Discover Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Have you ever seen a turquoise lake so clear that you could spot fish swimming from the surface? Welcome to Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia’s natural gem and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Imagine walking along wooden pathways, with waterfalls cascading around you and thick, lush forests providing a fresh, earthy scent.

Plitvice Lakes isn’t just one or two, but 16 terraced lakes linked by waterfalls. Don’t miss the chance to witness the dynamic process of tufa formation; it’s what creates these breathtaking barriers and is key to the unique ecosystem here.

Visiting this natural beauty, you’ll join a long tradition of nature lovers and tourism that’s been thriving ever since its proclamation as a national park. It’s more than lake-hopping – Plitvice offers a dive into Croatia’s rich traditions, warm hospitality, and captivating history.

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Best time to visit
Best things to do

Top 3 Facts about Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

01

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its outstanding natural beauty and unique geological features. It became a UNESCO site in 1979 and continues to draw visitors worldwide.

02

Interconnected Lakes

Plitvice Lakes comprises 16 interconnected lakes arranged in cascades, renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, gray, and blue. These colors vary depending on the minerals and organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.

03

Karst Landscape

The park is renowned for its karst landscape, characterized by limestone formations, caves, and cascading waterfalls. Over thousands of years, the flowing water has carved out intricate patterns in the rock, creating a series of terraced lakes and waterfalls.

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Must See Attractions

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Veliki Slap (Great Waterfall)

Waterfall

Veliki Slap is the tallest waterfall in the park, plunging approximately 78 meters (256 feet) into the canyon below. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the waterfall from several vantage points along the designated walking paths.

Upper and Lower Lakes

Lakes

Explore the park’s Upper and Lower Lakes regions to fully appreciate its beauty. The Upper Lakes feature a series of cascading waterfalls, turquoise pools, and lush greenery, while the Lower Lakes offer expansive lakes surrounded by dense forests and more picturesque waterfalls.

Boat Ride on Lake Kozjak

Lake

Take a scenic boat ride across the crystal-clear waters of Lake Kozjak, the largest lake in Plitvice Lakes National Park. This leisurely cruise offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Annual Events and Festivals

September or October

International Prosciutto Fair (Dan Pršuta)

Held in the town of Rakovica, near Plitvice Lakes, this festival celebrates the traditional Croatian delicacy of prosciutto.

Visitors can sample various types of cured ham, enjoy live music and entertainment, and participate in cultural activities.

June to August

Barać Caves Summer Nights

Barać Caves, located near Plitvice Lakes, hosts summer night events featuring live music, performances, and guided cave tours.

These events offer a unique opportunity to experience the caves in a different light, both literally and figuratively.

May or June

Plitvice Lakes Marathon

Organized annually, the Plitvice Lakes Marathon offers runners a scenic route through the national park and its surrounding areas.

Participants can choose from various race distances, including a full marathon, half marathon, and shorter fun runs.

Top Hiking Trails

Boardwalk Trails

PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK

The park offers several boardwalk trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels, allowing visitors to explore the park’s Upper and Lower Lakes, waterfalls, and lush forests.

The trails are well-marked and offer spectacular views of the park’s scenery.

K Route (Korana)

PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK

This moderate trail follows the Korana River and offers views of waterfalls, cascades, and crystal-clear pools.

It’s a great option for those who want to explore the park’s less crowded areas.

Bijele and Samarske Stijene Trail

VELEBIT MOUNTAINS

This challenging trail is in the Velebit Mountains, not far from Plitvice Lakes National Park. The trail leads through rugged terrain, limestone cliffs, and dense forests, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

It’s recommended for experienced hikers looking for a challenging adventure.

Water Sports

Kayaking & Canoeing

Nearby rivers and lakes, such as the Mrežnica River and the Korana River, offer opportunities for kayaking and canoeing.

Paddle through pristine waters, explore hidden coves, and enjoy the serene natural surroundings.

Swimming & Snorkeling

While swimming is not permitted within Plitvice Lakes National Park to preserve its delicate ecosystem, there are designated swimming areas in nearby rivers and lakes.

Enjoy a refreshing dip in clear waters and explore the underwater world through snorkeling.

