Plitvice Lakes National Park is beautifully pristine and an important protected area with delicate ecosystems.
While you read this post and look at these pictures, I want you to be playing the Jurassic Park theme song in your mind, because this place looked like dinosaurs should have been running around everywhere. Pure magic.
Basically you start out on a wooden boardwalk with reeds and aquatic plants on either side, and the further you walk the more open the park becomes. There are forested areas sprinkled throughout and huge, vast openings of water with towering waterfalls all around you. Sometimes it was hard to remember that we weren’t in a dream.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is about 2 hours from Zagreb closer to the coast of the Adriatic Sea (part of the Mediterranean Sea). If you haven’t read my post about Zagreb, the first of 5 stops my husband, our friend Kent, and I made in Croatia, you may want to back it up and read that first! It is, as in the case of all National Parks, pretty packed with tourists so I would suggest going during the week if feasible.
So. Flipping. Pretty. It’s also pretty cheap for a day pass as well. It ranges from 55 – 180 Kuna depending on the time of year you go, which is about $8 – $26 in US currency. And if you go with a group, the rates are even lower…WHAAAAT? That’s right. Croatia is one of the most affordable places I have ever traveled, anywhere in the world.
Things to know before you go there:
- It is hot a very humid in the summer months. Bring lots of water with you, wear clothing that will wick away moisture and bring an umbrella, just in case.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will do a staggering amount of walking in this park.
- Definitely bring lunch or snacks and PACK OUT WHAT YOU PACK IN.
- Bring your mountain bike if you want, there are mountain biking trails in the park.
- If you don’t want to get wet, bring a rain jacket or poncho. You get really close to many of the waterfalls and you WILL get wet if you get close enough.
The website for this park is seriously informative and I highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the natural and cultural history before you go, it will only make the experience that much better. This is an extremely sensitive ecosystem and the more you know, the more you can protect it.
Plitvice Lakes NP is home to many rare plants and animals alike. For instance, it is the only place in the country of Croatia, and also in Southeastern Europe, where you can find the Siberian Leopard Plant. It also houses the Lesser Bladderwort, an aquatic carnivorous plant that is in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Brown bears, hedgehogs, wild boars, bats, lynx, otters, and many other mammals also live in the Park. Which is all the more reason to take care of it.
It was truly one of the most breathtaking places I’ve been in Europe and I hope you have the chance to visit sometime. Up next in the Croatia Throwback series: Krka National Park!