Plitvice Lakes is an emerald beauty in the northern mountainous region of Croatia. It boasts a total of 16 terraced lakes, combined with waterfalls and a karst landscape to form the country’s largest national park. You can view these natural wonders from walkways that run alongside the lakes and forests.
As majestic as the lakes are, they make up only 1% of the National Park’s land area. The remaining 99% is lush forests that are home to a variety of wildlife – such as the brown bear, wolves, and lynx, as well as a huge array of birds and bats.
Plitvice National Park has 8 walking trails around the lakes that you could explore on your visit. Unfortunately, you’re no longer able to swim in the lakes, but that doesn’t take away the wonder and enjoyment of the place.
3 ways to get from Split to Plitvice Lakes
There are 3 ways to travel the 270 km distance from Split to Plitvice Lakes: a 3.5 to 6-hour bus, a 2.5-hour private transfer, or a 12-hour day tour. Rates can range between 160 KN (€21) and 1,700 KN (€225).
The bus is the only public transportation available from Split to Plitvice Lakes. Note that the buses are available only from April to November. For a DIY day trip, you can book your round-trip tickets for 330 KN (€43.50). Taking the first trip out of Split and the last trip from Plitvice Lakes will give you about 5 hours at the national park.
Travelling in a group? You can also book a private transfer with rates from 1,700 KN (€225). Although this option is more expensive, you won’t have to worry about bus schedules and you will have even more time to explore the national park. Travel time is around 2.5 hours.
If you want to avoid the hassle of organising transport, joining a day tour from Split to Plitvice Lakes is your best option. A 12-hour tour includes a guide, round-trip transportation, a boat tour, and skip the ticket line for just 430 KN (€57), excluding the entrance ticket.
Park entrance fees
The national park is open all year round. Note that some areas may be closed at times, especially in winter for the safety of visitors. Entrance fees to the park and its opening hours also vary depending on the season you’re visiting.
See the seasonal rates and opening hours below:
January, February, March, November, December
80 KN (€10.50)
Spring & Autumn
April, May, October
180 KN (€23.50)
June, July, August, September
300 KN (€39.50)
These rates are for when you buy your tickets directly at the national park’s entrance.
If you want to secure your entrance ticket for the day, which can be necessary for high season, you can buy your ticket in advance at the Plitvice Lakes official site.
If you want to find the cheapest way to travel from Split to Plitvice Lakes, you can take the bus. Prijevoz Knezevic and Prijevoz Varazdin are the only bus operators for this route, which are available only from April to November.
We recommend travelling with Knezevic as they offer the most daily bus departures. Considering the travel time of 3.5 to 4.5 hours, we suggest booking the first bus of the day. This way, you can arrive at Plitvice Lakes with enough time to explore the park.
If you plan to stay at least one night in Plitvice Lakes, you can take the Varazdin bus that arrives at Plitvice Lakes at the end of the day, at 17:50. With this, you can start your trip to the national park early the next day.
Departure and arrival station
The buses depart from Split Bus Station. This station is located between the port and the train station in the city centre.
You will be dropped off at the bus stop just in front of the national park’s Entrance 1. The ticketing office is near the bus stop, so you can buy your tickets for Plitvice Lakes directly from this entrance if you haven’t bought them in advance.
We highly suggest booking your tickets in advance via BookAway.
Return bus from Plitvice Lakes to Split (DIY day trip)
If you’re planning to visit the national park on your own, you can buy your round-trip tickets via BookAway or book a self-guided tour via GetYourGuide.
With BookAway, you can take the first bus out of Split at 07:00 and the last bus from Plitvice Lakes at 16:20. This should give you about 5 hours at the national park. Round-trip bus tickets cost 330 KN (€43.50) on BookAway.
Another option is a self-guided tour on GetYourGuide which arranges all transportation for you. The tour takes about 12 hours, including the 7-hour round-trip transportation, and costs 350 KN (€46).
Booking your round-trip tickets via BookAway is slightly cheaper, but with GetYourGuide, you will get the privilege of skipping the line at the entrance. Note that these prices don’t include yet the entrance ticket of 300 KN (€39.50).
Keep in mind that fewer buses are available outside of the summer months.
Split to Plitvice Lakes by Private Transfer
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 1,700 KN (€225)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 1,700 KN (€225)
Given the 270 km distance between Split and Plitvice Lakes, a private transfer is the most expensive option.
A 3-passenger car costs around 1,700 KN (€225), while rates for minivans that can accommodate 8 passengers start from 1,970 KN (€260). If you share the van with 8 people, the costs would only be about 250 KN (€33) per person though!
The advantage is that you can be picked up from the airport, ferry port, or your hotel in the city centre. Drop-off is also at any entrance or hotel at the national park.
Travel time is just 2.5 hours one way, and you’ll be travelling comfortably, ready for your trip ahead!
A convenient option to visit Plitvice Lakes from Split is to join an organised group tour. With this, you only need to show up at the meeting place and everything else will be arranged for you.
Most group tours are around 12 hours long, with 6-7 hours of that being the round-trip transportation. This leaves you with about 5 hours at the national park, which is still a good enough time to see a good proportion of Plitvice.
A full-day tour of the national park costs around 430 KN (€57). This tour includes a guide, transportation and a boat ride in the national park. Entry tickets are not included, but it does offer the chance to skip the ticket line when reserving your entrance ticket with your online booking.
Several other tours with different inclusions are also available on GetYourGuide:
With everything that the Plitvice Lakes national park has to offer, a day trip might not be enough! We suggest staying at least two days to fully appreciate the park’s wonders.
There are a few hotels conveniently located within walking distance of Entrances 1 and 2. Due to their close proximity to the park though, they are often fully booked, so it’s best to reserve a room a few months in advance!
If you want a more unique experience, you can also check the campsites about 5-7 km north of Entrance 1: Campsite Korana and Camping Plitvice. You can pitch your own tent or try their mobile homes! These campsites also offer different activities and free transportation to the national park.
Looking for more budget-friendly accommodation? Many hostels are located in Jezerce village, about 2 km away from Entrance 2. To get to the park, you can board a 5-minute bus from Mukinje Bus Stop with fares around 15 KN (€1.95).
Abby is a writer who finds joy in mountains, beaches, and road trips. She considers her solo backpacking trip to the rice terraces of Bontoc one of the most fulfilling moments in her life. She’s loyal to the islands of her home country, the Philippines, but Thailand’s beaches also have a special place in her heart.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.