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From Plitvice to Dubrovnik

Hello all --

So I will be in Croatia in early October. I hear great things about Plitvice, but am stuck trying to figure out how to get from there to Dubrovnik. I will have a rental car but don't fancy driving all the way. I thought about dropping the car at a town that the train from Zagreb to Split stops at, but there don't appear to be rental locations along that route.

Do I drive BACK to Zagreb to get the train?

Is there a port on the way I can drop the car at and catch a ferry?

And how do I best get from Split to Dubrovnik?

Many thanks!

Posted by
334 posts

Busses and ferries are better options than trains. You have a couple ways you could go:

  1. Rent car in Zagreb, drive to Plitvice, return to Zagreb and drop car at airport, fly to Dubrovnik
  2. Rent car in Zagreb, drive to Plitvice, drive to Split, drop car and catch bus/ferry to Dubrovnik

If you don't intend to see Split, it would be easiest to take the direct flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik on Croatian Airlines. Even with the little back-tracking, that is the most efficient way to get to the bottom of the country, and domestic flights are fairly inexpensive. However, if you want to include Split in your itinerary, it would be best to continue on towards Split and drop the car there. There are rental locations near the ferry/bus terminal, so you will just need to research which rental companies are in that area. From there, it's really your preference on whether you take the ferry or the bus to Dubrovnik. The high speed catamaran and the bus both take about 4 hours to make the trip, so one is no faster than the other. Of course, taking the bus gives you more options as to when you leave, but I prefer taking the ferry if I can (being able to stand up, stretch, etc during those four hours is nice).

Posted by
5 posts

thanks, Mike. Two things --

Rick Steve mentions the flights into Dubrovnik can be unpredictable and diverted to Split because of the winds?

I may end up having to choose between seeing Split and spending a couple of days at one of the Greek Islands, which I've never been to. Any thoughts on that?

Posted by
16894 posts

Greek islands will be even harder to get to from Croatia, probably involving a couple of flight connections. Is that part already planned out?

Posted by
5 posts

No...I'm still fumbling about at the moment. Maybe you can help...

I'm flying London to Ljubljana on Oct 1. Need to be back in London by Oct 12 at 2 PM to fly back to LAX.

I think I've crammed too much here. I know people feel like they have to choose between Bled and Plitvice.
As you can see, I think I have to choose if I want to get to Greece at all.

Arrive Ljubljana 10/1, hang around for the night
Drive to and from Lake Bled on 10/2; spend the day there hiking.
10/3: Ljubljana.
10/4 -- Train from Ljubljana to Zagreb. visit Zagreb.
10/5 - drive to plitvice, hike and then maybe drive back in early evening to Zagreb or Split
10/6: Fly to dubrovnik from Zagreb, or ferry from Split
10/7-10/9 Dubrovnik
10/10 Fly to Athens, Ferry to Hydra
10/11: Late ferry back to Athens
10/12 Fly to London, fly home.

Posted by
16894 posts

I would cut Greece; that's another trip. If you want a nice coastline, Croatia is full of them. You probably won't even find a direct flight from Dubrovnik to Athens.

Posted by
334 posts

Rick Steve mentions the flights into Dubrovnik can be unpredictable and diverted to Split because of the winds?

Yes, it does happen, but it is relatively rare that a plane has to be diverted. On a recent trip, we flew from Zagreb to Dubrovnik and circled for about an hour before we could land. Our flight was late at night, and those were the worst winds we experienced during our time in Dubrovnik. I think the winds during the daytime are generally better.

Posted by
44 posts

Gosh, the drive is not a big deal. You have to go through Bosnia, and need an okay from you rental car agency, but even all the way from Zagreb it's only six hours. We are going to make the trip in October as well.