At last, one of my most anticipated part of the trip: Plitvice National Park!
We took an early morning bus from Zagreb, and about 2.5 hours later, arrived at the park. Feeling much better today, thankfully!
If you look closely, you’ll see those tiny specks on the bridge- those are people! Be prepared to walk slowly..
If you’re looking for a place of solitude and to be one with nature, you’ve come to the right place. Just kidding. Even though high tourist season is over, the park is still very crowded. And by very crowded, it feels like you’re on the 405 on a Thursday afternoon in LA. Yes, it’s that crowded. Honestly, I was a tad bit disappointed as it was more touristy than I would have imagined, but then again, it’s easy to understand why- the landscape is beautiful here.
After hiking about halfway, and hopping off the boat, we grabbed ice cream and souvenirs from the gift shop. Here I am, cooling down with some vanilla/chocolate ice cream 🙂
The lakes are a sight to see- crystal green water glistening in the sun. Hundreds of fishes swimming along the sides of the boardwalk, along with hundreds of tourists walking along the boardwalk. Due to time constraints, we weren’t able to hike to upper lakes (which is supposed to offer the best view), but were able to hike around the lower lakes. At the end of our hike, we rested at a stop and grabbed ice cream to re-fuel. Tickets for the boat ride was already included with our entrance, so we decided to hop on for the 15-minute cruise. It wasn’t as exciting as the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, but relaxing enough. Minus, one of my pet peeve, pushy and inconsiderate tourists pushing and shoving to board the boat.
And apparently, Europeans love to smoke. Even while hiking at a national park. It’s interesting to see people be active, yet destroy their bodies (and everyone else’s) by smoking. Even older people smoke, another surprise to me. As an asthmatic, smoking disgusts me. If you’re going to smoke, do it at a destination smoking area. But in Croatia, seems that the entire country is a designated smoking area.
Overall, Plitivice is an amazing park that’s accessible for almost everyone, and its family friendly. The wooden boardwalk around the lakes makes it for an easy strolls, given you have enough time. And that’s perhaps why it’s Croatia’s number 1 visited site.
We stayed at Korana Campgrounds, just a few miles outside of the park.We reserved a single private cabin, which included 2 twin beds, a small table w/chair, and a closet. The cabin does have was electricity and outlets to charge your electronics. Although there was a window, it didn’t have a screen, so if you leave your window open at night (we did because it was hot), just be weary about the bugs. Tip: turn off the lights, bugs love lights.
It’s quite beautiful- miles of green rolling hills topped with red and brown fallen leaves. After unpacking, we walked to the on site restaurant and enjoyed a “somewhat” Croatian meal: cured meat (veal, chicken, pork), veggies, salad and spaghetti to start. I would have immensely enjoyed our bungalows (mini chain) much more if it had a screen to keep out the bugs. Although I love nature, I will probably never feel comfortable around them. Minus the bug issue, our stay here was much more pleasant than the Airbnb in Zagreb.
The communal restroom was only a few steps away from the cabins, so easily accessible. Hot showers and flush toilets available.
Breakfast at Plitvice
There are a couple of eateries inside the campground, including a full-service restaurant which we visited for dinner, a café for quick eats, and a bar. Breakfast was included with our stay, which was a great deal as our night stay. The continental breakfast included more cured meat, cheeses, fruit, assorted breads, sausage, cereal, pastries, juices and coffee. Finally feeling somewhat better, I grabbed a cup of “coffee milk” to go with my pastry. And then a cup of cappuccino. Energy, for the day.
Bus stop, where we waited to be picked up back to Korana Campground
Across the road is Entrance 1 to the park
Tips for anyone looking to visit:
- Arrive as early as possible! It’s very crowded, and you’ll have to wait in a long line to purchase entrance tickets upon arrival.
- Enter through entrance 1 to purchase ticket and store luggage
Store extra luggage (free) at entrance 1 near the ticket office
- Plan for at least one whole day at the park, there’s simple so much to see, and it wouldn’t be enjoyable to rush your experience
- Lodging: We camped at Korana Campground, which was a couple of miles down the road from the entrance of the park. There’s a bus that picks you up from the campground (although we arrived via a long distance bus directly to the park entrance), and pick up back to Korana is across the street from Entrance 1. The afternoon bus picks up only once, at 5:30pm, so make sure you plan ahead to make to back to the bus station in time. You probably could walk back to the campground, but it might be difficult if it gets dark, and I don’t remember if there’s exactly a walkway.
Crossing this one off the bucket list!
Next stop: Zadar!