HOW TO VISIT PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK IN CROATIA
DEC. 19, 2021
Hello Beautiful Earthlings! This article is meant to assist you on your visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Plitvice Jereza, Croatia. I had my own struggles and navigated through them, so I want to make your visit easier than mine since I was the guinea pig and figured things out. Now let's begin!
Why should you visit Plitvice Lakes National Park?
If you love nature and hiking, this is a must visit for you. This park was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1979 and is Croatia's first national park established in 1949. It is beautiful all year round and is filled with beautiful landscapes, turquoise water, waterfalls, well parked paths and boardwalks hovering over the water. It is well developed, meaning if you're looking for a days long backpacking trip with no other human contact, this is not the park for you.
When to visit?
This national park is beautiful all year round. I went at the end of October when the fall leaves were in full bloom, and I think this is the best time to go. I say this for the following reasons:
October is just before it gets too chilly. Just wear layers
This is low tourist season so there are no crowds or masses of people to move around or be in your photos. You also don't have to wait in line to take pictures
The color of the red, orange, and yellow fall leaves juxtaposed against the blue/turquoise water is magical.
How to get here?
There are no trains to get here, so you'll either need to go by bus, rent a car, ride a motorcycle or hitchhike. I obviously rode my motorcycle here. The main road "D1" from Zagreb, Croatia will take you straight here.
There are two main entrances, Entrance 1 and Entrance 2. It is best to use the coordinates unless you are looking at your odometer.
Entrance 1's address:
Plitvice Lakes National Park Parking Lot
53231, Rastovača, Croatia
Entrance 2's address: Plitvice Lakes Entrance 2 Parking
D1 23, 53231, Jezerce, Croatia
Visitor Parking across the park is available for a fee. Motorcycles park for free, don't grab a ticket at the machine, just ride on the side of the toll booth.
How to get in?
I parked at Entrance 1, changed out of my riding clothes into my hiking clothes and walked over the sky bridge to the park entrance. There are restrooms at the visitor parking. Tickets are available online, but I went at the end of October (low tourist season) and purchased tickets at the gate. If you go during busy season, you should probably buy tickets before arriving. Tickets vary in price depending on the time of year you go.
Jan 1 - May 21: 11 Euros/ $12.50 USD
July 1-31: 20-27 Euros/ $22.50-30.50 USD
Aug 1-Sept 30: 20-33 Euros/ $22.50-37 USD
Oct 1-31: 24 Euros/ $27 USD
Nov 1-Dec 31: 11 Euros/ $12.50 USD
Tickets can be purchased here:
Once you purchase your ticket, you will present your ticket to the attendant where they will scan it and let you in. Congratulations! You made it inside!
What to hike?
Now let's talk about the hikes you can choose. There are four trails you can do that begin from Entrance 1. They vary in length and time. Trails are well marked and it is very hard to get lost.
Route A: 3,500 meters/2.15 miles for 2-3 hours
Route B: 4,000 meters/2.50 miles for 3-4 hours
Route C: 8,000 meters/5 miles for 4-6 hours
Route K: 13,800 meters/11.4 miles for 6-8 hours
All trails will give you magnificent views of Veliki Slap, which is the famous waterfall, and walks on the wooden planks. If you choose to hike routes B, C, or K, you will eventually need to take a short 2 minute ferry ride to take you back across the lake. This is included in the price of your entrance ticket. I hiked the longest route, Route K, and it took me about 6.5 hours. I recommend Route K for a good workout if you have the time, but you can also do this if you are in medium shape as well. It is mostly flat with some incline. It will probably take you more time than you think because of all the pictures you will want to take.
How Much Time Should I Spend Here?
I consider this national park to be an all day event even if you do the shorter routes. I recommend arriving early in the morning and planning to spend the whole day here. Bring lunch, snacks and water. There were a lot of unexpected things I saw that I spent time on, such as exploring a bat cave, looking at fish, taking hundreds of photos of the leaves, landscape and waterfalls. This is an experience that you definitely want to take your time exploring.
There are restaurants/ cafes and restrooms sprinkled throughout the park, but I brought my own water, lunch and snacks. There is also a gift shop at Entrance 1 if you want snacks, water or gifts. They also have postcards here.
Plan Your Visit
There are many hotels, apartments and campsites available within 10 minutes of the national park. One mistake I made, that I would like you to learn from is that if you go in October, or low tourist season, the park closes at 3pm! I did not know this. I arrived in the city Plitvice Jereza at 2:45pm from Zagreb, and when I looked up directions, I saw the park was closing in 15 minutes! Time to change plans! I got a hotel and ate dinner early that day. I opted not to camp since it would be 32 degrees F or 0 degrees C that night. So if you are coming from far away during low tourist season, please consider this into your travels. This is a national park you do not want to rush. You really want to take your time here.