We just got back from a trip to the Balkans and Dalmatian Coast! It was a diverse and history-filled trip with plenty of beach time. While there are many more countries we would love to visit in the region, here's what we could make it to in two weeks and how we got there. We'll be posting individual city guides shortly!
Croatia, Slovenia, & Bosnia-Herzegovina Two Week Itinerary
Day 1 - fly to Sarajevo
Day 2 - Sarajevo
Day 3 - Morning in Sarajevo, bus to Mostar (2.5 hrs) in the afternoon, sleep in Mostar
Day 4 - Private transport to Dubrovnik (5 hrs, 1 border crossing), sleep in Dubrovnik
- There are plenty of buses from here too! They take ~5-6 hrs, but require 3 border crossings.
Day 5 - Dubrovnik
Day 6 - Day trip to Montenegro (Budva, Kotor) from Dubrovnik
Day 7 - Morning in Dubrovnik, bus to Split in the afternoon (5 hrs, 2 border crossings), sleep in Split
Day 8 - Split
Day 9 - Morning in Split, bus to Plitvice Lakes in the afternoon (5 hrs), sleep near Plitvice Lakes
Day 10 - Morning exploring Plitvice Lakes, so beautiful! Bus to Zagreb in the afternoon (2 hrs), sleep in Zagreb
Day 11 - Train (+ short connecting bus) to Lake Bled (3 hrs, 1 border crossing), sleep in Bled
Day 12 - Morning in Bled, bus to Ljubljana (1.5 hrs), sleep in Ljubljana
Day 13 - Ljubljana
Day 14 - Morning in Ljubljana, fly home.
A few notes:
- There is a lot of bus time included in this trip. Unlike other parts of Europe, this region has very few high speed trains. Many people travel this area by car and there seemed to be adequate parking in most cities. A car was not an option for us, but we found the bus system to be organized and timely, as long as you're okay with napping on the bus!
- If we were to do it again, the only change we'd make would be to extend time in Split rather than Dubrovnik. While beautiful (and the filming location of King's Landing from Game of Thrones), Dubrovnik features higher prices and more tourists than any other part of the country.
Some general knowledge:
- Language: Everyone speaks English! (And maybe better than you). People here know that they come from tiny countries, and don't expect that you'll be able to talk to them in their native tongue. Some older people may struggle to communicate, but anyone younger than 30 is usually fluent. Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegran are very similar languages and sound nearly identical. Although nearly the same, Slovenian has been separated for longer so there are more differences. "Ciao" is an always an acceptable greeting.
- Visas: If you're from the US (as of this writing) you don't need any visas before arrival to enter these countries. Just show your passport and you should be good! Plus, if you're in the market for passport stamps, this is the place to be. Nearly every bus ride includes at least one passport check and stamp (for non-Europeans), and some up to three.