Experience the Plitvice Lakes National Park
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most beautiful nature parks you can find in Europe. During my road trip through Croatia, I visited the Plitvice lakes and how beautiful they are I tell you here.
A visit to the Plitvice lakes is definitely worth it, because there is plenty to see in this National Park of Croatia. With about 266 square kilometers in size, you absolutely do not get bored. The Plitvice lakes consists of 16 blue-green lakes, one of which is more beautiful than the other.
The Plitvice lakes are divided into Gornja (upper lakes) and Donja (lower lakes). These special lakes in the park can be up to 46 meters deep and 470 meters long.
In addition to the lakes, there are also 90 waterfalls, the highest being 78 meters. This spot is also a popular place to get married. In addition to all that water, the National Park consists largely of forest with 50-meter-high spruces.
Deer, wild boars and badgers, but also wolves, bears and lynx live in these forests. The chance that you will see these last three is very small, because of the large area and the very shy animals.
In the park
After the entrance you can take the bus or walk to the park. The bus can take you to various places in the park. In the park, hiking trails have been built for miles and these are largely along the lakes.
You can cross the lakes by means of wooden bridges or with the tour boat. This boat has two routes:
- Short route (5 min): Cruise from one side to the other of Lake Kozjak.
- Long route (10 min): Sail from the high to the low part of the park and vice versa.
There is also a train that can take you from one side of the park to the other. And if you want to sail and explore the lakes, you can rent a rowing boat at various places.
In winter, the tour boat and train are not available due to snow and ice.
There are 8 different routes to discover the Plitvice lakes while hiking. It is possible to start from both entrances. Both entrances have 4 routes:
Entrance 1 (green)
- A (2 to 3 hours): Only walk along the low lakes - 3k
- B (3 to 4 hours): The low lakes with boat trip on the Kozjak lake - 4k
- C (4 to 5 hours): The low and high lakes with train ride and boat trip - 8k
- K (6 to 8 hours): Discover the entire park - 18.3k
Entrance 2 (orange)
- E (2 to 3 hours): The high lakes with train ride and boat trip - 5k
- F (3 to 4 hours): The same route B (different starting point - 4.6k
- H (4 to 6 hours): The same route C (different starting point - 8.9k
- K (6 to 8 hours): Discover the entire park - 18.3k
8 additional tips
- If you want to experience the Plitvice lakes well, plan at least one full day. Combine with an overnight stay around the National Park and visit the Plitvice lakes at your leisure in 2 days.
- Wear good walking shoes and not flip flops.
- Bring enough water. Especially in the summer, as it can get very hot and there are few places to fill.
- You can not swim here. (this is possible at the Krka National Park).
- Stay on the constructed paths. Wolves and bears live in the dense forests that you would rather not encounter.
- Bring your own food for the road, especially on the long routes. There are also restaurants, but they are expensive and busy. Make sure you clean up the waste neatly.
- Enjoy the Plitvice lakes for several days? Then spend the night near the National Park. There are many campsites, B & Bs and hotels around.
- Start at entrance 2 instead of entrance 1. This is generally less busy!
If the Plitvice National Park is on your schedule, I have useful information for you here. This way you go prepared to the Plitvice lakes.
Where are the Plitvice lakes?
The Plitvice lakes are located in the interior of Croatia, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina (in Google Maps: Plitvicka Jezera).
The Plitvice lakes are located south of Zagreb, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Lika-Senj county. If you want to look it up on the map of Croatia, look at Plitvicka Jezera.
The Plitvice lakes are easy to calculate from almost all of Croatia. The nearest airport is that of Rijeka, but also from the airports of Dubrovnik, Pula, Split, Zadar and Zagreb there are daily buses, with or without a short transfer, to the Plitvice lakes. These bus trips are organized trips.
The Plitvice lakes are also easily accessible from several popular coastal towns in Istria and Kvarner. It is even possible to come by boat from Italy and drive from the harbor to the Plitvice lakes.
When to visit Plitvice lakes?
All year round it is possible to visit the Plitvice lakes, so you can go there when it suits you best. The Plitvice lakes differ per season.
The falls are getting bigger and more impressive in the fall due to the rainy season in Croatia. In the spring, everything starts to grow again. It can also be very beautiful in winter. There is a chance that there is snow and the lakes are frozen, this gives a very special atmosphere.
I was there in the summer and everything in the National Park is green and the flowers are blooming. The colors of the lakes are therefore very well reflected by the sun that shines on it. However, it is the busiest period in the summer, and I noticed that too. Parking lots that were full and waiting in line to buy entrance tickets. You can avoid the crowds in this National Park.
Actually, every season has something unique. Still, I wouldn't recommend going during the busiest time of the year (July / August). If you plan to go during this period, I advise you to go there as early as possible to avoid the crowds. The Plitvice lakes open at 7:00 AM.
Entrance fee Plitvice lakes
You have to pay an entrance fee to enter the National Park. Depending on the season, the price varies between 7 and 24 euros (55/180 Kuna) for one day. For 2 days you pay between 12 and 37 euros (90/280 Kuna).
Are you a student?
Bring your student card and it will save you money!
Buy entrance tickets online
To visit the Plitvice lakes, this year it is mandatory to buy entrance tickets online via the official website of the Plitvice lakes.
If you are going to buy these tickets, you should pay attention to this:
- Book at least 2 days before you visit the tickets. Out of stock? Then buy a [Skip-the-Line ticket] (https://www.getyourguide.nl/gospic-l2040/plitvice-lakes-national-park-skip-the-line-ticket-t229069/?partner_id=9I3WJ9J&utm_medium=online_publisher&placement=content-top&cmp=Beleef%20het%20Nationaal%20Park%20Plitvice%20meren) (incl. possibility to cancel).
- You will receive your ticket by email. Print it out and take it with you. You can exchange this for your entrance ticket.
- Before booking, consider which entrance you will take. Only here can you exchange it for your entrance ticket.
- A date and time of arrival is required when booking. If you are not there, your ticket will expire (no refund of the purchase).
- You can redeem at the chosen entrance 30 minutes before and 60 minutes after your chosen arrival time.
- With a two-day ticket you can choose at what time you visit the park on the 2nd day.
- No ticket, but you want to visit the Plitvice lakes? You can buy a ticket on the spot , but you depend on the crowds.
Prefer not to be insecure?
There are several organized trips available both with and without guide (incl. Possibility to cancel).
Also visit the Krka waterfalls
The water in the Plitvice lakes looks very much needed (especially in summer), but unfortunately it is forbidden to swim in it. Still swimming in the waterfalls in Croatia?
The beautiful Krka National Park is only a 2.5 hour drive away. Here you can and you can swim at the falls. Read all about a visit to the Krka waterfalls here.