Plitvice Lakes National Park is an easy day trip from Zagreb and from Zadar. It also makes a good half-day stop on the way from Zagreb to the coast. Visiting Plitvice from elsewhere on the coast is possible but inadvisable as your time in the park will be extremely limited.
Getting from Istria to Plitvice
Plitvice is a long way from Istria; figure 3 1/2 to 4 hours from Rovinj by car. There are no direct buses from Istria to Plitvice Lakes. All Istrian towns are connected by bus with Zagreb though (see getting to Istria) and from there you can catch a bus to Plitvice.
Driving isn't much faster. You start on the motorway to Zagreb and then exit to take local roads to Plitvice. You'll need to stop at Plitvice overnight. No problem! There's plenty of accommodation at all price levels.
Getting to Plitvice From Zagreb
It takes around 2 to 2 1/2 hours by bus from Zagreb depending on the departure. There are about eight or nine buses per day from Zagreb (price: 85 to 105Kn). If you want to go directly from Zagreb Airport to Plitvice, it's easy. Frequent Zagreb airport buses will whisk you to Zagreb bus station where you can catch your bus to Plitvice.
Prices range from 85 to 105KN, depending on the departure.
Getting to Plitvice from Zadar
It takes from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours to get to Plitvice Lakes from Zadar and there are about four buses daily.
Getting to Plitvice from SplitThere are three buses a day from Split to Plitvice Lakes that take 3 1/2 hours and one that takes about six hours.
Getting to Plitvice Lakes From Dubrovnik
Another option would be to take one of the many buses from Dubrovnik to Split or Zadar and then catching a bus up to Plitvice. This could be done in a day but plan on spending the night at Plitvice as you won't arrive earlier than late afternoon.
Book a bus to Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice on the way to/from the coast
It is possible to visit on the way from Zagreb to Zadar or vice versa. Catch a very early bus and leave your luggage in the tourist office at one of Plitvice entrances. Visit the park and return to the same entrance to catch the onward bus. Beware of crowds! It takes much longer to visit Plitvice in the summer as the walkways are slow-moving and there are queues for the train and boat. It is essential to reserve in advance in the summer.
Driving to Plitvice Lakes
The national park is about 2 hours driving time from either Zagreb or Zadar. See a map with driving directions.
Last updated August 15, 2022