Practical aspects for the itinerary
Usually in my ontheroad itineraries I make some premises that are useful if you are in the "creation of the itinerary". This time I will make the two distinctions between the two nations: Slovenia e Croatia.
Information for traveling to Slovenia
Traveling to Slovenia it is very simple and pleasant. The roads are very well maintained, the landscapes are of an indescribable green and the care that Slovenians have for their “houses in the middle of the green” is incomparable compared to the Italian situation. You will realize this as soon as you cross the border between Italy and Slovenia and vice versa.
I have been to Slovenia several times. I have visited Ljubljana, the stupendous Caves of San Canziano Bela Krajna and the surrounding areas. I love Slovenia and the tranquility it gives you.
The only problem (which is not a problem) is that before entering Slovenian territory and driving along a motorway, you must necessarily buy the Slovenian vignette for the time it will take you: weekly or monthly?
I told you more about the cartoon and how to use it in this article: Slovenian vignette? How to visit Slovenia by car.
Information for traveling to Croatia
Traveling to Croatia is also very simple. There are only three or four points to pay attention that I summarize you in the list below:
- In Croatia there is not the euro but the Kuna, currently (2020) 1 euro is equivalent to about 7,5 kunas. The prices, especially in tourist places, are not so far from the Spanish ones. Indeed, in many cases, especially in very famous places such as the islands or Dubrovnik, the prices are very high. Sometimes even incomprehensibly high.
- The motorways are "toll" like the Spanish ones. So no vignette. They are smooth and in good condition.
- Moving between the islands I assure you that it is not complex at all. Also in August I had no problem modifying my itinerary based on new needs, and therefore taking tickets online or going directly to the ticket offices. All very simple and above all easy, I assure you. It was my initial, unfounded concern.
- If in the part ofon the road itinerary in Croatia you want to reach Dubrovnik, remember that you have to go through a small strip of Bosnian land. Documents side, no problem, they also accept an identity card. On the car insurance side, be careful what your green card says. Eventually you will have to take the supplementary insurance, but I will explain it to you in a specific article.
16 days ontheroad between Croatia and Slovenia
As I wrote previously, my itinerary started from home, that is from Brescia. I would say starting from the itinerary from the first stop, the Caves of San Canziano, just beyond the Italian border.
This itinerary to visit beautiful places not far away by car starts from the north of our peninsula, that is, near Trieste. You might as well follow a different path of the itinerary. If you live in the south or the center, it might be better to take a ferry such as those that depart from Ancona and go directly to Croatia.
1 day: Škocjan Caves and Ljubljana
The Caves of San Canziano are located a few kilometers from the Italian border and you do NOT need to pay the vignette. You can reach them by the normal road. They are a spectacle of nature. Kilometers in the underground ravines of these karst lands. They counterbalance the other famous caves: the Postojna cave, which, however, they say are decidedly commercial.
The Škocjan Caves are definitely a fixed stage if you enter Slovenia from the side of Trieste.
Read also: the Caves of San Canziano, an underground paradise!
A short distance away, on the road to the beautiful Ljubljana, you can stop at the characteristic Predjama Castle and then arrive in Ljubljana in the evening and experience the city in the evening. Caution: to get to Ljubljana and drive on the Slovenian motorways, at this point you will need the Slovenian motorway sticker.
- Škocjan Caves -> Ljubljana: 78 km - 55 minutes
2nd day: Ljubljana and Lake Bled
Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital. Quiet, relaxed but at the same time sparkling, Ljubljana is the capital where you don't understand that you are in a capital. It is not very extensive, indeed, and in one day you can easily visit it, including a climb to the castle and an aperitif on the green banks of the Ljubljanica river that crosses it.
Do you want an itinerary to visit Ljubljana? Here is my article on what to see in Ljubljana.
My advice is to dedicate the whole day of the second day ontheroad between Slovenia and Croatia to this Slovenian gem and then move north and reach the beautiful, but perhaps too much praised, Lake Bled.
- Ljubljana -> Lake Bled: 56 km - 40 minutes
3 day: Lake Bled -> Second night in Bled
At least one day to Lake Bled is necessary. It is a very beautiful area, sometimes too touristy (especially in August), nestled in the green mountains of northern Slovenia. I especially appreciated the castle, the view from the top and the Vintgar Gorges, although beware that in the summer months it is like going to popular fairs: queuing up (not cars but people on foot) on wooden runners .
Consiglio: keep them as a possible spring or autumn stop. Beautiful, but with the confusion they become unlivable.
