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How to Get From Split to Plitvice Lakes (Local’s Guide)

Trying to figure out the best way to get from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park? I’ve got you covered!

Situated in the lush heartland of Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must on anyone’s travel list for Croatia – and it truly lives up to its reputation! I’ve been living in Croatia since 2014 and have been traveling to the country my entire life – that’s over 30 years of Croatia travel experience.

During my travels, I’ve visited this UNESCO World Heritage Site more times than I can count.

And with years of exploring the park under my belt, I’ve figured out all the possible ways to get there, including the journey from Split to Plitvice Lakes.

In this travel guide, I’ll share the top 4 ways you can get to Plitvice Lakes from Split, plus all the details you need for a smooth and unforgettable trip. Let’s get started!

A view looking down onto a small curving wooden walkway over blue-green waters surrounded by lush green vegetation with waterfalls flowing through.

Split to Plitvice Lakes by Car

Renting a car and driving to Plitvice Lakes is the quickest and most direct way to reach the park. I always say that a road trip through Croatia is the best way to experience the country, and driving from Split to Plitvice is a great opportunity for that!

Most of the roads you’ll be driving on are well-maintained and easy to navigate. As you get closer to the park and off the highway, some smaller roads can be narrow and winding, but shouldn’t pose a problem.

The fastest route when driving to Plitvice Lakes from Split is to take the E65 highway that passes by Sibenik and Zadar (two awesome stops for your road trip!). Just know that if you do take this route, there are tolls along the way. However, the scenery is absolutely stunning and well worth the cost.

To really make the most of your visit, I recommend spending the night in the park! My top choice for accommodation in Plitvice is Fenomen Plitvice, where you can stay in a cozy cottage just footsteps away from Entrance 3 of the park.

For the best car rental prices, I like to use Discover Cars no matter where I’m traveling. They check both local and international providers to ensure you always get the best rate.

Map of Split to Plitvice Lakes Drive

Use the map below for step-by-step directions on how to get to the park.

The majority of your drive will be on the E65 highway.

Once you pass Zadar, you’ll continue onto E71 before exiting at Gornja Ploča (Exit 13).

From there, follow route 522 until it meets Route 1 which will take you straight to the Plitvice Lakes main entrances.

Plitvice Day Trips From Split

If you’re not comfortable with driving long distances or on unfamiliar roads, then an organized tour from Split to Plitvice is ideal. You’ll need to dedicate one day to visiting Plitvice on an organized tour from Split, but it will be worth it.

This small group guided day tour from Split to Plitvice Lakes offers a relaxed and stress-free travel experience. The tour includes hotel pick-up and round-trip transport by air-conditioned minivan, plus a professional English-speaking tour guide to lead you through the spectacular landscapes of the park.

For a more customizable and personalized day trip, consider booking this private tour to Plitvice Lakes. In addition to round-trip transportation, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the 16 interconnected lakes on foot (Lower Lakes) and by train (Upper Lakes). Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to stop at a local spot for lunch on the way back to Split!

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    Private Transfers From Split to Plitvice Lakes

    For the utmost convenience, booking a private transfer from Split to Plitvice Lakes is a fantastic choice. No fussing with public transport schedules, no navigating through unknown roads, and absolutely no compromises on your travel comfort.

    You can book a private transfer from Split to Plitvice with Adriatic Shuttle Transfers. They are consistently rated number 1 for transportation providers in Split, with prices starting at €275 for a private car to Plitvice Lakes.

    Other options for reaching Plitvice Lakes include a local taxi or taking an Uber from Split.

    Bus From Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park

    The Split to Plitvice Lakes bus is the most budget-friendly option when it comes to transportation. Buses from Split to Plitvice Lakes depart multiple times per day from the main bus station in the Old Town, and take at least 3.5 hours to reach the park.

    FlixBus is always my go-to when traveling by bus in Croatia because their buses are typically newer, clean, air-conditioned, and have free wifi on board. I recommend purchasing tickets in advance as buses can fill up quickly during peak tourist months.


    How far is Split from Plitvice Lakes National Park?

    The distance between Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park is 241 kilometers (149 miles).

    How do I get from Split to Plitvice Lakes?

    There are 4 ways you can get to Plitvice Lakes from Split. Your options are to rent a car and drive yourself, join an organized group tour, take a private transfer, or take the bus.

    Can you do a day trip from Split to Plitvice Lakes?

    Yes! You can do a day trip from Split to Plitvice Lakes, but just be aware that it will be a full day. On average, an organized group tour will last about 12 hours. If you drive yourself, you will have more flexibility with your time but it can still take up to 3 hours to drive each way.

    Is there a bus from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park?

    Yes, there are buses that travel from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park multiple times per day. These buses leave from the Split main bus station.

    Is Split or Zagreb closer to Plitvice Lakes?

    Zagreb is closer to Plitvice Lakes, but it is still possible to visit Plitvice on a day trip from Split.

    Final Thoughts

    If you skipped to the bottom, no worries!

    Here are the best ways to get to Plitvice Lakes National Park from Split:

    No matter which transportation option you choose, your visit to the park will certainly be one of the highlights of your trip to Croatia!

    Visiting Croatia’s islands? Download the Croatia Island Hopping Guidebook!

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