Is Plitvice Lakes worth visiting? Everything you should know

Croatia is an amazing place, there’s no question about it. But is Plitvice Lakes worth visiting? Is it worth the hype? (Spoiler: YES! it’s absolutely worth it.) There are cons to visiting too, so let’s take a look.

Plitvice Lakes Croatia

Crystal clear waters, stunning waterfalls, and unique wooden boardwalks suspended over turquoise waters. More than a million people visit Plitvice national park every year, but is it worth going?

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest national park in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. However, with its popularity comes the crowds. During peak season, the park can be overcrowded, and it’s hard to find a moment of peace and quiet.

If you’re wondering if Plitvice Lakes National Park is worth visiting, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll go through the pros and cons of the city so you can decide for yourself.

Let’s dig in.

Read next: How to visit the magical Plitvice Lakes in one day

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Is Plitvice Lakes worth visiting? Pros and cons

To give you a better overview of the pros and cons, I’ve listed them here below. As you can see, there are many benefits to visiting.

ProsCons
✅ Unique place Gets busy and crowded
✅ Largest and oldest national park in Croatia Hot in the summer
✅ Beautiful waterfalls Parking can be a problem
✅ 8 walking routes It’s far for a day trip if you’re coming from Split or Dubrovnik
✅ Perfect for all ages
✅ You can also visit Barać Caves

What are the Plitvice Lakes?

Plitvice Lakes are a collection of 16 interconnected lakes located in the Plitvice Lakes National Park in central Croatia.

The lakes are known for their crystal-clear turquoise waters and more than 90 waterfalls, which are surrounded by lush forests and scenic landscapes. The Upper and Lower Lakes are the most visited areas of the park, with the Lower Lakes being the more dramatic of the two.

The park is also known for its different routes and hiking trails where you can explore the park’s natural wonders up close. The hiking trails range in difficulty, from easy walks on boardwalks to more challenging hikes through the forest.

Plitvice, Croatia

Plitvice history

Plitvice Lakes were formed over thousands of years by the Korana River, which flows through the park.

The area was first declared a national park in 1949, and since then, it has become one of the most popular places in Croatia, attracting over a million visitors every year.

The park was also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 because of its exceptional natural beauty and ecological significance.

In the park lives a variety of plants and animals, including rare and endangered species such as the European brown bear and the Eurasian lynx.

The lakes themselves are also a unique geological feature, formed by the deposition of calcium carbonate over thousands of years.

Plitvice Lakes Croatia
The Pros

Should you visit the Plitvice Lakes?

If you’re planning a trip to Croatia, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is definitely worth considering. Here are some reasons why:

✅ It’s one of the most unique places in Croatia

The Plitvice Lakes are a stunning natural wonder. You’ll see turquoise water, boardwalks suspended over the lakes, and photogenic waterfalls everywhere you look. It’s a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in Croatia or Europe for that matter.

✅ The largest and oldest national park in Croatia

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is not only the largest national park in Croatia, but it’s also the oldest.

It was established in 1949 and has since become a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a must-visit destination for nature lovers and anyone who wants to experience the best of Croatia.

Plitvice Lakes Croatia

✅ Beautiful waterfalls

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is home to 16 interconnected lakes and over 90 waterfalls. The waterfalls are one of the park’s main attractions and are truly breathtaking.

The main waterfall in Plitvice Lakes National Park is called Veliki Slap, which translates to “big waterfall” in English. It’s the highest and largest waterfall in Plitvice, standing at 78 meters tall, and can be found in the lower lakes section of the park.

✅ 8 hiking trails

There are 8 hiking trails of varying distances and difficulty in Plitvice Lakes National Park. Each trail is different.

From the easy and scenic Route C, which takes you on a stroll along the lower lakes on wooden walkways and past the park’s iconic big waterfall, to the more challenging Route H, which leads you deep into the park’s wilderness, every trail offers something different.

✅ Perfect for all ages

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is a great destination for any ages! The park’s easy walking trails and boardwalks make it easy to visit for everyone, including families with young children and seniors.

✅ You can also visit Barać Caves

If you’re looking for more adventure, you can also visit the nearby Barać Caves. The caves are a natural wonder and offer a unique underground experience. It’s a great way to add some variety to your trip and explore more of Croatia’s natural beauty.

The Cons

Is Plitvice Lakes worth visiting?

If you’re considering visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park, there are some downsides, too. Let’s take a look:

It gets busy and crowded

Yes, Plitvice Lakes are super popular, so during peak tourist season (summer), the park can get crowded, especially around the main entrances and popular trails. If you’re looking for a peaceful, secluded experience in nature, you’re not going to find it here.

It gets hot in the summer

If you’re planning to visit in the summer months, be prepared for high temperatures and humidity. The heat can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re planning to do a lot of walking or hiking.

Parking can be a problem

There are limited parking options at Plitvice Lakes, and during busy times, it can be difficult to find a spot. If you’re driving to the park, be prepared to arrive early or park further away and take a shuttle bus.

It’s far for a day tour if you’re coming from Split or Dubrovnik

If you’re staying in Split or Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian coast and want to visit Plitvice Lakes, be aware that it’s a long drive. You’ll need to take a day trip, drive yourself or spend the night to make the most of your visit.

Plitvice Lakes Croatia

The verdict: Is Plitvice worth a visit?

So, we’ve looked at the pros and cons, and what’s the verdict: is Plitvice worth it?

Absolutely! Plitvice Lakes National Park is a unique and stunningly beautiful destination that is 100% worth visiting. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Europe!

If you’re worried about the crowds, make sure to visit in the shoulder seasons (April, May, early June and in September and October). You’ll get better temperatures and more parking spaces.

FAQ

When is the best time to visit Plitvice?

The best time to visit Plitvice Lakes is in the spring or autumn when the crowds are smaller and the weather is mild.

However, if you want to see the waterfalls at their fullest, visit in the summer. Plitvice is open year-round, but some areas are closed in the winter months.


Which entrance should I choose?

There are two entrances to Plitvice park, Entrance 1 and Entrance 2.

Entrance 1 is closer to the lower lakes, while Entrance 2 is closer to the upper lakes. Both entrances have shuttle buses that will take you to the starting point of your chosen route.


Where do I get tickets?

You can buy tickets online in advance or at the park entrance. The prices vary depending on the time of year and the program you choose.


How to get around Plitvice Lakes?

There are shuttle buses that run between the entrances and the park’s attractions. There is also a boat that runs across Kozjak Lake. These are included in the price of your ticket.


How many hiking routes are there?

There are 8 hiking trails in Plitvice Lakes, ranging from a few hours to a full day. Program C and Program H are the most popular and will take you to both the upper and lower lakes. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.


Can I take a day trip to Plitvice Lakes?

Yes! Plitvice Lakes National Park is a popular day trip from Split, Zadar, and Zagreb. If you’re staying in one of these cities, consider taking a day trip to the park.

Here are the best day trips from:

Zadar to Plitvice Lakes: Book here
Split to Plitvice Lakes: Book here
Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes: Book here


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