Visit the Plitvice Lakes: tips on how to get there and on routes

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Valery Aloyants
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Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia It is probably one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe. Located in the heart of the Lika mountains, between lakes and waterfalls, the Jezera area reveals an exceptional plant and animal wealth.

Below you will find all the information needed to visit the park and discover all its splendor: how to get there, the entrances and the best routes, when to arrive and admission prices, where to sleep, ...


What is Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park - Image from Pixabay

Plitvice Lakes National Park, located in the central Lika Senj region, between Zagreb and Zadar, is a site UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. Plitvice is the most visited park in Croatia and undoubtedly the most impressive.


Its success is due to several elements: it is accessible to everyone, it can be visited on foot, by boat or by train. Thanks to a wooden path, 18 km long, it is possible to discover a succession of 16 lakes interconnected by numerous waterfalls and rivers.

All this creates an incredibly beautiful landscape, made of forests, turquoise lakes and waterfalls… The water is so clear that you can see a multitude of fish swimming in it.

The lakes divide into Upper lakes (upper lakes) e Lower lakes (lower lakes). The circuits can take from 2 to 8 hours of walking and are very well signposted ...

Plitvice has a diverse and quite impressive flora and fauna. Like any Croatian national park, the regulations are strict and require absolute respect for vegetation and animals, which explains, among other things, why we cannot collect plants, bathe, fish or touch animals that cross the street.



How to get to Plitvice lakes?

To reach the Plitvice Lakes the two best solutions are by bus or by car.

Getting to Plitvice by bus

It is possible to go to Plitvice lakes by bus from Zara e zagabria and from other places in between, such as from Split and Sibenik, two other large Croatian cities.

Da Zagabria, the trip takes 2 hours and 30 minutes and costs 85 Kuna (11 euros). Around ten buses leave for Plitvice every day from the Zagreb bus station.

Also from Zadar, the bus takes about the same time. There are only 3-4 buses a day leaving for Plitvice, so check the timetables the day before. The ticket from Zadar costs about 100 Kuna (13 euros).

From Split the journey takes 4 hours and 30 minutes, and the bus passes through Zadar.

Yes Dubrovnik There is no direct bus to Plitvice. The distance is 450 km between the two places and in any case it will be necessary to cross Split.

Yes Plitvice: there is no real bus station, but small huts near the two main entrances, where the buses stop and then leave. If you don't have a ticket, you can buy it directly from the driver. Remember to keep 10 kuna (1 euro) to give to the driver if you have luggage to put in the hold.

Little tip: if you have to return to Zagreb by bus from Plitvice, take it at the exit of entrance 2. The bus passes first in front of entrance 2 and then at entrance 1. This will certainly allow you to find a seat!


Getting to Plitvice by car

If you don't want to worry too much about Croatian public transport you can rent a car and reach Plitvice very easily from any large Croatian city. The road network in Croatia is excellent, you will have no problems getting around and you will arrive faster than by bus, which stops in all villages.


In Croatia, on the roads, the "Plitvice Lakes" are indicated by the name "Plitvice Lakes“, Just follow the signs and you will arrive easily.

From Zagreb: two hours of travel. You have to go to Karlovac, 40 km south-east of Zagreb, then take the D1 in the direction of Plitvice.
Suggestion: if you come by car from Zagreb, try to drive through the pretty village of Radstoke.

From Split and Zadar: take the A1 highway in the direction of Zagreb, then exit at Gornja Ploca. Continue on the D522 to Udbina then the D1 to Plitvice.

Once there, you can park in one of the many car parks in the National Park. The fare is 7 kunas per hour (approximately € 1).

Arrive by train or by bike

Trains are not well organized in Croatia, so it is best not to take them into consideration. You can also get there by bike but you have to be well trained because this part of Croatia is very hilly.

Entrance fees to the park and routes

Plitvice Lakes National Park - Image from Pixabay

Plitvice National Park covers an area of ​​almost 30 thousand hectares. Although not all of this area is accessible to visitors, it is still possible to spend hours walking in the park and discover its landscapes that change with the seasons.


There are two inputs to the park, entrance number 1 St1 and entrance number 2 St2. At each entrance you will find a parking for a fee. If you want to leave cumbersome things, you will find some cabinets at entrance number 1.

If you arrive at1 input, you will be close to the giant waterfall of about 100 meters which is one of the most sought after attractions in the park. From entrance 1, used less by tourists because the journey from entrance 2 is downhill and therefore less tiring, we can access the panoramic points from the first minutes of the visit.


