- Plitvice lakes: (pronounced PLIT-vits-uh)
- Time spent: 6 hours
- Was it enough? NOT at all!
Plitvice Lakes National Park
The lakes complex lies midway between Zadar and Zagreb. Lonely planet and even the park suggest a complete itinerary around the upper and lower lakes that takes up to 8 hours. However, this is absolutely impossible if you visit in July and August. It is horrendously packed with people. We further mis-planned and did the whole Zadar to Zagreb drive and the lakes in one day. Not only were we tired, but also could only spend a mere 6 hours in Plitvice finishing only the Upper (famous) lakes.
Parking at the Park:
Parking is tough if you visit in peak season. Having said that, we did eventually find a spot after 20 minutes of circling around. Have someone wait in the queue whilst you park! If I haven’t mentioned it already the – lines – are – long. There are two main entrances to the Plitvice complex. And you have parking areas around them. NOTE: When leaving, pay for your parking only at the place from where you entered. There was a group of boys who got in at Entrance 1 and while exiting tried to pay for their parking at Entrance 2. They were asked to go back. The two entrances are not close to each other. So please don’t forget where you came in from!!!
What we did:
There are shuttles and boats to take you to different areas within the park. You can also follow many of the itineraries available inside. The Plitvice lakes website is a fantastic resource to plan your trip in advance.
We followed itinerary “H”. It ideally takes 4-6 hours and is a 9 kilometer route. We took 6 hours, including all the parking and waiting and walking and just about did all of the Upper Lakes!!
Got in at Entrance 2. After about a fifteen-minute walk across bridges and hotels we came to the shuttle stop ST2. From here we took the shuttle bus (UNIMOG – Mercedes Military Trucks) from ST2 all the way to ST3 – the only stop at the top near the Upper Lakes. From there we walked downhill across the many beautiful lakes and cascades. The place has such an Alice in Wonderland feel to it. Lush greenery and magical shades of blue. The wooded pathways and the spritzes from the many waterfalls make it all the more endearing.
The guide books say that in June/ July the waterfall reduce to a trickle but we were lucky to see water gushing at us from everywhere.
Look out for the gorgeous Mali Prstavac. And if you do get the time, do explore the hills.
We crossed the lake Kozjak from P2 to P1 and came back to our starting point. There’s not much to eat at the restaurant near ST2. But you will get some refreshments. And at that point, we could have devoured the chairs.
It was a wonderful, albeit a very exhausting, day. But a MUST DO, no, A HAVE TO DO thing if Croatia is on your mind.
My advice: plan well, stay the night and do the complex over two days.
What itinerary did you pick? Could you see the whole place? How were the lower lakes? Oh, I have so many questions for you! Until then enjoy the pictures of Plitvice.
I wonder what it is like to be here around off season?