Many are thinking about visiting Croatia for the first time, and if that’s you all we can say is that Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plitvička jezera) should be on your Croatian bucket list for sure!
A few may ask why would you want to go visit a National Park of Lakes? It was something i asked myself as well, Plitvice combined 16 natural lakes in approx 300 sq km area that is also an UNESCO heritage listed site and boasts crystal clear blue and turquoise waters, rushing waterfalls, amazing picture-perfect woodlands and fauna. Plitvice is something a little bit out of a fairy-tale and is truly the most beautiful natural spectacle you can see in Croatia and the world.
It is located quite literally in the middle of the country, approx 135km from Zagreb (2 hour drive) or 250km (2h45 drive) from Split. Easily able to do a day visit but we do suggest 2 days if you really want to take everything in and really enjoy the spectacular waterfalls and park itself. TIP: try get there as early in the morning as you can – this will give you more opportunity to take photos without the crowds and then enjoy the lakes, waterfalls and views at your own pace afterwards.
There is accommodation near Plitvice Lakes, so whether you want to day trip or stay near by there are plenty of options which include B&B, apartments and of course hotels which are near the South Gate – walking distance to the lakes in fact.
We were staying near Split with Family so we drove which is an easy drive even for those who have not driven in Croatia before.
The actual area of Plitvice Lakes is quite large and attempting to cover everything on foot isn’t entirely possible, thankfully they do have transfer services by Ferry or Train that will take you from point A and point B.
Check the information board whilst at the entry gate, or below on the official Plitvice Lakes page for more information before you go to plane your visit.
They do have different packages and prices vary on season and your age (tourist destination, what do you expect). The most costly ticket is in their high season [August] and costs 180 HRK ($33 AUD), so our suggestion would be to head after the peak-season which is their Summer, our Winter. If you are there for Croatia’s summer, it is still worth the cost for the visit.
Please see here for further pricing and details on their Official Plitvice Visitors Page which also include opening/closing times for planning.
We visited in Autumn, the leaves were and have already changed colour which set the scene pretty quickly for one of the most beautiful places we have visited. We had a bit of a chillier morning but settled near 20 degrees with blue skies so we were quite lucky.
Any time visiting this National Park of Waterfalls we would say is best, Summer could make it uncomfortable as you’re not allowed to go swimming. Winter could also be an option and yes you may not see the beautiful green scenery and woodlands, but from photos online that we have seen do show some of the most spectacular snow covered scenes that we have seen across the world.
So whether it is autumn, summer or spring if you are in Croatia you should definitely take the time to visit Plitvice and maybe even hire a little row-boat whilst you’re there to relax and take everything in.