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Plitvace Lakes and Lake Bled in one day possible?

I was planning on taking an overnight train from Venice to Zagreb and then driving round trip to see Plitvace Lakes and catching a 10:30pm flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnich.

I noticed though that the train will stop in Bled around 6am. I am thinking about renting a car and going to the Lake in the morning and leaving around 11:30am. It's a 3 1/2 hour drive to Plitvace and I'm thinking 3 hours at the Lakes and then a 2 hour drive back to Zagreb airport would get me there around 9pm.

Anyone familiar with these places think its doable? Do you think 3 hours at either location will allow me to see anything worth the effort? If you had to choose between the two, which would you pic - Bled or Plitvace? (I will have already visited Lake Como and the Alps BTW).

Posted by
4931 posts

Sure, it's possible - a long day. You'll also pay a huge drop-off charge + one-way rental charge (for one day, anyway) picking up a car in Slovenia and dropping it in Croatia.

Read up on Lake Bled and what you want to see. There is a castle, a few churches - what do you really want to see there? It's not required to see everything there. The lake itself isn't really huge - you could simply walk around it or part of it. It is a gorgeous view, though. Is there any logistical way to hop off the train for a few hours in Bled, simply go down and see the lake, then head on to Zagreb somehow by bus or train?

Plitvice doesn't necessarily require a lot of time to see once you are in the park, but getting in and out takes some time. There are boats and shuttle buses to get you around parts of it.

Given the choice, I'd definitely choose Plitvice over Bled myself.

Posted by
106 posts

My first thought would be WHY would you do this to yourself,especially after a nighttime train. I went to Plitvice and Lake Bled on separate days while on RS Eastern Europe tour. After the tour, a girlfriend and I spent an afternoon in Lublianna and 2 nights in Zagreb.
Lake Bled IS lovely but you would have already visited Lake Como. I would advise Plitvice. Our group was on the wooden trail early. I chose to go on the longer route. I would advise against the longer route. By the last thirty minutes of the longer route there where HORDES of buses of tourists blocking the wooden sidewalk while taking photos of each other. It isn't like you can just step off the sidewalk. You are trapped.
Zagreb is a lovely city. My advise is to go to Plitvice in the cool of the morning, spend the rest of the day in Zagreb, then head to the airport.

Posted by
334 posts

Have you considered the additional cost of renting a car in Slovenia, but returning it in Croatia?

There are trails in Plitvice that fit into your time range, but you'd need everything in your itinerary to go just right, and you'd have to be satisfied with only a section of the park. Check out the trail maps and see if the short ones have enough high points to warrant the extra time and expense.

I would pick one or the other, but that's purely a personal preference on how I like to travel.