Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia. Located in the mountainous region of north central Croatia, the park is known for its dramatic waterfalls, turquoise lakes, and lush vegetation. The park is home to a series of 16 interconnected lakes, as well as numerous waterfalls and hiking trails. In addition to its natural beauty, Plitvice Lakes National Park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including rare birds and plants. With its magnificent scenery and abundant wildlife, it’s no wonder that Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia are one of the countries most treasured gems. In this blog post, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about visiting one of the most popular national parks of Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Parks. Let’s get into it!
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Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia Travel Guide
Being one of the most popular tourist attractions in Croatia means lots of crowds. No matter what time of year you are visiting Croatia, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is always busy. Coming in the colder months will see smaller crowds, but it is still busy. If you are visiting during the warmer months, prepare to come early if you want a more relaxed experience. By noon, the park is filled with tourists. When we came to this amazing national parks of Croatia, we arrived just as they opened. We got to enjoy one of the best national parks of Croatia without the huge crowds and I highly recommend you do the same. Swimming used to be allowed but at the time of writing this blog post, visitors are no longer allowed to swim in the lakes.
Where are the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia
The Plitvice Lakes in Croatia are located about halfway between the capital city of Zagreb and the Adriatic Sea. While the national parks of Croatia may be a bit far from the major tourist sites of Dubrovnik and Split, it is well worth a trip to visit these gorgeous parks. The lakes are situated in a wooded area known as the Plitvice National Park. There are 16 main lakes, as well as a number of smaller ones. The largest lake is called Prošćansko Jezero. The lakes are connected by a series of waterfalls and streams. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, bears, wolves, and eagles. Visitors to the park can hike through the woods, take buses throughout the park, or even take a boat ride on the lakes.
Route Options at Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia
The Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia has two entrances with multiple routes to be taken throughtout the park. Which entrance and route you choose to take depends entirely on what you want your experience to be like. Each route is shown in the image above, with the hike duration and distance listed blow the image. There are routes lasting between 2-8 hours with much distance covered between them. When I first looked at the map, I was very confused but it is quite simple to get around. With your cost of admission, you also get access to the water ferrys that take you between the different major attractions in one of the most poplular national parks of Croatia. I personally recommend starting at entrance 2.
1. Route C-The Best Route in My Opinion and Why
In my opinion, the best route for going through the Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia is taking route C starting at entrance 2. This is the route that was recommended to me be everyone online and it certainly worked out great. By taking this route, you not only get to see the biggest waterfall first, you’ll be going against the usual flow of traffic. This way, you have the best chances of having more areas privately.
By starting at entrance 1 and doing the ”c” route, you will be able to weave throughout the pathway somewhat more privately. I recommend seeing the large waterfall first, then making your way over to P3. From P3, you take the water ferry over to P2. From P2, you’ll then have access to the rest of the falls. No matter which of these routes through the Plitvice Lakes National Parks you choose to take, be sure to get there early. All of these routes become busy regardless of which direction you take. If you are more pressed for time, then there are plenty of shorter routes available as well. Check out the map above for more route options.
Hotels in Plitvice Lakes National Park and Where to Stay
There are some really great hotels in Plitvice Lakes National Park and the surrounding areas. I highly recommend staying either in or near the park. This way you can be close enough to get to the park early. Also, the park is very exhausting to explore. If you have a nearby hotel room, you can go back and relax a little in the middle of the day and then go back to the park. You can find hotels in Plitvice Lakes National Park to fit every budget level from luxury hotels to hostels. Keep in mind that summer is peak season so you will be paying higher prices.
I personally recommend staying in the nearby town of Rastoke, Croatia. This adorable old mill town is situatied directly on the water in a fairytale setting. They even have an entire themed fairyland that is worth a trip in itself. There are dozens of waterfalls throughout the town, which you can walk around in about an hour. You will find much more affordable accomodations in Rastoke and it is only about a 15 minute drive to entrance 2 of the Plitvice Lakes Nationals Parks of Croatia. For more information on the town of Rastoke, check out my full blog post here.
How to Get to Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia
There are many different options for getting to Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia, all depending on where in the country you are coming from. From the popular tourist destinations of Split and Dubrovnik, you can easily find a tour group to take you for the day. If you prefer exploring on your own terms, then renting a car is the better option. Car rentals in Croatia are moderately priced, but the convenience is worth it especially if you plan to sightsee along the route.
1. Split to Plitvice Lakes
If you are planning to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Parks, traveling from Split to Plitvice Lakes is one of the best route options. Only a 2 1/2 hour drive from Split, visiting the Plitvice Lakes Nationals Parks of Croatia is very easy. The drive between Split to Plitvice Lakes is a beautiful one, with lots of mountainous scenery along the way. If you are looking to take a group tour, Split is a great home base for this.
2. Dubrovnik to Plitvice Lakes
Dubrovnik is definitely the most popular tourist destination in all of Croatia. For this reason, there are many tours leaving from Dubrovnik to explore the rest of the country. Driving from Dubrovnik to Plitvice Lakes takes about 5 hours. I don’t recommend doing this in one day, but an overnight trip could work. If you are limited on time in Croatia, then I recommend going with a tour company so that you don’t have to worry about transportation. There are many group tour companies that will take you from Dubrovnik to Plitvice Lakes.
3. Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes
Getting from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes is the shortest distance, being around a 2 hour drive. Many people skip the capital of Zagreb when visiting Croatia, myself included. But if you are planning on visiting the national parks of Croatia then Zagreb may be a great home base for you. You can certainly find good deals on group tours from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes since it is a less touristy city than Split or Dubrovnik.
Conclusion- Is Plitvice Lakes Worth Visiting?
Without a doubt, visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia was one of the highlights of my month in the country. The waterfalls and natural beauty of the area are stunning. These lakes are known as being one of the greatest national parks in all of Europe, and it certainly lives up to that name. If you are wondering “is Plitvice Lakes worth visiting?”, the answer is yes. Like I said before, I highly recommend coming as early as possible. Staying at a hotel or Airbnb nearby is the best option so you are close to the park for opening time. While there are many national parks of Croatia, this is probably the most beautiful one in the country. Sometimes, attractions don’t always live up to their hype but in this case the Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia certainly impress.
I hope that you found this complete guide to the Plitvice Lakes National Parks of Croatia to be both informative and entertaining. If you have any comments or questions on the national parks of Croatia, please leave them down below. You can check out the rest of my Croatia content here. Be sure to sign up for my email list and follow me on social media to stay up to date with all of my latest travel content! Thank you so much for visiting my travel blog!