Lake Bled, however, definitely deserves a day, even a day and a half ... and take some time to enjoy a huge portion of the famous "Bled Cake".
4th day: Visit of Maribor
To get from Bled to Maribor you will have to travel several kilometers on the highway. But I assure you that in a Slovenian ontheroad you could travel twice as many kilometers that you would not experience the same tiredness as an Italian ontheroad, just to understand.
You will arrive in second largest Slovenian city, in the north east of the country. A very quiet city, which can be visited on foot within half a day. It doesn't offer great things to see, but it's the right compromise for drinking a few glasses of good wine (in Maribor there are famous wineries underneath the whole city) and take a relaxing break before continuing the journey to Croatia. From this point on, the on the road itinerary in Croatia will start to get quite challenging.
- Lake Bled -> Maribor: 182 km - 1 hour and 54 minutes.
Croatia on the road: by car to Dubrovnik
The first part of the itinerary in Slovenia, as it was for me, will also have the benefit of starting to enter travel mode for you. Lots of greenery, fresh air, relaxation.
Not that the second part of the itinerary doesn't have the right component of relaxation, but you definitely have to grind several miles of cars, after all, it is always an ontheroad.
5th day: Entry into Croatia to Plitvice lakes
From Maribor, also known as Marburg, the itinerary continues immersed in greenery towards Croatia. As soon as you cross the border and make the first kilometers, you can also notice a change in the way of keeping the roads and the green. Basically remembers more, at least that was my perception.
We then skirt the Croatian capital Zagreb and return to the greenery among villages that perhaps still blame the period (not too far away) that marked them in an important way.
After several kilometers you reach the area of Plitvice lakes, an area of indefinable beauty. The trick to appreciating Plitvice Lakes is to dedicate yourself to them a full day. So, if you have spent half a day driving and reaching this remote Croatian place, the remaining part of the day I suggest you enjoy a little relaxation.
I did just that, also because the next day I decided to wake up very early to go to the Lakes. How come very soon? I will explain it to you soon in a post, but I already give you a tip: book your tickets before the start of your trip.
- Maribor -> Plitvice Lakes: 182 km - 1 hour and 54 minutes
6th day: Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice lakes are that place during this driving route in Croatia, which will be unbelievable. If you like nature, such a place can only get you back on track, really. This will be a day to breathe deeply.
Despite the large turnout of people, you will still be able to carve out some beautiful moments of tranquility. L'intensity of the falls it will also depend on the period in which you visit them. I went there in August and it is not exactly the best time.
Dubrovnik it is far away, so I recommend you pass a second night near the Plitvice Lakes and then leave early the next morning.
7 day: Towards Dubrovnik
It will be one of the longest and most demanding days of your on the road itinerary in Croatia. I'm 433 kilometers to go to reach this beautiful Croatian city starting from the Plitvice lakes. And not only. On this trip by car in Croatia you must also consider the passage of the border between Croatia and Bosnia.
A small strip of Bosnian land less than 10 km long separates the last piece of Dalmatia from the rest of Croatia. Depending on the period you may find a queue near customs, just for the classic control operations. Although it was August, on the northern border between Croatia and Bosnia, I found only half an hour of queue.
Little advice: in the last kilometers of the Croatian road before the border you will find many fruit sellers at the edges of the roads. Stock up on fresh fruit, you won't regret it.
Other advice which I will reiterate in the "Recommended hotels" section: to avoid exorbitant costs and problems with the parking space, sleep in Cavtat. Also called the old Ragusa, it is a delightful town that will allow you to get away from the chaos of Dubrovnik.
- Plitvice Lakes -> Dubrovnik: 433 km - 4 hours and 38 minutes
- Dubrovnik -> Cavtat (Old Ragusa): 20 km - 25 minutes
8 - 9 day: Visit Dubrovnik and surroundings
Your goal will be the mythical walls of Dubrovnik... and the "procession" on the same. Unfortunately, this will be the risk. Dubrovnik is a stop on cruises that land and land thousands of people who, of course, go up on the walls as a whole.
Apart from this apocalyptic vision of the walls of Dubrovnik, the city is a wedding favor. The problem is that the wedding you have been invited to will be too crowded, which is why I recommend you sleep in Cavtat, just for a sort of "detox".
In an itinerary in Croatia on the road, visiting Dubrovnik is a must and I absolutely recommend that you include it among your stops. Indeed, I recommend you to spend two days, perhaps assuming you visit the island opposite: Lokrum.
