When you visit Croatia a tourist attraction you definitely have to visit is the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Pure natural beauty, with the amazing flora and fauna you will see unique animal species and bird species. The lakes with clear turquoise water will be a guarantee for picturesque beautiful views. No wonder that the park has been recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1979.
Travellers can easily reach Plitvice Lakes from Zadar, Sibenik, Split, Zagreb and all of the surrounding areas. If you are driving from Zagreb to the Adriatic coast, you should consider stopping in Plitvice. The best option for flying to Plitvice is Zagreb Airport. The airport is roughly 140km distance from Plitvice and you can take one of the connecting buses waiting just outside of the terminal building. This will take you to Zagreb's main bus station. You will find numerous buses going to Croatia Plitvice Lakes. Your ride will take about two hours and twenty minutes.
At Zagreb's main bus station there are several travel companies that offer a sightseeing day trip to one of the many national parks Croatia has. Often they will offer a full or half day excursion with a small group by bus form Zagreb. You can also book yourself a private tour, the tour guide can explain everything you want to know about the lakes park. A private tour would cost you about 110 euro.
The park is extremely close to the Croatian border. You can reach Bosnia by driving a couple of hours from either the Adriatic Coast or Zagreb. Zadar is the closest town to Plitvice. Once you reach the national park, you will need to purchase your ticket. You can purchase a ticket for one or two days. Your price includes transport with the panorama train and the electric boat and visitor's insurance. The price for one-day admission is:
Entry price depends on the season, one-day tickets
|Price in HRK||1st Jan - 31st Mar
1st Nov - 31st Dec
|1st Apr - 31st May
1st Oct - 31st Oct
|1st Jun - 30th Jun
1st Sep - 30th Sep
|1st Jul - 31th Aug|
|Adults:||60 HRK||100 HRK||250 HRK||250 HRK|
|Students:||50 HRK||75 HRK||150 HRK||250 HRK|
|Children seven to eighteen years of age:||30 HRK||50 HRK||120 HRK||120 HRK|
|Children below seven years of age:||Free||Free||Free||Free|
|Persons with disability:||Free||Free||Free||Free|
For more information on group prices and tickets, check the official Plitvice Lakes website
The park is open all year round, so you can visit anytime you want. But to have the best experience many would recommend visiting in spring or autumn. This because then the water levels are high due to melting snow and the waterfalls are at their best. Spring is when the flowers blossom and temperature are nice. Summertime can be very hot and with most of Europe having their vacation it can be very busy in the park with tourists and tour groups.
The national park is filled with gorgeous forests and sixteen crystal lakes. The lakes interact through a breathtaking series of cascades and waterfalls. The waters have made unique carvings in the rocks resulting in continuously changing formations. Pathways filled with butterflies lead to wooden footbridges and more pathways wind around the rumbling waters at the edges of the lake. The moment you step foot in this wonderland you will experience an amazing panoramic view.
The park is reminiscent of a European Niagra Falls and a Grand Canyon filled with a lush forest. As you walk down the steep, zigzagging paths, you will see a lot of large, lazy trout. They seem to know fishing is not allowed in this park. The boardwalk trail will take you across the lake to the row of gurgling waterfalls. The sun reflecting off the water is awe-inspiring. During the 1960s, a German spaghetti western was filmed in the Supljara Cave. You may find German tourists here.
In 1991, the first shots were fired during the war between Yugoslavia and Croatia in the national park. Plitvice and the surrounding areas were occupied by the Serbs until 1995. All traces of war have been eliminated with more than 10,000 European and Croatian hikers being welcomed on the busiest of days. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans remain unaware of this breathtaking paradise. You will experience frisky waterfalls, lovely greenery and tiny rainbows caught in the mists of the lake.
As you hike around the park, keep your eyes opens for the incredible wildlife. The park is home for deer, wildcats, wild boars, otters, mice, wolves, lynx, voles, in excess of 160 different species of birds, trout and roughly fifty extremely endangered European brown bears. There is no reason for concern because the bears are far too intelligent to travel on the paths. Do not forget to bring your camera just in case you see something spectacular during your visit to the park.
The electric boats are pollution-free and silent. You can enjoy boat rides across the largest lake in the park. While you are waiting for your boat to arrive, there is a charming stand selling wheels of homemade cheese and mouthwatering strudel. A nice snack will give you the energy you will need to enjoy everything this fantastic park has to offer. Once your boat arrives, listen to everything the crew tells you. There are no closed cabins on the boats but you will love the way the wind feels on your face. Your ride will last for about twenty glorious minutes.
You will need a minimum of six hours to explore all of the lakes on foot. If you are short on time, you can decrease this time by two hours by taking the free boats and buses in the park. You can ride the bus all the way to the top of the highest lakes. Then take the four-kilometer walk to the shores of the biggest lake in the park. The boat will take you to the lower lakes. You cannot miss the spectacular view of the tallest waterfall in Croatia, the Veliki Slap.
Climb the steep path from the waterfall to catch a bus back to the entrance. This is an excellent opportunity for taking photographs with a magnificent view in the background. If you want to avoid the climb and rough terrain, begin with the bus ride and finish with the boat ride. You will be entering a fantasy world of calcium carbonate deposits building up the natural limestone dams. The geographical features are unique due to the flow of water eroding the dams. You will not find anything like it anywhere else on earth.
Numerous park guests do not find one day is enough to enjoy the bounty provided by nature. A lot of people arrive during the evening to hike the trails for a few hours then spend the night. You can walk the paths, take another hike or go back for another look at the magnificence of the cascading waterfalls after breakfast. There are three hotels built by the park just for big groups and tourists. If you prefer something a little more intimate, there are charming bed and breakfasts throughout the countryside surrounding the park.
The park also offers a rustic restaurant with tall hats worn by the Croatian chefs, an open wood-fired grill and heavy beams of timber. The restaurant serves the trout you saw in the park among numerous other delicious treats. The only drawback to your visit is as soon as you have returned home you will have the desire to come right back. In the restaurant, you will find a small souvenir shop where you can buy a few little reminders of your visit.
Article in German Der wunderschöne Nationalpark Plitvicer Seen