The Plitvice Lakes National Park is definitely one of the biggest tourist attractions in Croatia. During the tourist season, it is visited by several thousand tourists a day! This area protects unique environment, along with its entire flora and fauna. For this reason, in 1979 it was included on the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is a vast area where 16 karst lakes are connected with each other in a cascade, and the water has a breathtakingly beautiful color. The reservoirs are located at different heights, which allows the visitors to admire multiple waterfalls. All this is surrounded by lush vegetation and high hills.
So let’s start exploring this beautiful park:
The whole area of the park is less than 300 square kilometers, of which only 200 hectares are lakes. The reservoirs are divided into upper and lower, the latter being fed by underground springs and surrounding rivers. The park can be visited by walking along forest paths and remarkably picturesque wooden bridges and bridges, which often run along and even across lakes. Transparent water, on the other hand, allows the visitors to view underwater life clearly.
If anyone asks about the most beautiful places in Croatia, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is in the forefront!
So let’s start exploring …
How to get to Plitvice Lakes?
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in the north of Dalmatia, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegivina, and is about 140 kilometers from the capital of Croatia – Zagreb.
You can get here by taking the national road No. 1 (E71) from the north (from Karlovac). However, from the south it is best to drive on the Croatian A1 motorway and exit in Gornja Ploca on the road no. 1. When arriving, you have to choose one of the two entrances, because both are on the road no. 1.
Parking by the park is payable and costs 7 kuna per hour.
Below is a detailed map of Plitvice lakes with the whole park:
Attractions in the National Park Plitvice Lakes
The biggest attraction of the park itself are of course lakes with rich flora and fauna. The Upper Lakes consist of 12 reservoirs, including the largest Kozjak lake, with an area of about 80 ha and a depth of up to 50 meters. In turn, the Lower Lakes consist only of four lakes. The biggest attraction of this area is undoubtedly the high, 78-meter waterfall Veliki Slap, the largest in the whole of Croatia. There are other waterfalls (there are 92 in total) in the park, and also caves, the longest of them, Golubinjaca being almost 160 meters, and the other – Supljara – 70 meters long.
The abundance of flora and fauna can be seen at every step. Over 1,200 species of plants have been recognized here, including many rare and unique ones. The park is the location of one of the most beautiful fir-beech forests – Corkova uvala. As far as the park’s fauna is concerned, apart from fish, amphibians and reptiles, visitors can see wild boars, deer, wolves, and even brown bears and various bird species. Interestingly, only butterflies are represented by over 300 species!
All this beauty of the nature of the National Park of Plitvice Lakes is best admired on a sunny day, when the sun warms up the air and brightens the water falling from the mountains. Therefore, before planning a trip to the park, we suggest that you check the current weather in Croatia.
However, that’s not all! There are more interesting places.
If you want to feel the powerful magic of this place now, be sure to watch the video below!
In the Plitvice Lakes National Park, in addition to walking and visiting the designated routes, visitors can also climb, ride a bike, canoe and row. In winter, skiing is possible here, as well as participation in snow sleigh rides.
When choosing to visit National Park of Plitvice Lakes, it’s worth having a valid Croatian car map with you:
You must also remember that in the protected area you cannot leave the designated trails, light a bonfire or set up camps. In the area of the park, it is also Bathing in the lakes is strictly forbidden.
Sightseeing routes of Plitvice Lakes
When it comes to sightseeing, the first thing to bear in mind is that the Plitvice Lakes National Park is not located on the coast and the temperatures will vary significantly from those found at the sea level. Even in the summer months it is significantly colder and visitors need to bring warm, water-resistant clothes. Additionally, comfortable shoes suitable for hiking and long walks on a varied terrain are obligatory.
Flip-flops or high heels are out of question.
It is also worth taking lunch and drink with you, although there are catering outlets in the park. It’s better to count on yourself and your supplies, because the routes to visit are really long! We will write about the map later.
At this address you will find the official virtual walk through the Plitvice lakes’ park: www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/files/panorame/plitvice-en.html. With it you can already see stunning views and attractions that await you on the spot. Well worth it!
Entrance to the park
There are two entrances to the Plitvice Lakes Park and the choice of one of them matters.
The famous entrance No. 1 is more optimal, because it starts at the beginning of the trail, where there is a large parking lot. From here visitors can go straight to the Veliki Slap waterfall to continue choosing one of five routes.
