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Split-Plitvice-Split driving in a day

Hello, After spending two days in Hvar, we (my wife, 2 teenage daughters, and I) will take a morning ferry to Split on Aug 10th (7:50AM ferry gets to Split at 8:45AM or 9:15 ferry gets to Split at 10:20AM), rent a car @ around 10 or 11AM from Split and drive to Plitvice. Get to Plitvice at approx. 1 or 2PM, spend 4-5 hours at the park and drive back to Split at around 6-7PM. We will spend the night at Split, and spend the following day (Aug 11th) touring Split and fly out of Croatia from Split on Aug 12th AM.

I recognize that our day on Aug 10th will be quite hectic with driving from Split to Plitvice and back to Split, however, if possible, we were trying to avoid spending the night at a B&B near Plitvice and instead wanted to spend 2 night at the same hotel in Split.

Appreciate any feedback on if this is doable and any suggestions.
Thank you

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you Doug.Spindler.

With respect to drive time from Plitvice to Split, I thought it is around 3+ hours and we were estimating that if we left Plitvice by 6-7PM, we would likely get to Split by 10PM+. Is that not true? You mention 1 or 2 in the morning (implying about 6-7 hour drive). Can you clarify please?

Posted by
16763 posts

I don't recommend arriving at the park early in the afternoon and trying to see everything that day. The park gets overwhelmed by day-trippers, and they'll still be there at 1 or 2 PM. Other folks have had some luck arriving later in the afternoon, seeing part of the park, then spending the night in or near the park and returning when it opens the next mornong. Mid-day visits to the park in August will have you moving along the walkways in lockstep with way too many other visitors. Plitvice is a wonderful place, but not so much in the middle of the day. There is a huge difference in the experience, depending on how you time your visit.

There are new ticketing procedures. The park is now selling advance tickets in line. It's my understanding you are not guaranteed to get in if you arrive without tickets already in hand.

Posted by
3978 posts

Downtown Split to Plitvice is a drive of 3.5+ hours.

In August, you don’t want to be arriving at the park early after lunch, as it will be packed.

Have you considered Krka N P rather than Plitvice? It’s a shorter drive from Split.

Posted by
16 posts

We just returned from there. We drove rental to Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb arriving 3:00. We hiked lower lakes that afternoon (starting at entrance #1) and planned to Stay at lodge (by entrance #2) and finish upper Lakes next morning before leaving for Split in rental car. Entrance #1 at 3:00 in the afternoon was packed due to tour buses. We got through it in a couple hours but it was not as fun and scenic when you are fighting for walkway space on the timber trails. We took the boat from lower Lakes to upper after 2 hours. At that point, crowds started disappearing and we had rain in forecast for next morning so we decided to continue on with upper Lakes walk which took another couple hours but we nearly had the place to ourself and it was far more beautiful experience. Finished around 7:30. Went to lodge, enjoyed a decent dinner which felt like eating at an exclusive (old) communist era elites restaurant (or maybe something like the Lookout hotel in the Shinning!). Left the next morning for Split. Only took 2.5 hours on the more scenic highway (directions provided thanks to Waze).

Posted by
85 posts

Split to Plitvice and back to Split in one day is a lot. We drove from Split to Plitvice about a week ago. We left Split at around 9:40 and arrived in Grabovac, about 10 km from the park, around 2:30. We entered the park from lot 1 by 4:00. We were there for about 3 1/2 hours. We started at the lower lakes then moved on to the upper lakes, which are uncrowded that late in the day. I can't imagine doing the drive back to Split after that. Is there a reason you want to go back to Split? Why not spend a few nights there after Hvar, move on to Plitvice from a night and drop your car off in Zagreb? It's a great city and even in July not packed with tourist hordes.