Day 7: Split to Plitvice via Zadar
On this day, we decided to head to Plitvice Lakes National Park, about a 2.5 hour drive from Split. Zadar was pretty much right on the way, so we decided to make a stop in this city, home to the Sea Organ. Compared to the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik and Split, Zadar seemed almost empty. It was actually a nice relaxing retreat, and we walked around the limestone streets looking at the various ruins.
The most crowded spot we found in Zadar was the Sea Organ, which is a set of stairs on the coast designed to push the wind through in an organ-like fashion. We sat and listened to the music for a bit, before heading on to Plitvice Lakes.
In Plitvice, we stayed at Falling Lakes Hostel, an affordable hostel nearby that offers free shuttle transport to the park. The area around the hostel was mostly cute houses and farmland, and we saw lots of sheep while walking to a nearby restaurant, Restoran Sapina, for dinner.
Day 8: Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes is the oldest and largest of Croatia’s National Parks. The park is made up of 16 turquoise-colored lakes connected by various waterfalls. As this is one of Croatia’s most beautiful destinations, it is highly recommended you purchase tickets in advance. You can either purchase tickets through the park, or through Viator if you’d like a guide.
We arrived at the park early to try and beat the crowds. The entire walk through the park takes about 4-5 hours, mostly along wooden slats (sometimes uneven). However, if you’re like us and stop to take a million pictures, it could take up to 8. There are restaurants inside the park, but I’d advise bringing water and snacks (or even pack a lunch!) to save money.
The next 6 hours was spent on the trails in the park taking pictures (you will be given a map upon arrival).
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to explore the hiking paths that lead up above the water line! You will get some of the best overall views from the top.
After grabbing lunch, it was time to head back to Dubrovnik. The drive back is about 5 hours long, and again goes through Bosnia and Herzegovina for a very short time. We stopped several times to take pictures of the sunset, which was well worth it. We took the highway route back to Dubrovnik since we did the more scenic, coastal route on the way up.
We arrived back in Dubrovnik after dark, returned our rental car, and checked in at our Airbnb, which is no longer listed but was out of Old Town and closer to the airport shuttle pick-up.