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Plitvice Lakes National Park: Real-life Fairytale (Travel Guide)

In this travel guide, we detail everything you need to know for your visit to Plitvice Lakes, the icon of Croatia and one of the most unique national parks in the world.
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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Croatian-Slovenian full-time travel duo, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists for over 4 years. We write in-depth travel guides about destinations we have personally visited, providing practical travel tips and recommendations.

About Plitvice Lakes National Park

In addition to its beautiful coast, Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes are one of the most unique national parks in the world.

Plitvička Jezera, or Plitvice Lakes, is Croatia’s oldest and largest national park and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979.

Plitvice lakes Croatia from above - Plitvice Lakes National Park travel guide, day trips, day tours

Located in the heart of Croatia, this national park is renowned for its fascinating landscape of cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear turquoise lakes, and lush green forests. The park boasts a series of interconnected lakes and waterfalls that create a mesmerizing sight to behold. The vibrant colors of the lakes, ranging from azure to emerald green, are truly awe-inspiring.

Plitvice Lakes consist of many lakes and waterfalls. And even though the lakes are the most attractive part of the national park, they cover just under 1% of the total area.

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The lake system of Plitvice is divided into two main parts: Lower and Upper Lakes. Twelve lakes form the Upper Lakes and four the Lower Lakes. Plus, some small ones that are not named.

Aerial view of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

Plitvice Lakes are also famous because the lakes are “arranged” in cascades. It’s truly an extraordinary sight.

Another famous attraction is the Great Waterfall (Veliki Slap), the highest waterfall in the Plitvice Lakes National Park and Croatia at 78 meters in height.

Great Waterfall in Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia - travel guide, top things to do, day trips

Plitvice Lakes National Park opening hours

Plitvice Lakes National Park is open the whole year from 7 am until 8 pm, with only some specific parts closed during the winter (for safety reasons).

Hours of operation of park entrances and parking lots

EntranceOpening hours
Entrance I – Rastovača07:00 – 20:00
Entrance II – Hladovina      07:00 – 20:00
Auxiliary entrance II – Flora07:00 – 20:00
Ticket salesuntil 17:00

Hours of operation of park entrances and parking lots

Entrance tickets for Plitvice Lakes National Park

The entrance ticket for Plitvice Lakes National Park costs between 10 and 40 euros for the one-day and between 15 and 60 euros for the two-day ticket.

Ticket prices of Plitvice Lakes depend on the season and time of the day, so make sure to check the price in advance if you want to buy a cheaper ticket. Of course, coming in any season except the summer means you’ll pay considerably less for your visit.

You can buy tickets for Plitvice Lakes at both Entrance 1 and 2.

We highly recommend booking your Plitvice Lakes tickets online in advance because of such an immense amount of visitors. So you want to secure your spot.

If you’re planning on booking your Plitvice Lakes tickets last minute, on the same day, you can check their convenient same-day availability dashboard.

While we recommend booking the tickets on the official national park website, if you prefer, you can also buy the tickets on Viator (costs a bit more there).

DAY TICKET

VISITOR CATEGORYPERIOD – PRICE PER PERSON
01.01. – 31.03.
01.11. – 31.12.
01.04. – 31.05.
01.10. – 31.10.
01.06. – 30.09.
A**B**
Adults10,00 eur23,50 eur40,00 eur26,50 eur
Adults – group*9,50 eur21,00 eur33,20 eur26,50 eur
Students6,50 eur14,50 eur25,00 eur15,00 eur
Students – group*5,50 eur13,00 eur24,00 eur15,00 eur
Children 7-18 years4,50 eur6,50 eur15,00 eur9,00 eur
Children 7-18 years – group*3,50 eur5,50 eur13,20 eur7,90 eur
Children up to 7 yearsGratisGratisGratisGratis
Persons with disability***GratisGratisGratisGratis

* A group consists of at least 15 people. Check the official site for further information.
** From 01 June – 31 August, price A is valid until 4 p.m., and price B after 4 p.m.
** From 01 September – 30 September, price A is valid until 3 p.m., and price B after 3 p.m.
*** Persons with disability over 50%

TWO DAY TICKET

VISITOR CATEGORYPERIOD – PRICE PER PERSON
01.01. – 31.03.
01.11. – 31.12.
01.04. – 31.05.
01.10. – 31.10.
01.06. – 30.09.
Adults15,50 eur39,50 eur59,70 eur
Students9,00 eur22,00 eur41,00 eur
Children 7-18 years7,50 eur10,00 eur22,50 eur

We highly recommend buying the two-days ticket and visiting two days in a row if you have the time.

There’s honestly so much to see in Plitvice Lakes that one day might not be enough for you. Of course, if you’re the explorer type of person! And if you don’t mind spending the extra money.

The entrance tickets to Plitvice Lakes National Park include transport by electric boat and a panorama train, which you have to take at one point to cross from one part to another.

Best tours to Plitvice Lakes National Park

While you can easily get to Plitvice Lakes by yourself (more about that soon), there are frequent daily trips to Plitvice operating from Zagreb, Split, Zadar, and even Rovinj and Porec.

