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Why You Need to See Plitvice Lakes When You Explore Croatia

Croatia has been a pleasure to explore and photograph. The nature of this country is so varied, accompanied by great quality roads, delicious food and friendly people. Plitvice Lakes National Park is the most well-known nature destination of Croatia.

Located in central Croatia, it’s a must-see location if you never tire of nature.

Terraced lakes, varied waterfalls and spotless forests make it an exceptional place to explore. There’s a lot to see there – with almost 300 square kilometres of protected area, it’s a tough cookie to admire all of it in just one day.

Lagoon-like blue water, raw nature, and pristine trails make it hard to believe that this place is visited by nearly 2 million tourists every year.

We had a pleasure to visit this place in 2020, just in time between the first and second wave of coronavirus. It allowed us to explore the park in a wonderful setting – the complete lack of tourists elevated our visit to a super unique experience. We almost had the park to ourselves on that day.

When we arrived at the park, it was almost 2pm – so we headed straight to the counter to purchase a ticket. Depending on how much you want to explore, you can buy a single-day ticket for 200 kunas (kn)  [$32.30 | €26.50 | £24.07], or a two-day ticket for 250kn [$40.41 | €33.14 | £30.09]. To be completely honest with you, I believe you could spend an entire week here and still not see everything.

After a short walk, we headed to the entry point, surrounded by tall trees bringing instant relief from the sizzling heat in the middle of summer. The park is designed in a very tasteful way, with most of the signs carved out of wood for the ultimate connection with nature. Everyone is appreciating the forest and it’s beauty and paying careful attention to keep the park clean. Even though there are not too many bins around, you cannot spot a single piece of rubbish lying around.

The first main field is a check point, from where you can decide your route, activities, and potentially have some ice-cream, too! Remember to keep some water with you as on the trail there are no shops to get some from. We decided to rent a boat first (which we did not know was possible before we came here) which costs 100kn per hour [$16.17 | €13.25 | £12.04] and is absolutely a great experience.

The turquoise water combined with the fresh greenery of the forest was a delicious feast for our eyes. Being on a boat allows you to disconnect from any other people around. Quiet whispers of the wind and humming waterfalls are the only sounds that can be heard in the distance. A truly inspiring way to fall in love with Croatia even more. 

There’s no right or wrong way to explore the lakes by boat. We got close to some of the majestic waterfalls surrounding the lake, we parked our boat on the shore of a little island located centrally in the lake to explore it further, and even had our boat chased by a cute duck!

After returning the boats, we came back to the map and picked a trail to go for a walk. We hoped to find cascading lakes, however, just walking along the blue waters was a pleasant experience. The trees sheltering the trails from the roasting sun.

At some point, we could hear a promising burble in the distance. We decided to follow our senses and soon enough we were facing some insanely beautiful, crystal clear waters surrounded by small bushes and rock formations complimenting the scene. 

Astonished by the uniquely, serene beauty of this place, we were captivated by countless tranquil scenes without a dash of feeling tired. Around every corner surprised us with its greatness and gave us more energy to explore more of this place before the gates of the park drew closer. The last stretch of the trail featured handmade wooden bridges allowing us to join the land again and climb up the hillside to witness colossal waterfalls from the best vantage point, serving as a final cherry on the top of the whole Plitvice Lakes experience.

Without doubt, this was one of the most flabbergasting nature reserves we’ve seen so far. We really appreciated the ability to explore it in such a calm environment, without having to share it with hundreds of other tourists (as told by our friend that it is a very popular place in the summer months).

Summary

Overall, our experience of Plitvice Lakes National Park was outstanding. We would recommend it to anyone who seeks to visit Croatia and loves exploring nature. The variety of activities and fanatstic selection of challenging trails is a great way to spend one or two days there. If our time wasn’t so limited on this trip, I would definitely choose to extend the ticket and have 2 full days in there to be able to explore more thoroughly. 

If you want to learn more about Croatia, we’ve prepared more articles about the country, culture and experiences…. Click here to see more Croatia articles. 

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