by Terri Cook Friday, May 16, 2014
Although there are no direct flights between the U.S. and Croatia, the capital, Zagreb, is connected year-round to most major European cities, and the Dalmatian Coast airports of Split and Dubrovnik are well connected during the summer. All three offer numerous car rental options; an online consolidator such as Auto Europe can help you efficiently find the best price. One-way rentals are generally only available to other locations in Croatia and Slovenia.
A network of ferries and catamarans connects the mainland with the picturesque Dalmatian Islands and eastern Italy; Jadrolinija (www.jadrolinija.hr) is the main operator. It’s important to check the timetables carefully because not all ferries visit each island every day, and you often need to return to Split to make connections.
Accommodations span a wide range of quality and price; private apartments are generally a better value than hotels. In Dubrovnik, I recommend staying at the comfortable, family-run Apartments Novak (contact: email@example.com), whose uppermost unit has a private deck with stunning views of the walled old town. Currently, Booking.com offers more than 750 reviewer-rated properties in Dubrovnik alone.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a two-hour drive from Zagreb, three hours from Split, and five to six hours from Dubrovnik. In the park, I recommend House Biba and Leona (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org), a cozy three-room bed-and-breakfast. Plitvice Lakes sees more than a million visitors each year; to avoid being part of the herd on the boardwalks, arrive at opening time. Most tour groups begin at the lower lakes, so I recommend parking at the western entrance and following the four- to six-hour-long “H” Trail in the reverse direction after catching a shuttle bus to Stop 4.
Although Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, its official currency is still the kuna, but most vendors also accept euros.
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