When visiting this Unesco World Heritage site, and yes because it is on the world heritage list it is busy, prepare yourself for crowds, slow walkers and people who will take up an entire path just to take a photo, you may even be tempted to push them into the water for laughs (or maybe that’s just me), but do not let that put you off visiting this absolutely stunning piece of nature.
We took the bus from Zagreb, which was about 2.5 hours and we went early, leaving at 7:30 and arrive just before 10, the bus company was unorganised, to say the least, people were being swapped around buses etc but once we got going it was all good, the bus was clean and comfy and super easy, it dropped you off right at the front of entrance one into the waiting line to enter… To be honest, I think the later in the day you go the shorter the lines will be, just because most people get there early to give themselves time to walk the park, it just depends on how much time you want really. Entrance into the park was 150kn (£17ish) per person but that price does cover the electric ferry and the bus service they have within the park and so if you’ve bought your own food and water that’ll be the only money you shell out for the day.
There are 6 main walks each with a different walking time, depending on what entrance you start from and what you’re after from the park.
The walks starting from entrance 1 are as followed:
- A (2-3h) is lower parts of the national park, only walking
- B (3-4h) is the lower part of national park including sailing on lake Kozjak
- C (4-6h) Walking, bus to upper parts of the national park and sailing on lake Kozjak
- K (6-8h) Walking around the Whole national park.
And the walks from entrance 2 are as followed:
- E (2-3h) Upper parts of the national park, only walking
- F (3-4h) Like B tour. The only different starting point
- H (4-6h) Like C tour. The only different starting point
- K (6-8h) Walking around the whole national park.
We did walk C, which they recommend 4-6 hours from but really Lachy and I had finished it in just over 3 hours and we most definitely are not the fittest humans on this earth by any means, and this included a forced stop by me for food and coffee because I could definitely not handle a 3 hour walk uncaffinated and hungry. We had bought our own lunch but ended up buying a few things throughout the day, a couple of coffees, an ice cream each and some drinks but really other than the entrance fee we didn’t spend more than £10 the whole day…
Starting at entrance 1 you head immediately towards the big waterfall, let me tell you it was busy, there was a line curving around just to view the waterfall so we decided to skip it first up and come back if we had time (we did, it was much quieter at about 2pm).
As I said above your ticket includes the electric ferry that will take you from point 3 to point 2 or vice versa (depending on which entrance you take), you don’t need to take the ferry, you can walk the path but for people like me, the ferry was a welcome change. It was nice to sit and look around at the scenery, and if you can try and get a seat up the front for ultimate waterfall views, I, however, was one of the last people on the boat and so was stuck sitting in the middle of a row at the back 😦
As you walk around the park every few metres you come across a new waterfall, an incredible view or just something that will make you stop and appreciate how truly beautiful nature really can be, and as you get away from the shorter paths, the crowds get less and it gets quieter and you can actually hear the animals and breathe the fresh air and just enjoy it. The water is an absolutely incredible colour blue and ridiculously clear, honestly, it will make you want to jump right it, but don’t! Swimming is not allowed when at the park, which is slightly unfortunate because I can imagine on a hot day after walking for so long it’s all you’d wanna do!
As I said above we spent just over 3 hours walking. which left us with 3 hours to kill and so we went back and saw a few things we missed (like the big waterfall), hopped on the bus and rode it back to entrance one and then back again to entrance two. About 3pm it totally started pouring down with rain and so we took shelter in the little restaurant they had at entrance two and just killed time until it was time to get the bus back.
The journey back was about an hour longer than the journey there, we seemed to have gotten on a public bus that seemed to stop absolutely everywhere, which was a little annoying because by that point I just wanted dinner and to go to sleep, nevertheless, the trip out to Plitvice National Park was honestly amazing and something that you must do when coming to Croatia!