Visit i Plitvice lakes in Croatia it was one of my desires in the drawer, of those dreams that you do not know why you have been putting off all the time for a lifetime, until, thanks to a few days of vacation and a bargain price ticket, you find yourself all of a sudden to realize.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Also this time I left alone, taking a break from everything to be with myself is something I now do regularly: I alone with my backpack, my inseparable camera and so much enthusiasm, although this time my planning was heavy enough for the few days I had available.
But for the things you have wanted for so long you are ready to make sacrifices and I would have left barefoot to visit the Plitvice lakes.
- 1 - How to get to Plitvice Lakes
- 2 - Where to sleep
- 3 - Where to eat
- 4 - Routes and map, timetables and prices
- 5 - What to bring
- 6 - When to go
- 7 - Where to photograph: the best view
How to get to Plitvice lakes
Plitvice, panorama of the lower lakes
Plitvice lakes can be reached from major cities in Croatia:
How to get there from Zagreb
To reach the Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb you have to pass by Karlovac, a city 40 km south-east of Zagreb and then take the national road D1 in the direction of Slunj, Grabovac, Plitvice.
The route is well signposted.
If you prefer, get there by bus it's that simple. Many buses depart at different times from Zagreb's main bus station. The trip takes around 2 hours and costs around 100 Kn (13 €).
How to get from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes
Zara it is less than 2 hours drive from Plitvice waterfalls.
- Take the highway A1
- Exit at the exit of Upper board and then continue along the state road D522 to Udbina
- From Udbina take the road D1 for Plitvice lakes.
There are various bus from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes and the ticket costs around 100 Kn (around 13 €).
From Split to Plitvice Lakes
If you travel by car from Split to Plitvice lakes follow this path:
- Get thehighway A1 heading north (Zagreb / Rijeka)
- Take the highway exit Upper board
- Continue on the state road D522 to Udbina
- From Udbina take the road D1 for Plitvice lakes
THEbus from Split to Plitvice lakes costs 150 Kn (20 €). It takes about 4h 30 minutes and leaves several times a day.
Upon arrival at the station Split I immediately go in search of the bus with destination Plitvice Lakes (about 170 kuna) to discover that by bus the way to go is much longer than I had imagined and that it takes more hours than what I had read on the internet.
Unfortunately, it seems that most visitors who arrive at Plitvice Lakes do so by rented car (which in hindsight is definitely a good choice) and therefore the information found on the web should be taken a little with the calipers as they are often inaccurate and a bit dated.
Bus timetables, however, can be found on the Split station site.
Plitvice lakes are located about 250 km from the city of Split and whether you are on the highway or the normal road, it takes about 5 hours by bus.
Da zagabria instead by bus it takes half the time, about 2 and a half hours, to cover the 140 km that separate it from the lakes.
On the bus to Plitvice
The fact is that all buses stop at both entrance 1 and entrance 2 of the park as well as at all stops in the adjacent towns (where most of the guest houses are located). Just tell the driver where you want to be dropped off and he will indicate the right stop when you get there.
In hindsight, although it is easy to get there by bus, therental car it is certainly a much better choice because the buses that lead to the park are few and in any case it is linked to fixed timetables.
The last bus back from the parks to the guest house is at 18pm and this prevented me from stopping to take pictures in the beautiful sunset light.
RENT A CAR IN CROATIA
Rent a car in Croatia it is the best way to explore the country and one of the cheapest.
Having your own car gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace and see places that are not possible on group travel or public transport.
Haven't you booked it yet? Then check out RentalCars.com for find the best deal.
Where sleeping in Plitvice
Once in a while that I decide to book the room in advance I make one of my problems so when I arrive at House Zupan (truly exceptional, I swear and I recommend it to you) the kind owner looks at me with the air of one who has a lot of fun and tells me that I have booked for 2016 and that the room for me is not there.
Are you looking for where to sleep? Read my guide on the best hotels in Plitvice!
She laughs, I a little less, but she gestures to me not to worry and in a few minutes she finds me another cheaper accommodation with her cousins.
In July and August you have to be careful because it is often difficult to find a free room better to book in advance.
Once settled in my new room with private bathroom (220 kuna) I finally breathe a sigh of relief: the day was very long and heavy but tomorrow a visit to the lakes awaits me and I am no longer in the skin with happiness.
