Plitvice Lakes National Park has been on my travel to-see list before I knew what it was called or where it was located. I’d seen dozens of photos on Pinterest of stunning crystal clear blue lakes and waterfalls before I realized they were all from some random park in Croatia. Once I did my research, I discovered the park wasn’t so random. Plitvice Lakes National Park holds several major credits to its name, among them being the oldest national park in Southeast Europe, the largest park in Croatia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a top spot holder on Lonely Planet’s list of the most beautiful places in the world. Thank you Pinterest for giving me more than just annoying links to wedding mood boards.
Visiting this natural wonder was surreal. I couldn’t shut up about it the entire time we were in the park. In fact, the guys were ready to throw me off a waterfall by the tenth time I proclaimed, “No THIS waterfall is my favorite!” In my defense, it is difficult to choose your favorite spot because the park doesn’t just contain one or two lakes, but rather a series of sixteen lakes at varying levels of elevation connected by hundreds of waterfalls. Talk about sensory overload. We felt like we had discovered paradise. Look at these giddy smiles.
Not only is the park beautiful, it’s also incredibly tourist-friendly. Boardwalk pathways get you up close and personal with the waterfalls, and the cost of admission includes access to the water taxis and shuttle buses to navigate to the hiking trails from the park lodges.
We arrived at the park late in the afternoon after our four hour drive from Split but still managed to spend 4-5 hours hiking around the lakes. Because of our late start we missed the last shuttle bus back to the lodge but a friendly park ranger saved the day and offered us a ride. We asked him to share his favorite facts about Plitvice and he told us the lakes comprise a mere 1% of the total park area and receive over one million visitors every year. Noted.
I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.
We ended our hike by walking back along the lake towards our lodge at dusk. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
The next day we packed up and headed to Zagreb to catch our flight back to London. But not before one last photo opp to remind ourselves to get out of the office more often.
Know Before You Go
- Check out the official website for opening hours, driving directions, and entry fees.
- We stayed at Ethno Houses Plitvica Selo. Loved it and would recommend it!
- The closest airport is Zagreb if you just want to see this part of Croatia.
- If you’re game for a bigger tour of Croatia check out these posts from our Croatia road trip in Dubrovnik and Split.