Croatia Road Trip #4 Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes UNESCO World Heritage Site

Plitvice
The cascading lakes

From Zadar we took the bus to Plitvice National Park. The bus tickets cost 90 kuna per person and the journey took around 2 hours. The buses stop for a break at a rest stop and there is a small zoo at the back including bears and boars. We booked to stay at Hotel Plitvice, there are only three hotels within the national park area and we wanted to stay at the park and make the most of our visit. The bus stopped near to entrance two and we walked to our hotel within a few minutes, the other hotels, Bellevue and Jezero are close by and all within a few minutes walk. We arrived at about 5pm for out two nights stay, after checking in we had a short walk around the area, finding the entrance to the park before heading to the back for dinner and drinks.

Plitvice
Entrance to Plitvice National Park

We headed to the park early and got to the entrance at about 9am, paid the 110 kuna entrance fee and purchased a map to plan our route around the park. I would definitely recommend buying a map, it explains the different routes and how many hours each route takes. It also identifies the locations of the boat crossings, toilets and restaurants which again helps you plan the route. We had all day and wanted to see as much as possible so we took the longest route. We walked to the highest point of the park first. As we were quite early and arrived before the first tour buses we had great unobstructed views of the lakes and opportunity to take photos. We trekked to the top lake where there’s an opportunity for a toilet break. The view whilst walking along the wooden path and looking out across the top lake is breathtaking, The lake and forest go on forever and you let your mind wander and imagine what is within this expansive wilderness.

If you don’t want to climb to this point or you are short on time a bus can take you to the top and you can start your walk there, with the same magnificent views.

Plitvice
Catching a rainbow in the waterfall

 

The whole area is divided into upper and lower sections, linked by cascades and waterfalls. The top lake Proscansko Jezero filters down around dolomite barriers and plantlife. The lower lakes are shallower and were created by cavities being filled that have been formed by the upper lakes.

We headed back down towards the P2 boat crossing which takes you across the bottom lake. We were surprised at the queues once we got there. A swarm of people were waiting for the boat, and we moved as one towards it when it docked. Once on the boat the ride was quite pleasant, we grabbed a seat enabling us to watch the fish in the clear turquoise water. We docked after about 10 minutes and stopped for our lunch at the self service cafeteria here. The food is simple, burgers, fries etc if a bit expensive for what you get. We then continued our trek around the lakes. There were steeper climbs on this side, we were lucky that it was a nice sunny day, if the paths were wet it would be difficult to get around on this side of the lower lakes. We hiked all of the way to the viewing point to see the top of the big waterfall Veliki Slap, the tallest waterfall in Croatia. All along the route were viewing points and  platforms where photos can be taken. Across the lower lakes there are log paths enabling the crossing of the lakes and to get a lovely surrounding view.

Plitvice
The view near the big waterfall

 

Its difficult to explain the beauty of the place, as the photographs do not do the 360º experience justice.

We crossed the lakes and hiked above, following the three lower lakes before heading down and walking along the large centre lake which the boat crosses.

This led us back to entrance two and the information centre.

Our day of hiking, including lunch and stops for breaks took us nearly 9 hours. As mentioned earlier there are many walks of different times and lengths, you can choose whats best for you!

It’s safe to say we were quite tired after our day of walking! For more information and maps check out the official website here

After our long day we had a disappointing dinner at our hotel. The hotels in the area could do with a revamp and they can change the money due to the location alone. For more about the hotel check out my review on Tripadvisor Hotel Plitvice

If you are in Croatia and have the opportunity do not miss this amazing place. The natural beauty is so inspiring and reminds you how amazing mother nature really is.

 

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