Plitvice Lakes National Park: A Quick Hiking Guide

Ivan Pavković

Ivan Pavković

Ivan Pavković is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Croatia).

Pozdrav! My name is Ivan and I live in Zagreb. I am currently studying Finance at the University of Zagreb. In my spare time, I am also a Freelance Writer and a Digital Marketer.

You can describe me as a tech enthusiast who loves to watch and play sports (basketball and football mostly) and loves to watch movies (comedies and thrillers).

Croatia may be small but it has a lot to offer. I will do my best to prove it through my articles!
Ivan Pavković

The Plitvice Lakes National Park extends for over 296 square kilometers, through the Ličko-Senjska and Karlovac counties.  The park mostly consists of forested mountains, 16 lakes which take over 200 square kilometers, plus grasslands.  It’s Croatia’s largest and oldest national park – it was first opened to the public in 1949.

The park’s highest point is at Seliški vrh, which measures 1,279 meters.  The lowest point is 367 meters above sea level, and you’ll find it at the Korana Bridge.  More than a million tourists visit the Plitvice Lakes park annually, and it’s one of the most famous attractions in Croatia.

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia - Global StorybookWhen to Visit and How Much will it Cost?

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is open all year round, but it’s best to visit it during the warmer months, which might make your experience more pleasant.

The ticket prices are at their lowest point from November 1st to March 31st – 55 HRK for adults, 45 HRK for students, and 35 HRK for kids and teenagers, between 7 and 18 years old.  From April 1st to October 31st, the ticket costs 110 HRK for adults, 80 HRK for students and 50 HRK for children and teenagers.

From July 1st to August 31st the tickets cost even more: 180 HRK for adults, 110 HRK for students and 80 HRK for children and teenagers.  Children younger than 7 are free to enter any time, while other age groups can get better prices if they come in with a minimum party of 15.

The ticket price includes a boat ride on the Kozjak lake, as well as a scenic train ride.

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia - Global StorybookPark hours:

  • 9 am – 4 pm in the Winter
  • 8 am – 6 pm in the Spring and Fall
  • 7 am – 8 pm in the Summer

What to See?

There are a ton of sights to see at the Plitvice Lakes National Park.  You can explore the Gornja jezera, which consist of 12 lakes (Prošćansko jezero, Ciginovac, Okrugljak, Batinovac, Veliko jezero, Malo jezero, Vir, Galovac, Milino jezero, Gradinsko jezero, Veliki Burget i Kozjak).  All the lakes have some distance between them though you can easily walk around them.

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Also, don’t forget to visit the Donja jezera (Milanovac, Gavanovac, Kaluđerovac i Novakovića Brod) or to see the Donja jezera canyon, where you can find a 78 meters tall waterfall (Veliki slap).  In fact, this is Croatia’s highest waterfall.

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia - Global StorybookWhat to Do?

The most popular route is the 8 km long Medveđak hiking trail.  By taking this course, you will get to see the picture-perfect views of the Plitvice Lakes, as well as gaze at the beautiful landscape between Mala Kapela and Lička Plješivica.  On your way there, you will pass by three fantastic mountain peaks: Oštri Medveđak (889 m), Tupi Medveđak (868 m) and Turčić (801 m).

To truly experience the Plitvice Lakes National Park at its best, be sure to go on the informative routes called Čorkova uvala and Plitvice.  This pathway is also bicycle-friendly, so you can bring your bike, or rent one in the park.  There are also marked cycling trails in the southern part of the park.

During the Winter, you can go skiing and snowboarding in the park.  The ski slope is 400 meters long, and the Park is equipped with a ski lift which takes you about 700 meters up the mountain.  Also, almost all of the lakes freeze in the park in the Winter period.

Frozen waterfall, Winter in Plitvice Lakes, Croatia - Global StorybookHow Many Hiking Routes are There?

The Park currently has eight different hiking trails.

Trail A (duration: 2-3 hours; 3,500 meters long; difficulty level: easy).  The route is called Donja jezera – it starts and ends at Entrance 1.  The trail includes Veliki Slap and Kozjak Bridge.

Trail B (duration: 3-4 hours; 4,000 meters long; difficulty level: easy).  It’s very similar to the Trail A, but this one includes lake Kozjak.

Trail C (duration: 4-6 hours; 8,000 meters long; difficulty level: moderate).  It’s similar to Trail B, but this one includes Gornja jezera.

Trail E (duration: 2-3 hours; 5,200 meters long: difficulty level: easy).  This route is called Gornja jezera, and it includes Prošćansko jezero and Kozjak lake.

Trail F (duration: 3-4 hours; 4,600 meters long; difficulty level: easy).  This one includes parts from both Gornja jezera (Trail E) and Donja jezera (Trail A), plus lake Kozjak.

Trail H (duration: 4-6 hours; 8,900 meters long; difficulty level: moderate).  It’s similar to the Gornja jezera route, plus it includes the lake Kozjak.  There’s also a bus ride to the starting point.

Trail K (duration: 6-8 hours; 18,300 meters long; difficulty level: difficult).  This final route includes the whole park.

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Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia - Global StorybookHow to Get There?

The easiest way to get to the Plitvice Lakes National Park is by car.  If you are leaving from Zagreb or Split use the state road D-1; from Rijeka use D-42 road.  If you take the A-1 highway, make a turn at the Ogulin, Otočac or the Gospić exit.

What to Wear and What to Bring?

Check the forecast before going to the park and dress according to the weather conditions.  In colder months, it is recommended to wear multiple layers.  In Summer bring a light jacket, just in case.

The park has a lot of snack stands, so you can get everything you need there – food, drinks, etc.  During the Summer, make sure to carry a bottle of water, especially when it’s too hot outside.

Where to Stay Overnight?

In the center of the park, around its largest lake Kozjak, there’s a hotel called ‘Jezero’ which has 210 rooms and 19 apartments.  You can also spend a night at the hotel ‘Plitvice,’ which has 51 units – 19 of which are deluxe rooms, 12 standard rooms, 20 economy type rooms, and a separate presidential suite.

There’s also a Bed & Breakfast available at the ‘Bellevue Hotel,’ which has 68 units – 48 double rooms, 15 twin rooms, and 6 single rooms.  If you want to stay in a smaller hotel, ‘Grabovac‘ on the north side of the park might be the right choice.

Camping is not allowed inside the park, but you can spend the night at one of the auto camp parks, like Korana and Borje.’ 

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia - Global StorybookWhere to Eat?

If you want to try some homemade specialties such as lamb meat with potato chips, or some famous homemade desserts, visit the local restaurant called Lička kuća It serves our national dishes in the authentic rustic settings.  This two-story restaurant is located along the State Road DC429 and has a capacity of 270 seats.  It’s also very popular for business parties.

You can also enjoy beautiful homemade cooking at the ‘Poljana’ restaurant located at Velika Poljana near the southern entrance (Entrance 2) to the Park.  If you want to grab something on the go, visit Kozjačka draga located on the shore of the largest lake in the park, which also happens to be an ideal place for a picnic.

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