Plitvice Lakes National Park is a natural wonder unlike any other. With 16 crystal clear turquoise and emerald lakes connected by a series of 90 rushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the ultimate fairytale destination.
Situated in the mountainous Lika region of Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations and a UNESCO World Heritage. A trip to the Balkans would not be complete without a visit to this park.
Here are 25 photos to inspire you to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park!
(After I convince you through the photos that you absolutely HAVE to go to this stunning park, check out the tips on logistics I provided at the bottom of the post.)
Entering Plitvice Lakes. Croatia was the first country I travelled alone and, while it felt intimidating at times, it was also an incredibly eye-opening experience and I quickly learned to love it. Solo travel helped my self-confidence grow, it focused my thoughts and taught me to embrace loneliness, it showed me that the world is (mostly) good, and it forced me outside my comfort zone on a daily basis, allowing me to meet amazing people and make new friends.
The first of many waterfalls.
I find this so cool for some reason.
Beautiful turquoise waters.
An emerald lake.
Sections of the hiking trail look like this.
Moss and waterfalls.
Hiking above the lake.
Through the foliage.
A boat to take you to the other side of the lake.
When I had the entire boat to myself.
Could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this.
Time frozen still.
Don’t let your life rush by you in a blur. Live in the moment, step out of your comfort zone, embrace the unknown, and let your life surprise you!
Guess how I took this photo.
Bird’s eye view of Plitvice Lakes National Park.
If you followed along my Instagram stories a few months ago, then you might remember how I’d thought I hiked the entire 18.3-kilometre Plitvice Lakes trail but had somehow missed this iconic vantage point.
It turns out I hadn’t hiked everything.
With less than an hour and a half until my bus was set to make the 2.5-hour journey back to town — and not knowing whether I would make it back in time for it or not — I half ran, half stumbled my way along the trails, climbed my way up an 80-meter cave, and finally arrived, quite breathless but happy that I’d found it. (I also made it back to the bus stop with a few minutes to spare too!)
Plitvice Lakes Logistics
Where to Stay
Most people visit Plitvice Lakes on a day trip, either from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, or Zadar, a city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. There are also several hotels and guesthouses near the park, if you want to make it an overnight stay.
I chose to visit Plitvice Lakes for the day from Zagreb and stayed at Chillout Hostel. This was the first hostel I ever stayed in and my time there couldn’t have been better. I loved the atmosphere, the staff was super friendly, and it’s central location makes it perfect for exploring Zagreb. I’d definitely recommend this place!
How to Get to Plitvice Lakes National Park
The cheapest way to get to Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb or Zadar is by public bus. The journey takes about 2.5 hours. I booked my ticket online from Autotrans the night before. To give you a rough idea of the prices, my tickets cost 79 kuna on the way there, and 85 kuna for the return trip. This is about $11-12 USD.
If you choose to drive, you cut down your trip to around 2 hours. Parking is available at the park for 7 kuna/hour (about $1 USD/hour).
Park Entrance Fees
To help in the continued maintenence and protection of the park, there is a (very affordable) park entrance fee. It ranges from 180 kuna, which is about $26 USD, during peak summer season to as low of 55 kuna, about $8 USD, during thw winter. The great thing about travelling in Croatia is that almost nothing will break the bank. Prices are also cheaper for children and students (Tip: Remember to bring your student card to get the discount!).
How Much Time to Spend at Plitvice Lakes
I think how much time you should spend here completely depends on what type of traveller you are and how you want to see the park. You can easily spend the whole day here, walking along the hiking trails, enjoying a picnic, and snapping photos upon photos (and be prepared, there are literally amazing photo opportunities every. step. you take.).
Plitvice Lakes National Park is open daily from 7 am to 8 pm during the summer. The hours are slightly shorter in the spring, fall, and winter. Check the park’s site for exact hours for when you’re travelling.
There are two entrances, each with four different hiking trails of varying length and difficulty. The shortest trail at Plitvice Lakes takes about 3 hours to complete, while the longest 18.3-kilometre trail that I attempted takes up to 8 hours.
To avoid the crowds, arrive at the park early (before 9 am) and start hiking right away. This way, when the big groups of people start coming, you’ll be ahead of them on the trails.
Bring plenty of water and a good pair of sneakers or hiking boots.
This may be kind of random but if you really want a souvenir magnet from Plitvice Lakes, buy it in the souvenir shops there! During my 3-month backpacking trip around Europe, I had decided that the only souvenirs I was going to buy was one magnet from every country I visited. I had really wanted my Croatia magnet to be from Plitvice Lakes National Park but I was too busy hiking and forgot to buy one while I was there. I looked high and low, scouring the cities of Split and Dubrovnik on the following days but, unfortunately, they didn’t carry Plitvice Lakes magents. Oh well. I ended up getting a Dubrovnik magent and it’s pretty cool, I guess.
Note that you are not allowed to swim in any of the lakes. If swimming is your thing, consider visiting Krka National Park, another of Croatia’s natural wonders and a perfect day trip from Split. I didn’t make it to this park during my solo adventures in Croatia but it’s definitely on my list for the future!
So, have I sparked your wanderlust yet? Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of my all-time favourite nature destinations in the world and I couldn’t recommend it enough!
You HAVE to visit Plitvice Lakes in Croatia!
Have you been to Croatia? Share you favourite places below! I love hearing your thoughts and recommendations!
Pin it for later!
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you book anything from one of these links, I receive a small amount of money, at no extra cost to you. It’s a discreet way of helping me to maintain this site and continue to bring more content your way. Thank you for your support!