Is Plitvice Lakes Closer to Split or Zagreb?

A hiker enjoys the scenic waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes.

Deciding on the shortest route to reach Plitvice Lakes is a common dilemma among travelers in Croatia. Nestled in the center of the country, this National Park is approximately 130 km from Zagreb.

This article will provide you with comprehensive insights about distances, transport options and travel tips whether you’re embarking from Split or Zagreb. Let’s dive right into these scenic routes and plan your perfect adventure!

Key Takeaways

  • Plitvice Lakes National Park is located approximately 130 km from Zagreb and around 250 km from Split.
  • Both Zagreb and Split offer transportation options to reach the park, including driving, taking a bus, or joining a day tour.
  • Visitors should consider factors such as travel time, cost, scenic routes, and crowds when planning their trip to Plitvice Lakes.

Distance and Transportation Options to Plitvice Lakes

To reach Plitvice Lakes, visitors have the option of driving from Zagreb or Split, taking a bus from either city, or joining a day tour.

Driving from Zagreb

Zagreb is close to Plitvice Lakes National Park. It’s about 130 km away. You can drive there in two hours. You take the A1 Zagreb-Split highway. This road is fast and easy to use. The views on the way are beautiful too!

Driving from Split

Plitvice Lakes National Park can be reached by driving from the city of Split. The distance between Split and Plitvice Lakes is approximately 250 kilometers. To get there, you can take the A1 Zagreb-Split highway, which is the fastest route.

The drive usually takes around 3 to 4 hours. Along the way, you’ll pass through beautiful landscapes and scenic routes. Once you arrive at Plitvice Lakes, there are parking facilities available for visitors.

Driving from Split offers flexibility and allows you to explore the park at your own pace. However, it’s important to note that during peak tourist seasons, traffic may be heavy near the park entrance so it’s advisable to arrive early in the day to avoid crowds.

Read Is one day enough for Plitvice

Taking a bus from Zagreb

If you’re in Zagreb and want to visit Plitvice Lakes, taking a bus is a convenient option. The park is about 130 km away from Zagreb, and there are multiple buses available throughout the day.

It’s a great way to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic route to the national park. Plus, it saves you the hassle of driving and finding parking at Plitvice Lakes. Just hop on a bus, and you’ll be on your way to exploring this beautiful natural wonder!

Taking a bus from Split

If you’re in Split and want to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park, taking a bus is a convenient option. Buses from Split to the park are available throughout the day, making it easy for you to plan your trip.

The journey takes around 2-3 hours, depending on traffic and stops along the way. Once you arrive at Plitvice Lakes, you can explore the stunning waterfalls and lakes at your own pace before catching a bus back to Split.

It’s a great way to enjoy a day trip from Split and experience the natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Day tour options

You can visit Plitvice Lakes National Park on a day trip from either Zagreb or Split. If you’re starting from Zagreb, you have the option of driving yourself or taking a bus. The park is about 130 km away, and it takes around two hours to drive there.

There are also several buses that run between Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes throughout the day.

If you’re starting from Split, driving is also an option, but keep in mind that it’s a longer distance of about 250 km and takes around three and a half hours. Taking a bus is another convenient choice, with multiple buses available each day.

Considering the Distance: Pros and Cons

The distance between Split and Plitvice Lakes is shorter than the distance between Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes, making it a more convenient option for those who are short on time.

Travel time and cost

The travel time and cost to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park can vary depending on whether you are coming from Zagreb or Split. If you’re starting your journey from Zagreb, it will take approximately 2-3 hours to reach the park by driving or taking a bus.

The distance between Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes is around 130 km. On the other hand, if you’re departing from Split, it will also take about 2-3 hours to get to the park by driving or taking a bus.

However, the distance between Split and Plitvice Lakes is slightly longer at approximately 250 km. It’s important to consider that there may be additional costs for transportation such as fuel, tolls, parking fees, or bus tickets when planning your trip.

