The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia’s most popular tourist attraction, was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979. Located roughly halfway between capital city Zagreb and Zadar on the coast, the lakes are a definite must-see in Croatia. (As confirmed by the many emails we’ve received!)
The beauty of the National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species. The National Park covers a total area of 300 square kilometres, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of eight kilometres.
There’s also quite an altitude difference – the highest point is at 1,280m, the lowest at 380m – although the total height difference between the lakes themselves is only 135m. (Veliki Slap, the largest waterfall, is 70m tall.)
If you’re undecided about whether or not to visit Plitvice Lakes, take a look at any photo album of the Park and that will surely sway you! The official Plitvice Lakes website has a fantastic photo album.
Visiting The Plitvice Lakes National Park
The Park is open daily all year round, with longer opening hours during summer (usually 7am to 8pm). There’s an entrance fee which acts as a contribution to the Park’s upkeep and protection: for adults it’s 80 Kunas (£9/€10.50/$14) in November – March; 110 Kunas (£12/€14.50/$19.50) during April-March and September-October; and 180 Kunas (£20/€24/$32) in July and August. Children aged 7 to 18 have cheaper tickets, whilst children under the age of seven go free. Groups of 15 or more people can get discounted tickets, as can university students. 4-hour guided tours in English, German French, Spanish, Italian or Croatian can also be pre-booked for a minimum of 15 people.
2-day tickets for the Park can also be purchased, which provide you with some cost savings.
There are two entrances to the Park – excitingly titled Entrance 1 and Entrance 2. Entrance 2 may sometimes be closed in winter.
What is there to see and do in the Plitvice Lakes National Park?
There really is nothing better than to walk (or hike) through the Park, taking in the beautiful surroundings and admiring the lakes, waterfalls, nature and wildlife. The Park prints out maps for a number of different walks, of varying lengths, that can be undertaken starting from either entrance – who’s tough enough for the 8 hour sightseeing walk?!
There is also an electric boat that takes you from one side of the largest lake to the other. This boat runs all year round, more frequently during summer.
A “panoramic train” (i.e. a shuttle bus) also runs within a particular route in the park. You can walk part of the way through the park and then hop on the shuttle bus to take you back to one of the entrances.
Best of all, Plitvice Lakes isn’t just for summer. It’s a stunning place to visit any time of year as the different seasons see the Park take on different hues. Even in winter – Plitvice is also amazing to see in the snow.
A restaurant – Licka kuca (Lika House) – is located near Entrance 1. It serves traditional food from the Lika region of Croatia, in which Plitvice Lakes National Park is situated.
And in answer to a question we sometimes receive – no, swimming (or any other kind of water activity) is not allowed anywhere in the Park. The Park’s wonderfully clear waters need to be kept that way!
Accommodation in the Plitvice Lakes
It is possible to stay within the Park at one of its three hotels (which are all clustered quite closely together by Entrance 2) or at its campsite, Camp Korana (which contains bungalows or space for 500 camping units), which is located about 7km from entrance 1. Another campsite, Camp Borje, is 15km away from Entrance 2. There is another hotel, the Hotel Grabovac, that is also located 12km north of the Park.
There is also a very wide selection of private accommodation (rooms, apartments in guesthouses and similar) in a number of the towns and villages (such as Slunj) on the way to the Park.
See our Accommodation in the Plitvice Lakes page for a detailed listing of all of the above options.
More information on the Plitvice Lakes
Please see the official Plitvice Lakes National Park website.
See our page on Getting to the Plitvice Lakes National Park.