Rafting

Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting on rivers like the Una River, located a bit further from Plitvice Lakes. Rafting tours typically cater to different skill levels, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rafter, you can enjoy navigating through rapids surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Winter Activities

Winter Hiking

Put on your snow boots and explore the park’s network of hiking trails, which are magical when dusted with snow.

The quieter winter months offer a peaceful atmosphere for enjoying the park’s breathtaking scenery, frozen waterfalls, and snow-covered forests. Just be sure to dress warmly and use appropriate footwear for snowy conditions.

Cross-Country Skiing

Glide through the snow-covered trails surrounding Plitvice Lakes on cross-country skis.

Several nearby locations offer groomed ski trails suitable for all skill levels, providing an opportunity to enjoy the winter scenery while getting some exercise.

Snowshoeing

Strap on a pair of snowshoes and venture off the beaten path to explore the park’s winter wonderland. Snowshoeing allows you to access areas that may be inaccessible by foot during other seasons, providing a unique perspective of the park’s landscapes and wildlife.

Where to Eat

Restaurant Lička Kuća

$ – $$ • Croatian

Restaurant Degenija

$ – $$ • Croatian, International

Bistro Winnetou

$$ – $$$ • Family-owned, Croatian

Where to Shop

Plitvice Lakes Souvenir Shop

Souvenirs

Market Liko

Grocery store

Plitvice Lakes Market

Market

Where to Sleep

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1054 Grace River Road
Number of Guests 8
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 3
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Smoke detectors
$0.00 / day
sparkles New

JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
sparkles New

Majestic Lakefront Log Cabin in the NC High Plains

121 Whispering Wolf Wy
Number of Guests 5
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 2
Sq Footage 1,500
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$195.00 / day
sparkles New

Huron Shores. Beachy escape for the whole family

609 Lakeside Trail,Ripley,ON,CA,N0G 2R0
Bathrooms 3
Bedrooms 5
$0.00 / day
sparkles New

Tips on Renting a Vacation Home near Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

Dates and Flexibility

Be ready to travel at off-peak times or mid-week. Rates and availability will often be in your favor.

Consider Location

Decide whether you prefer to stay close to the park entrances or in nearby towns and villages. Staying near the park entrances makes visiting Plitvice Lakes convenient, while accommodations in surrounding areas may provide more amenities and dining options.

Read Reviews

Take the time to read reviews from previous guests to get an idea of their experiences staying in the vacation home. Pay attention to comments about cleanliness, comfort, location, and the responsiveness of the host or property manager.

Check Amenities and Facilities

Look for vacation homes that offer the amenities and facilities you desire, such as Wi-Fi, parking, air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen, outdoor space, and proximity to grocery stores and restaurants.

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Going Deeper: History and Cultural Significance of Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes, nestled in the heart of Croatia, boast a rich history and profound cultural significance. Dating back thousands of years, this natural marvel has witnessed the ebb and flow of human civilization, serving as both a sanctuary and a source of inspiration for countless generations. The area’s cultural significance is deeply rooted in its geological formation and breathtaking beauty, which have captivated artists, poets, and travelers for centuries.

In addition to its natural wonders, Plitvice Lakes has played a role in Croatia’s history, serving as a strategic location during various periods of conflict and conquest. Today, Plitvice Lakes National Park stands as a testament to the enduring bond between humanity and the natural world, drawing visitors from around the globe who come to marvel at its cascading waterfalls, turquoise lakes, and pristine forests while honoring its cultural heritage.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Plitvice Lakes serves as a symbol of conservation and stewardship, preserving its beauty and significance for future generations to cherish and enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in central Croatia, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The park is famous for its interconnected system of 16 crystal-clear lakes, which are divided into upper and lower clusters.

Buses whisk you from Split to Plitvice Lakes regularly and affordably. Opt for a rental car if you’re feeling adventurous and want the freedom to explore at your own pace—just be prepared for a scenic 2.5-hour drive.

Reserve at least two to six hours to soak in the park’s natural beauty. The time flies by when you’re surrounded by such breathtaking scenery, so give yourself plenty of it!

Entrance 1 can get crowded with tourists itching to see the famous Lower Lakes, while Entrance 2 is a little more chill and closer to the Upper Lakes. Tip: Check out Entrance 2 to dodge those long lines.

Swimming is not allowed in the lakes themselves to preserve their pristine environment, but there are designated swimming areas nearby.

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