If you are planning a trip to Croatia then you are about to be charmed by one of the most picturesque and beautiful countries I have seen to date.
Although my visit was short, it came with a jam packed itinerary for the weekend which allowed me to experience the best parts.
Plitvice Lakes National Park HAS to be on your Croatian bucket list.
Perched upon a series of interconnected waterfalls and surrounded by postcard-like woodland lake views, Plitvice lakes Croatia is the ultimate dream destination. The park lies across 300 square kilometres with wooden footbridges and pathways covering a distance of 18km. I love being outdoors and going for long walks in pretty places so this really went down a treat. If hiking is not your thing, please don’t let the 18km scare you, with this insanely beautiful scenery and flowing waterfalls the hours fly by so quickly! I promise you, you won’t want to leave.
If you are undecided on whether to visit Plitvice Lakes then hopefully these tips will sway you and help you to plan your own trip. But honestly, the pictures will do the talking!
How to get there?
Plitvice Lakes is located in the middle of the country between Zadar and the Capital Zagreb. We stayed in stunning coastal city of Zadar on our tip and it took us about an hour to get there. I believe the distance is about the same when travelling from other cities such as split. This makes it even more accessible to visit as many cities host a day trip package which is what we did.
Most buses and taxis in Croatia are air conditioned which makes the hour long trip a lot more bearable in the heat, but bring a jumper because it can become quite cold in there (my mistake!). The entrance to the park is about 180 Kuna (24 euros), but there are cheaper rates for kids and parking is 7 Kuna per hour.
When to visit Plitvice Lakes Croatia?
We went in early October for my birthday and the weather was still lovely and lakes were crystal clear. Honestly, with these views I would imagine it is just as gorgeous all year round, even if it’s covered in snow! Having said that, I would advise you to visit the lakes off-peak to get the most out of your visit, as it can get very crowed during the touristic season.
We actually ended up visiting the lakes on the annual celebration day of the Plitvice lakes National park (So Typical!). We didn’t realise this until we arrived and saw the masses of people and children!
Top Tip: I would strongly urge you to avoid this day as the queues were massive and it was difficult to move around the park and walkways.
There are plenty of beautiful hiking trails and pathways over the waterfalls and lakes to enjoy. As the territory of Plitvice Lakes are so big, you won’t be able to complete the whole area by foot- especially if you are just visiting for the day. Luckily you can take advantage of the parks free transfer service to get you from one end of the park to another either by boat or train. I would recommend the boat always. You may have to queue for 20 minutes or so but it is defiantly worth it. You get to see a lot more if the park this way while enjoying the crystal clear (literally!) azure water.
If you have limited time to explore the lakes, then I would suggest visiting the lower lakes first. I promise you, these will give you the most incredible, champion of all Instagram photos ha! Veliki Slap is the viewpoint and is the parks largest waterfall. You will this in my pictures below, so stunning! If you make your way to the path through the cave you can climb up to the most amazing viewpoint.
The visit ended at the viewpoint and after the extremely steep climb to the top we were exhausted! Luckily there is a bus stop right at the top that will take you straight back to Entrance 2.
A big thing to note is that swimming is not permitted in the lakes due to its UNESCO World Heritage listing, so instead set some Kuna aside to enjoy a coffee or ice-cream from the café while soaking up some sun.
The BIGGEST tip I can give you if travelling during the off-peak season in Croatia is to wear really warm clothes! TRUST ME I learnt the hard way. The highest point has an altitude of 1,280m and it can get really cold up there. It was so pleasant in October of about 21 degrees so I presumed it would be warm in the Lakes too, little did I know! Darragh and I ended up having to buy matching “Plitvice Lakes” jumpers to stay warm haha (We were the ultimate tourists! ha)
Finally bring a packed sandwich, picnic or some snacks as walking these lakes is hungry work! Take a break and enjoy these remarkable lakes while soaking up the Croatian beauty.
I hope these tips will help anyone planning a trip to Croatia.
For more information visit Plitvice Lakes