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My parents and I are heading to Croatia and Slovenia this summer (early September) by way of Italy and I'm trying to figure out the most fluid way for us to hit all of our destinations.


Renting a car is a must; however, I would like to not be tied to having one for too many days and having to deal with parking.


We're flying into Venice and out of Ljubljana.


Along the way, we're hitting the following:


Rovinj with a day trip to Pula

Plitvice Lakes National Park (will need an overnight)

Lake Bled (may need an overnight)


We will need a car to reach Plitvice Lakes and will likely need one to explore the Lake Bled region.  We can reach points in Istria (Rovinj and Trieste) by bus.


Any recommendations for best way to organize our trip without having to be tied to a car for too long and incur a drop-off fee?


Note that the summer Venice to Istria ferry schedules will still be available.  I had originally thought to go to Rovinj from Venice via ferry and then up to Trieste and onto Ljubljana by bus--BUT, Plitvice Lakes got in the way of that plan and now I cannot fathom removing that park from the itinerary.  Which now means a car.  Which is fine, but I don't want to worry about it (parking and whatnot) for too many days.  Ideally, maximum of 2-3 days with the car.  Our trip, right now is a total of 14 days on the ground but we do have a day or two of wiggle room, if needed.


Any ideas?



"All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere; every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?"

Last edited by TravelGirlJenn
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I've not done this trip, although it's floated up my destinations list and hopefully will be something we can do in a few years.


You've an awful lot of travel packed into two weeks, and the only efficient way to do much of it is to rent a car.  You can do it by buses and trains, but that would add days to the journey and take away from your valuable travel experiences.  So while expensive, a car will help you get the most out of your travel days and with three people won't be prohibitively expensive, 


If you're going to rent a car for 3-4 days, you might as well rent it for a week because the rates are the same after the 4th or 5th day (you get charged the weekly rate).  Drop-off fee will almost certainly be charged but it beats making a loop drive (given the high cost of gas and the time wasted).  Driving should be pretty straight forward but it will definitely pay to have a navigator with a GPS to help you out.  It's very easy to get lost with you get off the Expressways.


Typically I'd rent a car at a big airport (never get it when you land from America == the jet lag makes you a dangerous driver).  Take a day or two or three to recover and enjoy Venice and then pick up the car and begin your journey.  End at another airport, possibly Ljubijana, and look at option of doing day trips from there to end your trip.  Maximize the week with the car to see those remote destinations that are otherwise hard to get to.


Let us know how this works out.  It's a beautiful part of Europe I really want to see.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

Thanks for your feedback and I will definitely take your suggestions into consideration.


Really, the only destination that I truly, truly need a car rental for is the trip to Plitvice Lakes.  The entire Istrian region (Trieste to Pula) has an extensive and flexible bus schedule. 


Having a car for Bled is helpful, but it can be done using public transport.


Doing a preliminary "search" using Hertz, I entered my rental terms to be 9/9 - 9/11--renting from Koper, Slovenia (can take bus from Trieste) and ending at Ljubljana Airport.  Now, the base quote given with applicable taxes is approximately 130 Euro for those three days.  It "seems" reasonable, but then again I'm not sure if continuing the reservation process would then inflict additional fees.


And...yes, it is a lot of "traveling," but other than Venice, Pula and Plitvice, the only thing I have planned on this entire trip is allowing my parents to have their daily libations and my birthday celebration dinner--likely in Pula or Rovinj.  They can stew in their pivo or vino while I go play.  ;-)

"All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere; every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?"

I suspect that the car quote will not have taxes included, which in Europe are very high, but I could be wrong.  Also check  They will give you a quote that includes everything so you know exactly what it will cost.  They are broker, not a direct leasing agency.   I've used them several times and been satisfied with what I got.


For three people, having a car for that price for three days is a reasonable cost (per person per day) in my opinion.  And no matter how good public transportation is, a car is usually much faster and gives your more time to enjoy the travel experience.  I'm a fan of car rentals in the country, but definitely not in the larger cities.


In any event, do let us know how this works out for you.  Bon voyage!

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

Yeah, I'm still brainstorming.  I am considering, if we can rent a car before we leave Rovinj and if it is allowed cross borders into Trieste, spend our time in Trieste and then onto Plitvice.  We can then drop the car on our way to Ljubljana--Zagreb if we have to and then train/bus to Ljubljana.


Those bloody gorgeous lakes.  They sure know how to complicate things!  ;-)  Ok, so do I, too.  But again, if I regret not attempting to visit them, then they are worth the attempt to get to. 

"All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere; every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?"

That is absolutely a valid question. 


And my answer is: Yes or I wouldn't be able to get to work every day.  My Mustang is a manual.  My father can drive a stick as well.  I will likely put us both down as drivers in case he has too much pivo.  ;-)


I don't know what I was thinking with renting a car in Croatia and driving it to Trieste.  Decided to forego going by ferry from Venice and instead by train to Trieste and will bus to Rovinj after our time there and then rent a car to take to the Lakes.


It is a cheaper option, too, since it will be 201 Euro via ferry (yipes!) and approximately 30-60 Euro to travel to Trieste from Venice.  It will mean celebrating my birthday in Italy instead of Croatia, but I can live with that.

"All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere; every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?"

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