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Plitivce Lakes National Park is absolutely stunning and is one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. It’s definitely a must-visit when traveling in Croatia. While it’s not super close to many cities, doing a day trip to Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, or Zadar is relatively easy. These tips will help you have the best possible day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
There are buses available from all of the cities listed above to Plitvice, which aren’t too expensive. The bus tickets to Plitvice do go increase depending on the time of year due to demand.
Once you have your round-trip bus ticket, you can start preparing for your day trip to Plitvice Lakes!
Bring food and Water!
There are only a few places to eat in the park, which are by the rest stop area. The stores there are overpriced and don’t have the best selection. They will also be crowded by other visitors who didn’t prepare for their day trip to Plitvice, so you will waste time waiting in line instead of exploring the park.
Since you will have your snacks and water ahead of time, you can go right into Plitvice when you get there.
However, with so many people going to visit Plitvice for the day, it will be busy. In peak seasons, there can be a long line just to get into the park. To avoid this…
Get there as early as possible!
If you get to Plitvice as early as possible, you will maximize your time spent in the park and be able to see all of its beauty. Getting to Plitvice Lakes early will also help you avoid the crowded hiking trails, especially right as you enter the park.
For perspective, we visited in summer, got there early, and still had to wait about 45 minutes to enter.
Wake up extra early. Catch the earliest bus. Enjoy more time in Plitvice. That’s one of the best tips for a day trip to Plitvice Lakes.
Plan your route and watch the time!
Plitvice Lakes is a huge national park, and there are many different hiking trails around the park, some being longer and more strenuous than others. Know your hiking limits and factor in the weather for how often you will need breaks.
Because you are visiting Plitvice Lakes on a day trip, you will be on a time limit for when you need to return to your bus.
With a lot of people visiting, many of the trails will be packed, and it can be slow moving, especially right when you enter. If you go on a more strenuous trail, you will see more of the park and avoid most of the slow walking tourists.
Keep an eye on the time. Do not be late. The bus will leave without you if you are not there.
Beware of big tour groups!
As Plitvice Lakes is one of the most visited places in Croatia and is an easy day trip for many travelers, it is busy, and there are plenty of big tour groups. These tour groups walk S-L-O-W and will slow you down. Keep this in mind when planning your route and watching the time.
If you get the earliest bus to Plitvice and start hiking right away, you will still have about 10 hours or so in the park, which will give you plenty of time to explore, but also rest if you’re tired.
If the stress of planning out your entire day trip to Plitvice is overwhelming, we can help you plan your trip with our travel planning services or you can setup a tour with Get Your Guide.
Plitvice Lakes in a remarkably gorgeous national park that rivals any other national in the world. There are no dull views, and the park is constantly amazing you with its natural beauty around every turn.
Whether you are hiking on the boardwalk inches above crystal clear turquoise pools of water or hiking up the tall side of a cliff through a lush, green forest, all the scenery in Plitvice is extraordinary. If you have the chance, try to see as much the park as you can!
If you want more time to explore and not just do a day trip to Plitvice Lakes, check out Brianna of Curious Travel Bug’s post for information on spending a night at Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Visiting Plitvice Lakes on a day trip from Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, or Zadar is something every traveler must-do in Croatia. Even if you are not the best hiker, you will be able to enjoy the truly unique beauty that Plitvice offers.
To make your Plitvice Lakes day trip the best it can be, remember to follow these tips:
1. Bring food and water to avoid waiting in line and paying higher prices for it at the park.
2. Get there as early as possible.
3. Plan your route and watch the time, so you can get back to the bus.
4. Beware of all the tour groups that will slow down your pace.
Hi, nice article. I’m looking for some assistance to plan my trip to Plitvice.
I’ll be traveling there at the end of March, but instead of returning to Zagreb I’d like to go to Split.
I saw there’s a bus that leaves the park around 23 30, is it viable to stay there up to that time?
Hi Emilio! The park itself is only open until 18:00. You might be able to stay outside the park or walk to a nearby hotel and hangout there.