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Plitvice Park - only 2 hours

Hi friends --
My family (4 adults, 3 children) are traveling by van from Budapest to Split. We are constrained on time as we are going from one wedding to another event. We have figured out that Plitvice Lakes is "on our way" and we can spend about two (maybe three) hours there. We would love to at least see a portion of the park, even though I know our rushed stop will not do it justice. Any advice?

Thanks, Bijal

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
2532 posts

My advice: Ask the bride and groom to reschedule their wedding?

Well, OK, if that doesn't work...there's not a whole lot you can do if you really only will have 2 (or even 3) hours there...and that's assuming no bad traffic or other delays. There are no magic tricks to slow down time. My advice would be to have realistic expectations, and be prepared to be disappointed if you end up not even having enough time to get out of the van and take a selfie at the gate. If you do manage an hour or two in the park, just enjoy it and count yourself lucky. Make a note to come back when you have time to stop and see the place.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2621 posts

I would skip it. If you want something quicker and easier, visit Krka National Park which is near Skradin between Zadar and Split. You can see just the big amazing Skradinski Buk cascading waterfall. I parked at Skradin and took the boat to the falls, but you might be able to drive right up to the falls and park (check the park's website - might be vary when you can park where depending on the season).

Plitvice in my view can be experienced in a good 5-7 hours, but to me it's more about hiking and seeing the beautiful views and waterfalls around every turn rather than one big "wow!" experience like the Skradinski Buk falls at Krka. Two hours gives you barely enough time to get in and get out (you have to walk down to the park from the big parking lots - near entrance #1 and the lower lakes would get you there quickest. Plus, it might be really crowded depending on what time of day you are there. Krka won't be empty in summer either, but it's big enough you might still enjoy it. (And you can swim below the falls at Krka too if your kids want to - can't swim at Plitvice.)

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
8745 posts

I agree with Andrew. There's a good bit of driving on a twisty 2-lane road to get to Plitvice, so I think making an accurate prediction of the driving time will not be easy. After you've found a parking space and walked to the entry point, you have to buy tickets. Things may have chamged since my June 2015 visit, but I arrived at sbout 10 AM on a weekday and spent roughly 1 hour in that ticket line.
There was just one person selling tickets, and I think that was standard, because I don't remember seeing more than one ticket booth.

Bottom line: Unless you can arrive at the park before it opens or perhaps in the late afternoon when no ine else will ne buying tickets, I think attempting Plitvice with your constraints will be no more than a waste of time.