You can also opt for2 input and follow the circuit H which takes between 4 and 6 hours of walking and is probably the most complete to visit Plitvice Lakes in one day. You will first discover the highest lakes and then reach the lowest lakes.

There are several routes along the 16 lakes, some of which are crossed by wooden piers. Once in the park, you can use a electric bus / train running from the lowest point to the highest point in the park throughout the day, as well as one electric boat running through the largest lake, Lake Kozjak.

The various paths available are represented by a letter and a color. So once in the park it is necessary to follow the paths which are very well marked.

When to visit Plitvice

Plitvice Lakes National Park - Image from Pixabay

To fully exploit the wonders of Plitvice, the right compromise must be found between the milder climate and the lowest tourist turnout.

If you come in high season: you will find a wonderful time that will highlight the beauty of the landscape to the maximum, but you will find yourself in the midst of crowded groups of tourists on narrow paths without railings, above the water. Be careful - it's easy to fall!

If you arrive too out of season: some trails will be flooded (therefore impractical), or you may find gray weather that would not highlight the wonderful colors of the park.

Il best time to visit Plitvice it is before summer in spring, around April-May (maximum in early June). Or a little later, in early autumn, after mid-September and until the end of October, when the weather is still good, the leaves change color creating a magical landscape and the crowds have dissolved.

If you can, avoid coming on a weekend (preferably an intermediate day), and most importantly, come as early as possible in the morning, to avoid the hordes of organized tour groups!

Prices Plitvice Lakes National Park

The prices of the National Park change according to the period of visit: winter, mid season and high season.

  • In winter (November to March) the entrance ticket costs 55 kuna (8 euros).
  • In mid season (April, May, June, September, October) the price is 110 kuna (16 euros).
  • In high season (July and August) you will pay 180 kuna (about 27 euros).

Le parking fees cars are 7 kuna (about 1 euro) per hour.

Le maps of Plitvice National Park are on sale for 20 kunas (3 euros), but everything is so well marked that it could be useless. In addition, there is a well-made map of the park on the tickets.

Which circuit to choose within the Plitvice park

The national park is large, but easy to visit in one day or even half a day if you walk at a good pace and if there are not too many tourists blocking the path. The park has two inputs: entrance 1 and entrance 2.

There are different trails to follow. They are marked with letters ranging from A to K. The longest and most complete route is the K, 18km long.

If you are not an experienced hiker, you don't necessarily need to do the path K because it is very long and you will get tired of it. It is more interesting to enjoy the paths that are certainly more exposed to the crowd, but frankly also more beautiful.

Most tourists choose the path H. This route takes about 4 hours of walking. From entrance number 2 you take the bus that leads to the highest point. From here you start the walk, go down all the way and cross several lakes until you reach Lake Kozjak. Here you can take the boat and cross the lake.

Route H in the Plitvice Lakes National Park

You arrive at point P3 where you can use the toilets. Then continue your walk to reach the highlight of the journey, the Great Waterfall. From there you go up to entrance number 1 from where you can take the bus to reach entrance number 2.

This route allows you to visit the entire park and since it starts from the upper lakes to the lower lakes it is less difficult than other routes because it is downhill.

In any case, it is necessary to understand that the paths follow almost the same paths. Only a few routes make detours at certain points, to lengthen or show slightly more isolated attractions. Either way, the routes form loops, constantly intersect and mix and go through all the best sights to see.

How long does it take to visit the entire park

Plitvice Lakes National Park - Image from Pixabay

At the entrance to the park, the signs indicate the time required to complete each path. Route E should last 2-3 hours, yet there are those who do it in 1 hour and 30 minutes, it all depends on the pace and the crowd, which in high season is so compact that it really slows down.

What can be long is the wait on the bridges. Shuttle boats theoretically depart every 30 minutes and take only 100 people at a time. When there is a crowd you risk waiting in line for a long time before getting on.

Park opening hours

The park's opening hours change during the various seasons and are as follows:

  • Winter: from 9:00 to 16:00
  • Spring and autumn: from 8:00 to 18:00
  • Summer: from 7:00 to 20:00

Where to sleep near the Plitvice Lakes

One of the most comfortable solutions to visit Plitvice Lakes is sleep nearby. There are no very cheap accommodations in the surrounding area such as hostels, but there are still good hotels, landlords, tourist apartments, bed and breakfasts, holiday homes, chalets and some campsites that allow a pleasant and relaxing stay in this beautiful area of ​​Croatia.

Le best areas to sleep are the locality Plitvice Lakes e Plitvica Selo, located a short distance from the lakes.

Find accommodation in Plitvička Jezera

 

Find accommodation in Plitvica Selo

 

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