By Iva Ralica
Plitvice Lakes National Park is undoubtedly one of Croatia’s, and Europe’s, most impressive tourist attractions.
Nestled in the Lika-Senj County, Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s biggest National Park and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. Every year over 1 million people visit.
So if you are visiting Croatia and not sure on how to get to Plitvice Lakes, then here is some information to help with your planning.
There are plenty of rent-a-car options in Zagreb. Prices will vary, but it would roughly cost around 28 euros a day.
The best route from Zagreb is to take the highway (A1) to Karlovac and then the D1 road towards Slunj and Rakovica (130 km)
You can also go via the E65 and D42 (147 km)
Time: 1.45 -2 hours
Daily buses go to Plitvice during the winter time and during the summer even more frequent. More information on how to book on Zagreb Bus Terminal’s website here.
Time: 2 hours
Price: 10 euros (one way) 16 euros (return)
Organised Day Trips
Travel agencies organise day trips to Plitvice lakes even for smaller groups.
Again there are plenty of rent-a-car options in Split. The distance between Split and Plitvice is around 200km. The best route is via the main highway. Once you get to the Sveti Rok tunnel and then take the exit Korenica towards Plitvice.
Time: 2.45 – 3 hours
The other option is to take a road via Drniš, Knin and Gračac which will take about 3 – 3.5 hours.
Buses go from Split to Plitvice Lakes all year round. During the summer they are frequent so you can do a day trip. In the winter it is probably not best suitable for a day trip. More info here.
Time: 4.5 hours
Price: 19 euros (one way)
Travelling from Dubrovnik to Plitvice Lakes is a bit more tricky. By bus the drive lasts more than 9 hours and by car between around 5 hours. You must have your passport / ID with you because the road passes through Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The faster way is to get on the highway near Ploče and drive north until Skradin, the “exit for Plitvice lakes”.
The other option is to drive to Zadar along the coast (Magistrala) and then continue to Plitvice lakes. It will take longer, but should also be cheaper, without the extra tolls. Plus you get to see the beautiful Croatian coast. If you don’t have a car, you could rent it in Dubrovnik.
Distance: 404 km
Time: 5-6 hours
You would be best to catch a bus from Dubrovnik to Split (which is around 12-17 euros) and takes just over 4 hours. From Split you can then catch the bus to Plitvice Lakes.
Another option would be a flight from Dubrovnik to Zagreb and then one of the suggestions above from Zagreb. That is a costly option however.
You can also do a Plitvice Lakes tour from Split.