How to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park | Croatia

Plitvice Lakes waterfall
Plitvice Lakes waterfall
Chris on the Plitvice Lakes boardwalk
Chris on the Plitvice Lakes boardwalk

What is Plitvice Lakes National Park?

The park is a 295-sq.-km forest reserve in central Croatia. It’s known for a chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. To explore Plitvice Lakes there are walkways and hiking trails that wind around and across the water, and an electric boat links the 12 upper and 4 lower lakes. The latter are the site of Veliki Slap, a 78m-high waterfall.

How did we get to Plitvice Lakes?

After the weather changing whilst we were in Venice in the previous blog post we packed up Bob, our campervan and headed round the coast to Croatia. 342km and approx 5 hrs driving would be worth it for some sunshine.

The route we took crossed the borders of Italy into Slovenia and then into Croatia.  Our intended destination was Porec but first of all we wanted to spend a couple of nights in the Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Where did we stay when visiting the Lakes?

The campsite we chose was Camping Korana.  We hadn’t booked previously but as it was the end of the season we didn’t think we’d have too much trouble finding a pitch and we didn’t.  It was practically empty. 

We only spent 2 nights at this campsite in order to spend the day in the Plitvice Lakes National Park but it would be an excellent place to spend more time as its situated on the Korana river and offers a variety of activities such as canyoning, rafting, bathing in the river or horseback riding. 

As well as excellent shower and toilet facilities the site has a restaurant, bar and access to many different types of excursions around the park.  The campsite also has Bungalows so if your not camping you can still stay here if thats what you want.

Camping near Plitvice Lakes
Camping near Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice area of Croatia
Plitvice area of Croatia
What’s the best way to explore the lakes?

Most people explore the park  by foot.  There are various hiking and walking trails throughout the park.  

In an area of the park you can take a ride on a boat from one side of the lake to another which gives you another perspective of this amazing place.

Get there early to avoid any busy periods and to see some of the beautiful waterfalls in a peaceful and uncrowded atmosphere.

An aerial view from a high path Plitvice Lakes
An aerial view from a high path Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes walkways
Plitvice Lakes walkways
How long do you need to spend at the Lakes to see it all?

There are several different lake tour programmes available from 1 – 2 hours up to 5 – 6 hours taking in different lengths of hikes and crossing different terrain. 

Lynne on one of the trails Plitvice Lakes
Lynne on one of the trails Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes
Important Information about the park:
  • An entrance ticket is required for every person entering the park.  Tickets can be bought at the entrance or online beforehand.
  • You must keep your ticket with you at all times whilst in the park.
  • Its advisable to wear appropriate footwear for hiking
  • If you are leading a group then the minimum number to achieve the group special price is 15 and all group bookings must be arranged with the sales department beforehand. 
  • Weather in the park can be unpredictable therefor some routes/paths may be closed and not accessible. 
  • Please bring appropriate clothing as it can get chilly in the shade and unpredictable weather can produce a sharp shower at any time. 
What does my ticket for the Plitvice Lakes National Park include?
  • Your ticket contributes  to permanent protection and landscape maintenance of the Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • a ride in a sightseeing Jeep
  • a boat ride
  • Use of the toilets throughout the park
  • 22 km of trails throughout the lake system
  • 36 km of hiking trails
  • a chance to see a unique wonder of the world
Waterfall Plitvice Lakes
Waterfall Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes

Our view

This complex of man made lakes and waterfalls is a fantastic place to go hiking for all the family. Easy to reach from all the major cities it makes a great day trip if you have hired a car or choose one of the many excursions. If your in a camper van as we were there are good sites close by that run shuttle services to and from the park.

Booking resources for your trip

Flights

You can compare cheap flights on the Expedia platform or here on the Aviasales website.  Both will give you a good idea of how much its going to cost you to get to your chosen destination.

Accommodation

We have always tended to use Booking.com having said that if your on a tight budget another good site to try as a comparison is Hostelworld, If your looking to compare different sites you can do that on Hotellook, we tend to look on here first to make sure we are getting the best deal.

Tours & Tickets

You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site.  Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.

For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.

Some of the links on this page contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or services we write about. You will never be charged a fee for shopping through one of our affiliate links. You may even get a discounted rate and we will make a small commission. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships.

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How did we get to the Istria Area?
We drove to the Istria from the Plitvice Lakes National park and the directions can be found here.  

The journey was just over 3 hrs, 240km approx and a mix of motorway and A roads and some smaller country lanes.  

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2 thoughts on “How to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park | Croatia”

  1. Wow, just look at that marvelous, lush vegetation! Love it! Croatia is really high on my list– we were supposed to go to Slovenia and Croatia, flying into Venice, last fall but had to cancel due to lockdown. I will certainly be adding Plitvice Lakes to our future itinerary. Thanks for sharing!

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