Everything you need to know about Plitvice Lakes in one little blog!
I can not stress hard enough, make sure you book your hotel according to one of the Plitvice entrances, not the national park, otherwise you will need a long drive to get to the park. It is a whopping almost 300 square kilometre forest reserve. We booked a nice place, Guesthouse Samolov, which was only a 1/2 hour drive from entrance.
There are no gas stations in the immediate area, so make sure you have tanked before venturing into no man’s land!
We arrived at the park entrance 1 by 10:15 am. Finding a parking spot was extremely difficult as there is not an organised parking lot, rather there is parking all throughout the bush.
After finally finding a spot to park and hoping we will find it again, we hike out of the parking to the park entrance and get into an enormous line up. The line barely moves and it gradually grows a long winding human trail all the way to the road! Online tickets might be a wonderful solution! Or more entrances, or more ticket booths…?
At 12:01 pm we were finally allowed to pay our entrance. Cost 360 kuna / €48.50 for 2 adults and one dog. Our dog Fritz is with us; dogs are allowed, but must remain on a leash.
We decided on hiking the A trail due to the time of day and the pounding heat. We had a backpack along with water, fruit and a dog bowl so Fritz can have water too. It is a sunny, hot, 44 degrees celsius, probably not the best day to be out hiking.
One word pretty much sums up the view of this national park – Beautiful! There are so many waterfalls everywhere you look. The water color is an incredible turquoise blue – it simply does not look natural or real, but it is!
The area is lacking sun sheltered rest areas; in this heat it has a highly dangerous heat stroke potential. Admittedly, the high temperatures are not the norm, but rest areas would still be nice. People sit on the bridges and block the paths trying to take breaks. There are non stop lines of people, not peaceful like you might picture. I would love to return in the spring when there are less people and stronger water falls.
When we reached the part of the hike where A meets B, there was once again a huge waiting line which went all the way back into the bush. Why a another waiting line? This is where you catch the boat to get across the lake. We had already decided we were not going to have any part of that. Fritz had a little swim and we carried on.
We also avoided going into Hollow Cave, once again because of the huge line of people slowly making their way into the entrance and climbing the steep stairs to the upper lake area.
By 3 pm we were back at the park entrance and I was more than ready to leave! What lesson did I learn today? Do not ever go to a popular tourist attraction in high season on the hottest day of the year!
What you need to know about Plitvice Lakes National Park
Parking: cost 35 kuna / €4.75 / US$5.60
Wait time (high season): approximately 2 hours
Adult – 180 kuna / €24.25 / US$29
Child – 80 kuna / €10.80 / US$12.90
Student – 110 kuna / €14.80 / US$17.70
Dogs – free – must be leashed at all times
*Interesting to know, a note at the admission booth stated the following: “Guests who are staying in one of the hotels of the National park (hotel Jezero, Plitvice, Bellvue, and Grabovac) should buy one day ticket, which can be prolonged, for free, at reception for next days.” This is good to know BEFORE you find parking, walk to the park and wait in a line up! You are welcome!
Hiking: The park entrance 1 displays 4 sightseeing programs.
A – takes approximately 2 to 3 hours; 3.5 km / 2.17 miles; lower lakes only. Easy, but involves up hill walking.
B – 3 to 4 hours; 4 km / 2.4 miles; includes a boat ride (with a huge waiting line in high season). Easy, involves uphill walking
C – 4 to 6 hours; 8 km / 5 miles;includes a boat ride (with a huge waiting line in high season) Medium
K1 – 6 to 8 hours; 18.3 km / 11.3 miles. Difficult
Park entrance 2:
E – 2 to 3 hours; 5.2 km / 3.23 miles – Upper lakes; easy
F – 3 to 4 hours; 4.6 km / 2.86 miles – Boat; easy
H – 4 to 6 hours; 8.9 km / 5.53 miles – Medium
K2 – 6 to 8 hours; 18.3 km / 11.37 miles – Difficult