Zagreb-Piltvice Lakes

My daughter and I are traveling to Zagreb/Piltvice Lakes. I have a few questions. We arrive in Zagreb Ap 23 at night, departing Ap 26 eve. 1. The first day we will be there is Easter Sunday. Will the town be shut down? 2. We want to go to Piltvice Lakes. Should we book 3 nights in Zagreb and make Piltvice a day trip or stay in Piltvice for 1 night?
3. Any recommendations for hotel location in Zagreb? We like to walk to things and need something relatively inexpensive (as in...I'm not keen on sharing hostel bathrooms and my 20 yr old daughter is not keen on staying at a hostel with her mom). Thanks for your ideas! Andrea

Posted by Christy
Seattle, WA
684 posts

Hi, Andrea,
I haven't taken my trip to the area yet but thought I'd pass along what I've learned. I've read Zagreb is dead on Sundays, period. My own trip also takes me there on a Sunday which is unfortunate, but it's really more of a first night stop for us, rather than a true destination. I've also learned that hoards of tourists visit Plitvice during the day, so if you want any semblance of solitude, go early or late. So, that means staying the night, and that's what I'll be doing. It looks like there is good, relatively inexpensive b&b lodging nearby (look at tripadvisor.com). Rick has some budget options for hotels in his book, I believe. I found a good advance purchase deal at the Regent Esplanade but I'm not sure it would be considered "relatively inexpensive." My main goal was that I wanted someplace comfortable where my jet lagged self and husband could drive to easily from the airport.

Posted by Andrea
Palo Alto, CA, United States
5 posts

Hi Christy: Thanks for your reply. We'll definitely spend a night in Piltvice. Andrea

Posted by Angela
Chicago/Rural WI
809 posts

As Christy said, Zagreb shuts down on Sundays, regardless of Easter. I wanted to mention that some countries in Europe also consider the next day (Easter Monday) to be a holiday, too. I just looked on the Zagreb forum on TripAdvisor.com and found the following thread that indicates things will be closed on Monday, too: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294454-i3821-k4231044-l31168752-Zagreb_during_Easter_weekend_Desserts_recommendations-Zagreb.html#31168752 Given this, and the personal opinion that I didn't find Zagreb to be all that charming, would you consider staying somewhere else in Croatia? At least if things were closed it would be nice to have scenic surroundings... :) As for hotels, I wish I could help but we found the prices in Zagreb to be strangely high compared to the rest of the Croatian places we visited, and ended up staying at the Westin on hotel points. Really comfortable bed, though!

Posted by Andrea
Palo Alto, CA, United States
5 posts

Thanks, Angela. Our real destination in Croatia is Piltvice. Zagreb is how we're getting there and arriving at 10:30 on Sat night so will definitely spend one night there. Yes, the hotel rates in Zagreb seem ridiculous! I hate to change hotels every night, but I'm wondering now about our original plan to stay in Zagreb on Sunday night as well. Is there something between Piltvice and Zagreb that would be nice on Easter Monday; or 2 nights in Piltvice? Most of our 14 day trip is in Italy and Rhodes. My daughter really wanted to see Piltvice, hence this short foray into Croatia.

Posted by Angela
Chicago/Rural WI
809 posts

Because of the tricky-factor with getting to and from Plitvice, you'd want to stay somewhere that has direct bus service to the park. And because we didn't spend much time in the Zagreb region during our trip, unfortunately I have no first-hand suggestions for you. BUT, I think this would be an excellent question to pose on the Zagreb forum on TripAdvisor.com. For what it is worth, I see that the town of Karlovac runs bus service to Plitvice and looks easy to get to from Zagreb. I never see it mentioned, so it could be a true back-door experience!

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
907 posts

You can take a bus from Split to Plitvice and avoid Zagreb altogether. I remember checking into this a few years ago and it's tricky ... you take the bus to Zagreb and ask to be let out at Plitvice. You'll want to check this out carefully. Can you rearrange your schedule so that your visit to Plitvice does not fall over Easter weekend?

Posted by Andrea
Palo Alto, CA, United States
5 posts

Thanks Charlene. We're flying in to Zagreb so coming from Split isn't an option. And this timeframe is what worked in our schedule. I'm sure it will all work out. We will just plan on a relaxed day in Zagreb. I'm sure if we want to see churches, we could do that! We may add a night at Plitvice and stay there for 2 and Zagreb 1.