Plitvice National Park bezoeken
National Park Plitvice is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia. The emerald green lakes, stunning waterfalls, and beautiful surroundings are breathtaking, an experience not easily forgotten.
Unfortunately, the beauty of the Plitvice Lakes is no longer a secret, resulting in massive crowds, especially during peak season. But
Best time to visit National Park Plitvice
You can visit the Plitvice Lakes throughout the year, each season offering its own advantages.
Visiting Plitvice Lakes in spring
Everything blooms in spring, and the waterfalls are massive due to the water coming from the mountains. The weather is pleasant, and the crowds are not as overwhelming.
Visiting Plitvice Lakes in summer
During the summer, the water decreases slightly, but the park remains beautiful to visit. However, it’s extremely crowded during peak season, and temperatures can soar.
We visited the park at the end of August, just in time for the peak season. We came across advice online to arrive as early as possible, but we decided to do the opposite. Most tour buses arrive in the morning while the park closes at 8:00 PM. Hence, we chose to sleep in and visit the park around 2:30 PM. Best decision ever! After 2 hours of walking, everyone had disappeared, and we had the park all to ourselves, during peak season. One downside, you have to walk quite a bit to see everything.
Visiting Plitvice Lakes in autumn
In autumn, you can enjoy the most beautiful autumn colors. The temperatures are pleasant, and the park is often very quiet.
Visiting Plitvice Lakes in winter
You can also visit the park in winter. Sometimes there’s snow, and the waterfalls freeze, creating a unique sight. Plus, there’s a high chance you’ll have the park all to yourself.
Getting to National Park Plitvice
The easiest way is to drive to the park with your own vehicle. There’s a large parking lot available. If you don’t have your own transportation, you can easily rent a car in Croatia, costing approximately 20 euros per day (affiliate link).
You can also reach the park by public transport. From major cities like Split, Zadar, Zagreb, and Novalja, there are daily buses to Plitvice. The bus to Plitvice Lakes costs approximately 11 – 25 euros.
- Zagreb: 135 km: 2 hours and 15 minutes drive
- Zadar: 136 km, 2 hours drive
- Split: 260 km, 3 hours drive
- Dubrovnik: 450 km, 5 hours drive
- Pula: 275 km, 3 hours and 45 minutes drive
It’s also possible to stay in the nearby area.
Costs to visit Plitvice Lakes
Our initial plan was to visit both Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park. However, we were taken aback by the prices during peak season. In the high season, you’ll pay around 300 kuna (approximately 40 euros) per person for a day ticket, and about 450 kuna (approximately 60 euros) for two days. Children and students receive discounts, applicable to both parks. Therefore, we decided to visit only National Park Plitvice.
If you visit the parks in the low season, you’ll pay only 80 kuna (10 euros) for Plitvice Lakes and just 30 kuna (4 euros) for Krka National Park. A huge difference! If you want to save a lot of money, it’s best to visit the parks in Croatia outside the high season.
You can buy tickets online. Always check the park websites for the latest prices.
Plitvice Lakes Route
One thing we underestimated was how gigantic the park is. You’ll find various hiking trails ranging from 3.5 kilometers to 18.3 kilometers. You can walk all the routes on foot or take boat rides across some parts. It’s also possible to take a bus between different walking routes. It all depends on how much you want to see and how much time you have.
Tip! If you have time, try to buy a 2-day ticket. This way, you can explore the park at your own pace.
Upon arrival at the park, you’ll get an overview of the 7 routes to choose from. There are 2 entrances where you can start. Entrance 1 is the lower area of the park, and entrance 2 is the higher area. Eventually, you’ll pass through both parts of the park, so it doesn’t matter much where you start.
We tried to see as much of the park as possible in a fairly short time by combining different routes. I wouldn’t stick too much to just one route. Simply choose one that seems interesting and see how it goes along the way. You can always adjust your route during your walk. If you find yourself struggling with the heat, hop on the boat. Or if you want to quickly get to a completely different place, just take the bus. You can easily switch to another route at various points in the park.
We might have missed some parts, but I look back on a wonderfully relaxed walk in a fantastic environment. So, don’t push yourself too much with must-sees; just enjoy your hike and the beauty of the park.
Food & Drink in Plitvice Lakes National Park
It’s possible to buy drinks and snacks in the park itself, but it’s much more enjoyable to have a picnic in the park. You’re allowed to bring your own food and drinks. We brought some fruits and sandwiches. Super easy and budget-friendly, considering that food and drinks in the park can be quite expensive.
Useful Tips for Plitvice Lakes National Park
- If you visit the park in peak season, try to visit as late as possible to avoid crowds.
- Save money by visiting the park in the low season.
- In the low season, there are no buses or boats in the park, so you have to walk everywhere.
- Bring your own food and drinks and enjoy a picnic in the park.
- Wear good hiking shoes; it’s quite a walk.
- Especially in the summer, it can get quite hot in Croatia, so bring plenty of water.
- Don’t forget your sunscreen.
- A hat, cap, and sunglasses are also useful in the summer.
- Book your tickets online in advance to avoid waiting in line.
- Leave your swimwear at home because unfortunately, swimming in the lakes is not allowed. If you want to visit a park where swimming is permitted, Krka National Park might be more suitable for you.
- If you have the chance, book a 2-day ticket to explore the park at your own pace.
- Take your time! Enjoy the surroundings and have a relaxed walk.
Accommodations near Plitvice Lakes National Park
You can visit the park as a day trip from one of the many cities in Croatia, but it’s much more enjoyable and convenient to stay somewhere nearby.
We chose to stay at Camp Borje. A green, peaceful campsite with beautiful spots, just under 20 minutes’ drive from the park. On the park grounds, you’ll even find a small supermarket and a restaurant. You’ll also find various restaurants in the area where you can grab a bite.
Dogs are allowed in the park, and outside the peak season, you can use the ACSI discount card. We found it a very pleasant place to stay.
For those without camping equipment, here are some accommodation tips near Plitvice Lakes National Park.