Visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

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Visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia was a dream for Jazmin for the last couple years. This destination was so high on her bucket list that we planned a whole trip to Croatia to visit the lakes. The National park is made of 16 lakes that are all connected by stunning waterfalls and luscious woodlands.

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While the lakes and the waterfalls are the reason why the park is famous the only encompass 1 percent of the national park, so take advantage of the extensive hiking trails as well. The National Park is open all year round from 8AM to 7PM including Sundays and holidays.

How to get to Plitvice Lakes

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The best way to get to the park is either by car, bus or taking a day tour from Zagreb. We recommend renting a car as it allows you to explore the surrounded areas as well. Renting a car sometimes can be even cheaper and more convenient than taken the bus or train. You can rent a car for as low as 10 euros a day, but do not forget to keep in mind the gas prices as well.

We took a train from Zagreb to Vrhovine, the nearest city outside the national park. The train ticket cost about 12 dollars (85 kuna) each as there was a special price that day! We stayed at a new hostel, Dragan’s Den Hostel Plitvice in Vrhonine. It is a comfortable stay a 40 minute drive from Plitvice Lakes. The hostel has drop off and pick up service to Plitvice for a small fee of 60 kunas (~$8) roundtrip.

The National Park

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Once you are in the Plitvice Lakes National Park you can choose between entrance I, II or III. We recommend to go through entry II so you walk your way downhill to the big waterfall. If you use entry I, it will be the first landscape you will see and it is all uphill from there.

We choose to go hiking for a day and follow the H trail. The park has nine one-day trails. Each trails give you different options of movements depending on the amount of time you have available. The options includes a combination of walking, bus and boat. The trails range from 2 to 8 hours round trip.

If you want to go to the waterfalls and the lakes all you need is a one day ticket, but if you would like to go hiking in Plitvice Lakes National Park beyond the famous lakes, a two day pass will be better.

The Right Season to Visit Plitvice Lakes

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The best season to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park is in May because it is just before the start of high season. Beautiful weather has begun and fewer people are visiting the lakes, which means better photos! All three entrances are open between mid April to the end of October. Between November to mind April, only entrance I and the lower lakes are open due to snow!

Entrance Fees to Plitvice Lakes

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The price of tickets to Plitvice Lakes National Park vary depending on the season.

  • It is cheapest from November 1st to March 31st it cost 55 kunas per adult. Just remember most of the park remains inaccessible due to snow.
  • During the mid-season which starts in April 1 to the 30 of June and then again from September 1st to October 31st it cost 110 kunas. If you visit too early or late in this season, you risk the weather being cold or rainy.
  • If you go during the high season which is from July 1 to August 31st it costs 180 kunas per person.

Complete operating hours and prices can be found here.

Accommodation

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To visit Plitvice Lakes National Park we stayed in Dragan’s Den Plitvice Hostel in Vrhonine. They offer both private rooms and shared bunks, depending on your budget. There is also a kitchenette and lounge area if you want to hang out with other travelers. With its high speed wifi, the hostel is also the perfect place for a digital nomad looking to relax in a quaint little town.

The hostel is located two blocks from a supermarket and a bar. We would recommend visiting with a rented car to more easily enjoy all the area has to offer. Besides visiting the national park, there is also the fastest and longest zipline in Europe, Karlovac and Otočac.

To reach Plitvice the hostel has drop off and pick up service for a small fee of 60 kunas (~$8) roundtrip. There are also several options within the park, but they are higher priced and only allow you to visit the national park itself.

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