Tips for Visiting Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

If you love waterfalls, look no further than Plitvice Lakes National Park, which connects the Croatian inland with the Adriatic coastal region.  It registers 1.2 million visitors annually, though not many Americans, which is a shame because it’s absolutely spectacular.  Here are our tips for making the most of your visit:

  • Rent a car and drive there the night before.  You can find plenty of cheap accommodations nearby in the little town of Korencia booking in advance.
  • Get to the park early, between 7am and 9am, to avoid the crowds (aka international tour groups).
  • Park at Entrance 2, the closer entrance to Korencia (there is a small hourly fee).  Rick Steves mildly endorses Entrance 1, simply for a more head-on view of the largest waterfall as you walk, but we would only go that route if it were the off season.
  • Walk opposite of the general foot traffic (for us it was clockwise).  It’s really frustrating to get caught up going in the same direction as a large tour group.  The paths are only two-people-wide.
  • Bring flip flops to change into, if necessary, or water shoes.  One of the paths were flooded when we visited but open.  A long caravan of people were trying to scale the walls to avoid the water.  We were walking in the opposite direction, so we put on our flip flops and strolled right by them all.
  • If any paths are marked “closed,” use your personal judgement.  The lower falls were completely roped off when we went in September (2014), but we saw many people walking the paths anyway.  The water was only ankle deep and not harrowing at all. There were people with pets, small children and even three nuns!
  • If you only have a little time, the lower falls and the lower portion of the upper falls are the best.  The upper falls have three loops.  The highest loop has hardly any waterfalls.  The side trails take you away from the lakes.
  • Food and restrooms are available.
  • It’s non-strenuous.  People of all fitness levels can enjoy Plitvice.

Have fun and be safe.  We really enjoyed the six hours we spent there just going around the lakes (not even any of the side trails!).