My brother Josh and I spent most of our Croatian trip along the coast. However, we did venture inland one day to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Before I get into how amazing the park is, I have an important announcement. When you arrive at the parking area, you can find a few shops, a couple of restaurants, and a building marked “restrooms.” Imagine my surprise when I went inside the women’s, and found that instead of toilets, each stall had a hole in the ground. Yes, that’s right, a HOLE! Cue to me wondering what terrible things I’ve done in life to deserve this!
Now, imagine my further surprise, when I complained to my brother and was told that the men’s restroom had actual toilets. After complete indignation on my part, we made an important discovery. It turns out that there are two sets of restrooms at the park entrance. The ones in the restroom building with the holes in the ground, and smaller restrooms inside one of the restaurants that have actual toilets for both men and women. I never thought I would ever devote two paragraphs of this blog to discussing restrooms, but I figured you would thank me for sharing this knowledge! Unless, of course, you’re looking for an adventure…
Now back to talking about the park! Plitvice Lakes National Park is a glorious expanse of forest, and has sixteen lakes that flow into each other through dozens of waterfalls. It is absolutely incredible! So much so, in fact, that UNESCO has proclaimed it a World Heritage Site.
You can choose between different paths with diverse difficulty levels. We chose the 4-6 hour “H” trek, and took the bus (free with your park ticket) to the top of the upper section.
We then began walking down, exploring the area and stumbling upon gorgeous waterfalls along the way.
The paths wind around the waterfalls, and are made up of logs, with planks laid across them in places where the water creeps too high.
Some paths near the waterfalls ended up feeling like a tourist conga line!
However there were plenty of areas where it was just us and nature.
After wandering down the upper section, we took a ferry (again, free with your park ticket) across the lake to the lower section.
The journey is beautiful.
We couldn’t get over how clear the water is!
So Josh had fun with his GoPro!
When you arrive on the other side, there’s a picnic area and several food vendors. We had brought our own lunch, and felt much more rugged than the people who were ordering tea (served in china tea cups!) at a national park!
We then continued our exploration of the lower section of the park.
Here the waterfalls are a little bit wilder, and kept getting bigger and bigger as we went along.
Until finally we reached Veliki Slap, the tallest waterfall in Croatia!
Wondering what I mean about the paths winding around the waterfalls? Well our final ascent allowed us to have amazing views from above.
If you’re looking for something a bit different than all of Croatia’s coastal towns, you should definitely add Plitvice Lakes National Park to your itinerary. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit, and you can even get amazing views of frozen waterfalls in the winter. But if you’re traveling to Croatia in late summer, you should just skip the national park. At this point the waterfalls will be reduced to trickles, and the amount of tourists will make you regret coming.
Have fun, and don’t forget what I told you about the restrooms!