Plitvice Lakes National Park is an emerald beauty in the northern mountainous region of Croatia. It boasts a total of 16 terraced lakes, with waterfalls and a karst landscape in the country’s largest national park; you can view these through walkways that are beautifully carved in and around its huge forest.
As majestic as the lakes are, they comprise only 1% of the National Park’s land area. The remaining 99% is lush jungle, home to a variety of wildlife – like the brown bear, wolves, and lynx, as well as a huge array of birds and bats. Plitvice Lakes has 7 viewing paths around the lakes and 4 hiking trails. Keep in mind that tourists are not allowed to stray away from these routes for safety reasons and swimming is strictly prohibited.
There are 5 ways to travel the 120km distance from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes: with a 1-hour-45-minute bus, a 1.5-hour private transfer, an 8-hour group day trip, an 8-hourprivate day trip or by booking roundtrip transfers. Rates start as low as 97 KN (€12.50) for the bus, but they can go as high as 3,760 KN (€495) for a private day trip.
The bus is the cheapest way to get from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes, and it is also the only public transportation available. They’re pretty efficient, but note that different buses may have different routes. To save time, pick the faster Prijevoz Knezevic buses with a travel time of 1 hour 45 minutes. A ticket costs 91 KN (€12). If you prefer a quick and direct transfer, we recommend booking a return ticket which we discuss in the next section.
Private transfers are quicker but also more expensive. Rates start from 1,120 KN (€145) for a 3-seater car. Bigger vehicles are also available at 1,380 KN (€180) that can accommodate eight people. Travel time is 1.5 hours.
If you’re spending only one day on Plitvice Lakes and going back to Zadar after, we recommend joining a day trip.
You won’t have to worry about your roundtrip transfers. Also, most of the day trips we recommend already include a skip-the-line ticket, which is a very valuable addition for this often crowded park!
There are 3 kinds of day trips you can choose from. If you’re joining a group day trip, it will only cost you 423 KN (€56). Keep in mind that day trip rates do not include the actual entrance fees to Plitvice Lakes.
Park entrance fees
The park is open all year. However, some areas may be closed at times, especially in winter for the safety of visitors. This is one of the reasons why entrance fees to the park vary depending on the season you’re visiting.
You can see the seasonal rates 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 park entrance.
Want to avoid the long queue at the entrance? Purchase your entrance tickets online! With Viator, you can get a summer ticket for 392 KN (€52) and a spring ticket for 233 KN (€31).
The bus is the only form of public transportation you can take from Zadar Bus Station to Plitvice Lakes. During the peak season (April to October), there are two bus operators plying this route: Prijevoz Knezevic and Prijevoz Varazdin.
We recommend travelling with Prijevoz Knezevic, as they have the shortest travel time at only 1 hour 45 minutes. A ticket costs 109 KN (€14).
The other bus company makes stops, so the travel time to Plitvice Lakes takes 2 hours 40 minutes. This option is cheaper at 91 KN (€12) though.
If you’re planning to spend only a day on Plitvice Lakes, we recommend taking the first bus that departs at 08:30.
Keep in mind that in winter, only one bus operates from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes. Always double-check the schedules beforehand to avoid any hassle.
Return bus from Plitvice Lakes to Zadar (DIY day trip)
If you rather save money on this return ticket, you can make a day trip from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes on your own. Especially during the peak summer season (June to September) when there are several buses departing each day.
Just take the first bus out of Zadar in the morning. Then, on the way back, take the last trip from Plitvice Lakes.
A DIY roundtrip bus transfer costs 200 KN (€26.50). The bus will drop you off at Zadar Bus Station.
PRO TIP: Take the last bus that departs at 17:00 to make the most of your time in Plitvice Lakes!
Keep in mind that fewer buses may be available beyond summer. If you’re visiting on a day trip in spring, autumn, or winter, it might be best to get a roundtrip transfer with tour operators, like this highly-recommended two-way shuttle ride with GetYourGuide.
Zadar to Plitvice Lakes by Private Transfer
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: 1,120 KN (€145)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: 1,120 KN (€145)
If you’re travelling with a group and want the best comfort possible, you can also take a private transfer from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes. The ride will take only 1.5 hours.
Rates start from 1,120 KN (€145) for a car that can accommodate three passengers. It’s quite pricey, but it gets cheaper if you’re in a bigger group. You can book an 8-seater minivan for 1,350 KN (€175). Divide the cost, and that’s only around €22 per person.
For the most trusted drivers and comfortable private transfers, book your ride with BookAway.
Planning to spend only a day on Plitvice Lakes? You can also join an organised day trip from Zadar.
An organised day trip saves you the hassle of worrying about your transfers to and from the park. Also, most day trips include a skip-the-line ticket, which is very valuable especially when you’re visiting Plitvice Lakes in summer! This skip-the-line ticket will save you a lot of time queuing, so you’ll have more time to explore the park.
Day trips normally take 8 to 9.5 hours, with 3 hours of that being your journey to and from Plitvice Lakes. Keep in mind that the rates for day trips do not include the entrance fee to the park. You can purchase the tickets via your tour operator for an additional €34 in summer and €15 in spring and autumn.
Not a fan of organized tours but don’t want the hassle of finding your way through public transport?
Shared roundtrip transfers are a convenient way to travel between Zadar and Plitvice Lakes. These roundtrip transfers are especially efficient in off-peak months when local buses don’t operate as frequently as they do in summer.
With this option, you will be assured of a shuttle ride to and from Plitvice Lakes.
The bus departs from Zadar at 08:00 in the morning from a previously agreed meet-up point.
You’ll arrive at Plitvice Lakes at around 09:30 and will have 8 hours to explore the park.
Your return bus will leave Plitvice Lakes at exactly 17:30.
Also for this tour, you get the great bonus of a skip-the-line ticket.
Rates for roundtrip transfers from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes start from 368 KN (€48.50), excluding the entrance fees.
Fancy a day trip with just your group? You can also get a private 8-hour tour from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes. You will be picked up and dropped off directly from your hotel, so you really won’t have to worry about anything apart from showing up!
Like the group tours, a private day trip includes the following:
hotel pickup and drop-off
a walking tour with your own private guide
Costs for a private day tour from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes start from 3,760 KN (€495) for a group of up to seven persons. This price is excluding the entrance fee at Plitvice Park.