Plitvice Lakes National Park
Where is Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes is located in central Croatia. The closest cities are Zagreb and Zadar. Here are driving distances and times from popular spots in Croatia:
- Zagreb: 130 km, 2 hours
- Zadar: 120 km, 1 hour 30 minutes
- Split: 250 km, 2 hours 45 minutes
- Dubrovnik: 435 km, 5 hours
- Pula: 260 km, 3 hours 30 minutes
1) By Bus
Like most places in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is highly accessible by road, and the drive there is absolutely stunning. Buses go to the park from all the nearby cities, including Zagreb, Zadar, and Split. The buses stop right at the entrance of the park and from there on you can decide whether you want to stay at the park hotels or camp. Buses in Croatia are air-conditioned and are a very comfortable option.
2) By Car
The next best option in Croatia is to hire a car and have an epic road trip through the meandering streets and experiencing it at your own pace. The car rentals are quite reasonable, and most hotels and hostels have dedicated parking. Getting to Plitvice Lakes National Park from any of the cities is lovely and has many places along which you can have pit stops to just grab a coffee or to take in the surroundings.
Quick Tip: The park’s operational timings vary depending on the season. We would recommend checking the hours on the official website.
1) Hotels & Campsites in the park
The park has a couple of hotels and a few campgrounds where you can stay if you choose to visit the park for more than a day (I highly recommend this). Staying in the park is one of the best options as you can wake up early morning and avoid the crowds and have the park all to yourself. One of the best perks of staying at any of the hotels inside the park is that you only need to buy a 1-day entry ticket into the park and the hotel stamps and extend it for a second day at no extra cost.
Here is the list of available Hotels and Campsites in Plitvice Lakes.
- Hotel Plitvice
- Hotel Bellevue
- Hotel Jezero
- Campsite Borje
- Campsite Korana
2) Hotels & Hostels in nearby towns
There are many small villages near the park where you can find a few good hostels & BnB’s. Most of these are around 15 to 30 mins drive away from the park. Rastoke is one such town that is stunning and offers you a slight insight on what to expect once you get to the park.
Quick Tip: You can either purchase one-day or two-day tickets. Plitvice Lakes National Park entrance fee range between $12 -$ 45, depending on the season and entrance timings. We would recommend checking the latest prices on the official website.
What to eat and where to eat whilst at the park
1) Pack a picnic
One of your best options for a good meal would be to pack a little picnic and find a quiet corner overlooking a little slice of paradise and enjoy. There are a lot of quiet corners throughout the park where you can enjoy your meal.
2) The Park stations
There are stations throughout the park, which are the endpoints of many of the trails from where you can catch a boat or a bus back to the main entrances. All of these stations have restaurants and cafes from where you can grab a sandwich or a drink and the best way to deal with the Croatian summer heat, ice creams.
3) The Park restaurants
There are a few restaurants near the park’s entrance which offer you meals and drinks, which are surprisingly very affordable and sometimes cheaper than the city prices. These restaurants are a lovely way to end your day and enjoy the sunset over the forests and see the stars.
What to do at the park
Plitvice Lakes is one of those places that no matter how much time you spend, it can never be enough. During my time there, we got pretty much all the weather from rain to peak summer- heat to cold chilling nights, which were stark contrasts from the daytime. There are many trails which you can take. Some are boarded paths along the lakes and waterfalls and the others are hiking trails that are more forested where you can hear the gushing waterfalls in the distance along with only the sounds of birds and bees.
The two main trails are the ones that either take you to the upper or the lower lakes. Both paths are just as stunning and offer you similar, yet different views. The longest trail in the entire park is Trail K, which we would recommend if you do have an entire day. It covers the whole park, including the upper and lower lakes plus a few kilometers of hiking trails. The complete trail is around 18 km long. Carry plenty of water and eatables as you will end up going kilometers without any stations along the way.
All in all, Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of those places which one has to visit when in Croatia. It’s a park that shows you what Paradise would look like.
Do you think we missed anything? Got any questions? Let us know in the comments below …