What to do on your Balkan Holiday: An Itinerary for Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Slovenia

So I think I’ve mentioned that in October we undertook our most ambitious trip to date, a two week road trip in the Balkans.  We had a ton of fun.

Because I’ve gotten some questions about it, here is the nitty gritty on what we actually did.  I’ll talk more later on the awesome places we stayed.

I’ll also talk more later on our opinions.  The things we most enjoyed.  The things we might skip.

I will say that this is a very relaxed itinerary.  You could shave several days off of this schedule and still do everything plus some.  We liked having the extra time; it made it feel like more of a vacation instead of just a trip.

Let’s get to it.

Day 0

  • Overnight ferry from Ancona to Split.  (Blue Line this time.)  This was similar to our ferry to Sicily, but shorter.


Day 1

  • Arrive at 7:00 AM in Split.  Breakfast on the Riva Boardwalk while waiting for stuff to open.  Wander town.
  • Tour Diocletian’s Palace, fighting cruise ship tourists all the way.
  • More wandering around town.
  • Lunch at Bajamonti on the Trg Republike piazza
  • More people watching on the Riva.
  • Check in at Airbnb.  Nap.
  • Hot chocolate at at the beach club Plan B, beer at the neighboring trampoline park (unlimited jump for both kids for less than 3 euro!), stop by grocery store for salami/cheese dinner on way home.

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Day 2

  • Spend morning at massive Mall of Split.  Lunch at mall.
  • Drive to Dubrovnik.
  • Check in at Airbnb.
  • Take the cable car up to watch the sunset.  Chilly, but picturesque dinner at the restaurant up there.

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Day 3

  • Explore Dubrovnik.  Walk the city walls.  (Do NOT take your stroller up there.)
  • Early lunch at Irish Pub The Gaffe while sitting out a rainstorm.
  • Walk around town.  Hit the aquarium.
  • Dinner at Airbnb.

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Day 4

  • Drive to Montenegro.
  • Amazing fish lunch at gorgeous Stari Mlini restaurant.
  • Wander around Kotor.  Pass on hiking up the impressive city walls.
  • Drive back, dinner at Airbnb.

Day 5

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Day 6

  • Explore Sarajevo.  Wander around town.
  • Lunch of Cevapi and chasing pigeons at the Square.
  • Hike up for the views at the Yellow Bastion.
  • Wander back through town, picking up assorted baklava, sweets, and kebab for dinner.
  • That night, food poisoning for 3/4 of us.  Throw out assorted baklava, sweets, and kebab.

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Day 7

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Day 8

  • Morning wander around town.  Watch the guys hustling about jumping off the Old Bridge.  Try to find one last Bosnian coffee.
  • Lunch at rest area.
  • Drive through massive rain/hail storm on way to Plitvice.
  • Check in at Plitvice Miric Inn.  Dinner there.


Day 9

  • Time to hike!  We drove to Plitvice Lakes National Park and did the Upper Lakes trail.  Took the boat across the large lake, lunch there, took the boat back without attempting to hike the Lower Lakes trail.  (It was a full day; we were in the park for at least 8 hours.  You could cover a lot more ground without kids though.)
  • Dinner at Inn where some of us stayed awake.

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Day 10

  • Drive to Samobor.  Wander the adorable, tiny town.  Eat cake (known for their kremosnita) for lunch on the square at Hotel Livadic.  (The cafe scene is Samobor is on point.)
  • Drive on to Ljubljana.  Check in at Airbnb.  Stock up at grocery store.
  • Wander into town.  Dinner outside at Julija.


Day 11

  • Short drive to Lake Bled.  Take the boat to Bled Island, ring the church bell, warm up with hot chocolate.
  • Drive to Radovljica.  Lunch at Gostilna Avguštin.  Visit the Beekeeping museum.
  • Dinner at Airbnb.


Day 12

  • Excellent tour at the architect Joze Plecnik’s house.
  • Wander into Ljubljana.  Chilly lunch on the river at Paninoteka.
  • Wander the market, take the funicular up to the castle for the views.
  • Check out the Dragon Bridge, Presernov trg, and the Orthodox Church.
  • Pick up food from The Wok to go for dinner at home.


Day 13

  • Drive to Postojna Cave.  Spend a wet 1.5 hours at a cafe waiting for our turn to enter.  The kids loved the underground train that takes you 2 km into the cave.
  • Drive to check out the view at Predjama Castle.  We didn’t go in.
  • Check in at Hudicevec Tourist Farm.  Dinner there.


Day 14

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Day 15

  • The long drive home.  Stop in at Ai Pioppi to stretch our legs with the amazing, homemade mechanical amusements.


4 thoughts on “What to do on your Balkan Holiday: An Itinerary for Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Slovenia

  1. topochinesvino says:

    Wow, what a trip! You are either extremely brave …or a glutton for punishment. Two little ones on a road trip. I am also either brave or glutton, I took 14 month old twins to Greece their first trip. They are in college now. My wife and I just did a version of your trip (without any of our 4 kids). Hit many of the same places. Loved reading your experiences. You may enjoy our trip story (ps, my wife didn’t know anything about the trip other than depart/return dates and weather). http://www.topochinesvino.com.

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