The choice of guest houses around the lakes is truly huge, there are many, also because many people rent the rooms in the house they live in so out of season you don't have to worry about not finding accommodation.
I stayed at:
Mirjana and Dragan Sebalj
Brajdic village 235
The house where I slept in Plitvice
Other recommended guest houses are:
Rakovica, 47245, Rakovica, Croatia
+385 47 784 057
Where to eat in Plitvice
In all the places where there are guest houses there are also restaurants. If you are in a guest house that does not offer dinner but has a kitchen available for guests, it is possible (many do) to buy something to eat at the market and then cook it.
Inside the park there are various refreshment points where you can buy sandwiches, drinks and ice cream, but at lunchtime they are really crowded. I was careful not to stop and I took some biscuits, bought at the market in the morning while I was waiting for the bus.
Visit the lakes, routes, timetables and prices
Paths to Plitvice
Entrances 1 and 2
To enter the Plitvice Lakes National Park there are two entrances, named respectively entrance 1 (NORTH entrance) ed entrance 2 (SOUTH entrance) both with large car parks outside. All buses stop at both entrances 1 and 2 and I chose the latter because there was a lot less queue.
There is actually a third entrance, theFlora entrance, which is located on the Kozjak lake. This entrance is convenient if you are staying in Plitvica Selo, as it is the least crowded and within easy reach of the village.
To visit the Park there are several paths and trails of varying length and difficulty. The Park is divided into two areas: i lower lakes e the higher ones.
Route A on the lower lakes
If you look for a map of the lakes and the various paths, know that you can pick up a paper at the entrance, but if you want here you can find the maps to download online.
I lower lakes they are located in a gorge of limestone rocks which in some places is up to 40 meters high. As soon as you enter from entrance 1 there are two paths, one that goes down, towards the large waterfall and then goes up through the gorge with a path made up of walkways over the water, and a path that instead passes over the gorge from above from which you have beautiful panoramic views and then rejoins the first.
Il route A precisely it is the circular path formed by these two paths and concerns only the lower lakes.
Il route B is the extension of route A and also includes boat navigation on the Lake Kozjak (the big lake) to the opposite side of the lake and a train ride on the way back. Both the train and the boat are included in the ticket price.
Route C: in reality it is an extended B path. The first part is in fact the same, but instead of returning to entrance 1 after the boat has crossed Lake Kozjak, you continue the excursion along three other lakes until Proscansko lake more southern. Route C is 8km long, takes 4 to 6 hours and is a moderate hike.
Route K1: the longest route to take from entrance 1, route K1 also includes a hike around the Proscansko Lake. Route K is 18,3km long, takes 6 to 8 hours and is a challenging hike.
Route E: The shortest route of all starts from the southern entrance, entrance 2, and leads along the upper lakes to Proscansko Jezero. A visit begins with a short boat ride across Kozjak Lake. You can return by shuttle bus or on foot. The route is 5,2 km long and takes 2 to 3 hours.
Path F: you start a journey with a boat ride across the Kozjak lake. From there we continue the visit across the Kozjak bridge and walk along the path across the lower lakes to the large waterfalls. On your return, you will have to go up to the shuttle bus stop. The route is 4,6 km long and takes 3 to 4 hours.
Route H: includes a bus trip to the Studovac site near the Proscansko lake. Here you start your long hike the Upoer lakes to the Kozjak lake which you cross by boat. After the boat ride, you will continue walking along the lower lakes to the Great Waterfall. You return to the starting point with the shuttle bus. The route is 8,9 km long and takes 4 to 6 hours.
Route K2: Similar to the K1 route, the K2 route gives you the opportunity to explore the entire lakes section of the park. The hike starts at the south entrance - Entrance 2. The route is 18,3 km long and takes 6 to 8 hours.
As I said, I entered from entrance 2 and walked down along the large lake. I didn't follow a defined path, I moved more at random, but I walked a lot and I don't recommend it, better to study an itinerary first to optimize.
Timetables and prices (Updated 2019)
Entry costs in high season (i.e. from 31st July to XNUMXst August) 250 kuna per person for adults, quite high price but worth paying because the park is really beautiful. Prices are not fixed, but vary according to the season of the year and age, children under 7 always enter for free.
