Nature always has the ability to make things look beyond anything you could have ever imagined, right?
After three and a half hours on the bus from Split, we finally made it to Plitvice Lakes National Park. It’s basically in the middle of Croatia and any big city (Split, Zadar, Zagreb, etc) is something like at least two hours away via the fastest route. However, no matter where you are coming from, heading to Plitvice Lakes is so definitely worth it, especially if you love wandering down paths and getting lost within countless waterfalls, little lakes and forests.
When I was researching Plitvice Lakes, I found it difficult to find information on navigating the big park so I thought I would share some of my tips from my own personal experience below.
ABOUT THE TWO ENTRANCES
The park has two entrances, entrance 1/A and entrance 2/B. Entrance 1 is the main entrance and is the entrance we found accommodation at and started our walking trail at. I think it doesn’t really matter where which entrance you stay near or begin at, because there is a very efficient shuttle bus in the park that can take you from one entrance to another and this bus is free with your park entrance ticket and comes every half hour. Also, you can always take trails back to front, etc, if you wanted. It’s just that you would be going in the other direction to the majority of the crowd. However if I had to choose, I would say to find accommodation & start at entrance 1/A because a really good route I recommend you to take starts at entrance 1/A.
HOW LONG TO SPEND AT PLITVICE LAKES?
Plitvice Lakes is a popular day trip option but when you factor in the 2+ hour drives both ways, it can make for one hectic day! We stayed overnight nearby and found this to be a much less a stressful day as we could spend two half days at the park with the first half day following the trail and the second half day going back to our favourite spots and seeing some things we missed. Plus, you get to see the park in the early hours of the morning and near sunset and it’s during these hours that Plitvice Lakes is most empty (as the day-trippers are on-route) so you get the national park all to yourselves!
WHICH SIGHTSEEING TRAIL ROUTE TO TAKE AT PLITVICE LAKES?
There are a number of routes you can take in Plitvice Lakes National Park, starting at different entrances with varying distances. Most of the routes are basically follow the same trail but are just cut shorter/made longer depending on the time you might have available to spend at the park.
Prior to arriving, I read a heap of information about what route to take. As the park so massive, it’s hard to go in without a plan as you might just get extremely lost! After digesting all the information online, we decided to do the following which we also recommend if you have a good part of a day set aside to explore the park (maybe 4-5 hours?):
1) Start at entrance 1/A & walk to bus station 1. Entrance 1 is situated on the higher side of the park, so you get to look down at the lakes and waterfalls from here. This first part of the route gives you the famous aerial view of all the waterfalls from the top AKA the postcard shot of Plitvice Lakes (as seen in the first image of this post) , as well as some other nice aerial views of the lakes and waterfalls from above.
2) Take the bus at station 1 to station 3. You might read online about station 4 being the last station of the park but this station does not exist anymore, there are only three stations now. In order to take the bus to station 3, you’ll have to first take it to station 2, hop off and then take the bus at station 2 to station 3. When you reach station 3, you’ll be at the very other side of the park which is the lower side of the park.
3) Follow sightseeing route/trail H from station 3 all the way back to entrance 1. This was the route we took too and it also seemed like a very popular choice with others at the park as well. It takes you right through the lakes and waterfalls and everything there is to see in the park, including a ferry ride across one of the lakes at the end as well!
Here’s our photographic travel diary of our time at Plitvice Lakes, hope you enjoy and do let me know if you ever pass by and follow the same route too! :-)
Wearing: Andrea Moore Cruise sunnies | Selected Cathy printed dress | Bared wattle sandals in mint | Fjallraven Kanken Backpack in sky blue
Photography: Thomas Debono & I