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Train to Zagreb co-ordinating with bus to Plitvice

We will be coming in from Munich on the train to Zagreb. We noticed there is a bus 12 minutes after we arrive that goes to Plitvice.
It looks like the train and bus stations are side by side but has anyone done this connection? The train comes in at 17:13 and the bus leaves at 17:25.

Posted by
19404 posts

I don't think your odds are good. First, I wouldn't count on an on-time train. Second, unless there's an additional exit from the train station I'm not aware of (and it might not help at all even if it existed), you'll walk out of the building facing toward the old town. The bus station will be way to the right, sort of behind you on the other side of the railroad tracks. Using the "View Bus Sation Zagreb in larger map" link that appears below the embedded map on the BusCroatia website should help you visualize the distance involved. The train station exit is quite a bit to the left of the bus station, over toward where you see the words "Zagreb glavni kolodvor" in light blue, though perhaps not quite that far down the street. I walked past the train station several times on my way to and from the bus station. It is not a really short walk, probably at least half a mile, maybe closer to a mile.

To get to the bus station, you'll need to walk quite some distance to the right (not crossing the street in front of you), until you come to a street that cuts under the railroad tracks to the right. Make that turn and walk a distance equivalent to about 2 blocks till you find the bus station. It's a large building, a bit confusing at first glance because it might initially look more like a small multi-story shopping mall.

Then you have a choice. You can go upstairs (there's an escalator) to the ticket hall, find the right booth and stand in line (meanwhile, even a delayed bus may well depart). Or you can take a chance and go directly to the large bus area--I think at ground level, find your bus (not a trivial task) and try to pay the driver. Lots of young Croatians speak good English, so you may get help finding the bus from locals on the platform. I mention the buy-on-bus option only because that's what someone told me to do when I was about to miss my bus while standing in the ticket line, and on that particular day, that particular driver was able and willing to sell me a ticket. I think I decided later that I had paid quite a bit above the ticket-counter price for the convenience of buying a ticket on the bus. But I made the bus. I have no idea whether you can buy tickets on all the buses heading out of Zagreb.

Is there perhaps another bus after 5:25 PM? When I visited Zagreb in mid-summer, there was more than one company making the run to Plitvice.

If there are no later buses, this is all I can suggest:

  • If the train is basically on time and there's a taxi waiting in front of the train station, grab it and wave at least a 5-euro note. (It may take a 10; I don't know what the drop charge is in Zagreb.) This will work best if you have very little luggage. The driver will not be happy with such a short fare. Hand the driver a piece of paper on which you have block-printed "AUTOBUSNI KOLODVOR ZAGREB". It might be a good idea to have the street address as well, just to avoid confusion: Avenija Marina Držića 4.

  • Try to find out the next few stops the bus makes before your trip. There will likely be at least one elsewhere in Zagreb before the bus heads out of town. Know exactly where it is. Try emailing the tourist office for this information. If you get lucky, there might also be a stop in a neighboring small town, but I fear the next is in Karlovac.

  • Have plenty of kuna for a taxi and try to get to the next or second stop before the bus does. Obviously, this is worth trying only if you just barely miss the bus and see it driving down the street as you walk up. There is a taxi rank right outside the bus station. I don't know how likely it is that you'll run into a dishonest driver there.

Good luck. Plitvice Lakes National Park is worth the hassle of getting there.

Posted by
21 posts

I appreciate your detailed info- this gives me exactly what I needed to make a good choice- will most likely spend the night in Zagreb and go early in the morning. I thought perhaps it might be like the exchange in Tirano where the buses are less than 5 min. from the train station. Thanks for taking the time.

Posted by
19404 posts

If there is a later bus and you can be assured of a bed in the Plitvice area, I'd encourage you to plan to spend the night near the park so you can get an early start the next morning. This may not be critical if you're traveling off-season (I just don't know), but in high-season the park gets mobbed when the day-trippers arrive. Last summer it was bad enough to seriously affect ones enjoyment of the park. I had to wait about an hour in the ticket line, just to give you an idea.