A Guide To Visiting Plitvice National Park

A Guide To Visiting Plitvice National Park

Nature-trekking and chasing waterfalls for the weekend? Visit Plitvice National Park!

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a place that many travellers have raved about. Needless to say, my travel buddy and I were really looking forward to visiting Plitvice Lakes during our trip around the Adriatic a few weeks ago.

Established in 1949, Plitvice Lakes National Park is the biggest national park in Croatia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It comprises vastly different landscapes, from mountains and woodlands to rivers and caves. Its most important and well-known feature, however, is its lakes and waterfalls. The lakes of Plitvice are famous around the world because of their stunningly unique arrangement. All sixteen lakes are situated at a different level and flow into one another via a series of waterfalls.

Image Credits: Dennis Jarvis

The water in Plitvice Lakes National Park is, honestly, the clearest and cleanest water I have ever seen. This is due to the abundance of various minerals in the water, minerals that are also responsible for the very existence of the lakes. As the mineral-saturated water flowed over rocks, a sediment known as travertine was deposited and created natural dams, eventually forming crystal-clear lakes.

When looked at from a distance, however, the lakes of Plitvice appear to have coloured water—from blue to green to grey, the water’s colours change depending on the angle of the sun rays, the organisms in the water and the presence of particular minerals.

Plitvice Lakes National Park isn’t only lakes and waterfalls though. It is also home to one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, forest that are inhabited by brown bears and wolves. To put things into perspective: the lakes, the one and only major attraction in the park, make up merely 1% of the park’s surface, but attract nearly all visitors.

Also Read: Great Outdoor Adventures You Must Have in Croatia

Image Credits: 29cm

The lakes are divided into two sections—the Lower Lakes and Upper Lakes—that are connected by hiking trails and by a boat. I would suggest to hop on the ferry to get from one section to the other, for the hiking trail that runs between the two sections isn’t particularly scenic. The boat ride is included in the entry ticket, as is the shuttle bus that commutes between a few focal points in the park.

The price for a ticket for an adult is 180 Kuna (~USD 26). The ticket is valid for one day and, as mentioned above, includes transportation by bus and boat.

There are two entrances to Plitvice Lakes National Park, appropriately named Entrance 1 and 2. I would strongly recommend entering via Entrance 1, which is near the Lower Lakes.

From Entrance 1, you can first explore the Lower Lakes, before hopping on the boat and hiking along the Upper Lakes. The main reason why I’d suggest visiting the Lower Lakes first is that this route runs slightly uphill and allows you to face the waterfalls as you approach them. This is the much more scenic route, in my opinion. We hiked the “H trail”, a trail that is approximately 9 kilometres long and takes about 5 hours to complete.

Image Credits: Hans Kainz

Lastly, I have to stress that it is incredibly important to get there early in the morning. We started our hike at 7.15am and it was super-quiet. Tour buses begin arriving around 9 in the morning, after which the park quickly gets overcrowded. I would recommend spending the night in one of the numerous guesthouses around the national park and getting up early in the morning. It’ll be absolutely worth it!

About Author

Bram Reusen

Bram is a freelance writer, translator and travel photographer. He was born and grew up in a small town in Belgium and currently lives in a small town in Vermont, USA. He likes to try different travel styles and he has backpacked across Australia, cycled from Belgium to the North Cape and back, spent three months immersing himself in the Irish culture, hiked across England, climbed numerous mountains in New England, and visited many a handful of European cities. Besides writing and traveling, Bram spends his days reading, working out and trying to live a healthy life.


Related Posts