Tours starting at the national park:

Tours to Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb:

Tours to Plitvice Lakes from Split:

Tours to Plitvice Lakes from Zadar:

Tours to Plitvice Lakes from Rovinj and Porec:

How to get to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Getting to Plitvice Lakes National Park is a breeze, with several transportation options available. 

Whether you prefer the convenience of driving your own car or the affordability of public transportation, there are multiple options depending on your starting point.

Plitvice Lakes by car

If you’re traveling to Plitvice Lakes by car, you have the freedom to explore at your own pace and make stops along the way.

From Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, you can reach Plitvice Lakes National Park in approximately two hours. The scenic drive offers picturesque views of the Croatian countryside.

Plitvice Lakes by bus

For travelers relying on public transportation to bring them to Plitvice Lakes, buses are available and are a popular choice.

Click here to check all bus connections to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

There are regular direct bus lines from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park, taking around two hours and a half. The bus ride from Zagreb is a comfortable and hassle-free option.

If you’re coming from Ljubljana in neighboring Slovenia, there are also direct bus connections to Plitvice Lakes National Park from Ljubljana. The journey takes approximately five hours, as you have to do a transfer to another bus in Zagreb.

Traveling from other cities such as Split or Zadar? Fear not!

There are also convenient bus connections from these locations:

Best time to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park

The best time to visit Plitvice Lakes in Croatia is during the summer months, especially in July and August, when nature is at its most beautiful.

However, that’s also when the biggest crowds are found at Plitvice. The fact that 1.3 to 1.5 million people visit the national park each year says it all. After all, it is our most famous attraction.

A great option for visiting Plitvice Lakes is to come at the best time in autumn when the leaves change color, and everything is yellow-orange. However, ensure you don’t come too late when all the leaves fall from the trees. You really have to time it perfectly!

Plitvice Lakes National Park in autumn with orange leaves

Visiting Plitvice Lakes during winter is also a great option, especially when it snows, because the views are magical and it won’t be crowded. If you visit during winter, you can see the great waterfall completely frozen.

And coming to Plitvice Lakes National Park in spring might also be a great idea, as it’s not yet too crowded, and since nature is slowly waking up, it can look fantastic.

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Plitvice Lakes travel tips

There are seven hiking trails in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, and we suggest checking all of them thoroughly before your visit to see which one suits you the best.

Additionally, there are a few different entrances to the national park, so don’t forget that!

Plitvice Lakes National Park trails

We recommend starting at Entrance 1 of Plitvice Lakes, from where you have to walk slightly uphill most of the way, with the view of the waterfalls accompanying you. And it’s the easiest route.

And if you start at Entrance 1, the Great Waterfall is right at the entrance, so if you come early in the morning, you’ll be amongst the first people there.

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How much time do you need to see Plitvice Lakes?

Count on spending the whole day in Plitvice Lakes National Park if you want to explore it properly!

You need to take your time on your visit to Plitvice Lakes as the park is enormous, and you’ll for sure be stopping every few minutes to take admire the scenery and take all the photos.

Plitvice Lakes in Croatia from above - Plitvicka Jezera - Plitvice Lakes National Park

Walking on the wooden bridges across the lakes and near the waterfalls is the best thing to do in Plitvice Lakes National Park. And it’s what we liked the most, in addition to hearing the wonderful murmur of the water throughout the park.

So again, take your time!

Where to eat at Plitvice Lakes National Park?

Don’t worry if you get hungry during your visit to Plitvice Lakes as there are many restaurants and shops around.

We recommend checking out the Lička Kuća Restaurant at Entrance 1 and trying delicious traditional food from the Lika region. We loved the food!

Staying in the National Park of Plitvice Lakes

You can not stay in the Plitvice Lakes National Park itself, but there are many great options to stay in the area for both budget and more luxurious travelers.

We recommend staying nearby Plitvice Lakes for your visit, as even though you can drive to Plitvice from Zagreb or other cities in the morning if you want to be there at opening, it just makes more sense.

Top-rated stays near Plitvice Lakes

Budget stays near Plitvice Lakes

For a bit different experience, check out Plitvice Holiday Resort which offers a variety of accommodation options, including tents, lake houses, and even tree houses.

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Is Plitvice Lakes National Park worth visiting?

As a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, Plitvice Lakes National Park has become a Croatian icon and a must-visit destination for tourists from around the world.

One of the main reasons why Plitvice Lakes National Park is worth visiting is its unparalleled natural beauty. Every corner of the park offers picturesque views that will leave you breathless. 

Whether you’re exploring the wooden walkways suspended over the lakes or hiking along scenic trails, there are countless opportunities to capture great photos and create lasting memories.

In conclusion, if you’re seeking an unforgettable adventure surrounded by stunning natural beauty, Plitvice Lakes National Park is absolutely worth visiting. Its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site speaks volumes about its significance and uniqueness.

From its captivating waterfalls to its vibrant lakes, this Croatian gem will leave you in awe at every turn. So grab your camera and get ready to embark on an extraordinary journey through one of nature’s true masterpieces!

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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Full-time travelers, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists.

Read more about us.

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We're Arijana and Matej, a couple and travel blogging duo from Croatia and Slovenia who thrive while slow-traveling. And we have been doing it for over 4 years.

During and after our travels, we love publishing in-depth, researched and above-all, useful travel guides, full of personal first-hand information on the places we personally visited.

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