Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
So I have a confession…I actually never knew Croatia even existed up until a few years ago. Croatia was not a destination ever on my radar, but I slowly started hearing more about it and seeing travel photos from people (especially on Instagram). After seeing some gorgeous images of the waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes, Croatia rose to the top of my list of places I wanted to visit.
Plitvice Lakes is the largest national park in Croatia and a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s about an hour bus ride away from the capital, Zagreb. There are buses that run regularly from all the major cities, as it is one of the biggest attractions of Croatia. Minh and I took an early morning bus from Zagreb to Plitvice.
While waiting in line to purchase our ticket there were a bunch of cameras and a news crew filming the ticket counter. It looked like they were waiting for someone important as one worker was holding a giant teddy bear to give to someone. After we went into the park, we heard a bunch of commotion and cameras going off. We turn to look at the ticket counter and everyone is surrounding a couple, who were on the same bus as we were, buying their tickets. The girl ends up getting the giant teddy bear and there’s a huge crowd surrounding them. Are they celebrities? If they were, why would they be taking a bus from Zagreb to Plitvice, wouldn’t they have private transportation? Haha. We think it might be like a millionth visitor thing or something, as we later saw camera crews focusing on someone else giving an interview in the park, while the couple stood to the side. Darn, could have been Minh and I, just a few people too early! Heh.
After making our way past the commotion, we were finally able to see the stunningly beautiful and massive park. Plitvice is such a gorgeous place. It has lots of waterfalls everywhere, and you can even see fish swimming in the magical blue waters! The water really is that bright aquamarine color and isn’t photoshopped!
Even the walkways throughout the park are beautiful
There are various trails throughout the park with posted signs. Be aware though, if you want a physical map of the trails, you’ll have to pay for them. It’s not necessary to buy it though. There are large posted maps of the trails outside the park that you can take a picture of, or just look it up online and download it to your phone before getting to the park. You can also just decide on a trail prior to going in and follow the posted signs.
The pictures don’t really do it justice and is definitely a place worth visiting. Minh and I opted for a daytrip, but if you want to explore the entire park, you’ll need more than a day. There are actually 16 lakes in the park!
I would recommend going really early or waiting until later in the day as there are a lot of large bus loads of tours that come to this park. It can get really annoying trying to walk on the pathways, as they are really narrow and makes it really difficult to bypass people who are stopping to take pictures (meaning basically everyone…so you’re stopping every few steps!). If you want to get a good photo with nobody in it, you’ll be waiting quite a while during peak tour times!
While waiting for our return bus to Zagreb, a kitty approached me and sat on my lap. For some reason cats can really sense the cat lady in me or something, because it went straight to me and nobody else. He also fell asleep in my lap for a good 20 minutes. The stray cats I’ve encountered on our travels are so friendly and sweet and not afraid of people like the ones back home.
Plitvice Lakes Tips: Go early in the morning or later in the evening if you want to be able to take any decent photos and walk freely on the pathways. Don’t bother buying the trail maps, just download it prior to going or take a picture with your phone right before entering the park!Two Peas Travel Tip
Plitvice National Park is a place I’d recommend visiting at least once in your lifetime. It’s one of those magnificent natural wonders that really makes you appreciate the beauty of mother nature. Lastly, here’s a video of some of our walk through Plitvice Lakes, hope you enjoy!