Best National Park in Croatia that You Should Visit
I am secretly on a mission to visit as many national parks as possible while I am traveling.
From Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park to Zadar In One Day
This is totally do-able. I purchased my bus ticket in advance here.
People usually make it as a day trip either from Zagreb or Zadar as Plitvice Lake is located in the middle of the way. I cannot be bothered to go back and forth so I have done intensive research on this visit. Turned out the bus connection from Zagreb is better than Zadar as only afternoon bus is available from Zadar.
Get the earliest bus from Zagreb which departs at 5:45am. You will get there about 8:30am, then take the 1:50pm bus to Zadar. (This is winter time schedule.) 4 to 5 hours was more than enough to visit the park as some areas were closed due to frozen walkways.
There are two gates for the park. Best is to get off at Entrance 1 and get on the bus to Zadar at the same bus stop. You need to be there 15 minutes before as the bus might be earlier. You may wonder, I have a huge backpack or suitcase with me, how can I carry them while exploring the park? Drop it off at the tourist information center for FREE. Keep valuables with you at all times.
Next, you need to purchase a ticket which costs HRK30 for me. You can pay by cash or credit card. If you do not have either one, you will have to walk at least 2km to get to the nearest ATM. For prices and operating hours, click here.
What to bring and wear?
It was extremely freezing in January!! Here’s my advice:
- Thermal layers
- Thick outerwear
- Trekking pants / thermal pants
- Walking shoes with good grip
- Gloves (a must have item)
- Trekking poles (I didn’t have it but it would be useful)
- A day pack
- One to two sandwiches
- A thermal bottle for hot drink
Exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park is the largest national park in Croatia and is also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I stumbled upon a Hungarian group tour so I just followed them! They were very friendly and welcomed my participation. We walked to visit the largest waterfall then off to a frozen lake.
The bathrooms are super clean and well maintained to my surprise. I walked to the other gate where I took a shuttle bus close to Entrance 2 and walked back to Entrance 1 in about 10 minutes.
From Split to Krka National Park
During winter time, only Croatian bus has connections one in the morning and afternoon from Split to Sibenik where you can walk to the entrance of Krka National Park.
I purchased my bus ticket (about HRK70) one day before departure at the international bus station of Split. The bus departs at 8:30 am to Sibenik and I arrived at about 9:30am. It only takes 15 minutes walk to get to the entrance. I had about 3 to 4 hours to explore the park. HRK30 was charged (winter time fee) and a map was given. The guard was quite chatty and asked me about the cost of a smartphone in Hong Kong :D.
I was the only tourist in the park!! There is a well-paved walkway about 3km long where you can see the waterfalls. There are other parts in the park to visit but during winter time, all the shuttle bus connections are close. But it was already very good enough to enjoy the peacefulness and serenity on my own.
While I was on my way back to the bus stop, I ran into my 2 Belgian friends whom I met in Zadar’s hostel! I was very eager to hitch a ride back to Split but a local told me it would be quite difficult to hitch directly…and then my bus came so I just hopped on.