Trip Coach: December 9, 2008
Jeanne Oliver, the author of "Lonely Planet Croatia" and editor at croatiatraveller.com, answered your questions.
Jeanne Oliver: Hi everyone! I'm Jeanne and I've been visiting and writing about Croatia regularly for the last 12 years. It's my favorite destination and I hope it will be yours so let's get started!
Birmingham, Ala.: We are planning a trip to Venice and Croatia for sometime in June. I am trying to figure out the best way to get from Venice to Split, Croatia but it is hard to figure this out so far in advance without published ferry or airline schedules. It appears that there is no ferry from Venice to Split? Also no budget airlines from Venice to Split? And would be difficult and long to go by train? Please on advise on the best mode of transportation from Venice to Split, Croatia.
Jeanne Oliver: Several years ago there was a ferry that ran directly from Venice to Split but now travel arrangements are a little more complicated. I doubt whether that ferry will run again and, to my knowledge, there's never been a flight between the two destinations so I wouldn't count on that. There are regular ferries between Ancona and Split (jadrolinija.hr) however and you can always get a train from Venice to Ancona (see trenitalia.it for the schedules) to take the overnight ferry. You can also take a train from Venice to Zagreb and then a train or flight to Split. Your third option is to take a passenger ferry from Venice to Istria (venezialines.com), stay overnight and then rent a car and drive down to Split.
Easton, Pa.: We are four middle-aged women(65)hoping to travel to Croatia in spring, probably March 17, 2009 to April 1, 2009. Any suggestions on how to find a reasonable apartment for a one week rental in one of the major cities? Also where to travel for three or four days before and after the week's rental? We will leave from Newark, fly to Venice or Vienna and take trains from there. We like to hike, do only a few museums and find some off beat sightseeing possibilities. Shopping like a local is fun too so we seek out flea markets. Betty
Jeanne Oliver: Hi Betty! There are a number of agencies that specialize in apartment rentals on the coast. The two largest Croatian agencies that deal with rentals are adriatica.net and adriagate.com. There's also atlas-croatia.com and croatianvillas.com.
I would recommend that you rent the apartment in or around Dubrovnik and then take a few days to travel up the coast to Split, stopping at Hvar or Korcula Islands for some hiking. You'll love the daily market in Split that sells everything from homemade spirits to farm-fresh fruit to kitchenware to clothes.
Albany, N.Y.: I am planning a 2-3 week trip to Croatia and would like to know: can you go slightly off-season, say in April? I would like to start the trip by flying to and from Venice. Can you travel the coast using public transportation, or is it better to rent a car? Can you take a combination of trains and buses and ferries? Again, I would like to start in Venice, travel through Trieste by train, somehow see Istria (short car rental?), and then the major cities of Split, Dubrovnik and the islands in between. My interest is mostly in art and architecture, including historic towns.
Jeanne Oliver: April is a great month to travel to Croatia especially for art and architecture. Plus it's easy on the budget because accommodation and transport is much cheaper. To visit all the places you've mentioned involves a lot of driving. Also, bear in mind that you normally cannot rent a car in Venice and leave it in Croatia.
You could drive from Venice to Istria and then down the coast to Dubrovnik before taking the ferry from Dubrovnik to Bari, Italy and driving up the coast to Venice. Or, if you time it right, you could catch the coastal ferry that runs from Dubrovnik to Rijeka and then drive back to Venice. Otherwise, you could take a bus from Venice to Pula or Rovinj or from Trieste to Rijeka and then work your way down the coast using public transportation. Buses in Croatia are comfortable and reliable for getting from one city to another. It's wise to have a car for visiting the historic towns of Istria as well as for seeing the islands as bus services on the islands and within the Istrian interior are spotty. There's really good ferry service from the mainland to the islands but ferries from one island to another are more difficult to work out. For local ferries the main operator is Jadrolinija at jadrolinija.hr.