On the other hand, through the entrance No. 2 the visitors enter in the middle of the trail and the park itself, near the Kozjak lake, and therefore will need to make two loops to see both Lower and Upper Lakes.
What is included in the ticket price?
Having bought the ticket the visitors have at their disposal all vehicles that move around the park: electric boats, road trains or well-prepared hiking trails. The ticket is also a map on which all routes are marked.
Visitors have to keep it in order to use any vehicles.
In order to efficiently explore the park of Plitvice Lakes, 8 routes were established, located in different parts of the park. Some of them are shorter and are planned for a 2-3 hour walk, while walking others can last even 8 hours.
At entry No. 1, there are five routes of different length to choose from:
-route A planned for 2-3 hours with a length of 3.5 km
-route B provided for 3-4 hours with a length of 4 km
-route C planned for 4-6 hours with a length of 8 km
-route E planned for 2-3 hours with a length of 5.2 km
-route K planned for 6-8 hours with a length of 18.3 km
If we start the journey from the No. 2 entrance, we will have three routes to explore the Plitvice Lakes:
-route F scheduled for 3-4 hours with a length of 4.6 km
-route H provided for 4-6 hours with a length of 8.9 km
-route K provided for 6-8 hours with a length of 18.3 km
You have to make the decision yourself and measure your strength when intending to choose a particular road. In some places, the sightseeing trail goes uphill, so it’s not just an ordinary walk along the lake.
For elderly and families with small children, we recommend a route with the start at entrance No. 2, then a road transfer by train from ST 2 station to ST 1, then going for a walk down to the Vielka Slap waterfall. Next you can go to the P3 harbor and from there take a small boat to the P2 harbor and further to P1. Here you will be able to rest a bit and eat provisions, then drive from ST 2 station to ST 4 station and back to ST 2 station (it will be downhill). Then we will take a boat from the P 2 harbor to the P 1 harbor and head towards Exit 2.
The whole trip will take about 7 hours.
Please keep in mind the ticket price list:
Price list of tickets and attractions in the park
For children up to 7 years of age and disabled people, the ticket is always free.
For children from 7 to 18, the price list is as follows:
35 kuna during 1.01-31.03 and 1.11 – 31.12,
80 kuna during 1.04- 30.06 and 1.09 – 31.10;
during the tourist season in the summer (1.07-31.08) 110 kuna when entering before 4 pm and 50 kuna when entering after 4 pm.
Adults are priced similarly:
55 kuna during 1.01-31.03 and 1.11 – 31.12,
150 kuna during 1.04- 30.06 and 1.09 – 31.10,
during the holiday season 250 kuna before 4 pm, and 150 after 4 pm.
After presenting the student ID, students pay:
45 kuna during 1.01-31.03 and 1.11 – 31.12,
100 kuna during 1.04-30.06 and 1.09 – 31.10,
and in the summer, 160 kuna when entering before 4 pm and 100 kuna after 4 pm.
The price list for using the park’s benefits is permanent but it is worth monitoring for changes before each trip to the park.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is open all year round. The opening hours however vary a little depending on the season: in the spring the park is open from 8 am to 6 pm, in the summer from 7 am to 8 pm (even on Sundays and holidays), while in the winter the opening hours are shorter, from 8 am to 4 pm.
However, it should be remembered that most of small ships and road trains start running a bit later (half an hour later) and finish their work a little bit faster (also half an hour earlier than closing the park)
Accommodation in the surroundings of the Plitvice Lakes National Park
Accommodation base near the Plitvice Lakes National Park is extensive. Visitors can easily rent an apartment for one night (around 200 kunas total) in one of the towns in the area. The official website lists four hotels in which tourists can find accommodation – Grabovac, Plitvice, Bellevue, Jezero (the last three are in the park itself!) and two camps – Korana and Borje, located in the park or next to it.
As you can see, Plitvice Lakes is one of the most beautiful places in all of Croatia! The strength and advantage of this place is also that it is suitable for a trip with children. Many amenities will allow the visitors to take the whole family and spend a nice time in this charming place.
By the way, have you seen or ever wondered how such a natural wonder looks like in winter?
Opinions on the Plitvice Lakes National Park
We are awaiting your opinions on national park as a whole and its individual elements. Let me know what is your opinion about prices, organization, sightseeing routes, access to the park itself, accommodation in its vicinity and attractions that Plitvice Lakes offer all year round.