Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes

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How to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes?

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 Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes

When travelling the 130km distance between Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes, you can take a 2.5-hour bus, book a 2-hour private transfer, or join a 10-hour day tour. Rates can range between 90 KN (€11.50) and 1,075 KN (€140).

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Bus (one-way)2.5 hours90 KN (€11.50)Check Bus Tickets
Private Transfer2 hours1,085 KN (€140)Book a Private Transfer
Day Tour10 hours620 KN (€82)Book a Day Tour

The bus is the cheapest option when travelling from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes. Travel time is 2.5 hours one way, and you can easily do a DIY trip to the national park. Round trip bus tickets cost around 180 KN (€23.50).

Booking a private transfer is a convenient option for those travelling in a group. You can make it to Plitvice Lakes in 2 hours and decide the departure time. Private cars and minivans are both available with rates starting from 1,085 KN (€140).

There are also several day tours from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes. Most tours include a visit to the Rastoke village, a tour guide, round-trip transportation, and a skip the ticket line feature. Day tours take around 10 hours and cost about 620 KN (€82).

Park entrance fees

The national park is open all year round, but some areas may be closed at times, especially in winter for the safety of visitors. This is one of the reasons why the entrance fees and opening hours of the park vary depending on the season you’re visiting.

See the seasonal rates and opening hours below.

SeasonMonthsOpening HoursCosts
WinterJanuary, February, March,
November, December
08:00-16:0080 KN (€10.50)
Spring & AutumnApril, May, October08:00-19:00180 KN (€23.50)
SummerJune, July, August,
07:00-20:00300 KN (€39.50)

Above are the rates 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 purchase your ticket in advance at the Plitvice Lakes official site.

Buy an Entrance Ticket with Plitvice Lakes

Itinerary from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes

Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes by Bus

Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 90 KN (€11.50)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 90 KN (€11.50)

Several bus companies cover the Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes route daily. However, only 5 bus departures have convenient schedules that will give you enough hours 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 & Arrival station

All buses depart from Zagreb Bus Station, which is about 1.5km 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 purchase your tickets there before entering the park.

Meanwhile, Autopromet Slunj heads to Plitvice Jezera bus stop near Entrance 2.

Bus schedules from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes

Bus OperatorScheduleCosts
Prijevoz Varazdin07:30-09:45
90 KN (€11.50)
Buy Your Bus Tickets
95 KN (€12.50)
Buy Your Bus Tickets
Autopromet Slunj09:00-11:30
95 KN (€12.50)
Buy Your Bus Tickets
Prijevoz Knezevic14:30-16:2099 KN (€13)
Buy Your Bus Tickets

To secure your desired bus departure, especially if you want to take a morning trip, you can book your tickets in advance via BookAway.

Return bus from Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb (DIY day trip)

Given the short distance between Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes, you can visit the national park without joining a day tour.

To make the most out of your trip, you can take the first bus out of Zagreb at 07:30 and the last bus from Plitvice Lakes at 18:30. Round-trip bus tickets on BookAway cost around 180 KN (€23.50).

With this, you’ll have almost the entire day to explore the national park, and you can take on one of the longer hiking trails!

Bus schedules from Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb

Bus OperatorScheduleCosts
Prijevoz Varazdin17:50-20:2090 KN (€11.50)
Buy Your Bus Tickets
95 KN (€12.50)
Buy Your Bus Tickets
Autopromet Slunj14:45-17:05
95 KN (€12.50)
Buy Your Bus Tickets
Prijevoz Knezevic16:15-18:40
99 KN (€13)
Buy Your Bus Tickets

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
Cost: 1,085 KN (€140)
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: 1,085 KN (€140)

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), while 8-passenger minivans cost around 1,295 KN (€170). This means a ticket will only cost about 330 KN (€43.50) per person if you are with 3 people or 160 KN (€21) 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.

Check Private Transfers with BookAway

Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes by Day Tour

Duration: 10 hours
Cost: 620 KN (€82)
Duration: 10 hours
Cost: 620 KN (€82)

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 (€82).

Book a Day Tour with GetYourGuide

Overnight Stay at Plitvice Lakes

Duration: 15 minutes
Cost: 19 KN (€2.50)
Duration: 15 minutes
Cost: 19 KN (€2.50)

A day trip might not be enough for all that Plitvice Lakes national park has to offer. We recommend staying at least 2 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 5-7kms 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.

Check Hotels and Campsites near Plitvice Lakes

If the nearest hotels are already fully booked, you can also book a room in Grabovac village, about 9kms from Entrance 1. To get to the national park, you can take a 15-minute bus with rates from 19 KN (€2.50).

Buy Your Bus Tickets

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