Croatia’s most popular tourist attraction, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must see. For nature lovers this is heaven, whereas for photography lovers this park provides the perfect background for stunning pictures. The beauty of the lakes and their waterfalls brought the park the Unesco World Heritage status.
What to see
16 lakes – You will notice that the lakes are split between the higher lakes and the lower ones due to the difference in altitude. The highest point is of 1,280 m whereas the lowest one is of 380 m.
Stunning waterfalls – While crossing wooden bridges, you will see on your left and right a series of waterfalls and cascades. Also, there are points where you will walk “over” these waterfalls due to the bridges. The highest waterfall in the park has 70 m and there are perfect sightseeing spots for pictures.
See-through water – The lakes have crystalline water and their colour is depending on the surface that lies underneath, e.g. in case of moss or algae the water will be green. For the lakes which are not very deep you can actually see their bottom.
Birds and animals – If you are “lucky”, you might see deers and bears or you will hear rare birds tweeting while you walk in the hilly areas. Nevertheless, you will see beautiful butterflies and fish in the clear water.
Tufa rocks – The park is located in a karst area and the tufa rocks have enable the water retention. Thus, you will see many tufa barriers which are allowing the water to remain within the lakes.
What to know before you go
Before I went to visit Plitvice Lakes wish I knew few tips and tricks. Thus, please have a read below on what to expect when you are heading to this wonderful nature location.
Bring comfy shoes – you will have to walk on wood bridges, over tree roots, sometimes on stony paths. The infrastructure is very good, but if you want to enjoy the lakes at their fullest bring some shoes which are “made for walking”. It takes up to 7 km to explore all the lakes, but you can also benefit of the park’s boats and buses (they are included in the ticket price and they are helpful in crossing from one point to another to speed up your trail) .
There are no food or water spots – at the entrance and at the exit you may find stores where you can buy some snacks, however the prices are very high and the variety is very low. Best is to pack sandwiches and big bottles of water which will help you along the way.
It can be very crowded – in summer, the natural park is very popular for international tourists as well as for locals. If you go in organised group, you will avoid having to queue at the entrance for tickets. However, for the internal buses and boats you might have to wait for 20-40 minutes in the summer weekends.
Get sun protection – if you catch a sunny day, sunscreen and sunglasses are a blessing. The reflexion of the sun into the lake water can be annoying while walking around. Plus, the sun will find you under the branches and the sunscreen will play well its role.
From Zagreb, it takes around 2 – 2.5 hours by road. In case you opt for coming by car, there are plenty of parking places at the entrance into the park.
If you prefer buses, there are good connections between the park and the main bus station in Zagreb.
Me and my friend have opted for going with an organized group via a local travel agency – Wanderer Travel. We wanted to benefit of a guided tour in the park which took us around to see the main points of interest at a good pace.