One of the most beautiful sights in Croatia, the Plitvice National Park is anything but easy to get to on your own. Read more...
The park is composed of a series of 16 interconnected crystal-clear lakes which form 92 spectacular cascades and waterfalls. However one of the downsides of the Lakes, is they do require a little forethought and planning to visit.
Although there are many local buses from Zadar and Zagreb, these take a lot of time and then by the time you get to the Lakes, there is a long line and many people on the paths. So if you'd prefer to explore the Lakes in ease and at your own leisure, weigh up the positives and negatives of these solutions below.
The easiest way to explore this incredible part of the world is by car. There are however a limited number of hotels nearby, all of which tend to fill up fast in the high season. An easy solution is to book in one of our self drive tours of Croatia that incorporate a visit to Plitvice National Park. These tours vary in length and details, but generally offer you a good mix of the stunning Adriatic coastal Croatia and then inland wonders such as Plitvice and will include car hire and premium accommodation.
As mentioned above, there a number of local buses you can catch from Zagreb, Zadar or Split (summer only) out to Plitvice. Tickets for the Zagreb to Plitvice can be purchased with ease at the Zagreb main bus terminal however the trip tends to take about 2.5 hours. The bus from Zadar takes about 2 hours while from Split it is a lengthy 3.5 - 5.5 hours trip. This makes it very difficult to do Plitvice as a day trip relying solely on local transport. Further, in high season, the lakes are extremely popular - even if you turn up right at opening time there tends to be a few people waiting in line for tickets at the gates of the National Park.
As the day progresses, this line lengthens and you may have to wait quite a while to purchase your tickets. Then possibly the most inconvenient thing, is that even once inside the park you will find that you aren't able to stop and soak it all in at your own pace as the walkways are too busy.
To get back again you need to look out for small wooden shelters close to the two entrances. Although they should have the bus timetable on them, it is best to check the timetable at the entrance of the Park beforehand.
A much better option is therefore to stay nearby and turn up early in the morning, before the hordes of tourists arrive.
Alternatively, participating in an organised group tour to the Lakes takes out the hassle of organising tickets and gets you inside and amongst the beautiful landscape as quickly as possible. We offer small group tours out of Zagreb and Split. These tours are capped in numbers and are more intimate, you can really appreciate the 2.5 hour guided tour through the park, including a boat ride and walking tour.
If you'd like to see more of Croatia beyond the Lakes, the vast majority of our multi-day Croatia itineraries, whether independent or small group, will stop off at Plitvice between Zagreb and Zadar or Split. And then of course we can always tailor-make an itinerary just for you, incorporating this incredible national park.
The easiest option is to opt for a private transfer between the airport in Zagreb to your Plitvice hotel. After collecting your bags, you will be met in the arrival hall by a local representative / driver holding a sign displaying your name or 'Tempo Holidays'. You will then be transferred to your hotel.