Plitvice Lakes National Park is easy to reach from Zagreb, Split, Sibenik, and Zadar as well as from other surrounding places. You can also do a nice stopover in Plitvice if you travel from Zagreb to the Adriatic coast especially if you drive.
Visiting Plitvice from other places (Istria or Dubrovnik) takes a bit longer, sometimes 4 to 6 hours travelling by bus or driving so a day trip is not easy to do and visiting Plitvice lakes would have to involve an overnight stay. There is also an Uber taxi service you can use to get to the Lakes from some of the places in Croatia.
See below for info about getting there from various popular starting points in Croatia:
It takes 2 to 3 hours by bus from Zagreb to reach Plitvice, depending on the time of the day, route it takes and traffic conditions; driving can be much faster, and you can get here in about 2 hours. There is no other public transport, no trains nor flights – read more and see the map and other travel options
It takes between 2 and 3 hours by bus from Zadar to reach Plitvice national park. You can join an organized day tour, take local public transport or rent a car and drive. The only public transport from Zadar to Plitvice is a bus. There are no trains or flights that connect these two places – more info, travel routes, map and directions.
It takes 3 to 4 hours by bus from Split to reach Plitvice Lakes. There are organized day tours, you can take a bus (coach) or just drive there. There are no trains or flights. The only public transport from Split to Plitvice is a bus. – read more and see a map of the travel route
It takes quite some time to reach Plitvice from Dubrovnik. There are several options for this route, including overnight bus, driving, and flying via Zagreb – see all travel options here
When planning your journey from Pula to Plitvice Lakes there are just a few options to consider depending on your preferences and period of the year. The shortest road distance between Pula and Plitvice Lakes National Park is 230 km. The cheapest way to travel between these two places is by bus which in total would cost about 28 Euro. – read more, see the video and map
When planning your journey from Sarajevo to Plitvice Lakes there are just a few options to consider depending on your preferences and period of the year. The road distance between Sarajevo and Plitvice Lakes National Park is 327 km. The cheapest way to travel between these two places is a bus which in total would cost about 38 Euro. The fastest and most expensive is to fly – read more, see the journey map and travel advice
It takes much longer to reach Plitvice from Istria – from your destination (Rovinj, Porec, Pula) you would need to take a bus to Rijeka and from there change it to the bus to Zagreb. From Zagreb, you have to change again for the bus to Plitvice. If you drive, you will use the same/similar route that also involves several hours of driving. If you intend to do this trip my suggestion is to overnight somewhere, Zagreb for example, to break a long journey into two parts. Alternatively, a bus to Karlovac and change there can be a good option for a day trip.
From Krka National Park: regular daily bus goes from Skradin to Plitvice – see schedule here
From Sarajevo and Mostar: This is also a long journey involving changing several buses to reach the Lakes. Still, lovely and scenic ride.