Photos that will inspire you to go to Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice wasn't on my to-go list while I was in Croatia. To be fair, nothing was on my list as the trip was quite a spontaneous adventure for me. The only thing I planned ahead was the flights out and back. After exploring Split and wandering around Hvar island, I ran out of things to do. So I decided to pack a small bag and go to Plitvice upon the recommendation of a traveller I met in Split. It turned out to be the highlight of my trip. Who would've thought?!
Plitvice Lakes national park is one of the oldest and biggest national parks in Croatia. Located halfway between the capital Zagreb and Zadar, the lakes have become one of the most popular destinations in Croatia. I went there in May, which wasn't busy season and the place was already packed with so many tourists.
Plitvice is known for its sixteen lakes connected by a number of waterfalls , the tallest of which is about 78m tall. I was so amazed by the exceptional natural beauty of the park. The emerald green of the water perfectly blended in with the surrounding woodland. White flowers along the way made the whole scenery even more mesmerising. A fascinating fact that I learned from the tour guide is that the colour of the water changes with season so don't be surprised if you see different shades of green or blue.
Should I visit Plitvice or Krka national park?
Located about 10km from Sibenik and name after the Krka river, Krka National Park also offers magnificent views of waterfalls and lakes.
'Which park should you visit?' is the burning question for many tourists who have limited time. I honestly cannot answer you from my experience because I didn't go to Krka but I gathered some insight from the locals. The lakes and waterfalls in Krka are just as beautiful as Plitvice's, however the size of Plitvice park is much bigger so there is a lot more to see there (the main reason why i chose Pilvice over Krka). If you want to swim in the lakes, then it's worth noting than you are allowed to swim in Krka but not Plitvice Lakes. In term of accessibility, if you travel from Zagreb, Plitvice is easier to get to as it's further inland. If you travel from Split or Dubrovnik, Krka is more accessible.
I'll leave it to you to decide which one you want to go. Bottom line is make sure you go visit one of these parks because it's a must !
Sooo... are you convinced to go to Plitvice? If you are, read on...
What is the best season to go to Plitvice?
The park is open all the year around and the park changes its look as the season changes.
The best time is the summer (June - August) which you might've guessed. During this time of the year, you are almost certainly guaranteed with very good weather and also a lot of tourists that will likely photobomb your photos. Get there early if you go in the summer to avoid tourists (the park is open from 7am). Shoulder months ( April, May, September and October) may be a good option as the weather tends to be sunny and the park is less packed with tourists. I went in mid May and was blessed with blue sky and sunshine the whole day but the following week was forecast to be rainy.
Spring and fall are also nice to visit if you don't mind a higher chance of the rain, In spring, the water levels are high from the melting snow and in fall, the changing colour of the leaves makes the park look absolutely magnificent.
Winter has its own charm. The park during winter months is quiet and beautiful in white snow with frozen lakes.
How to get to Plitvice Lakes?
Drive would be the most convenient way to get there. Plitvice is about 2 hours drive from Zagreb and Zadar and 3.5 hours from Split. If you travel from Dubrovnik, it's 5-6 hours.
If you travel by bus, it's around 3 from Zagreb and Zadar and 4 hours from Split. Alternatively you can buy organised tours which will be quicker than bus.
If you decide to go there by yourself, there are two entrances to the Lakes (see the map below), both of which are situated on the same road and are close the Lakes. If you travel by bus, you will be dropped off very closed to the entrance. If you drive, take your time to read the map. There are plenty of signs and information once you get there so rest assured that you will not get lost.
Parking: there are car parks at both entrances. the price is between 8 and 10 kunas per hour depending on the time of the year.
How much does it cost to visit Plitvice?
The admission price depends on the time the year. Summer months cost more than double the shoulder months and four times the off-peak season. Check official website in the link below for the most updated prices:
You have the option to buy 2 day tickets if you want to spend more time exploring the Lakes. During peak season, you should book the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment as the number of admissions per hour is limited
Walking routes in the park
There are 8 different walking routes, named A, B, C, E, F, H and K with distance of between 3 and 18km and varying difficulty levels. Routes A, B, C and K start from entrance 1 whereas the rest start from entrance 2. Most routes involve a visit to the Great Waterfall (Veliki Slap). Visitors can use electric boats (Kozjak Lake) or trains in the park with a valid entrance tickets.
See maps for the the walking routes in this link here