Last Updated: July 2019
Croatia is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, particularly at Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park. Everyone loves talking about going to Croatia, island hopping, and exploring the magically scenery of the coastline. However, more people should go inland to visit the amazing blue lakes and pristine national parks. In this guide I’m excited to show you why you should plan a visit to Plitvice Lakes and Krka Park next time you are in Croatia!
KRKA NATIONAL PARK
In between our destinations of Zadar and Split, we took a side step to the Krka National Park; a nature reserve filled with hiking trails, riverboat ferries, ancient monasteries, and castle ruins – some of which are featured in Game of Thrones! Krka is most famous for its series of 7 waterfalls and mini cascades. The National Park is nestled in southern Croatia along the Krka River; eventually leading you to the bay front town of Sibenik and again back out into open waters.
- June, July, August & September: 200 KN (~$30 USD) or 150 KN (~$23 USD) if entering after 4 pm
- April, May & October: 100 KN (~$15 USD)
- January, February, March, October, November, December: 30 KN (~$5 USD)
WHEN TO VISIT KRKA PARK
Best advice is to get to Krka early to beat the midday crowds! When you arrive a shuttle bus will take you to the main entrance of the park, here you can look at the map and decide where to begin a pleasant stroll through the forestry alongside the river and mini cascades. We saw an abundance of wildlife from fish, turtles, exotic birds, and stunning butterflies!
WHAT TO SEE IN THE PARK
After a 30 minute stroll through the park, we finally arrived at the main attraction. A stunning backdrop of a seven tier waterfall, with bright blue river water and lush green mountains.
The best part, you can swim in the river! It’s such a surreal feeling and such a peaceful way to really enjoy nature. Around the swimming hole, there are refreshments stands where you can buy something yummy to eat (such as Nutella crepes) or something refreshing to drink. We stayed there for hours and it felt like no time had passed at all!
FERRY TO SKARDIN
From there you can take a ferry to the small inlet bay of Skradin, where there are plenty of small resto bars and restaurants for a proper meal. There are plenty of quaint guest houses for travelers passing through if you plan on staying more than one day in the park!
Plitvice Lakes are easily the most popular tourist attraction regarding inland Croatia. It’s situated halfway between Zadar and Zagreb with regular bus schedules passing through. Since Plitvice Lakes are so famous, there is tons of accommodation around the area and depending on when you book, all for a decent price.
GETTING TO PLITVICE LAKES
If you are passing through or can’t afford to spend the night; one day is plenty of time to see everything and fully appreciate its beauty. Here’s a brief list of bus journey times from various places in Croatia to the Plitvice Lakes to give you an idea of how long it will take you to get there:
• From Zagreb: 2 hours 20 minutes
• From Zadar: 2 hours
• From Split: 3.5 – 5.5 hours
• From Varazdin: 4 hours 20 minutes (one bus per day)
In 1979 Plitvice Lakes was granted UNESCO World Heritage site status and with good reason! The park consists of a series of 16 lakes, each connected by picturesque waterfalls.
It’s buried deep in the woodland area of the mountains, which hosts a variety of animal species such as deer, bears, wolves, boars, and very rare bird species. The park is always crowded but once you get off the main paths its very to get lost in the serenity of nature.
PLITVICE LAKE ENTRANCES
The national park has a total of 300 square kilometers, with the lakes spreading 8 kilometers through the center. The lakes are divided PLinto two parts, Upper and Lower; each with its own park entrance. For parking, in case you are coming in your own car, it cost about 7 Kuna per hour.
The Park is open daily all year round, with longer opening hours during summer. As of 2019, the Park’s hours are:
- Summer (June to August): 7:00 am to 8:00 pm
- Autumn (September to November): 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
- Winter (December to February): 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
- Spring: (March to May): 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
As always, be sure to check the official opening hours in case this changes.
There’s an entrance fee which is used for the Park’s upkeep and protection. The ticket prices depend on the season, so be sure to check the official ticket price website for the latest information.
As of 2019, ticket prices for adults are:
- January to March and in November and December: 60 Kuna (£7/€8/$9)
- April to June and in September and October: 100 Kuna (£12.50/€13.50/$15)
- July and August: 250 Kuna (£30/€34/$37)
You can buy your tickets online from the Park website.
WHAT TO SEE IN PLITVICE LAKES PARK
We started at PlitviceLakes Entrance One to get a grand view of the Veliki Slap (Large Waterfall) and worked our way to the upper falls. Going to the lower lakes early in the morning is the best advice for skipping the swarms of crowds.
We walked literally all day, bringing packed lunches with us to save money and not spending it at the overpriced cafes and restaurants. We saw so many flora and fauna that I have never personally seen before.
Unlike Krka, you are not allowed to swim in these lakes. The porous rock called tufa is highly susceptible to organic substances contaminating the water, therefore its was decided in order to protect the fragile ecosystem no swimming and limited human influence was implemented.
But it doesn’t take away from its beauty at all. The water stays a perfect pristine appearance with vibrant blues, greens, greys or azure; depending on the seasons and quantity of minerals present.
If you have an extra day to spare and want to explore a little more of the region, there are plenty of great hiking trails that are lesser known to the typical tourists and you can backpack and camp along the way! I really enjoyed all of Croatia, especially inland. I hope you do too!
Have you been to Croatia? If you have any additional tips for our readers or questions please leave these in the comments below.
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