For those with their own wheels, getting to Plitvice is a straightforward drive along the A1 Zagreb-Split motorway followed by a short distance on minor roads – the Plitvice exit on the motorway is clearly marked. For a more leisurely approach, head for Karlovac and then take the minor road to Plitvice via Slunj, site of the picturesque Rastoke Falls. However you arrive, there are large car parks (complete with toilet facilities and cafes) outside both Entrance 1 and Entrance 2.
Although most Zagreb-Split buses take the A1 motorway and bypass the lakes entirely, there are still eight to ten daily coast-bound buses that stop right outside the main park entrance points – expect to pay 90kn-100kn each way. Keep your wits about you when trying to catch a bus back to Zagreb – many drivers hurtle along the winding park-side road at such speed that they don’t notice waiting passengers waving at them from the bus stop until it’s too late.
Many hostels in Zagreb will hook you up with minibus tours to the Plitvice Lakes that aren’t much more expensive than regular public transport and can represent a more sociable way of travelling. Wanderer Travel will get you to the lakes and back and throw in a quick visit to Rastoke into the bargain for 200kn – the entrance fee to the National Park is extra.