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Help me decide!

We have a full day that I have kept open in Split on our 10-day vacation in Croatia. I intended to rent a car and do a day trip to Plitvice Lakes, but I haven't pulled the trigger because I keep debating about the length of the trip and the crowds, and whether this is worth it. It's four of us, two in our 50s and two in early 20s. We're from the US so we don't mind a long drive if it takes us to a great experience.

We are going soon--we'd be at Plitvice on Saturday the 25th of May. We are willing to get up early but I doubt we could be at the park before 10am, given the drive. We are not staying overnight at/near Plitvice. (I've confirmed that the car is still available and we can still get entrance tickets, so don't take that into consideration.)

Would you consider this trip worthwhile? Not high season yet (late May), but it will be a Saturday, and we'd be there right in the prime time of the day (I don't see any way around this). Will the crowds be unbearable?


Posted by
3926 posts

Have you considered a day trip to Krka National Park? It is smaller then Plitvice Lakes but beautiful in its own way. You would eliminate the need to rent a car. You could take a bus.
Last October we were there with friends and we did a one day excursion to Krka and Trogir. It was a lovely, unrushed day. We purchased the tickets the day before.

Posted by
1811 posts

Have you considered a tour? Viator and Get Your Guide list a number of day trips from Split to Plitvice. This might make it much easier and less stressful than renting a car and driving about six hours round trip.

Yes, Plitvice is worthwhile. It's stunning. The crowds might be unbearable. I was there ten years ago in mid-May, starting in the afternoon, and there was really just one section (the "vertical cave") where the crowds were very thick. But it might be worse now.

Posted by
27336 posts

Do not day trip to Plitvice! It is totally swamped by day trippers. You will be walking on packed over-water walkways (most of them without railings) with the people behind you practically stepping on your heels. The only way to have a good experience at Plitvice these days is to spend the night there, seeing the park late the day you arrive and/or early the next morning.

Please trust me on this. I've been to the park three times and know how lovely it can be. After my 2015 day trip I also know how disappointing it is by the time the daytrippers arrive. Don't be one of them.

I think Krka is a much better idea if you can't afford to spend a night at Plitvice.

Posted by
6 posts

Acraven--thank you for the honest response. I'll definitely take this strongly into consideration.

Posted by
373 posts

acraven is quite passionate about not doing a daytrip to Plitvice.

See other posts for more nuance on this topic....

I do not 100% disagree with acraven, but, Plitvice is an amazing place,
and if you really want to see it, go and just brave the crowds.

Here is a suggestion: if you get there around 10, go in entrance 2,
see the lower area of the upper lakes first, then do the upper upper
lakes (around ST3) after that, hopefully during the busiest time in the
park. Then later in the day, take the boat, do the lower lakes/Veliki
Slap, and plan to leave maybe 5-ish.

Also, after the hike, get in the car, drive north and go towards the B&B
Villa Nena south of Poljanek. Park when you get to the bridge across
the river and follow the short path to the upper overlooks for the lower
lakes and Veliki Slap. This will cost you 30-45 minutes getting back to
Split, but the views are worth it.

I have not been to Krka, and I've heard it's great, but it seems to primarily
be one amazing waterfall and not a bunch of them.

I don't think you'd be disappointed either way.