Please note:: Dubrovnik and cars don't get along. Or rather, I and I believe you too, we don't get along with the hourly costs of a car park in Dubrovnik. From Cavtat there is a shuttle service by boat (or even bus) that allows you to reach the city directly by sea. Very beautiful.
10 - 12 day: Island of Korkula, sea and relaxation
To move to Korkula you can avoid redoing the border and you will only have to take a ferry between Peljesac e Korcula. When I created my on the road itinerary for this trip to Croatia, I have to be honest and tell you that I had a hard time choosing which island to enjoy a bit of sea on. It is objectively difficult to choose given the number of islands.
I chose Korkula because it was the one renowned for being a little less touristy and having exceptional waters. Well, I must say that the Pupnatska Luka beach it has perhaps the most beautiful water I have ever seen and therefore I can only confirm as far as the sea is concerned. As for the "tourist", yes, there are fewer people than in Dubrovnik, but the prices are really excessive. Eating in a restaurant in the city of Korčula is prohibitive.
So be careful not to get carried away. I found this part of Croatia considerably expensive compared to the next destination, the island of Pag.
- Cavtat -> Peljesac: 129 km - 2 hours and 5 minutes
- Peljesac -> Korcula: approximately 1 hour by ferry between embarkation and disembarkation
13 - 15 day: Island of Pag
Imagine moving from a tropical forest to a lunar landscape. Well, this will be the feeling that you will have moving from Korkula to Pag, because Pag is actually an island with a lunar aspect.
This itinerary, in addition to being a car itinerary in Croatia, will also be a ferry itinerary. In fact, I had planned to move from Korkula to Split (and then continue to Pag) by ferry to avoid returning to the Dubrovnik area. Perfect choice that I highly recommend.
In Pag I spent 2 full days in its spectacular lunar coves, something incredible. Croatia's water is definitely indescribable.
- Korcula -> Vela Luka: 43 km - 40 minutes
- Vela Luka -> Split: 3 hours and 30 minutes by ferry
- Split -> Page: 192 km - 2 hours and 5 minutes
16: Island of Pag and return home
In my case, the on the road itinerary between Croatia and Slovenia ended with the long, non-stop return from Pag.
- Pag city -> Ferry Zigljen (north of Pag): 32 km - 30 minutes
- Zigljen -> Prizna (north of Pag): 30 minutes by ferry
- Prizna -> Northern Italy customs: 180 km - 180 km - 2 hours and 40 minutes
Recommended hotels for the itinerary in Slovenia
These are all the hotels I stayed in, the prices I indicate are for 1 night in a double room and NOT per person. In this on the road between Croatia and Slovenia I have chosen all rooms with private bathroom.
Lake Bled - Houston Resort (see hotel) - 80 euros including breakfast - You may wonder what Houston has to do with Slovenia and I have also wondered. But it's true, the structure has that American something. Completely surrounded by greenery, it was built next to the river. The location is convenient for reaching Bled, out of the chaos. I really enjoyed this location and highly recommend it. Value for money: 8
Maribor - 4Flats (see the hotel) - 45 euros without breakfast - Clean, in the center, a stone's throw from everything and with the possibility of parking. You can't ask for better than this. Cheap price (I remind you that in my case the period was the middle of August). Absolutely recommended. Value for money: 9,5
Hotel for the on the road part in Croatia
Plitvice Lakes - Plitvice Palace (see hotel) - 60 euros without breakfast - The perfect hotel for those who want autonomy. It also has a nice swimming pool where you can relax after a day standing among the beautiful lakes. Really large and independent rooms in the hotel annex. Value for money: 9
Dubrovnik (Cavtat) - Guest House Villa Bellevue (see hotel) - 65 euros without breakfast - The photo of the sea view pool would be enough to convince you. The hotel, as the name implies, is actually a guest house. If you want independence, this is the one for you. The rooms are not that great, but for being 20km from Dubrovnik, 1km from a beach and a nice town like Cavtat, I'd say it's a good deal. Value for money: 8,5
Island of Korkula (Korčula) - Hotel Marko Polo (see hotel) - 110 euros with breakfast - Very large hotel, even if a little dated, two, and I mean really two, steps from the beautiful city center and walls of Korcula. It has two beautiful and large swimming pools and a large terrace overlooking Korčula. What's more: you have the opportunity to park for free inside. Finding parking in Korčula is almost impossible. Having it at the hotel and walking downtown is very convenient. Value for money: 8,5
Island of Pag - In this case I do not want to recommend the hotel where I stayed because it does not even deserve a 4. But I want to recommend the area and therefore I advise you to find a solution in this area: to search directly.