Plitvice Lakes - Croatia
It's less crowded and hot in June and September which are our favorite months. Peak season in the summer holidays in July and August. Best time of the day is the early morning with perfect sunlight on the picturesque waterfalls and it's also less crowded (park opens at 7 am). In the morning and evening, it's quiet and tranquil.
Park is open all year round, and most of the precipitation occurs in spring and autumn. However, if you don't mind some rain spring or fall the shoulder season are a great time to visit.
Spring is a fabulous time as water levels are high from the melting snow and waterfalls reach their peak flow. Bear in mind if the water level is too high some parts may be closed. Most of the precipitation occurs in spring and autumn. The meadows are full of wildflowers.
- Summer (July & August) can become very hot, and it is the most crowded time of the year. In addition, the water level is lower than at other times in the year.
- Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit when vibrant colors of the changing leaves are just magnificent. Anyhow, rain occurs more often in spring and fall.
Winter, when the park is quiet and beautiful, covered in snow, and the lakes are frozen.
Try to arrive early best before 9 am (the park opens at 7 am) as most of the tourists come around mid-day via bus transfer. As an alternative visit in the afternoon when most tour groups have finished their guided walks, and you can enjoy the tranquility of the park. We recommend staying here minimum two nights. Either chose the Hotel Bellevue with an excellent location inside the park where you are not dependent on transport or one of the many private accommodations nearby. Enter your dates and click on the map. The big advantage you can visit the park already early morning and stay until the gates get closed.
For those who are limited in time or just like to enjoy and relax, there are small group tours available from:
- Split which is a three hours drive but worth the effort. The guide provides you with detailed information and the best photo spots.
- A similar guided tour offered from Zagreb with a stop at the beautiful located village Rastoke. It's a 2 hours drive. The entrance fee is included.
- Zadar which is less than 2 hours drive. You spend roughly four hours in the park.
Plitvice is a natural wonder with its terraced crystal clear lakes and plenty of waterfalls. Every season has its unique charm, and the Plitvice Lakes are constant, yet always different. Either trapped in ice or the shade of the trees, they will leave you with a very extraordinary, unique, and invaluable impression and surely surprise you with a new experience.
It is less crowded early in the morning and in the evening. We did a long hike from Entrance 2 to the beginning of the lilac track which is called "Plitvica Trail". The trail is 9 km long and leads to a beautiful landscape and ends at the Kozjacka Draga boat dock. You can either take the boat or even walk back to Entrance 2 what we did. It's a full day hike and not very popular.
Tickets are valid for one-day and include a boat ride on Lake Kozjak and don't need to be booked in advance for single visitors. If you show up with a larger group, you should consider booking in advance.
You can choose between 8 different routes, hiking from 3 hours up to 8 hours.
- Trail A (2-3 hours - 3.5km - easy) lower lakes only as it starts and ends at Entrance 1. Walk to the Great Waterfall and Kozjaka Bridge.
- Trail B (3-4 hours -4km - easy) similar to Trail A but includes a boat trip on Lake Kozjaka.
- Trail C (4-6 hours - 8km - moderate) extended Trail B including a visit to the upper lakes.
- Trail K (6-8 hours - 18.3km - difficult) Explores the whole park.
If you start from Entrance 2 (south gate-Upper Lakes) you can choose between:
- Trail E (2-3 hours - 5.2 km - easy) upper lakes to Proscansko Jezero starting with a boat ride across the Kozjak Lake.
- Trail F (3-4 hours - 4.6km - easy) walk the upper lakes and sail across Lake Kozjaka, then visit the lower lakes - take a shuttle back
- Trail H (4-6 hours - 8.9km - moderate) starts with a bus ride to your starting point, walk the upper lakes then sail across Lake Kozjaka, to the lower lakes - take a shuttle bus back.
- Trail K-2 (6-8 hours - 18.3km -difficult) like Trail K-1 - explore the whole park.
For a more moderate hike, Trail C from Entrance No 1 is the best choice. You’ll visit both lakes, and you’ll start the trail uphill through the park and end at the top of the upper lakes where you can eat your packed lunch at picnic tables.
- If you like to enjoy a whole day in the park, you should consider bringing some picnic lunch as food inside the park is expensive and not the best quality.
- All trails are marked, and there is no need for guided tours in the park. If you extend the hike to the upper lakes, it becomes less crowded even in the high season.
- Don't forget to check where the restrooms are located in advance as we didn't find any along the hiking trails.