Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Road Tripping To Plitivice


by Adelheid Ramos



Road tripping to Plitvice Lakes National Park is a thrilling adventure that allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of Croatia. Located in the heart of the country, this UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its spectacular series of lakes, waterfalls, and lush forests.


Embarking on a road trip not only gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace but also allows you to discover hidden gems along the way. Whether you’re a nature lover, outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, a road trip to Plitvice will not disappoint.


With picturesque landscapes at every turn, it’s important to plan your trip effectively to make the most of your experience. From choosing the right time to visit to selecting the best route and finding suitable accommodations, careful planning ensures a smooth and enjoyable road trip.


In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essentials of road tripping to Plitvice Lakes National Park. From packing tips and must-see attractions to local cuisine and safety precautions, we have got you covered. So buckle up, pack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in one of Croatia’s most enchanting destinations.


Choosing the Right Time to Visit

When planning a road trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, it’s crucial to consider the timing of your visit. The park’s natural beauty changes with the seasons, offering unique experiences throughout the year. Here are some factors to keep in mind when deciding on the best time to visit:

  • Peak Season: The summer months of June to August are the park’s busiest time, with a higher influx of tourists. While the weather is generally warm and pleasant, the park can get crowded. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during shoulder seasons such as spring (April to June) or fall (September to October).
  • Weather: Croatia experiences a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. Summer temperatures can soar, making it ideal for swimming and enjoying the park’s waterfalls. Spring and fall offer cooler temperatures, blooming flowers, and vibrant foliage.
  • Wildlife: Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to spot various wildlife species. Spring is a great time for birdwatching, as migratory birds return to the park. Autumn is known for deer rutting season, during which you might witness fascinating displays of behavior.

While each season has its own charm, it’s important to research and decide which aligns best with your preferences. Consider factors such as weather, crowd levels, and wildlife opportunities to choose a time that suits your interests and allows you to fully enjoy the beauty of Plitvice Lakes.


Planning Your Route

Planning your route is an essential step in ensuring a successful road trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park. There are various factors to consider when mapping out your journey, including distance, travel time, and attractions along the way. Here are some tips to help you plan your route effectively:

  • Starting Point: Determine your starting point and calculate the distance to the park. Whether you’re starting from the capital city of Zagreb, the coastal city of Split, or any other location, consider the driving time and choose a route that suits your preferences.
  • Scenic Routes: Croatia is known for its scenic roads, offering breathtaking views of the countryside, mountains, and coastline. Research and include scenic routes in your itinerary to enhance your road trip experience. The Adriatic Highway (Jadranska magistrala) along the Dalmatian coast is one such route that offers stunning coastal vistas.
  • Attractions Along the Way: Take advantage of your road trip by incorporating stops at attractions and landmarks along your route. Explore historic cities like Zadar or visit the picturesque town of Rastoke, famous for its watermills and cascading rivers.
  • Flexible Itinerary: While it’s essential to plan your route, leave room for flexibility in your itinerary. Unexpected discoveries and hidden gems might come your way, so be open to detours and spontaneous adventures.
  • Navigation Tools: Utilize navigation tools like GPS or smartphone apps to help you navigate your way. Ensure that you have a reliable source of directions and have a backup plan in case of any technology failures.

Remember, the road trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park is not just about the destination; it’s about the journey itself. Plan your route thoughtfully, taking into consideration the scenic beauty and attractions along the way. This will enhance your overall experience and make your road trip truly unforgettable.


Essential Road Trip Checklist

Before embarking on your road trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, it’s crucial to ensure that you have everything you need for a smooth and enjoyable journey. Here is an essential road trip checklist to help you stay organized:

  • Vehicle Maintenance: Check your vehicle for any necessary maintenance or repairs. Get an oil change, check the tire pressure, and ensure that all lights are working properly. It’s also a good idea to carry a spare tire and the necessary tools for changing it.
  • Valid Driver’s License and Documents: Make sure you have a valid driver’s license and all necessary vehicle documents, including registration and insurance. Keep copies of these documents stored electronically as a backup.
  • Navigational Tools: Bring GPS navigation devices or smartphones with reliable navigation apps installed. Also, consider having a physical map as a backup in case of technology malfunctions or signal issues.
  • Emergency Kit: Pack an emergency kit containing essentials such as a first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, roadside flares, and a basic toolkit. It’s always better to be prepared for unexpected situations.
  • Snacks and Beverages: Stock up on non-perishable snacks and drinks for the journey, as it may take several hours to reach the park. Pack a cooler with ice to keep perishable items fresh. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
  • Entertainment: Road trips can be long, so bring along entertainment options such as books, music, podcasts, or audiobooks to keep you entertained during the drive.
  • Cash and Cards: Ensure you have enough cash and credit/debit cards for fuel, tolls, and any emergencies that may arise during the trip. It’s also a good idea to have a small amount of local currency on hand for convenience.
  • Comfortable Clothing and Sun Protection: Dress in comfortable clothing and pack layers to accommodate varying temperatures. Don’t forget to bring sun protection items such as hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen to shield yourself from the sun’s rays.
  • Camera and Chargers: Capture the beautiful moments of your road trip by bringing a camera or smartphone. Remember to pack chargers or power banks to keep your devices powered throughout the journey.

