One Month in Montenegro, Croatia, and Italy - Itinerary Feedback
After much back and forth and debate, my husband and I have finally settled on a destination for our fall 2019 trip - one month in Montenegro, Croatia, and Italy. Feeling a little behind on this one as it is coming up super fast! Would love some input while we are still in the early stages (nothing has been booked).
Background: Husband and I are 34 and reasonably well traveled. We have never been to Montenegro or Croatia, but have visited Italy several times (though all destinations on this trip are new with the exception of Rome).
Like a good mix of culture, food, activity. Always prefer to minimize 1 and 2 night stays where possible, but can keep a quick pace when worth it. Like a good mix of big destinations/cities and off-the-beaten-trail/smaller towns. Our budget is moderate – not staying in hostels or 5-star hotels.
My husband loves driving in Europe and we plan to have a car for a portion of our Croatia/Montenegro leg and another car for a portion of our Italy leg. Could use some help deciding where/when to get and drop off the cars. Also comfortable with train, ferry travel.
Looking for feedback in itinerary itself (pace, destinations, etc.) as well as where to stay, interesting things to do, can’t miss drives, etc. in the destinations listed.
Here is our working itinerary:
Sept 5 - Depart Chicago. Found open jaw Aer Lingus flights flying into Dubrovnik and out of Rome. 2hr connection in Dublin both ways. $777. Feeling pretty good about this price. For the return, we would go through US Border Patrol in Dublin so landing in Chicago will be fast!
Sept 6 - Arrive Dubrovnik / Rent Car / Drive to Kotor. 4 nights in Kotor w/ car. Interested in input on where to stay w/ a car, any concerns re: driving across the border of Croatia, interesting day trips (no more than about an hour/hour 30 drive each way), interesting sites.
Sept 10 - Drive back for 4 nights in Dubrovnik. Initially thinking we will keep our car but interested in your input? Suggestions on where to stay? Interesting sights?
Sept 14 - Drive north for 4 nights in Split. Wondering if we should return car upon arriving in Split or if it’s worthwhile to keep? We do want to explore Hvar, Korcula but was thinking we would do this carless. Thoughts? Also curious on opinions if we should stay in Split and day trip to islands, or say on an island and day trip to Split.
Sept 18 - Overnight ferry Split - Ancona. Anyone done this? I’ve read very mixed reviews but figure its only one night… how bad can it be? Worth springing for the king bed w/ sea views?
Sept 19 - Arrive in Ancona, Italy. Rent car (easy to do near ferry?) 6 nights in Umbria (we have previously spent time in Venice, Bologna, Florence, and Tuscan countryside — looking to explore new destinations). Could happily spend the entire time in an agriturismo with day trips, or break this into two different days (3 nights / 3 nights). Would love some suggestions here!
Sept 25 - Drive to Naples, perhaps stopping in Cassino along the way (my great uncle died in the Battle of Anzio and is buried in the Cassino War Cemetery).
Upon arriving in Naples, return car, take ferry to Sorrento. I’m a little nervous about this day… I know its a long drive from Umbria to Naples. Open to suggestions. We have 7 nights in the Amalfi Region. Thinking 3 or 4 nights in Sorrento (w/ day trip to Capri or Ischia) and 3 or 4 nights in Amalfi (w/ day trip to Paestum, and maybe a Buffalo Mozzarella Tour).
Oct 2 - Finally, we will have 2 nights in Rome (thinking of splurging and just hiring a driver for this). We have been to Rome a couple of times, so no pressure to see the big sights. Anything new/interesting worth checking out? Our wedding anniversary falls on our last night (Oct 3). Any suggestions to go out with a bang?
Oct 4 - Depart Rome
Thanks in advance!