Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the oldest and the largest national park in Croatia and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Supposedly, it is also the #1 attraction in Croatia. I spent a day visiting the park a couple of weeks ago and wanted to put down some info on my visit before I forget it all.
Some basic info….Plitvice hours and entry tickets vary depending on the season. You may want to check on the latest info here. When I went a couple of weeks ago in mid May, tickets cost about USD $25/adult. The park was open till 8 PM. And it was still pretty crowded for May. You also have to pay for parking. Note that the park requires a lot of walking and is not very handicap friendly or stroller friendly. The park is very photographer friendly and tripods etc are allowed in.
I personally recommend entering through Entrance 1, and doing the C line tour. It takes about 4 hours and gives you a pretty good experience of the park, including the main falls. You can also do this route by entering in much later (say 2 PM or so). When we were heading out of the park at around 3 PM, it was pretty much deserted, likely because the tour buses were beginning to head out. So go in later, get the place to yourself, and of course you get much better pictures due to the evening light.
Apologies for the less than stellar pics, i was experimenting with my iphone. I did also take pics with my SLR but have been too lazy to actually download them off the camera. Anyways, you get the idea…
Anyways, there are 2 views of the park we wanted to get, which were almost drone like shots overlooking the park. And we spent hours walking to try and figure out the location which we finally did, only to realize, we could have driven there in about 20 minutes. Oh, did I mention its also free? Now, while the below spots are free to access, i still highly recommend walking through the park because it is just plain amazing. The park infrastructure is also great and walking amongst the falls is quite the experience. Just be careful not to fall in….it does get extremely crowded and some people just arent that considerate while taking pictures etc. The park has really set up a great infrastructure within with marked trails based on the amount of time you want to spend. Also walking amongst the water is amazing, the colors are surreal…its so incredibly clear that you can see all the way to the bottom almost everywhere.
The below is one of the views we wanted to get
To do so, drive yourself to the below hotel.
When you get there, you will see a fork in the road, go left. Drive down that road for a while until you come across an abandoned looking building on the right.
Once there, you will notice a small trail on the left hand side, right before the abandoned mill/house that is on the left. Follow the trail (its uneven but short) to the end and you will get the above views. While we were here, only two other people came by to take in the view.
This is the second view we wanted. Of course we get here when its gloomy…..
You can reach this spot by then driving down further from the last location basically pin pointing to the spot below. Note that this “trail” (its basically a short walk off the road, like less than 50 meters) isn’t marked so when you are near the below point, just look for it until you find it. The location below is very accurate. This location is also outside the park boundary and hence you pay nothing to visit. Though note that this is a single lane road and there is no parking, so be careful about parking.
Another tip if you will….just a short walk down is actually the boundary of the park, along with a ranger check post. Now when we were there, it was actually unmanned, meaning, you could technically enter the park for free (and we were actually exiting the park to access the above locations and then entering back in again). From there, you can pretty much access the entire park along with its trails, boats etc. This is a very much “do what you are comfortable with” situation.
Hope this helps! Plitvice is a wonderful place to spend a day and i recommend driving to Plitvice in the morning, entering the park later and spending the entire day there as the crowds thin out, and then staying overnight in the Plitvice area. As an FYI, we stayed here and it was great. Very comfortable, very clean and convenient while being reasonably priced.