Planning a Trip to the Balkans: My Thought Process


Logistically, planning a trip to countries of the Balkans was difficult.  This region has emerged from the depths of communism and then war to become a burgeoning region for tourists.  With only ten days (including flights) available for this trip, we had to be selective about what we wanted to see.  Out of the whole region a must see on our list was Dubrovnik, Croatia, located on the shores of the Adriatic along the Croatian Riviera.  However, we didn’t want to spend the whole week there and we didn’t want to back track.  We figured a general north to south or south to north route would probably work best.  After realizing how close Sarajevo was to Dubrovnik, this became an interesting option as a place to visit.  Air fares were more reasonable out of Sarajevo than Dubrovnik, so we picked Sarajevo as our endpoint.  Then the question became where to start the trip.  Neither capitol city in Slovenia (Ljubjlana) or Croatia (Zagreb) made our list of places in which we wanted to spend time.  However, when researching Slovenia we came across the Lake Bled area located in the Julian Alps.  Lake Bled, and its beautiful mountain backdrop, is located very close to Ljubjlana and is easily accessible by car, bus or train.  Thus, Lake Bled, Slovenia became our staring point by flying into Ljubjlana.  In Croatia, in addition to Dubrovnik, we were set on visiting Plitvicka Jezera National Park.  Unfortunately, Plitvicka Jezera National Park and Dubrovnik can only be reached by bus or car with no train service to either destination.  At this point, with the limited time and our general route established, we decided to rent a car for at least part of the trip.


Then the question became, do we drop the car off in Split, Dubrovnik or Sarajevo?  With limited time, we didn’t want to take a long bus ride from Split to Dubrovnik, so we decided to at least drive the car to Dubrovnik. While researching transportation within Bosnia from Mostar to Sarajevo, it became apparent that the car would be the best option.  I read reports on the internet that people are allowed to smoke on the trains in Bosnia which is intolerable in my opinion.  The best option for our trip was to rent a car from from Slovenia and drop it off in Sarajevo.  By renting a car we had the flexibility to travel when and where we wanted with no time schedule.  The only downside to the rental car was the drop off fee that was incurred by starting in Slovenia and dropping off in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  So our final route was established from Lake Bled, Slovenia to Plitvicka Jezera National Park in Croatia to Dubrovnik, Croatia and finally ending in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina.



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