Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National ParkCroatia’s oldest and biggest national park, Plitvice is a four-season playground known for its pristine forests, stunning waterfalls, and dozens of turquoise lakes. To see it all, trek along the wooden pathways that twist through bright-green vegetation and past water rushing down limestone and dolomite rock. Along the way, keep an eye out for the park’s signature blue butterflies and the trout that populate the shallow waters. Though you’re unlikely to encounter them, protected species like brown bears, gray wolves, and Eurasian lynx also roam the forests around Plitvice. If you need more than one day to explore, overnight at one of the many nearby lodgings, like the Bear’s Log with its cozy wooden interiors, outdoor Jacuzzi, and terraces overlooking the verdant landscape.
Visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
Plitviče Lakes National Park
Our group spent three to four hours hiking through the park, and crowds aside, it is breathtaking! We were dropped off at Entrance 1, hiked to P3, then took a boat across a dark blue lake to P2, explored the waterfalls there, and hopped on another boat to ferry us the short distance to P1, where we were picked up again. We had a fantastic guide with us, knowledgeable and passionate, and although you can easily hike the park without someone holding your hand, it made our experience so much richer. It also allowed us to find humor and sanity in conversation with a local, while ducking other peoples cameras and iphones.
Plitviče is open all year, unless it snows, or the walkways get too slippery otherwise. For entrance fees, please consult the parks website, as they change per high/ low season.
>>>Warm thanks to Alan Mandić from Secret Dalmatia, for organizing a truly memorable, and off the beaten path trip for our curious and insatiable group of travelers, and to the Art Hotel Kalelarga for perfect accommodations in Zadar.
Experience the wild side of Croatia
While I was planning my second trip to Croatia, I researched other sites to visit besides Dubrovnik’s Old City and islands along the coast. One of my Croatian friends told me to look into the Plitvice waterfalls. As soon as I saw some photos online, it was set—I had to go. I’ve been to Niagara Falls, Iceland, and Norway; I thought I had seen enough waterfalls to last me a lifetime. That is, until I saw those photos.
I took a bus from Zagreb to Plitvice National Park, a two-hour bus ride. The park is situated in between Zagreb and Zadar. For 110 Kunas (approximately 20 USD for adults and 15 USD for students), visitors have access to the entire park, including boat rides and tram rides. The weather was cloudy and it rained on and off. Although I had my umbrella on me, there was no need to pull it out because the canopy of trees sheltered me from the rain. I don’t have the words to describe the magnificent beauty of the park so I have to allow my photos to speak for me (I took almost 120 photos in just five hours).