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 definitely must-see. (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
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
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 (£9.50/€11/$15.50) in November - March; 110 Kunas (£13/€15/$21)
during April to October. Children aged 7 to 18 have cheaper tickets,
whilst children under the age of seven have free entrance. 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 700 Kunas for a minimum of 15
2-day tickets for the Park can
also be purchased.
There are two entrances to the
Park - excitingly titled Entrance 1 and Entrance 2 - although Entrance
2 closes during winter.
there to do?
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
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 sea 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
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!
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.