5 minutes reading time Croatia
Located in the mountainous karst area of Central Croatia and founded in 1949, Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the largest and oldest national parks in Croatia.
Visitors in this park are over 1 million annually and the charges are around 34 euros per adult during the summer which is the peak season.
The park stretches over 296.85 square kilometers covering an area of 73,350 acres and has a road that cuts through it, giving the visitors two entry points to choose from.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is famous for its different level colored lakes separated by tufa barriers, four different hiking trails, seven routes through the park and the aforesaid two entries.
The karst landscape and the 16 coloured water lakes contributed to the parks international recognition and in 1979, it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park
It will take you 6 plus hours to explore the park on foot. Alternatively you can use a bus from exit 2 which will take you to the upper lake Kozjak, which is the largest in the park. This will save you a couple of hours. From there you can take a boat to the lower lakes with stops at the highest waterfall in Croatia (78m high) popularly known as Veliki Slap.
There are four hiking trails which are sub-divided into seven different routes called programs. They are just options to have a view of the park from different dimensions. They include program A, B and C which start at entrance 1, program E, F and H which starts at entrance 2 and there is program K which is a continuous stretch from entrance 1 to entrance 2 direct.
Depending with the time allowance that you have and the specific areas /lakes that you want to visit, there is always a program for that. When you visit the park, it’s always good to have a view at both the upper and lower lakes. If you have time use entrance 1 so that all the lakes and other features will be in front of you(what I would recommend).Therefore using program C is the most ideal.
Plitvice Lake National Park Open Season, Hours and Cost
This breathtaking national park is open daily throughout the year. Summer season is the busiest as most people are on holiday. You will meet high traffic on those walkways following opposite directions.
During this season the water levels are low due to more evaporation. Don’t be surprised if you find the water flowing at the water fall being slow and less roaring. Water level increases in autumn and spring which Is the best time to visit.
When you visit in winter you will be lucky to find snow filled lakes in Plitvice Lake National Park.
Operating hours are not constant at Plitvice Lake National Park. Summer season has the longest visiting hours ranging from 7.00 am to 8.00 pm due to high traffic of visitors. Spring and autumn comes second opening from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm since the visitors are a bit less compared to summer season.
Winter is the coldest season and operating hours are less making the park to be opened at 8.00 am to 3.00 pm
It’s good to confirm through their website before visiting, to be sure of the best time.
Tickets vary with season and are charged per adult or per child which is half that of adult. Summer season starting from June to September is the most expensive with lower rates towards the start and end of the season. Lowest rates are in year end and year start.
You can book a ticket for one or two days options only then add parking fee for your car during the visit.
Where to Stay When Visiting Plitvice Lakes
Nothing makes an adventure more comfortable than knowing everything from food to accommodation is in place.
Around the park there are numerous apartments, hotels and village houses which offer private accommodation especially on high season since the visitors are many.
Some famous hotels include hotel Plitvice and the three star hotel Jezero. Also apartments like Bramado, Ivano and Franjkovic have good reviews from past visitors.
For a prolific experience in the park, plan to have a place to sleep so that you can have ample time around the Plitvice Lakes.
Quick Point Outs
- Purpose to arrive by 7.00 am such that by the time the gates are being opened you will be among the first to enter. This will let you have to have ample time to take photos and walk freely in the walkways before crowding starts at around 10.am/li>
- Carry packed lunch. Sometimes the visitors are overwhelming and it becomes hard to access quality food from the nearby restaurants./li>
- Opt to sleep around the park to ensure you get in early the following day./li>
- Don’t be too fast especially if you will come visiting on summer when the park is crowded. The walkways are narrow and they need patient to avoid accidents. Be patient when others are taking photos delaying the walking. You will also take a photo along the way./li>
- Do not carry swimming costumes. Though the lakes are many, swimming is not allowed- a directive by UNESCO./li>
- Last but not least, start your tour from entrance 1 as everything you are going to see will be ahead of you and you will have a better view at the lakes and the water falls unlike when you start from entrance 2.
Winding up, you now know that Plitvice Lakes National Park is a ‘to visit destination’ and you should let it top your tour/trip list. The next time you plan to come to Croatia, purpose to visit the lakes.
Its worth noting that no wildlife is given attention here. The sceneries of the 16 lakes and the waterfalls are more than just enough for refreshing your mind and soul.
Plan a trip and come to Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia for unforgettable experience.