Everything You Need Know About a Day Trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park
What is Plitvice Lakes National Park?
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a collection of crystal clear lakes and waterfalls in the south of Croatia. The park is a Unesco world heritage site and one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. Stopping by the Plitvice Lakes is an essential part of any trip through Croatia. From Zagreb, the lakes are about 2 hours and 15 minutes away. A little far, but well worth the trip. If you aren’t convinced, here’s a couple of pictures for incentive:
Bus Timetable and Prices
It can be quite tricky to figure out when and how to get there at a cheap price. The best way is to take a bus from Zagreb’s main bus station located on the edge of the city. The bus station is within walking distance of central Zagreb, here’s its location, Zagreb Bus Station.
You will need to buy your bus tickets online in advance. The best bussing service for this is GetByBus, you can book online through their site, here. It will cost you between €10 and €15 for a one way ticket. You must buy a departure and return ticket in one go. You cannot pay for the bus on the bus. Without a return ticket you may get stuck, especially if the bus is fully booked.
I recommend getting an early bus and staying until sunset. The first bus leaves at 5:45 A.M. You don’t need to leave that early, but the 7:30 A.M. or 10:30 A.M. buses should get you to the park with plenty of time to explore. On the return trip, the last bus leaves the park at 5:50 P.M. Depending on the season, the second to last bus (which leaves at 5:18 P.M.) is probably your best bet for catching the sunset and still getting back to Zagreb before it’s too late.
At The Park
Once you get to the park, you will have to pay an entrance fee. The price is relative to the season at which you are visiting. From November to March, prices will be at their cheapest; 55 kn for an adult and 45 kn for students ($8.50 and $6.90). From April through June and September through October, the fall and spring, prices will be 150 kn for adults and 100 kn for students ($23 and $15.30). Finally, in the summer months, July through August, prices will be 250 kn for adults and 160 kn for students ($38.25 and $24.50). All of these tickets can be bought at the ticket booth at the park.
I get it, the prices can be pretty high, but trust me, the experience is worth it. You can easily spend an entire day walking through the expansive park. There are huge paths that go around the multiple lakes and even a free ferry across one of the lakes. Along the way, there are some rest areas and food stops. Even so, I recommend bringing your own food. The food served at the park is pretty low quality and overpriced.
After your day of hiking, take the bus back to Zagreb. Remember to have this booked beforehand. The bus departs from the same area that you were dropped off at.
For more about Zagreb, click here.