Plitvice is a little spot of paradise in the centre of Croatia, far from most of Croatia’s well known cities and close to the Bosnian border. It’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and a National Park since 1949, however in the 90’s the Croatian War of Independence saw the park added Unesco’s List of World Heritage in Danger. Once the conflict ended Plitvice recovered well and is now a top destination in Croatia hosting over a million visitors each year.
I visited on a sunny Saturday mid September, there was of course a huge amount of tourists there, but the area is so big that you don’t feel too crowded. In fact we got there quite early at 9am and had the whole first leg of the trail to ourselves. Entry prices are cheap ranging from approximately £21 in high season down to approximately £7 in winter (click HERE for more information and prices). Sounds like a bargain to me, and it’s a million times worth it. Even though Plitvice isn’t exactly nearby to any large cities it’s extremely easy to navigate Croatia by bus (which is more like a coach), tickets can be booked online or via specific transport apps. It’s easiest to get to Plitvice from the capital Zagreb, buses leave extremely frequently and at all times of the day, the journey should take around two hours depending on the time of day. There’s no need to book buses far in advance, you won’t save much if any money doing so, one or two days advance should be fine.
If you’re feeling adventurous stop for the night in Plitvice to get as much time in the park as you can and go back in the morning! There is a free luggage storage point at entrance two if you’re not staying overnight.
I spent a full 8 hours walking also the full circumference of the lakes, though I did cheat and take the bus back to the entrance at the end of the day. I’d never seen water such a spectacular colour before, it will deviate between aqua blues and jade greens dependant on the organisms in the water. When you stumble across a section of the trail completely devoid of other tourists there was a wonderful sense of calm, and utter silence, I find silence such a treat at times. The route will vary between sheltered, closed off forest and wide open paths by the water, every step is a new beautiful adventure. But I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves.
When you go, do remember to wear sensible shoes, trainers are a must, or hiking boots if you have them. Try to bring everything with you that you’ll need in the day, like food, water and suncream. I was able to refill a water bottle once or twice, but they didn’t seem particularly happy to do so and in fact somebody refused. There is also a picnic area where you can buy food; however, it’s not especially varied or high quality. Make sure your camera battery is charged, and it would be a good idea to bring a tripod to catch those slow water shots if you are so inclined. Do search out any higher areas and keep exploring further, you never know where you’ll end up and find that perfect shot.