A Perfect Guide to Explore Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
A myriad of waterfalls coupled with gorgeous turquoise lakes set in deep woodlands of Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is truly a piece of heaven fallen to Earth. The enchanting lakes, shimmering waterfalls, rugged rocks, messy mosses, roaring water rushing and gushing to join the pristine lakes below. Plitvice lakes National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site, lies in the heart of Croatia – sprawling a massive 72.851 acres of surface area. Exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park could be a bit tricky with 2 entrances and 8 paths to trek. So, here it is, your Perfect Guide to Explore Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia. If you would like to know more about Plitvice and its uniqueness, you can read my earlier post about it here – Plitvice: Land of Falling Lakes.
Perfect Guide to Explore Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Listing out the tips and suggestions to explore Plitvice Lakes in Croatia efficiently, so that you make the most of your time you get to spend in Plitvice Lakes!
There are two entrances to Plitvice Lakes National Park – Entrance 1 for the ‘Lower Lakes’ and Entrance 2 for ‘Higher Lakes’. Plitvice is a confluence of 16 lakes, over 90 waterfalls and many caves and caverns. There are 8 hiking paths ranging from treks which are 2-3 hours short to 4-6 hours long. Take any path; there will be a surprise in every corner. If there are mystical caves in one, there are stunning waterfalls in another. If there are lavish woods in one, there are shimmering lakes with vivid hues where you might get jealous of the fishes that swim in them in another.
A -> Entrance 1 -> 3.5 km -> 2-3 hours
B -> Entrance 1 -> 4 km -> 3-4 hours
C -> Entrance 1 -> 8 km -> 4-6 hours
E -> Entrance 2 -> 5.1 km -> 2-3 hours
F -> Entrance 2 -> 4.6 km -> 3-4 hours
H -> Entrance 2 -> 8.9 km -> 4-6 hours
K -> Entrance 1 -> 18.3 km -> 6-8 hours
K -> Entrance 2 -> 18.3 km -> 6-8 hours
You can choose the path you want to take depending on how much time you have to explore Plitvice Lakes. All the shorter paths except E, i.e. Paths A, B and F take you to the ‘Lower Lakes’. I personally found Lower lakes gorgeous and vivid and much can be seen in less time. While in the Upper lakes one gets to see more flora and fauna that nests numerous waterfalls on the way.
You can see below how gorgeous and blissful these trails are !
Pictures of Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Boat and Bus rides:
An Electric boat rides you across the park, in the lakes reflecting the lush green rolling hills and the pretty waterfalls – only for those reflections to be disturbed by the repelling waves from the boat. Alternatively, you can take a bus ride which will take you into the woods and one can explore Plitvice Lakes by hopping onto any one of these buses which have 3 stops at St1, St2, St3 which runs every 30 minutes across the park. These rides are free and included in the price you pay for the entrance.
Entrance fee for Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia:
There is a one day ticket and a two-day entrance ticket to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Though the price of the one day entrance ticket varies according to the season and your age, it usually is around 55 HRK(8 USD) in the low season to 180 HRK(27 USD) in the high season.
The boat and bus rides are complimentary and are included in your ticket price. You can get all the details of the ticket prices here.
Best time to visit:
Plitvice Lakes are worth seeing in every season, for it is so beautiful in its own way in every season. While it may be a treat for eyes to see Plitvice in its glory with lush green vegetation during the Spring, it is even more enticing and alluring to see the partly frozen waterfalls and the snow filled paths in Winter (for which I shall be back to Plitvice Lakes again! 🙂 ) .
During summer i.e. July and August – it is vacation time for Europeans and Plitvice Lakes will be filled with tourists from every corner of the world. April and June are the best time to explore Plitvice Lakes with considerably fewer tourists and glorious colors of Plitvice Lakes will be a treat to watch!
Where is Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia?
Plitvice Lakes National Park lies in the heart of Croatia. It is an easy day trip from Zagreb, Split or Zadar. It takes about 2 hours to drive from Zadar or Zagreb in a car. I personally loved the drive from Zadar towards Plitvice. The drive is filled with curvy roads that adorn the plain lands on both sides, sprinkled with small flowers of all colors. On day we drove, it drizzled and the drive was nothing less than bliss!
Plitvice Lakes has a huge parking place and you can still find space even when the visitor count is high in Summer. While motorcycles are not charged a parking fee, Cars are charged 7 HRK per hour and bigger ones like campers and buses are charged at 70 HRK per day.
Plitvice Lakes National Park operates every day from 7 AM to 8 PM, but the car park is open from 7 AM to 10PM.
Tips that can come in handy:
- Almost everywhere in Croatia, there is a discount on ticket prices if you are a Student and have a Student ID card with your photo that proves that you are a student. At Plitvice, the prices are almost 30% less for students.
- Wear comfortable shoes, put on your best ones – trust me, there is a lot of walking to do. My faithful Nike supported me all through 🙂
- Carry your snacks with you. You are sure to get tired, not with the views but all the walking can bring your energy down.
- If you are to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park in the peak season, then you will be overwhelmed to see the number of people here. So, be wise and make the most of it. Plitvice opens at 7AM every day, so be early to beat the crowds, be there before hounds of day trippers arrive!
- My advice is to stay near Plitvice Lakes so that you can be at Plitvice early the next morning.
- Though Plitvice Lakes is tempting enough for you to dive in and have a swim; I’m sorry to say, swimming in Plitvice Lakes, Croatia is forbidden to keep the ecological balance intact.
- If you wish to bring you pet dog to Plitvice Lakes, it is allowed to do so, provided it is kept on the leash all the time.
- If you are going with a group of 15 or more, you might ask for the group ticket for which you will get a discount of at least 10% on the ticket prices.
- Bring plenty of water – all the walking will make you grab that bottle of water often.
- Check the weather forecast and if it says it will rain, then it will! Plan accordingly. Be prepared with your umbrellas and raincoats.
- And do not ever forget to do ‘The Exercise’. Yes, Exercise. Just close your eyes, let all the loveliness of Plitvice Lakes sink inside you, take it all in and let the memories stay with you forever!
Been to Plitvice or planning to go soon? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
Also Read : Plitvice – Land of Falling Lakes