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Does the bus pickup reliably in Late August at Plitvice to Split?

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forums and have been reading Rick's book on Croatia. He mentioned during high season that if the bus is full, they won't stop to pickup in Plitvice on the way to Split. Is this true in late August? (The 31st to be exact)
Should we just rent a car in Zagreb and drop off in Split after a day in Plitvice?

Thank you for your time!

PS our itinerary is below.....if you're inclined give me your thoughts :)

really thinking we should go straight to Hvar......and that we are cramming too much in. Unfortunately my sister only has a short time off from work 😥 so we don't have much time.

Or should we return from Plitvice to Zagreb and catch a flight to Dubrovnik instead?

Aug 30: Arrive in Zagreb, day tour, sleep in Zagreb
Aug 31: Plitvice, sleep in Split* (or Hvar)
Sept 1: Split* (or Hvar)
Sept 2: Hvar (sleep in Hvar) (or Dub if we eliminate Split)
Sept 3: Dubrovnik (sleep in Dub)
Sept 4: 8:30am leave for Italy

Posted by
1666 posts

You have 5 nights. And yes you're cramming way too much in. To top it off, you want to deal with a public bus?

Rent a car.

I don't know the ferry schedule, but I am highly doubtful that you will be able to get from Zagreb to Plitvice, tour the park there, and then drive to Split, and then drop off your car in time to catch a ferry to Hvar.

Is anything on your itinerary skippable for you? Personally, I'd skip going to any islands, not because they aren't worthwhile, but because the ferry crossings will eat up huge chunks of your time.

Here's what I'd recommend
Aug 30: Arrive in Zagreb, day tour, sleep in Zagreb
Aug 31: Spend most of the day in Zagreb, late afternoon drive to Plitvice, sleep in Plitvice
Sept 1: Plitvice first thing, then drive to Trogir (spend the night there) (or Split if you prefer)
Sept 2: Split in the morning, then drive to Dubrovnik
Sept 3: Dubrovnik
Sept 4: 8:30am leave for Italy

Posted by
4 posts

Hi Lane,

Thanks for the reply and shooting straight. I needed a reality check. I can change or adjust anything, with the exceptions of our flights into Zagreb and out of Dubrovnik.

I appreciate your input, I'll definitely reevaluate and plan a plan that makes more sense.

Thanks again :)

Posted by
334 posts

August is still a part of the high season, and even though the calendar changes to September, this will not mean that there will be a sudden drop in tourists. Plan your time with high season in mind. To make the most of your limited time, rent a car for Plitvice.

I don't understand sleeping in Hvar on Sept 3 and then leaving for Italy on the morning of Sept 4. Are you taking a ferry to Italy direct from Hvar?

Finally, what are your priorities among Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik? Are any of them must see places?

Posted by
4 posts

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the reply. The sleeping in Hvar on the 3rd was my error, sorry (I've gone in an edited it).

Thank you for the input on booking as if we were in high season, I will keep that in mind.

Plitvice was our priority, the rest is really flexible, so whichever place makes the most sense is fine with me. Hopefully I can return one day and see more.

(I'm taking my sister to Europe for her 40th birthday (she's never been) she doesn't want to plan, so I'm trying to make it the best birthday possibly.
She moves at warp speed, which is exhausting to me, but enjoyable to her. She loves the beach and also enjoys cities. She LOVES wine, meeting new people, the outdoors and fun bars.)

Posted by
334 posts

Okay, that makes sense now. Here's a possibility for a warp speed tour:

  • Aug 30: Arrive Zagreb, Day Tour, Sleep Zagreb
  • Aug 31: Plitvice, sleep Split
  • Sep 1: Day trip Hvar, sleep Split
  • Sep 2: Travel to Dubrovnik, sleep Dubrovnik
  • Sep 3: Dubrovnik, sleep Dubrovnik

With a rental car, you should leave early enough from Zagreb so that you have time to make a brief stop in Rastoke on the way into Plitvice. Try to arrive in Plitvice before 10:00AM as that's when the tour busses really start to descend on the park.

While there is not dedicated time in Split, you'd be able to see Split in the evenings of Aug 31 and Sep 1. The main promenade, Diocletian's Palace, and Old Town have a lot going on in the evening. The palace at night is actually really beautiful and striking. When in Split, I'd recommend staying close to the ferry port/bus station/palace just to make it easier for you to ferry out to Hvar and then leave on Sep 2 for Dubrovnik.

On Sep 2, you have a couple options. You can either take the bus or a high speed catamaran to Dubrovnik. Both take about the same length of time: 4 hours. The catamaran leaves early in the morning, and you'd be able to enjoy 1.5 days in Dubrovnik. If you wanted to see more of Split before moving on, just take a later bus.

This itinerary gives you two nights in Split and two nights in Dubrovnik, which is really the best you could hope for given how limited your time is. Hope this helps and gives you some ideas about what to consider.

Posted by
4 posts

So very helpful, I really appreciate you taking the time to guide me.

Many thanks