By following this essential road trip checklist, you’ll be well-prepared for your adventure to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Enjoy the journey, soak in the stunning landscapes, and create unforgettable memories along the way!


Packing Tips and Tricks

Proper packing is essential for a successful road trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park. By packing strategically, you can ensure that you have everything you need while maximizing the space in your vehicle. Here are some helpful packing tips and tricks:

  • Make a List: Creating a comprehensive packing list will help you stay organized and minimize the chances of forgetting essential items. Divide your list into categories like clothing, toiletries, outdoor gear, and miscellaneous items.
  • Travel Light: Road trips are more enjoyable with less clutter. Pack only the essentials and opt for versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched. Check the weather forecast for your travel dates to make appropriate clothing choices.
  • Utilize Packing Cubes: Invest in packing cubes to maximize space and keep your belongings organized. These handy cubes allow you to separate clothing items, toiletries, and accessories, making it easier to find what you need without rummaging through your entire bag.
  • Roll, Don’t Fold: Rolling your clothes instead of folding them helps save space and reduces wrinkles. It’s also easier to see and access different items when they are rolled and stacked neatly in your bag or suitcase.
  • Compression Bags: Consider using compression bags to further save space. These bags allow you to compress your clothes by removing excess air, making them more compact and leaving extra room for other items.
  • Pack Travel-Sized Toiletries: Instead of bringing full-sized toiletries, opt for travel-sized containers or purchase travel-sized versions of your favorite products. This will help save space and reduce the risk of leaks or spills.
  • Don’t Forget the Essentials: Pack essentials like a reusable water bottle, umbrella, towel, and basic toiletries. It’s also a good idea to carry a small first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, pain medication, and any necessary prescription medications.
  • Snacks and Drinks: Pack a selection of snacks and beverages to keep you fueled during the journey. Consider healthy options such as dried fruits, nuts, granola bars, and trail mix. Don’t forget to pack a cooler with ice to keep perishable items fresh.
  • Check Vehicle Storage: If you’re traveling with a car, ensure you have enough storage space. Consider rooftop cargo containers or hitch-mounted cargo carriers for additional luggage if needed.

By following these packing tips and tricks, you’ll be able to bring all the necessary items while keeping your belongings organized and your vehicle clutter-free. Enjoy a stress-free road trip and make the most of your time exploring the breathtaking Plitvice Lakes National Park!


Accommodation Options

When planning your road trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, it’s important to consider your accommodation options to ensure a comfortable stay. Here are some popular choices for accommodations near the park:

  • Hotels and Resorts: There are various hotels and resorts located near Plitvice Lakes National Park that offer convenient access to the park and a range of amenities. From luxury resorts to budget-friendly options, you can find accommodations to suit your preferences and budget.
  • Guesthouses and B&Bs: For a more intimate and homely experience, consider staying in a guesthouse or bed and breakfast. These accommodations often provide a cozy atmosphere and personalized service, giving you a chance to connect with the local culture.
  • Holiday Rentals: Renting a vacation home or apartment is a popular choice for families or groups of travelers. These accommodations provide more space, privacy, and the convenience of a home-away-from-home experience. With options ranging from traditional houses to modern apartments, you can find a rental that suits your needs.
  • Camping: For nature enthusiasts, camping near Plitvice Lakes National Park is a fantastic option. The park offers designated camping areas with basic facilities, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding nature. Be sure to check the park’s regulations and obtain any necessary permits.
  • Farmstays: Experience the traditional Croatian way of life by staying at a farmstay. These accommodations offer a unique opportunity to connect with nature and learn about local agricultural practices. Farmstays often provide comfortable rooms, delicious homemade meals, and activities like hiking or animal feeding.

When choosing your accommodation, consider factors such as proximity to the park, availability of amenities, and your preferred travel budget. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak season, to secure your preferred accommodation option.