- From November to March: every day, 8:00 - 16:00
- From April to June and September-October: Every day, from 8:00 to 17:00
- July and August: every day, from 8:00 to 18:00
- Da November to March: Closed
- From April to June and September-October: Every day, from 8:00 to 17:00 |
- July and August: every day, from 8:00 to 18:00
I prices always updated can be found on the website of the Plitvice Lakes National Park.
From November to March: Adults: 55 kn, children (7 to 18 years): 35 kn, children under 7 years: free
April-June, September-October: Adults: 150 kn, children (from 7 to 18): 80 kn, children under 7 years: free
July-August for visits up to 16: 00: Adults: 250 kn, children (7 to 18 years): 110 kn, children under 7: free
July-August for visits after 16:00: Adults: 150 kn, children (7 to 18 years): 50 kn, children under 7: free
Parking costs 7 kn per hour.
What to bring and useful tips
Waterfalls between the upper lakes
Although the path is very easy and passable even with normal shoes, in some places, where the walkway is wet from the spray of the falls, the wood can become slippery so hiking shoes are certainly the best choice and allow you to walk safer and more comfortable.
Even as a clothing it is certainly better to prefer the sporty one with long trousers. For the rest, even if there are some refreshment points, it is better not to miss one water bottle in the backpack and why not, maybe a sandwich or some fruit to eat on the benches overlooking the lakes.
Go to entrance 2 and buy tickets from the small booth just over the wooden bridge because the queues are much shorter than from the ticket office in the parking lot.
The advice is to enter like me from entrance 2 where you will find less queue and immediately visit the upper lakes, this will avoid the crowd of people who enter from entrance 1 and arrive at the upper lakes after lunch.
The visit to the lower lakes will still be in the midst of a sea of people. Taking pictures with a tripod and filters is really very difficult because the wooden walkways are not stable and wobble a lot when people pass, so getting a smooth photo is really difficult.
Coming soon to enjoy the park with as few tourists as possible.
Try not to go to the bathroom (easy to say, less to do), however there are toilets along the paths.
Bring your sandwich. There are dining options, but they are expensive and always crowded. Also take fruit and lots of water with you.
Take a look at the maps or to the paths described in this article to decide which one you prefer. It counts that the hours of travel written here are indicative, a lot depends on how many times you stop and how fast you walk.
Dogs are allowed, but they must be kept on a leash.
At each entrance there is a free luggage storage.
Swimming in Plitvice Lakes is strictly prohibited. If you want to dive into the blue waters of the river go to Korana village a little further north a Slunj where it is possible to swim.
When to go
Path to the upper lakes
Certainly July and August are the least suitable months to visit Plitvice lakes, due to both the heat and the multitude of people. There were so many tourists that in some parts of the park it felt like being in the city center on a Saturday afternoon.
This spoils the magic of the place a bit: the lakes are so beautiful and having shouting people and children around is not the best to fully enjoy them. Also in the summer there is not much water and the waterfalls do not give their best.
In winter, although it must be very fascinating to see the completely frozen waterfalls, the temperatures are not exactly comfortable, so at the end of spring and autumn are the best times.
Where to photograph: the best point
Veliki slap, the most beautiful viewpoint of Plitvice Lakes pmartike / 123RF Stock Photo
If you've already looked at photos of Plitvice Lakes on the Internet, you've probably seen this amazing photograph above. The problem is, it's not really obvious how to get here because there are no directions.
So where the hell do you get there?
As soon as you buy the ticket, ask the staff how to get here. Try to go there, because this is by far the best view of the lakes.
The viewpoint is called Great Waterfall. There are no signs telling you how to get there, but the place is gorgeous!
Here's how to get to the secret place:
After passing the big waterfall, (where by the way there is always a huge amount of tourists), go up the stairs that are on the right of the waterfall and follow the road for about 5 minutes (you will see the big waterfall from above) until you get to the paved road.
At that point, turn right and walk straight (2-3 minutes) until you cross a wooden bridge. At this point, turn right after the bridge and here you are!
If I return to visit i Plitvice lakes, I would go there in autumn: the leaves of the trees in this season range from red to orange, to yellow, to purple that with the cobalt blue of the lakes give life to a rare stage of colors.