Scenic routes

To reach Plitvice Lakes National Park, both Split and Zagreb offer scenic routes. If you’re driving from Zagreb, you can take the A1 highway and enjoy views of the beautiful Croatian countryside along the way.

The drive takes around 2 hours and is a great option for those who want to soak in the natural beauty of the Dalmatian coast. On the other hand, if you’re coming from Split, you’ll also have a picturesque journey through mountainous landscapes and charming coastal towns.

Whichever route you choose, be prepared to be surrounded by stunning scenery as you make your way to Plitvice Lakes.

Crowds at the park

Plitvice Lakes National Park can get quite crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. It is recommended to visit the park earlier in the day to avoid large crowds. By arriving early, you can enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the lakes and waterfalls without feeling overcrowded.

Additionally, weekdays tend to be less crowded compared to weekends. Remember that Plitvice Lakes National Park offers a variety of walking routes, so exploring different trails can also help you find quieter areas within the park.

Tips for Planning a Trip to Plitvice Lakes

Plan your visit to Plitvice Lakes by choosing the right time, buying tickets in advance, dressing appropriately for outdoor activities, and bringing food and water.

Choosing the right time to visit

When planning a trip to Plitvice Lakes, it is important to choose the right time to visit. The park can get quite crowded, especially during peak tourist season in the summer months.

To avoid large crowds and have a more enjoyable experience, it is recommended to visit Plitvice Lakes early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Additionally, visiting on weekdays instead of weekends can also help reduce the number of tourists.

Keep in mind that weather conditions can vary throughout the year, so be sure to check the forecast before your visit and dress appropriately for outdoor activities.

Read How many days do I need at Plitvice Lakes?

Buying tickets in advance

To make your trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park more convenient, it is recommended to buy tickets in advance. This way, you can skip the ticket line and save time. You can purchase tickets online through the official website of the park or from authorized sellers.

By buying tickets ahead of time, you ensure that you have guaranteed entry to the park on your preferred date. Remember to bring a printed copy or show a digital version of your ticket at the entrance for validation.

Dressing appropriately

When visiting Plitvice Lakes, it is important to dress appropriately. The weather in the park can vary, so it’s best to wear layers and bring a jacket or sweater. Comfortable shoes are essential as there will be a lot of walking on uneven terrain.

It’s also a good idea to bring a hat and sunscreen for protection from the sun. Lastly, don’t forget to pack a raincoat or umbrella, as rain showers are common in this area. By dressing appropriately, you can fully enjoy your visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Bringing food and water

When visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park, it is important to bring food and water with you. The park does have a few restaurants and snack bars, but they can get crowded during peak times.

By bringing your own food and water, you can avoid waiting in long lines or potentially not finding available seating. It is also a good idea to pack some snacks that are easy to carry and won’t spoil quickly.

Staying hydrated is essential while exploring the park since there are limited drinking fountains available. Remember to bring reusable water bottles that you can refill along the way.

This will save you money on purchasing bottled water and help reduce plastic waste in the park.

Remember: Bring your own food and water when visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park for convenience and cost-saving purposes. Stay hydrated by bringing reusable water bottles and packing snacks that won’t spoil easily.

Accommodation options

Visitors to Plitvice Lakes have a range of accommodation options to choose from. There are hotels and guesthouses located near the park, offering convenient access for exploring the area.

Additionally, there are also campsites available for those who prefer to stay closer to nature. Whether you’re looking for something luxurious or more budget-friendly, there are plenty of choices available in the surrounding area.

So you can easily find a place to stay that suits your preferences and budget when visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park.


In conclusion, Plitvice Lakes National Park is closer to Zagreb than it is to Split. The park is located around 130 km from Zagreb, making it a convenient day trip option for visitors.

However, it is still possible to visit the lakes on a day trip from Split if you are willing to travel a bit farther. Overall, both cities offer transportation options to Plitvice Lakes and provide opportunities for exploring this beautiful natural wonder in Croatia.