Plitvice Lakes is an emerald beauty in the northern mountainous region of Croatia. Inside the national park’s borders, you’ll find a karst landscape with waterfalls and 16 terraced lakes. 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.
3 ways to get from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes
When travelling the 130 km 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).
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.
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)
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 during high season, you can buy your ticket in advance at the Plitvice Lakes official site.
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
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.
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).
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).