I found my kind of paradise in Plitvice Lakes. Lush landscape, greenery abounds with water gushing down the tumbling cascades at different elevations and into the green-hued lakes. Also known as “the land of falling lakes”, the gorgeous Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most beautiful places I have been. It sure took me a while to reach here from Dubrovnik but it’s absolutely worth the trip.
To be exact, a flight followed by two bus rides. I reached Zagreb Airport via Croatia Airlines, onwards to Zagreb Main Bus Station and finally to Plitvice Lakes.
I bought the bus ticket from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes.
I was overjoyed to see the bus stop! If you are unsure of where to alight, do inform the bus driver of your destination upon boarding the bus. As it was getting late, I decided to recharge at Plitvice Hotel and be among the first to visit the park during the early morning.
Woke up much early than usual and was in the park before the official opening time. Psst, I did look for the park ranger to buy my ticket at Plitvice Lakes entrance but none of them was around, which means err… ahem ahem free ahem…
Plitvice Lakes National Park is divided into Upper and Lower Lakes with two entrances leading into the park. Entrance 1 is nearest to the Lower Lakes while Entrance 2 is somewhat in the middle of both lake sections and nearest to Hotel Plitvice. I headed towards Lower Lakes nearest to Entrance 1 first, thinking it would get crowded later half of the morning since it’s so accessible.
Normally, I would be able to hop on to the electric boats to save me some walking. But since I am that early, none of the boats is running yet. In exchange, I get up close and personal with Mother Nature while trying to shed some excess weight on my body LOL.
The Lower Lakes of Plitvice
The slow walk to the lower lakes was a wonderful experience – very serene and picturesque surrounding. There wasn’t anyone else in the park…it’s almost like having the whole nature park to myself, although I was kinda freaked out by the ‘Beware of bear” warning signpost!!
Lo and behold, my first encounter with one the many waterfalls.
The turquoise-coloured water with a very inviting bench really makes me wanna stay here longer to enjoy this calming effect on the surrounding.
From here on, the thing becomes even more interesting where I get to see more waterfalls, almost every few steps apart is yet another one. Nice!!!
The path finally leads to the majestic Big Waterfall (Veliki Slap), the largest waterfall in Plitvice Lakes where water tumbles down from the height of 78 metres.
Be prepared to get wet if you venture too near and the ground around it is a little slippery.
How does anyone not fall in love with this amazing place? The photos taken by me don’t do any justice to the stunning landscape, you have to experience it on your own!!
The Upper Lakes of Plitvice
It started to drizzle just when I am about to make my way to the Upper Lakes. So I took the boat from P3 to P2 to save me from getting all wet and to experience cruising on the calm water.
The Upper Lakes area seems to be less enclosed and much wider when compared to the Lower Lakes. There also seem to be more wooden boardwalks around here too and by this time, the crowd has started streaming in despite the rain. So I raced ahead of the various tour groups while they are waiting for their guides.
Those wooden planks make it much harder to use the tripod as movements are unavoidable at times, I just can’t imagine how crowded it will be during summer months.
Just like its counterpart, the waterfalls around the Upper Lakes are equally as gorgeous.
I spent almost 6 hours in the park before collecting my backpack at Plitvice Hotel. The ‘water world’ experience around Plitvice Lakes National Park is almost surreal – peaceful surrounding (before it gets too crowded…), crystal clear lakes, gorgeous waterfalls and closeness to Mother Nature. This is definitely one of my personal favourites!!
STAY: Plitvice Hotel review
I booked this hotel mainly for its location – near to the entrance of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Getting to Plitvice Hotel is fairly easy too, within a short walking distance from the bus stop on the main road. The lobby looks quite modern but the room itself is more of a classic look with forest view. Also, the lack of lifts may prove to be troublesome for those with luggage.
The basic room is comfortable and functional for my one night stay. However, there isn’t much to do around here after dark and the choices of TV Channels ain’t helping either. The food in the restaurant for dinner was not too bad.
The map to Plitvice Lakes National Park is available for purchase at Plitvice Hotel. Yes, it’s not free.