Plitvice Lakes National Park is 150 miles (240 km) away from Split and definitely worth a visit as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most popular tourist attraction in Croatia. The quickest and easiest way to get there from Split is by car, a trip of 2.5-3 hours.
There are several direct bus connections a day, making this another good option which is also the most cost-effective. Taking a train is not a good option as there's no direct train connection between Split and Plitvice Lakes National Park.
This eight-day tour of Croatia takes in some of the country's highlights like Plitvice Lakes National Park but also the capital city of Zagreb, Zadar, Split, the island of Hvar and Dubrovnik.
Duration: 2.5 - 3 hours
If you're planning a trip from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park, getting there by car is the quickest and most convenient option. From Split, head north on the A1 toll highway and exit at Gornja Ploča. From here take the D1 Road to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
To break up the drive, you could stop in the coastal city of Zadar for lunch before heading inland towards the park. Zadar is a little over halfway between Split and Plitvice Lakes National Park. Two good restaurant options in Zadar are Trattoria Mediterraneo and Pet Bunara, located minutes from each other in Old Town Zadar. If you decide to head into Old Town Zadar, it's best to first find parking along the city walls, as you're mostly not able to drive into the heart of the Old Town.
Duration: 3.5 - 5 hours
A trip by bus from Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park can take up to five hours, depending on how many scheduled stops there are along the way and the traffic situation. There are several direct buses leaving Split daily from the main bus station next to the port. There's also the option to take a bus to Zadar and connect there to buses heading to Plitvice Lakes National Park, but this would extend the journey time and is not recommended.
During the high season, it's a good idea to book your bus ticket in advance since this is a popular route with travelers. Bus companies like Croatia Bus and FlixBus offer online booking via their websites. Tickets can also be reserved at the bus station in advance. FlixBus buses have free wifi onboard, toilets and plug sockets.
During the summer, there are several travel agencies based in Split offering organized day trips to Plitvice Lakes National Park, often with a guide. Look out for advertisements near the Split bus station or ask your hotel or the tourist office for more information.
By train and bus
Duration: 7 - 9 hours
There is a train connection from Split to Karlovac, from where there are several direct buses to Plitvice Lakes National Park. This is the slowest option and best avoided. There's no direct train connection between Split and Plitvice Lakes National Park.