Basic guide to Plitvice lakes

When you google Croatia, you will sure stumble upon pictures and recommendations for Plitvice lakes. They are also the nr. 1 attraction in the famous Lonely planet guides. And believe me – it is for a reason.

Plitvice lakes were the first Croatian (then Yugoslavian) national park declared on 8th April 1949. In 1979 it was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

We visited the national park for the second time, as the first time we were with a big group and the weather was sh****. This time we decided to stop on the way to the seaside and start our Croatian summer of 2020 at these beautiful lakes.

Arrive

If you arrive by car, you’ll see Parking 1 and 2 (this goes as well for Entrance 1 and 2). If you want to explore the upper lakes first, park at P2, if you want to explore the lower lakes first park at P1. Parking is 10KN per hour, but it’s in a shady forest, there is a souvenir shop, a bar and a drinking fountain.

Going around

The park well connected by boats and buses, but you will have to walk a lot (20.000 steps – we visited all the lakes). The terrain is diverse– you walk on wooden walkways, through maintained forest paths, gravel and maaany stairs. If you bring a pram, it will be quite difficult, oh and dogs are allowed.

You are allowed to take each boat and bus only once (there are 2 boat connections and 1 bus). If you park as we did at P2, we recommend you to take the short boat ride (2 min) first, then explore the upper lakes (it’s a circuit path bringing you back to the boat dock), then take the long boat ride to the lower lakes. There is again a circuit path (you’ll climb up a little at the end), but look for the bus signs (not boat) and you’ll come to the bus stop, which will take you to the entrance nr. 2, where you finish your tour.

Things to see

Lakes

There are 16 lakes, which are connected by streams and waterfalls. They have different shapes, colors … and it is not allowed to swim (also not for dogs).

Waterfalls

The waterfalls are really stunning. There are some smaller, some bigger, with the biggest BIG Watefall (yes, this is the actual name 🙂 ) at the lowest point of the lower lakes. You will find many lookouts to admire the waterfalls and lakes.

Nature

Flora and fauna are beautiful here. As it is not allowed to feed the animals or pick flowers. You’ll be amazed how everything is striving. Look out for different fish, ducks, birds, insects – also many beautiful butterflies live here 😉

Cave

At the lower lakes we found stairs leading up to two caves, where real stalagmites and stalaktites can be found. From the cave you’ll have a nice view over the lakes. If you walk all the way to the top you’ll reach an amazing viewpoint, from where you can snap the iconic Plitvice lake picture.

Our tips for a better visit

  • Come early to beat the crowds.
  • Wear proper shoes (flip flops or sandals are not recommended).
  • Bring drinks and snacks as we saw only 3 places where you can buy food and drinks (at both entrances and at the boat dock at the upper lakes).
  • Take your time and visit both upper and lower lakes. We spent 5,5 hours in the park and visited all the lakes and waterfalls.
  • Take a map (they have a small one (you can see it in the vlog and a bigger one – better take the big folded one) or use this one: Plitvice lakes map  and plan your visit a little bit. We didn’t do that and were struggling a bit at the beginning as we had old memories of places and couldn’t find them. Then we found this map online and all was clearer.
  • Try to come on a sunny day as the colors will be much more vibrant.
  • Visit the official website to ne up to date about the opening times and prices.

Of course we documented our visit and made a vlog. Because we visited also Krka national park, the vlog is a comparison of the two. We hope you will like it 🙂


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