Place to Stay within 2-3 Hrs of Plitvice

This summer, we will be taking a road trip through Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. After several nights in Ljublana, we will stop at Plitvice before heading into Bosnia. (I know some folks recommend spending a full day or more in Plitvice, but RS recommends a few hours in Plitvice, which will be plenty of time for us as we are not avid outdoors people.)

None of the hotels in or near Plitvice Lakes look appealing to us. The cost doesn't seem to sync up to the quality. (Though I suppose this is not surprising, given the popularity of Plitvice.) And other than the Lakes, it doesn't seem like there is much of interest in the area. We will be travelling by rental car. Is there any town within a 2-3 hour radius of Plitvice that we should consider spending the night in? We will be driving the next day to Sarajevo, so somewhere south and/or east of Plitvice would be ideal. Some of the towns my Google research has brought up are Bihac and Banja Luka, in Bosnia. (I'll re-post this in the Bosnia-Herzegovina forum.)

The Slovenia/Croatia/Bosnia portion of our itinerary is as follows:
Ljublana - 3 nights
Somewhere Near Plitvice?? - 1 night
Sarajevo - 1 night
Mostar - 1 night
Dubrovnik - 3 nights
Hvar - 2 nights
Piran - 1 night

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
8845 posts

Sorry, we don't have much experience in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I would not travel there without a guidebook specific to that region.

Posted by Emily
Vienna, Austria
1117 posts

If the accommodations at the lakes don't meet your standards, then I am certain you will struggle further in Bosnia. We have found that staying outside of the park greatly expands lodging options - many of which are very nice and affordable. Look at Hotel Degenija, for example.

Posted by Jordan
Snohomish, WA
77 posts

Emily - It's not that we're looking for nicer or higher rated hotels. It just seems that the cost of the hotels is not equivalent to the quality. A town that's a bit more interesting to stay in would be a plus.

Posted by mislavzoranic
2 posts

I have been to Plitvice two times first in 2011 one day and then in 2013 2 days. We stayed in hotel Grabovac which is nice. Plitvice lakes have a huge area, you will have to use local small train/bus, ferry and of course to go on foot, so a few hours is not enough.
If you want to stay outside the Plitvice region I would recommend hotel Kostelski Buk in Bihac (Bosnia) which is less than an hour drive from Plitvice. I have stayed there one night. Hotel is situated a few kilometers outside Bihac and is less pricey than hotels in plitvice and the scenery is fantastic.
If you stay in Mostar I reccomend visiting its surroundings which are equally fantastic as famous Old Bridge (especially source of river Buna in Blagaj and waterfall Kravice.
Most of these sites can be seen in this short film and can be visited in a few hours: