Plitvice Lakes National Park: Things to Know Before You Go

Plitvice National Park is a natural reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Croatia. It spans 295 square kilometers of thick forests, pristine lakes, hiking trails, and waterfalls. With its breathtaking natural beauty, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. If you’re planning to go on a Plitvice Lakes National Park tour, here are a few things you need to know before you go:

There are sixteen lakes in the national park.

All of these lakes are interconnected. You have Proลกฤ‡ansko (Scrub Lake), Ciginovac (Gypsy’s Lake), Okrugljak (Round Lake), Batinovac (Batic’s Lake), Veliko (Large Lake), Malo (Small Lake), Vir (Whirlpool), Galovac (Galov’s Lake), Milinovo (Mile’s Lake), Gradinsko (Lake Gradina), Bukovi (Gusk Lakes, which are a chain of tiny and shallow lakes that are separated by limestone borders), Kozjak (Goat Lake), Milanovac (Milan’s Lake), Gavanovac (Gavan’s Lake), Kaluderovac (Monk Lake), and Novakoviฤ‡a brod (Novakoviฤ‡’s crossing).

You might not be able to see all of the lakes in one day.

If you only have one day in Plitvice, you might not be able to see all of the lakes during your visit. However, there are different hiking trails that you can follow so you can see as many as you can. The trail you take will depend on which part of the national park you want to see. Speaking of which…

There are several ways to experience Plitvice.

The most popular tour itineraries when people visit Plitvice National Park include the following:

• From Split – This tour departs from Split at 7:30 in the morning and is available every day. Split is another famous destination in Croatia, with a lot of tourists choosing accommodations in the city because of its convenient location. Aside from Plitvice National Park tours, Split is also the meeting point of several island hopping tours that will take you to different islands in the Adriatic Sea.

• From Stobrec – This tour departs from Stobrec at 6:55 in the morning and is available every day. Stobrec is a historical village turned resort town in Croatia. Cruise ships and ferries stopping by Croatia usually dock at one of its harbors. If you’re on a cruise with one day to spare in Croatia, then this itinerary is perfect for you.

• From Podstrana – This tour departs from Podstrana at 6:50 in the morning and is available every day. Podstrana is a coastal town that receives a lot of sunlight throughout the year, which means you’ll always find the perfect beach weather here. It may not be as popular as Split, but its white sand beaches and proximity to the sea still make it a great summer destination.

• From Trogir – This tour departs from Trogir at 8:00 in the morning and is only available every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Trogir is an old historical town in the central Adriatic coast of Croatia. It is popular for its baroque and renaissance architecture, like the 13th-century St. Lawrence Cathedral.

• From Omis – This tour departs from Omis at 7:00 in the morning and is only available every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Omis is where the famous Cetina River meets the Adriatic Sea. Its access to both the river and the sea has made it a popular port town in Croatia.

There are two entrances into the national park.

These two entrances will take you to either the “lower lakes” group (Entrance 1) or the “upper lakes” group (Entrance 2). There are four lakes in the lower lakes group: Milanovac, Gavanovac, Kaluderovac, and Novakoviฤ‡a brod. The other twelve belong in the upper lakes group. Even though there are more lakes accessible via the second entry point, Entrance 1 seems to be the more popular option among visitors and tourists, especially during the winter months when the national park closes Entrance 2.

Respect the park.

Plitvice National Park is a natural gem. Locals try their best to protect it from disturbances and destruction. So when you visit here, make sure that you respect it. How do you do this?
Well, for one, bring a reusable water bottle with you so you can avoid having to throw away plastic bottles that may pollute the park. Throw away any other trash in designated garbage bins. As much as possible, leave the park as you have found it. Don’t make markings on rocks or trees.

Additional Tips:

• Stay on the trails. Remember that the park is expansive, so don’t wander off if you don’t want to get lost.
• There aren’t a lot of bathrooms inside the park. Use the restroom before you start hiking.
• Wear sturdy and dependable shoes when you visit the park. The boardwalks they used for the trails are sometimes uneven and slippery, so avoid wearing flip-flops, sandals, and other types of footwear that may give.

And with these tips, you are ready to tour the Plitvice National Park. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, so really soak it in.

This is a contribution from one of our contributing writers.


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