, a small village near the city of Hvar, but without all the chaos of a very popular holiday destination. English is universal and people were very friendly, and somewhat suprised to find that we were Americans.
We plan to return soon.
Carnation, wa USA Mon 03/27/2006
My husband and I spent a week in Slovenia last summer and loved it. We spent 2 nights in Ljubljana, 3 nights in Piran and 4 nights in Lake Bled. We loved Ljubljana, it had a great feel to it. We stayed at Hostel Celica which was fine, had dinner at Sokol which was great, ate lots of ice cream, wandered around the flea market, etc. On our drive down to Piran we stopped at the Caves and Predjama Castle. We stayed in Hotel Piran and had a great time...the breakfast was fabulous. The restaurants in Piran are pretty much all the same. The calamari was good, but got old after the thir day. There is a good sandwich shop right outside Hotel Piran. We enjoyed the sunset and the quiet. WHile in Piran we visited the Lipica Stud Farm which was worth every penny. We drove back up to Lake Bled and stayed in the Hotel Jadran...that was ok, but not great. We would have loved to get into the Mayer Penzion, but they never returned my emails. We did eat dinner there and it was fabulous. THough the hotels are similarly priced with Western Europe, the food is cheap and good, as is the wine. Definitely recommend SLovenia...but if you go there, plan on driving your car, or renting one...would have been too hard using public.
Germany Sun 03/26/2006