Split to Plitvice Lakes: how do you get there?

How To Get From Split To Plitvice Lakes National Park?

This post will provide you with a useful run-through of the various ways you can travel to Plitvice Lakes National Park from the city of Split in Croatia.

So, how far are we talking about?

If you are staying in a major Croatian city, you can’t get much further away from Plitvice Lakes National Park than Split. Dubrovnik is a further down the coast, but Zadar and Zagreb are a lot closer. You will find Split in the center of the Dalmatian Coast with Plitvice Lakes sitting around 250 kilometers away. However, don’t let the distance put you off. You can do the park as a day trip provided you get up bright and early to make the journey worthwhile. If you want some more time to explore, there is a lot of great accommodation available around Plitvice.

The distance between Split and Plitvice Lakes does mean that the duration of the journey may vary substantially based on the method of transport you use. You can only access the park by road as it is nestled in Croatia’s hilly countryside, but there are still several travel options.


Split to Plitvice day trip

A private day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park is an extremely convenient and comfortable way to see this natural wonder from travelers based in Split. Private day trips offer a door-to-door service and a private driver who will take you from the front of your Split accommodation to the park and back. The greatest benefit of this service is that you will miss the crowded buses that descend on the park at the same time each day.

You’ll be picked up from your accommodation in Split by your driver in a modern vehicle (with free wi-fi). There will be a short break in the middle of the drive, which is scheduled to last three hours. When you arrive, you will be left to discover the beauty of the park over the next four hours before being driven back to your front door in Split.

When you get to the park, your driver will take you to the entrance and remain there while you discover the highlights of the park. At the agreed time, your driver will come and collect you but if you wish to leave earlier or stay longer, all you need to do is give the driver a call and let them know your new plans. A private day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park puts you in charge and offers flexibility without any of the stress.


Plitvice Lakes Tour

A tour to Plitvice Lakes from Split may be your best option if you are pressed for time. These day-long tours take all the hassle out of your journey as the tour providers will take care of the transport, the navigation, the parking, and so on. This will free you from having to worry about rental vehicles and maps and is arguably the easiest and most comfortable way to see this celebrated national park.

Typically, a tour will give you about five or six hours in the park. This is ample time to get a good feel for Plitvice Lakes and see its greatest sights. Depending on the type of tour you choose, you will either be left to discover the park solo or will be taken around by a guide. The park is easy to navigate by foot on your own but if you do only have the one day, having a guide will ensure you don’t miss any of the highpoints.

Happily, tours from Split to Plitvice Lakes are typically pretty economical. You will usually have to pay extra for the ticket into the park itself but tours generally include a tour guide..


Split to Plitvice Lakes by Car

Driving to Plitvice Lakes from Split can take you under three hours but this will depend on the traffic and whether you make any stops. For a lot of people, the self-drive option is appealing because of the flexibility and freedom it offers.

A rental car frees you up to travel whenever and wherever you want to. You can leave and arrive at times that suit you, stay as long or leave as quickly as you wish and not be dependent on anyone else’s schedule. Also, who doesn’t love a road trip? However, as a six-hour round-trip is quite a bit to do in one day, you may wish to stay overnight to break the drive up.

Another good reason to take a bit more time for your trip to Plitvice Lakes is the great detours you could enjoy. The quickest route to Plitvice Lakes from Split will put you on the E65, a big Croatian highway that links Split to the popular cities of Sibenik and Zadar. The attractions on offer in these cities are definitely worth a look if you can spare the time.

After Zadar, leave the E65, get on the E71, then take the Gornja Ploča exit (exit 13) just past Kik and continue down Route 522 until it joins Route 1. Go straight down Route 1 and it will take you into the heart of the Plitvice Lakes National Park.

A breakdown of your drive:

  1. First, get on the E65 and, going northeast, stay on it for around 160 kilometers. This will take you past Sibenik and Zadar.
  2. At the Maslenica exit (exit 15), you will continue north of the E65 and will join the E71.
  3. Remain on the E71 until the Gornja Ploča exit (exit 15) when you’ll need to turn onto Route 522.
  4. Route 522 will quickly converge with Route 1, which will take you directly to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Split to Dubrovnik transport options

Is it worth visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia?

Undoubtedly! The area is simply stunning. Relaxing boardwalk trails lead visitors around breathtaking waterfalls and lakes that work harmoniously to create a magical and unforgettable destination. At this unique ecological wonderland, you will find mesmerizing photo-worthy views around every corner that take your breath away.

Declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1979 due to its outstanding natural beauty, Plitvice consists of 16 beautiful lakes the crystal clear waters of which are home to abundant natural lifeforms. No visit to Croatia would be complete without a visit to this geological gem. Visitors of all ages flock to the area to enjoy laid-back walking trails, show-stopping views, and the impressive sight of mighty cascading waterfalls.

Offering four lake levels, eight routes, four hiking trails, and two main entrances, the biggest issue you may encounter is working out how best to spend your precious few hours in the park.



Split to Plitvice Bus

There are public buses that will take you from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park. However, it can take you longer to get to the park by bus and your departure times will be limited. Currently, there are no more than five departures each day. The earliest you can leave is 8.30 am, arriving at Plitvice at 12.30 pm.

The longer travel time makes the 8.30 am start a bit late for you to get the most out of the park in a single day and all that traveling can be tiring, so you may wish to stay overnight.

Please check out this website for the most up-to-date bus timetables.

If you aren’t planning on coming back to Split after your visit to Plitvice Lakes, the bus may be a great choice. A lot of buses travel from Split to Plitvice and then on to Zagreb, making them a convenient option if you plan to hit Croatia’s capital next. Of course, you can always go in the opposite direction and travel from Zagreb to Plitvice and on to Split.


Split to Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes National Park