Get ready to explore the breathtaking beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of Croatia’s most enchanting natural treasures. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is renowned for its extraordinary system of 16 terraced lakes, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests. Spanning over 73,000 acres, the park’s unique landscape offers a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers like yourself. In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need to uncover and appreciate the exceptional wonders of Plitvice Lakes National Park. So, let’s embark on a journey together and discover the hidden gems of this captivating wonderland.
About Plitvice Lakes National Park
As you delve into the history of Plitvice Lakes National Park, you’ll learn about the origin and formation of the lakes, which are the result of thousands of years of natural processes. Tufa barriers, created by the sedimentation of calcium carbonate, have shaped the unique landscape of terraced lakes and waterfalls.
You’ll also explore the human history of the area, from ancient settlements to modern-day conservation efforts. The park was established in 1949, becoming Croatia’s first national park and later, in 1979, earning its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, located in the heart of Croatia, covers the mountainous region of Lika. The park is divided into two main areas: the Upper Lakes and the Lower Lakes. The lakes are connected by a series of waterfalls fed by the Black and White Rivers.
The park has a rich and diverse flora and fauna with over 1,200 species of plants and a variety of wildlife including bears, wolves, deer and numerous species of birds. As you hike through the lush forests and meadows, you’ll be immersed in the park’s vibrant ecosystem.
Now that you have a better understanding of the history and geography of Plitvice Lakes National Park, you’ll be well prepared to fully enjoy its natural wonders during your visit. Because you are going to visit Plitvice, right? 😉
Planning Your Visit
Best Time to Visit
When deciding when to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park, consider the seasons and the type of experience you prefer. Spring and autumn are ideal for moderate temperatures and fewer crowds, allowing you to explore the park at a leisurely pace. However, if you don’t mind the heat and bustling atmosphere, summer offers longer days and full foliage. Winter transforms the park into a snowy wonderland, with frozen waterfalls and serene landscapes.
To reach Plitvice Lakes National Park, you can fly to one of the nearby airports such as Zagreb, Zadar or Split. From there, you can choose between public transportation such as busses or a rental car for more flexibility. The drive to the park is scenic and offers the opportunity to admire the Croatian countryside.
Entrance Fees and Opening Hours
Before you visit, find out about admission prices, which vary by season and age group. There are discounts for children, students and seniors. Plitvice Lakes National Park is open year-round, but hours may change depending on the season. Guided tours are available, offering a deeper insight into the park and local conditions.
Exploring the Plitvice Lakes National Park
Hiking trails and routes
When you set out to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park, you’ll find a variety of hiking trails ranging from easy to challenging. Each trail offers different experiences, duration and distances, so there is something for every fitness level. Along the trails you’ll encounter interesting points such as viewpoints, waterfalls and caves.
Boat and train tours
If you want to experience the park from a different perspective, take a boat or train tour. On these tours, you can experience the beauty of the park from the water or enjoy panoramic views from higher up. Check out the schedules and prices before you plan your visit.
Accommodation and Dining
Hotels and guesthouses
When planning your stay, you can choose from a number of nearby accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses and campgrounds. Consider your budget and preferences when choosing a place to rest after a day of exploring. Don’t forget to book in advance, especially during the high season.
Located directly in the national park, Hotel Jezero offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant and wellness facilities for a relaxing stay. Or you can choose Plitvice Etno House, a charming guest house with authentic Croatian interior, surrounded by beautiful nature, for a traditional experience.
Bellevue Hotel Plitvice is another option within the park if you are looking for budget accommodation with basic amenities and easy access to the park trails. If you prefer a cozy bed and breakfast, the Biba & Leona House, located a short drive from the park entrance, offers warm hospitality and comfortable rooms in a picturesque setting.
For nature lovers and those seeking a more intense experience, Camping Korana offers well-maintained campsites and facilities just a few kilometers from the park.
During your visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park, be sure to explore the various dining options available. For a taste of traditional Croatian cuisine, head to the Poljana Restaurant, which offers both indoor and outdoor seating amidst a beautiful forest setting.
If you’re looking for a quick bite or a casual meal, check out the park’s various cafes, such as the Labudovac Bistro or the Kozjačka Draga Snack Bar. Both offer sandwiches, salads, and other light fare, perfect for refueling during your day of exploration.
For a memorable dining experience, consider visiting Licka Kuca, a restaurant that specializes in regional dishes prepared using locally sourced ingredients. Here, you can indulge in delicious smoked meats, cheese, and other local delicacies.
Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of the park’s designated picnic areas. Pack a lunch with your favorite treats and enjoy a relaxing outdoor meal surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Responsible tourism and park regulations
As a responsible visitor, familiarize yourself with the park’s guidelines for protecting the environment. Stay on designated trails, don’t litter, and respect the park’s flora and fauna. By following these rules and restrictions, you’ll contribute to the preservation of Plitvice Lakes National Park for future generations.
Additional resources and information
For more information and resources, visit the official Plitvice Lakes National Park website for contact information, brochures and maps. You can also read travel blogs and articles to learn from other travelers’ experiences and get more tips for your visit.