Walking around Plitvice Lakes

Plitivice Lakes is one of the most stunning places to visit in Croatia. It has moderately easy walking trails, beautiful boardwalks and stunning waterfalls along with mesmerizing viewpoints. With plenty of trails to choose from, it can be a bit confusing when trying to plan your day at Plitvice. So, here in this blog, we will share information about the different routes so that you can choose what works out best for you. We will also share the route that we followed during our visit and how to get to all the stunning viewpoints.

Map of Plitvice Lakes 

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Overview of the Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park covers an area of almost 73,000 acres. It consists of 16 lakes, over 90 waterfalls, many caves, caverns, and forests. Lakes are divided into two groups: 12 Upper Lakes and 4 Lower Lakes. The Upper ones are larger than the Lower ones. There are many hiking trails to choose from to tour the park. Apart from hiking, there are boats and shuttle buses as well to get around (included in the ticket).

There are two entrances to Plitvice Lakes National Park – Entrance 1 and Entrance 2, both situated on the same road, fairly close to each other. Entrance 1 is closer to the Lower lakes while Entrance 2 is closer to Upper lakes. There is parking available at both entrances. During winter, Lakes can be accessed only through Entrance 1.

Hours of Operation

The national park is open 365 days a year, though the number of hours the park is open to the public varies depending on the season. You can find out the exact times at the official site.

Tickets and Cost

There are 1 day and 2 day tickets available to tour the park. The entrance fee also vary depending on the season. They are much lower during the low season and most expensive during the summer. You can find the latest price list at the official site.

There is a limit to the number of visitors that can enter the park every hour. So during peak season, it is highly recommended to purchase your tickets online in advance here. Unless sold out, the tickets can also be purchased at the counters at both the entrances as well.

Routes through the Park

There are 8 routes through the park. All the routes are mostly well marked and easy to follow. You can choose one depending on the time you have and how much you are willing to walk.

Trail A (3.5 km, 2-3 hr) – This begins at Entrance 1 and is the shortest and easiest walk. You will be covering the Lower lakes and Veliki Slap (Big waterfall).

Trail B (4 km, 3-4 hr) – This is same as Trail A, but also includes taking the boat across Kozjaka lake (P3->P2) before walking back to Entrance 1.

Trail C (8 km, 4-6 hr) – This is extension of Trail B. Once you get off the boat, you will continue walking along the Upper lakes and waterfalls. You will take the shuttle back to Entrance 1 (St3->St1).

Trail K1 (18.3 km, 6-8 hr) – This is the longest trail through park. Starting from Entrance 1, you will be walking around both the lower lakes and upper lakes, and also walking around Lake Kozjaka without using the boat.

Trail E (5.2 km, 3-4 hr) – Starting from Entrance 2, you will be covering only the Upper lakes with this route. You will be taking a short boat ride (P1->P2) at the beginning of the trail and a shuttle to get back to Entrance 2 at the end (St3->St2).

Trail F (4.6 km, 3-4 hr) – Starting from Entrance 2, you will sail across Lake Kozjaka (P1->P2->P3) and cover the Lower lakes including Veliki Slap and take a shuttle back to Entrance 2 (St1->St2).

Trail H (8.9 km, 4-6 hr) – This is basically Trail C but in the opposite direction. Starting at Entrance 2, you will take a shuttle to your starting point (St2->St3), walk through the Upper lakes, sail the boat across Lake Kozjaka and then walk along the Lower lakes and Veliki Slap. You will take the shuttle back to Entrance 2 (St1->St2).

Trail K2 (18.3 km, 6-8 hr) – This is basically Trail K1 but starting from Entrance 2. You will be covering the entire park by foot without using much transport.

Our Recommended route

Since we were staying the previous night in Plitvice and could start early (right when the park opens), we decided to start from Entrance 1 and follow a mix of Trail C and Trail H.

Once you start from Entrance 1, walk down the trails and take the detour towards Veliki Slap. You will find a set of stairs next to the waterfall that leads to one of the viewpoints, but we would suggest to leave this for later in the day. Once done with the waterfall, walk back to the main trail and follow the signs for Trail C.

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Optional: While walking through the waterfalls and lakes, you will come across a detour to Supljara cave. You can choose to walk up the slippery stairs through the cave to reach a couple of stunning viewpoints at the top. You will then climb back down through the caves and continue walking along the boardwalks along Trail C. Note: During wet seasons/rainy days, the caves are closed. If so, there is an alternate way to get to these viewpoints mentioned later in the blog.

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Once you reach the end of Trail C, instead of taking the boat across the lake, walk to St1 and take the shuttle to St3. From here, follow route H to walk along the Upper lakes and gorgeous waterfalls until you reach Lake Kozjaka. Take the boat across the lake (P2->P3). This is a nice, breezy 15-20 min ride with beautiful views of the lake.

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From here, you can walk back to Entrance 1 to end your adventure or continue on, to get to the most stunning viewpoints in the park. We would highly recommend you to continue if you still have the zest and time for it.

From P3, when you walk towards Entrance 1, you will come across a road on the left going uphill. Follow this road for a while and you will come across a hiking trail in the woods between the road and the cliffs. Walk along this trail for several beautiful viewpoints. Once you get to the end of this trail, you will find the steps to get down to Veliki slap but don’t take this yet.

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Walk back to the road on your left and continue for about half a km till you cross a wooden bridge and find some BnBs to your left. At this point, there is a small trail on the right going into the woods. Walk along this for about 5 min to get the postcard view of Plitvice.

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You can then go back to the steps that you crossed earlier and climb down to Veliki Slap and walk back to Entrance 1.

Optional: If the Supljara caves are closed and you do not want to miss the viewpoints mentioned earlier, you can follow this route to get there. After getting down the stairs to Veliki Slap, walk to St1 first and then take the hiking trail from St1 to Entrance 1. You will find the top of the caves along this route and also the viewpoints.

Driving to Postcard view 

If you are unable to or do not want to walk extra, you can drive to this location to reach the viewpoint for the postcard view of Plitvice (also known as ‘Veliki Slap viewpoint’). You might be able to find parking spaces along the way to access other viewpoints as well.

Other Tips

  1. Start Early! – This cannot be said enough. It is best to stay in Plitvice the previous night and start early as soon as the park opens. This is the only way to avoid crowd.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes – you will have a lot of walking, so make sure your shoes do not give you any trouble.
  3. Bring a Picnic – The choices for food inside the park is limited and also overpriced. So pack your own lunch.
  4. Swimming is prohibited inside the park.
  5. Pets are allowed but must be kept on leash at all times.

 

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