Plitvice Waterfalls: How Do I Get There?

Plitvice Waterfalls
The Plitvice Waterfalls are one of Croatia's signature attractions. So unless you're on a tour where you probably won't care about how to get here (at least once you're in the country).

In this page, we're going to briefly talk about the logistics of getting into the country, then we'll discuss how we self-drove to the falls (which I'm sure might be of interest for independent visitors). But in all honesty, it wasn't that hard to find this place (as of our May 2010 visit) as it was well signposted all the way from Zagreb (Croatia's capital) to the north and from Zadar to the south.

Regarding getting into the country, I believe they have international airports in Zagreb (the country's capital) and smaller ones in Dubrovnik or other popular tourist attraction towns like Split (though I'm not completely sure since we only flew into Zagreb and out of Dubrovnik).

I'm sure there are numerous ways of getting into the country and then finding a way to either tour or self-drive to Plitvice. In our particular case, it might be a bit unique since we flew from Thessaloniki, Greece to Zagreb, Croatia. Then, we did the 2-hour drive south of Zagreb to Plitvice (it maybe a little under 90 minutes north of Zadar if you were coming from there).

The breakdown of our self-drive from Zagreb is as follows.

From Zagreb, we drove out of the city along Hwy 12, which was a high speed motorway (toll required). This consisted of the first 54km stretch of driving, and it went pretty quickly (maybe a little less than an hour).

Then, we exited Hwy 12, paid the toll (for using the Hwy 12), then drove onto Hwy 11. At this point, the road was mostly two-lane highway winding between rural farms and through small villages. We noticed a handful of speed traps in some of these villages.

This stretch was the most tiring because we frequently wound up behind a slow-moving vehicle belching out diesel fumes in our direction (typically from a truck, tour bus, or campervan). Unfortunately, given the relatively high traffic and blind curves, it was very difficult to pass these vehicles unless the driver in front of us was courteous enough to pull over and let us pass (which didn't happen at all; come to think of it, this was quite rare in Croatia, but in Greece it seemed like the drivers got it).

This stretch along the 11 probably took us a good 90 minutes (including a delay from an apparent accident due to the heavy rains and slick conditions) before we finally reached the Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Once inside the park, there were two car entrances (signposted "Ulaz") where there were also car parks. However, in our accommodation, they offered parking for guests so we ended up parking there (which was right across the street from Ulaz 2). Ulaz 2 was a roughly 10- to 15-minute drive from Ulaz 1.

At this point, further progress was totally on pedestrian walks.

When we were done touring Plitvice, we continued to drive south towards Skradin (near Krka National Park). This might interest you if you're heading north towards Plitvice (especially if you were staying somewhere south of here like Zadar, Split, or even as far as Dubrovnik, etc.). Just follow the directions below backwards.

When we left Plitvice, we continued driving south along Hwy 13 until it joined up with Hwy 2, which was another high speed motorway (toll required). I believe it took us close to 90 minutes to go from Plitvice to Hwy 2. We then continued on the high speed motorway towards Skradin near the Hwy 13 and Hwy 2 junction.

Naturally, these transit times will differ depending on where you're at, but at least this gives you a rough idea of how much time to budget for travel days.

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