Plitvice Lakes National Park: Destination #5
Plitvice Lakes left me absolutely speechless.
With the 16 terraced lakes and seemingly endless waterfalls, hiking in this park on the elevated wooden platforms above the water was one of those bucketlist moments that exceeded ALL of my expectations!
This UNESCO World Heritage site is quite possibly one of the most beautiful parks I have ever played my eyes on.
See for yourself!! 👀 ⬇️⬇️⬇️
Based on recommendations, we parked at entrance 1 and completed the route C (starting with Veliki Slap and waterfalls along the lower lakes).
On our way to the Veliki Slap waterfall (the big one!)… you can hear the roar of the rushing water and the wooden platform extends near the edge of the cascading waterfalls for views like THIS…
*Not going to lie, it was a littttle bit terrifying (but simultaneously awesome) to be standing on top of shaky wooden planks, with the force of rushing water from the Sastavci waterfall (26m/85ft) under your feet!
On the other side, you immediately come across this magnificent Veliki Slap waterfall measuring 78 meters tall (~256 feet).
Plitvice National Park is open 365 days of the year, rain or shine.
We were lucky to see the waterfalls truly FLOWING thanks to the on-and-off rain during the days before…. but the skies opened up and the sun peeked through which made all the waterfalls *extra* awesome!
It was definitely an incredible moment getting covered in waterfall mist, soaking in the rainbows! 🌈
After visiting Veliki Slap, we turned around and headed to explore more of the lower lakes before the crowds arrived.
Route C requires walking slightly uphill most of the way, but our views were walking TOWARDS the waterfalls.
In contrast, the opposite downhill direction will keep you turning around to view the waterfalls. Regardless, both trails are an amazing experience, but it was nice to always see the waterfalls in front of us.
After a break for some brunch, we took a boat to the other side of Kozjak Lake, then walked along the upper lakes and waterfalls.
It was so quiet and peaceful as we walked along the upper lakes!
So dreamy 😍
To put these waterfalls in size perspective: the Veliki Prštavac pictured above is 28m (~92ft) and the Mali Prštavac waterfall pictured below is 18m (~59ft)!
*Although swimming is NOT permitted here, you CAN swim in similar Krka National Park (only 2 hours away!).
The trails open at 7am in the summer (8am rest of the year), and get reallyyy busy by about 10am. Getting there earlier allows a much quieter, less crowded morning experience.
Our hike was capped with views of the Galovacčki Buk waterfall, which is situated in the heart of the upper lakes and is fed by inflow waters of Milino Lake and Gradinsko Lake.
Even the views headed back to the car are incredible!
Plitvice National Park is a MUST VISIT!
The Zrinka House rental deserves a rating of 10/10. 5 stars. 2 thumbs up — Zrinka’s House was *on point with their hospitality!
*Travel tip: Staying in Grabovac, Croatia (6 km drive from Entrance 1 allowed us to beat the crowd and tour bus swarms by a few hours!
At the suggestion of Ms. Zrinka, we ate dinner at Plum Bistro & Cafe in Grabovac the night before traveling to Plitvice National Park and it was delicious.
Zrinka and her daughter prepared an unlimited breakfast the next morning and allowed us to pack a lunch for our hike, which was super helpful.
Link to Zrinka House:
In our opinion, it was DEFINTIELY worth it to stay nearby the night before.
I look forward to the day I am able to explore this area again! 🇭🇷
Next stop –> Destination #6: Zadar, Croatia