What to see at Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia (everything you need to know)

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

If I were to describe Plitvice Lakes, Croatia in one word, it would be: intoxicating. This spectacular National Park doesn’t just have one or two waterfalls… it has SO many that you can’t even keep track. You walk around admiring the lakes for hours; the spectacular emerald-green and sapphire blue colors that make one waterfall prettier than the other. It feels like a never-ending parade of beautiful moments and awe-inspiring sights. That, my dear friends and readers, is Plitvice Lakes.



Although Plitvice Lakes by no means is a hidden gem – more than 1.2 million people visit the park each year – I’d still call it the jewel of Croatia. Plitvice is one of those places that just takes your breath away. So, if you can disregard the masses and instead focus on the amazingly beautiful surroundings, you’ll have a great experience here.

Opening hours: From 07:00 to 18:00

Entrance fee: It varies from $13 to $41 depending on the season. Find the                       current prices here.

Best time to visit: Every season makes Plitvice beautiful, so I’d say all year                       round

How much time to spend: 3-5 hours. Go early in the morning before the                         crowds arrive.

Guided tours: Half day tour (4 hours) = $131 and Full day tour (5-6 hours) =                     $190

Get a map at the entrance


You can enter Plitvice park from entrance 1 (the lower lakes) or entrance 2 (the upper lakes). From the lower lakes, you get a panoramic view of the lakes from the various viewpoints along the trail. The steep shores are surrounded by cliffs and there are an abundance of grottoes and caves.

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The park has 16 lakes that flow into each other

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

Lower lakes canyon

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The lakes are famous for its colors changing from emerald-green to sapphire blue and turquoise


It’s a different feeling in the Upper Lakes, and the scenery is wilder and more spectacular. Here, you get really close to the waterfalls and walk across pathways of ponds and lakes filled with crystal clear water. From a personal point of view, it’s simply AMAZING to walk through this natural Eden.

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes park was founded in 1949

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The waterfall Galovački buk at the Upper Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes
The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes
The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes


You can get there by public bus, car or with a tour group. If you’re traveling by bus like I did, I recommend buying the bus ticket 2-4 days in advance, especially during peak season (June to August). I booked tickets through Getbybus and used this site several times in Croatia and Montenegro. The busses were always on time and seemed organized. The bus stop is right outside entrance 1.

You can get around the park by bus, ferry, row-boat or on foot. Plitvice Lakes has several trails, and the one I followed covered 6-7 km. The ferry and park bus tickets are included in the entrance fee, and I recommend taking the ferry on a few stretches unless you want to walk more than 7 km.

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes


While most people choose to visit Plitvice Lakes on a day trip, you can also stay there for the night. I came from Porec in Istria and was leaving for Zadar the day after, so I decided to spend the night in Plitvice.

I stayed at the Guesthouse Academia Danica, which is a nice bed & breakfast at $39 per night. This is more of less the price around here, and this guesthouse is only 700 meters from entrance 1 and the bus stop. I really liked it, and the staff is super friendly.



Plitvice is a protected UNESCO site so it’s not allowed to swim in the lakes. If you really like waterfalls and really want to swim in one, head further south to Krka waterfalls. It’s an hour’s drive from Zadar and 1,5 hours from Split.

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes


I did, but I honestly couldn’t see the benefit. I see a point in having a guide at places like Taj Mahal or Angkor Wat where the main focus is the history and architecture behind the structures. But at Plitvice Lakes you’d want to take it all in, enjoy the nature at your own pace, and not be rushed through the park like cattle.

Plus, the paths are well-marked, and you won’t run out of people to ask for direction if you do get lost.

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes


  • Mosquito repellent. The upper lakes tend to have a swarm of mosquitos hanging around
  • Good walking shoes. You’ll be walking 6-7 km so leave the flip-flops at home.
  • Rain poncho, especially if you’re visiting during rainy season. I went there in the high-season (June) and it rained a bit.
  • Sunscreen
  • Water. You can buy water at the entrances and the ferry stop by the big lake.

The ultimate guide to Plitvice Lakes

Have you been to Plitvice? Would you go?

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Plitvice, Croatia

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  1. Helena September 26, 2015 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this post! We are in Croatia now and we are going to Plitvice in a couple of weeks. We really look forward to that! Thank you for beautiful photos and useful information!

    • Miriam September 26, 2015 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Tack, Helena! Plitvice is such an amazing place and it probably won’t be overrun as much since you’re visiting in the shoulder season. I hope you’ll have a great time there.

  2. The Eternal Wanderer November 19, 2015 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Wow! It looks magical like something out of a fairytale.

    • Miriam November 19, 2015 at 12:05 pm - Reply

      That’s exactly how it felt being there. Plitvice is a magical place (if you can see past the tourist crowd) 🙂

  3. Taiss September 1, 2016 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Oh wow! This is definitely on our list! What a beutiful place!

    • Miriam September 1, 2016 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      Definitely go. It’s a breathtaking place!

  4. Candy March 20, 2017 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I am planning to go here on June with my family…however, will a 6 yr old kid manage in here?

    • Miriam March 20, 2017 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Sure, you can bring a 6 year-old. Take the ferry some of the way if the walk is too long.

  5. Fernando May 4, 2017 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this. I’m going to Dubrovnik in October and Plitvice is on my list. It will be a one day trip so I’ll only be at the lakes for about 4 hours. Do you think it’s enough? Would you start from the upper or lower lakes?

    • Miriam May 6, 2017 at 10:38 am - Reply

      Sure, you can make it in 4 hours, Fernando. It doesn’t really matter where you start, but I personally liked starting at the lower lakes because then you see them from above and move closer. But I’m sure they’ll be just as amazing if you go the other way around.

  6. Heather May 23, 2017 at 3:07 am - Reply

    Hi Miriam! Your pictures are BEAUTIFUL!! We will be in Plivice in June, and I was wondering which trail you followed? Thanks so much!

    • Miriam May 31, 2017 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      Aw, thank you so much, Heather! I’m not sure what the trail was called, but it was about 7 km long and I entered at entrance 1. I basically just followed the crowd of people.

      Have a great trip!

  7. Allison August 25, 2017 at 12:32 am - Reply

    Hi Miriam,
    I’m very grateful for all your pictures and information about Croatia. I’m hoping my next trip will be there. Plitvice will be on my list for sure. Where can I see more of your pictures of Plitvice?

    • Miriam August 29, 2017 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad to hear that, Allison, thank you! These photos of Plitvice are the only ones I’ve got online. The rest are on my computer 🙂

  8. Ben fear September 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    How long would you recommend here? I was thinking two days and will be coming from Zagreb then on to split. Also is May a decent time to go?

    • Miriam September 4, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

      May is a great time to go since it’s not too hot or crowded. And two days are more than enough. I spent around 5 hours and it didn’t feel rushed at all.

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