How to Explore Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes in Croatia is one of the world’s most stunning national parks. If you visit Croatia, and don’t visit Plitvice Lakes, then I’d really like to know why. Visiting Plitvice Lakes without doing any prior research will make your trip a little futile because it is an amazing place and you don’t want to waste the time you spend there. I have visited Plitvice Lakes twice, and here’s a little something to help you plan the perfect trip to this amazing natural wonder 

What is Plitvice Lakes? Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in Croatia and covers acres and acres of land full of blue lakes, waterfalls and lush greenery. If you thought turquoise lakes which look like mirrors didn’t exist, then you were wrong. They do exist in this natural wonder. 

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How to get there? The lakes are best visited from either Zagreb or Split (main cities in Croatia) and you need to take a bus to get there. Following are some of the itinerary options for visiting Plitvice: 

  1. As a day-trip from Zagreb 
  2. Go from Zagreb to Plitvice, stay over in Plitvice one night, and then move on to Split the next day

Let me also tell you one of the advantages of staying over in Plitvice Lakes one night.

Travel Tip: If you stay over in one of the hotels located inside the park, then the hotels will extend your previous day’s ticket to next day, and essentially with one ticket, you can explore the park for 2 days. Most people don’t know this, but now you do! So, instead of rushing to complete the park in one day, you have 2 days at the same price. 

When to visit: In my opinion, you’re better off visiting Plitvice in summer, because if you visit during the colder months, you run the risk of running into fog which affects your visibility, or you’ll be feeling really really cold, and some of the parts of the park may be shut as well. I visited once in November, when it was too foggy to see clearly. And, I recently visited in July, which was the most perfect weather ever. Mind you, summer is also tourist-season, but that’s also because the parks look the best at that time. You can try to visit towards September or early May if you wish to skip some of the crowds. 

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Tickets for Entry: Now, here’s another travel tip which many people don’t know.

Travel Tip: If you visit the parks after 4 pm, then tickets are cheaper. When we visited in July, normal tickets cost 250 kunas, whereas tickets post 4 pm were for 150 kunas.

Though we stumbled upon this information accidentally, this made perfect sense for us, as we were staying over in a hotel overnight inside the parks, and we had some time in our hands. Post 4 pm, the crowds reduce as well, and you still get a good 4 hours inside the park, as the park closes at 8 pm. And, the park doesn’t get dark till about 9 pm, so you’ll be able to see everything just fine till 8 pm. 

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What to Wear: The parks are absolutely huge, so be prepared for lots and lots of walking. The paths are easy to walk and you don’t need hiking gear. However, it’s best to wear comfortable shoes for walking. Though I have seen people wearing heels and flip-flops, it’s best not to risk it as you may slip and fall (and honestly, heels in a national park is a little funny!) The parks can occasionally be a little chilly (check the temperature before going), so carry a jacket. But, mostly all the walking will make you pretty warm so you should be alright. Carry a cap as well, as some parts can be very sunny. 

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How to Explore: There are several walking paths inside the path and you’ll see these marked as A, B, C and so on. Basically some of the routes will help you explore the upper lakes and some will help you explore the lower lakes. You can check for these at the entrance, and take any of the routes. Ultimately, you should aim to cover both the upper and lower lakes during your visit. 

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During your visit, you’ll also come across ferry-points where you can take a ferry from one point to point. You don’t need to pay for these ferries, as they are included in your tickets, but be prepared for long waiting lines. 

The Best Views: The first question which everyone has is “Where is the Best View”. The best view is obviously the one where you can see all the waterfalls from far far above and the lakes stretching behind them. When you enter from Entrance 1, this is one of the first views you will get, so you don’t need to walk too much for this view. Keep walking and you’ll come across various viewing points, where the views will keep getting better. 

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Travel Tip: Always be careful when taking pictures and leaning over the railings. There have been accidents in the past, so always be conscious of your surroundings.

Take your time and explore the park. Follow the walking path, and you’ll walk alongside fabulous lakes, stumble upon waterfalls, and also come across caves. The scenery is stunning and you’ll find it hard to forget the place once you leave. 

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