Which way from Milan to Budapest?
March 27, 2013 3:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning to travel from Italy to Hungary via Slovenia and Croatia this May. The only things I have booked are my flight into Milan and my flight out of Budapest 17 days later. I'm looking at two different itineraries. Which should I choose?

I've done enough investigation into ground and sea transport to find two very viable options. They are:

1) Milan -> Padua -> Trieste -> Ljubljana -> Split -> Zagreb -> Budapest
2) Milan -> Bari -> Dubrovnik -> Split -> Ljubljana -> Budapest (via either Zagreb or Maribor & Vienna)

Given I have a fair amount of distance to cover in not very much time, which should I do? (essentially, Dubrovnik is very far out of the way so is it really worth the visit?) Is any of the travel between these places particularly aggravating? (Also: I have been to Venice a number of times before and plan to skip it this time around.)

I think I have covered most of my general-travel-planning bases, and I read this previous thread, but quirky/interesting stop suggestions are appreciated (in particular: good places to stop on the coast between Rijeka and Split)

Interest-wise, what attracted me to this trip were both the long and fascinating history (hence why I'm even considering visiting Dubrovnik/Ragusa) and the natural beauty. Don't plan on much clubbing but do plan to do a fair amount of eating, drinking, and socializing. I'm traveling alone and plan to stay in hostels and/or guest houses.

posted by goingonit to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How're you planning on travelling? I've done the drive from Budapest to Maribor (and then on to Trieste); it's very pretty and takes you close to Lake Balaton. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to stop, but if I were doing that route again it'd be high on my list of things to see.
posted by asterix at 4:06 PM on March 27, 2013

I was planning on mostly trains plus some buses/ferries. Looks like I should check out Balaton -- the train from Zagreb to Budapest makes about six stops along the lake.
posted by goingonit at 4:13 PM on March 27, 2013

Eating and Drinking leads me to tell you 1) as you'll get a chance to hit all of the great wineries places to eat in that corner of Italy and Slovenia. Tho I might rent a car.

Also personally I can do without ferries.
posted by JPD at 4:28 PM on March 27, 2013

If you don't plan on making stops between Milan and Bari, then I'd go with the overland option. I've taken a ferry from Bari (to Montenegro) and it's pretty boring (both the city and the trip).

You could also go from Dubrovnik to Budapest via Sarajevo, which is very interesting historically.
posted by acidic at 5:43 PM on March 27, 2013

I've done the 2) part of the journey (via train) through Vienna and Maribor and the scenery is life-changingly spectacular. I'm not exaggerating--my window was covered with my face grease from gawking at everything. Maribor is a great little town for a stopover and a bite of lunch. Also, I'm a train nerd. My vote is Door #2.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:33 PM on March 27, 2013

I don't know Italy or Slovenia, but I've been on the bus from Split to Dubrovnik, and it is gorgeous, gorgeous scenery.

I liked Split better than Dubrovnik, personally, but think they're both worth visiting, particularly for natural beauty and architecture.

And I second fitting in Sarajevo if you can. Bosnia has beautiful scenery as well, and Sarajevo is a very interesting little city.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:24 AM on March 28, 2013

I would pick option 2 - having done essentially that. Feel free to memail if you want details. Dubrovnik and Split were well worth it. Whatever you do, make sure to visit Plitvice if you even remotely like nature. It's absolutely the one thing I would fly around the world to see again in a heartbeat.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:09 PM on March 28, 2013

I've been essentially the opposite direction; Budapest -> (train) Belgrade -> (train) -> Bar (overnight only as a staging post) -> (bus) Kotor -> (bus) Dubrovnik -> (ferry) Split -> (ferry) Rijeka -> (train) Ljubljana [then on to Vienna on this trip, but in the past from Ljubljana to Milan].

Dubrovnik is really worthwhile! Hired a car in Dubrovnik and went overnight to Mostar, also one in Kotor to the Montenegrin countryside and coast. Car hire for a Fiat Panda was unbelievably cheap and more than adequate. I would have loved to go to Sarajevo, but couldn't work out the logistics at the time, in which I had no firm plan other than a starting and finishing point and picked up transport, accommodation and destinations as I went along.

Whatever you decide it will be fabulous!
posted by Flashduck at 12:29 AM on April 6, 2013

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