The most scenic train journey ever taken had to be Ploce on the Croatian coast, east to Sarajevo. Riding the dated German train, rolling through tunnels in the mountain side by the river, the mind wanders to the recent scars of war. A magical journey, made all the more special on arriving in Sarajevo to the sights and sounds of the East.
If you want to be flexible or visit other countries, the best way is to rent a car. In only two days I saw Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Kotor Bay (Montenegro). Destinations I wouldn't miss on my trip. I had a good experience with the local car hire company A MarkerCar Rental; fair rates, good service, new cars and very helpful and natural staff. They also offer cabrio cars, bikes, buggy and scooters.
It is a spectacular drive, with mountains on the left and blue sea on the right, though you also head into the mountains in places. On a hot sunny day in a convertable motor and a partner at your side, it is a joy. Set off after breakfast and you'll be in wonderful Dubrovnik by mid-afternoon. Stay a day or two in Dubrovnik, then take the afternoon ferry back to Split. By doing this you get to see the coast and islands as the sun goes down. Bliss!
You can reach Split by bus or plane from Zagreb, or fly directly from UK. Hire a convertable motor car there, and head south. If not in a convertable make sure you get a car with air con or you'll boil!
We rented a house in the old town and the owner recommended the little restaurant in the harbour. I can't remember the name but it's through the wall around the corner from the palace where the launches leave from. The squid is great and the risotto, but you do need to get there early. Cheap and cheerful and a great place to people watch.
Keep an eye out for concerts in churches around town that are also interesting and easy to get to.
Taking buses to the main ferry port is also very simple and means you can take excursions to islands futher north. They leave from the north side, just outside the walled town.
See the stunning coastline and islands on the coastal ferry, enjoying life in the slow lane. The full trip involves an overnight which you could spend on the deck or pay a bit more for a cabin. Otherwise enjoy part of the route between the major cities and islands along the coast - the ferry calls at Split, Hvar and Korcula amongst others.
Get tickets and timetables at any Jadrolinja or Atlas Travel office found in ports and towns all along the coast - and inland. Or visit Via Mare for bookings crossing from Italy - www.viamare.com.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org