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The Ultimate Guide to Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

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 Plitvice Lakes.

In this post, we are sharing all the information you need to plan your visit to the famous Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.

The Ultimate Guide to Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia + Tips for Visiting Plitvice Lakes

The Plitvice Lakes National park is made of 16 natural lakes that are all connected by stunning waterfalls and luscious woodlands. 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.

What to expect from Plitvice Lakes National Park travel video:

Plitvice Lakes is one of the most beautiful national parks in Croatia. In fact, Plitvice Lakes is an UNESCO heritage site due to its stunning landscape, its fauna and the unique turquoise waters of the lakes.

How to get to Plitvice Lakes National Park

How to get to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvička Jezera National Park is located in the middle of the country, making it a convenient day trip from Zagreb or from Split.

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.

Plitvice Lakes National Park is located about halfway between Zagreb and Zadar. Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia, it is a beautiful city to spend a day or two, while Zadar is a coastal city also a good place to spend a couple of days.

How many days should you stay in Plitvice Lakes?

It all depends on what you are expecting from your visit to Plitvice Lake, your budget and your timing. In reality if you just want to see the waterfalls and check Plitvice Lakes off your to-do list or you are in a tight schedule, one day is more than enough. It is doable to visit the main highlights of the national park in one day, but if you would like to see more of the national park you can stay for a couple of days. As there are many hiking trails you can enjoy.

The National Park is open all year round from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM including Sundays and holidays. The complete and most updated operating hours and prices can be found here.

No matter how many days you choose to explore the park, try to start your visit as early as possible to get the best photos of the park without the crowds.

How to get around the Plitvice Lakes National Park?

The National park is huge and the waterfalls are only a small percentage of the whole territory. The park offers different routes and means of transportation such as trains and ferries to take you from point A to B. They run according to a schedule and the frequency depends on the amount of people at the park.

What can I do at the the National Park?

What can I do at the the National Park?

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.

When should I visit Plitvice Lakes National Park?

When should I visit Pkitvice Lakes National Park?

The best time 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!

How much is the entrance fee to Plitvice Lakes?

Entrance Fees to Plitvice Lakes

The price of tickets to Plitvice Lakes National Park vary depending on the season, the amount of days you want to stay at the park and your age.

  • It is cheapest from November 1st to March 31st it cost 80 kunas for adults, 50 kunas for students, and 35,00 kunas for children 7 years and older. Just remember most of the park remains inaccessible due to snow.
  • During the mid-season which starts in April 1 to the 31 of May and then again from October 1st to October 31st it cost 180 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 June 1 to September 30th it costs 300 kunas per person.

The most expensive ticket for an adult during the high season for 1 day is 300 HRK (~$44 USD). If you are a student do not forget to take your student ID for a special pricing. The complete operating hours and prices can be found here.

All the transportation within the national park is included in the price of your ticket. There are ferries and a small train that will take you from one side of the park to the other.

Where do you get the best photos of the Plitvice Lakes?

The best place to get a photo of the Plitvice Lake is from the lookout Veliki Slap. From entrance 2 take the boat to the other side and then follow the path upstairs until you see the amazing view of the upper lakes and the waterfalls.

Can you swim in Plitvice Lake?

Unfortunately it is strictly forbidden to go swimming in Plitvice Lakes since 2006. If swimming in this wonderful turquoise water is something you really want to do, then you should also visit Krka National Park. The park is only 2 hours away from Plitvice and you are allowed to swim in the lake. It is also a beautiful park with gorgeous waterfalls.

Where should I sleep in Plitvice Lakes?

plitvice-lakes-hostel-

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.

Find all: Hotels in Plitvice Lakes

Tips for Visiting Plitvice Lakes

  • Make sure to bring sunscreen and water
  • Bring cash for snacks
  • Wake up early and try to be one of the first ones to arrive
  • Enjoy the waterfalls

More articles from Croatia that might interest you:

Read More: Visiting Krka National Park in Croatia

Read More: Exploring the historic island of Korcula, Croatia

Read More: What to do and see in Split

Read More: The best things to do in Dubrovnik in 2 days

Read More: An Island Hopper’s Guide to The Best Croatian Islands Near Split

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Saturday 28th of March 2020

[…] You have to see Plitvice to believe it. A series of pristine emerald lakes connected together by dramatic waterfalls make it an absolute wonder. The whole national park is a colorful treat, covered in mossy land and endless water. There is a wooden boardwalk to help you walk through it all as you wonder at the breathtaking nature here. From frogs that serenade you, to fish swimming beneath clear water, Plitvice is a national treasure. If you need more information, check this guide to Plitvice Lakes National Park. […]