Want to know how to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the three ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting Plitvice Lakes
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.
3 ways to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes
There are three ways to travel the distance of 130 km (81 miles) from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes: by bus (1h50m-12h30m), day tour (15 minutes) and private transfer (2 hours). The journey takes between 15 minutes - 12h30m and the quickest way is by day tour. The lowest priced tickets start from 19 KN (€2.40) for the day tour.
There are also several day tours available from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes. Most of these tours include a short trip to Rastoke, a 300-year-old village that is also famous for its waterfalls.
A GetYourGuide tour includes round-trip transportation and a tour guide. Entry tickets are not included in the price, but it offers skip-the-ticket-line when reserving your entrance ticket with your online booking.
The tour takes 10 hours, including the 4-hour round-trip travel. Day tour rates start from 620 KN (€81.00).
A day trip might not be enough for all that Plitvice Lakes National Park has to offer. We recommend staying at least two days to fully appreciate the park’s wonders.
There are a few hotels located within walking distance of Entrances 1 and 2. Due to their close proximity to the national park, these hotels are often fully booked, so make sure to reserve your room a few months in advance!
For a more unique experience, you can check the campsites 5-7 km north of Entrance 1, Campsite Korana and Camping Plitvice. Here, you can pitch your own tent or try staying in a mobile home! These campsites offer different activities and provide free transportation to the national park.
If the nearest hotels are already fully booked, you can also book a room in Grabovac village, about 9 km from Entrance 1. To get to the national park, you can take a 15-minute bus with rates from 19 KN (€2.50).
Several bus companies cover the Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes route daily. However, only 5 bus departures have convenient schedules that will allow plenty of time to spend at the national park.
The other buses arrive in the afternoon when the park is almost closed for the day. If you take these afternoon bus trips, you’ll need to stay in a hotel overnight and explore the national park the next day.
Travel time by bus is around 2.5 hours with rates from 90 KN (€11.50).
Departure and arrival station
All buses depart from Zagreb Bus Station, which is about 1.5 km away from the train station in the city centre.
Varazdin, Arriva, and Knezevic buses arrive at the bus stop in front of Plitvice Lakes Entrance 1. The ticket office is near this bus stop, so you can buy your tickets there before entering the park.
Note that fewer buses may be available outside the summer season. If you’re making a day trip in spring, autumn, or winter, you can try booking a private transfer instead of taking the bus.
Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes by Private Transfer
Duration: 2 hours
Starts from: 1,085 KN (€140.00)
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: 1,085 KN (€140.00)
If you’re travelling in a large group and want private transport to the national park, you can book a private car or minivan.
This option includes hotel pick up and drop off in Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes. You can also choose your preferred departure time.
Cars for 3 people are available with rates from 1,085 KN (€140.00), while 8-passenger minivans cost around 1,295 KN (€165.00). This means a ticket will only cost about 330 KN (€43.00) per person if you are with 3 people or 160 KN (€20.50) per person if you are with 8 people.
Since you won’t have to make stops along the way like the bus, you can get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes in only 2 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions about Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes
What is the distance from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes?
The distance from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes is 130 km (81 miles).
What is the fastest way to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes?
The fastest way to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes is by day tour and takes 15 minutes.
What is the cheapest way to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes?
The cheapest way to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes is by day tour with ticket costs starting from 19 KN (€2.40).
Rounding it up
We hope this guide was helpful in planning how to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes. If there's anything else you're wondering about, drop us a comment and we'll do our best to answer you within a few days.
PS: If you've recently travelled this route, share your experience with fellow travellers and help us improve this post. Thanks for helping out our travel community!
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.