Croatia's top attraction, the UNESCO-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park is easy to reach from Zadar. It's only 73 miles away and traveling there by car is the quickest and most convenient way to get there. A drive from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes National Park takes 1.5 hours.
Another good option is to take the bus which may only take slightly longer than driving yourself. This is also the most cost-effective travel option. There are several direct buses connecting Zadar to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Private transfer services are also available. There is no train connection between Zadar and Plitvice Lakes National Park so taking the train is not an option.
If you enjoy active holidays, this 10-day tour of Croatia will have you exploring the lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park, cycling through Hvar island's UNESCO World Heritage Site, kayaking around the Pakleni Islands and taking in the sights of Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik.
By Rental Car
Duration: 1.5 hours
It's only a short distance to Plitvice Lakes National Park from Zadar so getting there by car is easy and quick. From Zadar, head north-east on the E71 highway and exit at Gornja Ploča from where you can take the D1 Road to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
The bus trip from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes National Park only takes slightly longer than a car journey so this is also a good option. Buses in Croatia are comfortable and some companies offer free wifi. This is also the most cost-effective way to travel. There are several direct buses leaving Zadar daily from the main bus station.
This is a popular route, so it's a good idea to book your bus ticket in advance if you're traveling during the summer months. You can book online with bus companies like Croatia Bus and FlixBus via their websites. You can also buy tickets in advance at the bus station. If you're taking a FlixBus, you'll find free wifi onboard, as well as plug sockets and toilets.
By Private Transfer
Duration: 1.5 hours
If you're not comfortable driving in a foreign country or don't want to bother with traffic or finding parking, there are private transfers available from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes National Park. This is also the most expensive option, but not necessarily quicker than driving yourself or taking the bus because of the short distance. Ask at your hotel or the tourist office for details of companies offering transfer services.