Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, located between the Capital city Zagreb and Zadar on the coast, is a must-see site in Croatia and was granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1979. It covers a total area of 300km2 while the lakes join together over a distance of 8km.
The National Park’s beauty is in its sixteen lakes interconnected by a series of waterfalls. Its location is deep in the woodlands boasting deer, bears, wolves, boars, and rare bird species. A paradise of nature, the park’s easy walking trails, boardwalks hovering over blue water, breathtaking views and picturesque waterfalls make it a must-see for tourists, both old and young.
The falls of the lakes make up the world-famous national park. Viewing from the surface, sixteen lakes are visible. The confluence of many small rivers and underground karst rivers, surrounded by forest and grass, form these lakes. The lakes are interconnected and follow the course of the water. The action of mosses, algae and bacteria from natural travertine dams separate the lakes. The interaction of water, air and plants create susceptible travertine barriers that develop roughly 1cm every year.
There isn’t any airport incredibly close to the Plitvice lakes. Therefore, tourists looking to visit the park will have to fly to either Zagreb or Zadar Airports. The Zadar airport is technically the closest to the park, with a distance of 130km. From there take a bus to the Zadar bus station and another bus to Plitvice. The journey time is about 2hours.
Take a bus to the central bus station in Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes from the airport. The duration of the journey is about 2 hours 20 minutes. The airport is 140km away from the park
The in the park, there are two entrances named entrance 1 for lower lakes and entrance 2 for higher lakes.
There are parking lots at both entrances of the park for people that want to drive to the park. The parking fee is about $1 per hour.
Croatia national park is open every day of the year with longer opening hours (7 am-8 pm) during the summer. Check for a similar adventure in Ikogosi waterfall.
Tickets and Discounts.
There is a charge of varying entrance fees for the park’s upkeep and protection. Adults: $12 (Jan – Mar & Nov – Dec); $27 (Apr-May & Oct); $45 (June – Sept). Additionally, there are discounts on tickets if you visit after 4 pm in June, July or August- after this time, they cost $32. Although, this is the same price of tickets if you visit after 3 pm in September.
Also, children below seven can enter the park for free, while children aged 7-18 get cheaper tickets. Students and groups of 15 or more get discounts. You can pre-book a 4 hour guided tour in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian or Croatian for a minimum of 15 people for an additional fee. Also, you can also save money by buying a 2-day ticket. You can either purchased the parks tickets on the park website or at the two entrances to the park.
There are accommodations around the park, including the Plitvice Holiday Resort and Campsite Korana. These places can cost between $51 and $618.
WHEN TO VISIT
With the lush greens of the spring/summer, the rich colours of fall and the spectacular sights of winter snow, the park takes on a variety of colours, making it a beautiful tourist destination to visit during any season of the year. Thus, it’s fun to explore the park, even on rainy days, because the water has a dramatic effect – sometimes bubbling under your feet on the wooden trails.
However, the best time for tourists to visit is in the fall or spring. Spring is a great time as the water levels rise due to the melting snow. The summer (July & August) is scorching, most crowded, and has a lower water level. Thus the fall is a great time to visit when the leaves are turning colours. Winter is the most peaceful time when the park is snow-filled and the lakes are frozen. Entrance 2 is closed during the winter. See how you can Interestingly travel on a budget.
THINGS TO DO
Take Memorable Photographs:
For the best photo scenery, take entrance 1. You can look down on the lakes and waterfalls from high up. From the entrance, walk down the winding path to reach the wooden trails that cross the lakes. From this view, it looks like the lakes stretch for miles.
Explore the Waterfalls:
With 90 waterfalls, of course, there are plenty of impressive waterfall sights along the park’s trails.
Explore the Supljara Cave:
The Supljara cave, located in entrance 1, houses its unique type of fauna. Walking through the cave will indeed give you a more stunning and unforgettable view of the lake.
Take a Ride:
You can take an electric boat across the park’s largest lake or take a panoramic train (shuttle bus) to a higher position in the park. Of course, you may get on the train and go down to the entrance. It is best to take the train and walk down the pathways that wind through the park.
Rent a Boat:
There are plenty of large lakes and smaller waterfalls to see. With a boat priced at $8, you can see the amazingly clear water and many plants and submerged trees that may have fallen at any point in the past.
While Plitvice is home to many animals, you will most likely see only fish. hence it is great to see them in their glorious numbers in the water.
Consequently, there are eight hiking routes in the national park, with the shortest being 3 hours and the longest being 8 hours with a length of 3km to 18km. So the routes involve a visit to Velki Slap (A great waterfall) and Sastavci in lower lakes.
Have a Picnic:
Enjoy a picnic lunch while overlooking the scenic lakes. Unfortunately, food bought inside the park can be overpriced and not of high quality.
However, you can pay for outdoor activities such as Kayaking, bike riding, and guided tours for more fun. These can cost from about $49 to $369. See more facts on Plitvice Lakes National Park.