Regardless of your choice, be sure to read reviews, check for cleanliness and safety standards, and communicate any specific requirements or preferences with the accommodation providers.


With a range of accommodation options available near Plitvice Lakes National Park, you can find the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate after a day of exploring the natural wonders that await you.


Exploring the Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a paradise for nature lovers and offers a wide array of opportunities to explore its stunning landscapes. Here are some tips and recommendations to make the most of your visit:

  • Hiking Trails: The park features a well-marked network of hiking trails, allowing you to explore its breathtaking lakes, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests. The trails range from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, catering to various fitness levels.
  • Boat Rides and Electric Train: Take advantage of the boat rides and electric train available within the park. These modes of transportation allow you to experience the park from different perspectives and provide access to some of the more remote areas.
  • Upper and Lower Lakes: The park is divided into two sections: the upper lakes and the lower lakes. Plan to explore both sections to fully appreciate the park’s beauty. The upper lakes are known for their dramatic waterfalls, while the lower lakes offer tranquil landscapes and crystal-clear waters.
  • Water Activities: Swimming is not allowed in the lakes, but you can enjoy other water activities such as paddleboarding or kayaking in designated areas. These activities offer a unique way to experience the park’s enchanting beauty up close.
  • Photography Opportunities: Plitvice Lakes National Park is a photographer’s dream. Capture the mesmerizing colors, reflections, and abundant wildlife through your lens. Be prepared to spend ample time capturing the perfect shot.
  • Guided Tours: Consider joining a guided tour to gain more insights into the park’s history, flora, and fauna. Knowledgeable guides can point out hidden gems and share fascinating stories about the park’s natural wonders.
  • Respect Nature and Follow Rules: Help preserve the park’s pristine environment by following the designated pathways, not littering, and respecting the signs and guidelines provided. This ensures the park’s sustainability for future generations.
  • Timing: To avoid crowds and make the most of your visit, consider starting your exploration early in the morning or later in the afternoon. This allows you to enjoy the park’s tranquility and capture beautiful moments with fewer people around.

Exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Take your time, immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, and marvel at the breathtaking scenery that awaits you around every corner.


Local Cuisine and Food Stops

When road tripping to Plitvice Lakes National Park, it’s not just the natural beauty that will captivate you but also the delicious local cuisine. Croatia boasts a rich culinary tradition influenced by its diverse regional flavors. Here are some must-try dishes and food stops to enhance your culinary experience:

  • Roasted Lamb: One of the most iconic dishes in Croatia is roasted lamb, particularly popular in the Dalmatian region. Juicy and succulent, this dish is typically slow-cooked over an open fire, allowing the smoky flavors to infuse the tender meat.
  • Black Risotto: Another Croatian specialty, black risotto (crni rižot) is a seafood dish made with cuttlefish or squid ink. The ink gives the risotto its striking dark color and adds a unique, briny flavor.
  • Grilled Seafood: Croatia’s long coastline means an abundance of fresh seafood. Indulge in grilled fish, squid, or shrimp at local seafood restaurants for a taste of the Adriatic Sea.
  • Strukli: A traditional Croatian pastry, strukli is a baked dish made with layers of dough and a savory filling. It can be filled with cheese, mushrooms, or other ingredients, and is often topped with sour cream.
  • Truffle Delights: The Istrian region of Croatia is known for its truffles. Try dishes like truffle-infused pasta or risotto to experience the full earthy flavors of these prized fungi.
  • Local Wineries: Croatia has a long winemaking history, and exploring local wineries is a delightful experience. Visit vineyards in the surrounding areas of Plitvice to sample indigenous Croatian wines such as Plavac Mali or Graševina.
  • Farm-to-Table Experience: Seek out farm-to-table restaurants or agrotourism farms where you can enjoy dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. This allows you to taste the flavors of the region while supporting local farmers and producers.
  • Food Markets: Don’t forget to explore local food markets where you can find fresh produce, cheese, cured meats, and other local delicacies. These markets offer a glimpse into the vibrant culinary culture of Croatia.

While exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park, take the time to savor the delicious cuisine that Croatia has to offer. From traditional dishes to modern gastronomy, the local food scene will delight your taste buds and add another layer of enjoyment to your road trip adventure.


