Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as Croatia's most popular tourist attraction. The most convenient and quickest way to get there from Rovinj is by car. The drive will take 3-4 hours, and will cover a distance of 150-173 miles, depending on the route taken.
The other option is to travel by bus. Though this option is the most economical, the trip takes longer because there's no direct bus service to Plitvice Lakes National Park from Rovinj and will require a change of buses in Karlovac. There's no train connection between Rovinj and Plitvice Lakes National Park.
If you're looking at taking some time to explore Croatia, consider this 10-day tour starting in Zagreb before taking in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Split, the island of Hvar, and Dubrovnik.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 3-4 hours
Traveling by car is the fastest and most convenient way to travel from Rovinj to Plitvice Lakes National Park. From Rovinj, take Road 303 and then the E751 toll highway towards the city of Rijeka from where you can join the E65 Rijeka-Zagreb toll highway. For the fastest route to Plitvice Lakes National Park, head south at Bosiljevo on the E71 toll highway.
Rijeka is about an 1.5 hour drive from Rovinj, and your last spot to stop along the coast before heading inland towards the park. While there are a handful of great restaurants right along the harbor, parking in this area can be a challenge. Konoba Tarsa is conveniently located close to the entrance for the E65 Rijeka-Zagreb toll highway, and thus you avoid having to drive through downtown Rijeka for food.
A slightly longer route (by 20 minutes) is to take Road 1 south from Karlovac. This winding and scenic road will take you past the town of Rastoke and its waterfalls, and is worth a stop.
A few minutes south of Karlovac along Road 1, just after crossing the Korona River, is a bakery called Monika. If you are looking for grab and go options to take on your drive they have a selection of coffees, baked goods, and fresh bread.
Duration: 4.5 – 7.5 hours
Taking the bus is a low-cost option which also makes for a longer journey. The total journey time depends on how many scheduled stops the bus makes on the way. You'll have to change buses in Karlovac and this may require a wait for the next bus service headed to Plitvice Lakes National Park. If you have some time between connections, explore the historical center of Karlovac which is just a five-minute walk from the bus station.