driving from Plitvice Lakes to Hallstatt

Old Apr 17th, 2017, 03:41 PM
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driving from Plitvice Lakes to Hallstatt

Hello. Curious if anyone has driven from Plitvice Lakes Park to Hallstatt (or the reverse). Google maps says 5.5 hrs, but that doesn't include border crossings. So, we were estimating 7, which is a long day but doable. Someone forewarned me it's more like 11-14 hours, which seems insane. I want to know if we should scrap our plans to get to Hallstatt. Can anyone offer any insight to this drive, how long the 2 border crossings might take, etc? Thank you!!
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 04:02 PM
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I can't imagine it would take 11 hours unless you are unlucky and hit bad traffic on a weekend or holiday - or hit a border crossing at a busy time. I have driven only from Plitvice to Zagreb, which is mostly the A1 highway, a great road. I'd guess about 7 hours for the total drive, unless you hit bad traffic.

FYI, the only border crossing should be Croatia to Slovenia. Slovenia and Austria are both Schengen countries so no border check between them.

Also, you need to buy vignette stickers for driving on highways in both Slovenia and Austria, as soon as you enter or just before - if you are caught without one. Croatia uses tolls not vignette stickers.

Consider a stop or two on the way up (assuming you make good time). Looks like your route will take you close to Ptuj, a lovely old town and the oldest town in Slovenia...and near Graz, Austria.
Andrew is online now  
Old Apr 17th, 2017, 04:17 PM
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When would you be travelling? As long as it's not on a summer weekend, I think 6-7 hours is a reasonable amount of time to do this drive, provided the one border crossing isn't too busy. There are no controls between Slovenia and Austria.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 04:32 PM
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Thank so much. We are planning to do this on a Friday. We are staying in Hvar and taking the ferry to Split on 6/22. So, we were going to see the highlights of Split during the day on 6/22 (it's a Croatian holiday but I assume most things will be open), and then we are driving to Plitvice Lakes. The thought is to see some of the park that evening before it closes, and then we could get up early, spend a few hours, and then leave late morning/early afternoon for Hallstatt depending on how efficient we are . So, we would leave Plitvice around noon on a Friday -- not sure if we will hit any weekend traffic on a Friday afternoon? Our itinerary is unfortunately not very flexible in terms of dates, but we could be flexible on the town. We are basically getting from Plitvice to Munich, and we have one night in between. My husband and I figured we would rather stay somewhere pretty like Hallstatt, and be able to spend some of 6/24 there, enjoying it, than stay someplace closer to Plitvice that might not be as scenic. However, we could change that up. One other plus is that if we get far into Austria, we also can see a little bit of Salzburg before returning our rental car in Munich.
On a side note, can we buy the vingette sticker anywhere once we enter Slovenia? Would we need this also for Germany?
Thanks so much for all the help!!
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 04:53 PM
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I've never bought a vignette - the Slovenian car I rented included one already. I understand you can buy them at gas stations on both sides of the border.

Your Plitvice plan sounds a bit rushed but doable. You could probably see the park in 5-6 hours and get the gist.

Try to wake up early and get in at 7AM when the boats start running - also has the benefit of no crowds at that hour. If you enter the park two separate days, you have to need to pay twice to enter the park...unless you stay at one of the overpriced but convenient park hotels. They can stamp your ticket from the day before so you won't have to pay twice.

But I'd guess you won't get into Plitvice too early the first day. At least the days are very long in June (not sure what time the park really closes, if it closes at all). Keep in mind there are almost no restaurants in the immediate area - there's a pizza joint in the place that rents ski equipment and not much else as I recall. (The pizza was good though.) You might plan on grabbing some food on the way to Plitvice though if you are running late.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 06:29 PM
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Thank you very much for the advice. Do you think spending a little extra time and effort to get to Hallstatt vs. staying somewhere less far away would be worth it? It looks breathtaking. We don't want to take too many shortcuts, but I wonder if we should do the "quick tour" of Split (we will be spending 3 days in Hvar, as we wanted more of a beach experience after many days in Florence and Rome). If we leave mid day from Split, get into Plitvice to ensure seeing some of it on Thursday evening before it gets dark, and then invest a couple more hours on Friday, I think we can pull it off. BUT if there is anyplace that could be a better stop than Hallstatt en route to Salzburg/Munich, we would definitely consider it. We want to hit as many highlights as we can, but we certainly don't want to rush through and/or exhaust ourselves either.
Good advice on the food. One of our daughters is a vegan -- will add to the challenge of meals in the area!
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 06:58 PM
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I have driven Zadar to Salzburg(606km) in 6-7 hours with stops. which is further than Plitvice to Hallstatt(476km). Your estimate of 7 hours is conservative. Border crossing time is all but non existent.The route via Ljubljana and Bled adds a half hr to your driving time.

dugi_otok is online now  
Old Apr 17th, 2017, 10:21 PM
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If you aren't fully committed to Hallstatt, you might want to consider Bled instead. But then, I'm not sure I understand your itinerary. Do your plans require that you return to Munich? Including just a few days in Croatia in a trip that focuses on Rome, Florence, Salzburg, and Munich would seem to require spending a LOT of time in transit relative to the time you will have to actually see and experience anything....

I agree that your plan for the Plitvice Lakes National Park could work, but is not ideal. The lakes are not only connected by travertine waterfall formations, but in addition, each lake has unique microbiota, and as a result, the lakes are different colors. The best way to see that is, IMO, to make a single, long loop through the park -- something on the order of 6 hours or more (including time for the boat that connects the lower and upper lakes), and by all means, start at the lowest part of the park so you are facing the falls as you proceed.

Split is my favorite city in Croatia, so I'd want more time there; others are't as enamored of it as I. It really depends on your interests....
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 10:36 PM
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Bled is definitely an alternative to Hallstatt, and one that is easier to get to, as it lies just a couple of miles off the main highway to Munich. You could also spend Friday night in Ljubljana and visit the Open Kitchen food market.

The vignette for Slovenia can already be bought at major gas stations in Croatia close to the border and the Austrian vignette can be bought in Slovenia closer to the border. You can leave it to the last minute but do not forget to buy it and drive without as the fines are a lot higher than the cost of the toll.

Friday, June 23 should be OK in terms of traffic. It's the start of the summer holidays but traffic will be heavier in the opposite direction, towards Croatia.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 11:21 PM
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All bets are off, really, when it comes to driving times in Central Europe; we have learned the hard way not to schedule more than a 4 hour driving segment before calling it a day. On a recent nondescript Saturday the simple 75 minute drive from our driveway in Vienna to a known parking garage in Bratislava took 2 hours because of a disabled lorry on the autobahn. Our driving holiday last October cost 4 extra hours of being parked, literally, on the autobahn in Germany because of an accident. Road construction is practically everywhere, too; and there are slowdowns as one approaches the truck toll/weight stations for inspection, as well. Slowing to 80 kph through multiple zones does increase travel time.

There may not be controls between Slovenia and Austria, but there are slowdowns visual inspections, and some trucks and passenger vans are still being pulled over. Last month we were slowed crossing from Slovenia into Austria, though we lost but a couple of minutes. Over the winter holiday we experienced another brief slowdown from Austria into Germany of about 15 minutes, as well. We have even had our documents checked when returning in our personal vehicle from Hungary back into Austria as recently as four months ago.
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