Must-See Attractions Along the Way

A road trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park allows you to discover not only the breathtaking beauty of the park itself but also the surrounding areas. Here are some must-see attractions to consider adding to your itinerary:

  • Zagreb: If you’re starting your road trip from the capital city of Croatia, take some time to explore Zagreb. Visit the historic Upper Town, St. Mark’s Church, and the vibrant Dolac Market.
  • Zadar: Located on the Dalmatian coast, Zadar is known for its beautiful coastline, Roman ruins, and the unique Sea Organ and Sun Salutation installations. Enjoy a stroll along the promenade and catch a magical sunset.
  • Rastoke: Often dubbed the “Small Plitvice,” Rastoke is a charming little town known for its natural beauty and cascading waterfalls. Spend some time exploring its wooden pathways and admiring the crystal-clear rivers.
  • Split: Split is a vibrant coastal city and home to the iconic Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wander through the narrow streets of the old town, discover bustling markets, and relax on the stunning beaches.
  • Trogir: Just a short drive from Split, Trogir is a picturesque medieval town situated on a small island. Explore its fascinating historical sites, including the well-preserved Trogir Cathedral and Kamerlengo Fortress.
  • Makarska Riviera: Drive along the stunning Makarska Riviera and discover picturesque towns like Brela, Tučepi, and Makarska. Relax on sandy beaches, enjoy water sports, or take a leisurely stroll along the palm-lined promenades.
  • Sibenik: Visit the historic city of Sibenik and explore its impressive medieval fortresses, including the UNESCO-listed St. James’s Cathedral. Take a boat trip to the nearby Krka National Park and discover its enchanting waterfalls.
  • Omis: Nestled between the Cetina River and the Adriatic Sea, Omis is a small town known for its stunning natural landscapes and adventure activities. Go hiking, river rafting, or simply relax on beautiful sandy beaches.

Exploring these attractions along the way to Plitvice Lakes National Park adds an extra dimension to your road trip and allows you to experience the diverse beauty and history of Croatia. Take the time to appreciate the unique charm each destination has to offer.


Safety Precautions and Tips

Ensuring your safety during a road trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park is of utmost importance. Here are some essential safety precautions and tips to keep in mind:

  • Plan and Inform: Before your trip, research the park’s regulations, trail conditions, and weather forecasts. Inform someone about your travel plans, including your intended route and estimated time of arrival.
  • Stay on Designated Paths: Stick to designated paths and trails to protect yourself and the park’s delicate ecosystem. Venturing off-trail can be dangerous and cause harm to the park’s flora and fauna.
  • Weather Awareness: Be aware of the weather conditions during your visit. Carry appropriate clothing, footwear, and gear to ensure your comfort and safety while hiking or exploring the park.
  • Wildlife Interaction: While the park is home to various wildlife species, it’s important to admire them from a safe distance and not feed or disturb them. Avoid any close interactions, especially with bears or other potentially dangerous animals.
  • Hydration and Snacks: Carry an ample supply of drinking water and snacks during your hikes or walks. Staying hydrated and energized is crucial, especially during hot weather or strenuous activities.
  • Leave No Trace: Respect the park’s natural environment by picking up your trash and leaving no trace of your visit. Dispose of waste responsibly and follow the park’s guidelines for waste management.
  • Be Prepared for Emergencies: Carry a basic first aid kit and know how to use it. Familiarize yourself with emergency contact numbers and the location of the nearest medical facilities, should the need arise.
  • Vehicle Safety: Ensure your vehicle is in good condition before embarking on your road trip. Check tire pressure, brakes, and fluids. Always follow traffic rules and regulations while driving.
  • Nighttime Safety: If you plan to explore the park during early morning or late evening hours, carry a flashlight and be cautious of uneven terrain. Make sure to bring a charged cellphone for emergencies.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost belongings. This provides additional peace of mind during your journey.

By following these safety precautions and tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable road trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Remember, safety should always be a top priority while exploring nature’s wonders.



Road tripping to Plitvice Lakes National Park offers a thrilling adventure that combines the freedom of exploration with the natural beauty of Croatia. By choosing the right time to visit, planning your route, and packing strategically, you can maximize your experience on this journey.


Take the time to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of the park, explore the hiking trails, and enjoy boat rides and electric train rides. Don’t forget to capture the magical moments with your camera and indulge in the delectable local cuisine.


Along the way, make sure to visit the must-see attractions like Zagreb, Zadar, Split, and the enchanting towns of Rastoke and Trogir. Always prioritize safety by following park guidelines, staying on designated paths, and being aware of weather conditions.


Whether you choose to stay in a hotel, a guesthouse, or prefer a camping or farmstay experience, be sure to book in advance and find accommodations that suit your preferences and budget. Remember to respect nature, leave no trace, and support local businesses.


By incorporating these tips into your road trip, you can create unforgettable memories and make the most of your time in Plitvice Lakes National Park and its surrounding areas. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an incredible adventure in the stunning Croatian countryside!