Plitvice Lake National Park, Croatia – Best Stunning Waterfall Wonderland

Exploring Plitvice Lakes

The Drive

A cross country road trip from Slovenia to Croatia got me and my better half all excited. In our 6-hr long drive we sang endless songs, discussed our plans for life, and took plenty of wrong turns😊 Well! all the talking got both of us supremely hungry so we decided to get lunch in the bustling port town of Rijeka. We stopped by a Tavern called Konoba Tarsa who was serving Croatian and central European food. We suggest you try the snails, the stuffed turkey with homemade gnocchi and the lamb stew pot. The meal was hearty and delicious.

Croatian Villages
Forever chasing sunsets

Back on the road the Croatian countryside was filled with medieval small villages, rustic homes, charming locals, and corn crops as far and wide as your eyes could see.

Croatia Maize harvest
Maize being harvested by locals

We took lots of pit stops in calm slow-paced villages looking at harvested corn being made ready to be sent to the central markets. The next thing I knew, locals were welcoming us into their homes with exuberance. We barely understood each other but the language of emotions connected us, nevertheless. That was my Ichigo Ichie right there – no past, no future. Just alive in the present; admiring the grape vines, foraging for ripe grapes, sitting underneath the shadow having a picnic of sorts with grapes, bread, cheese celebrating life, talking, and connecting with the locals.

The roads beckoned us to continue as the sun was just on the horizon but about to set soon, so we said our goodbyes to the lovely people continuing our journey towards Plitvice Lakes. We reached well past dinner time and crashed landed in our bed only to wake up the next morning.


With Schengen visa you can enter, stay, transit in or through Croatia without the need for any additional visa for tourism purposes. The only caveat is to have a dual or multiple entry Schengen visa. At the Slovenia-Croatia border we spent as little as 10 mins to have our visas stamped and, on our way, to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Renting a car

As Slovenia-Croatia was part of our first epic road trip in Europe. We drove down from Slovenia to Croatia. We rented a Skoda Fabia in Slovenia through Sixt. A comfortable car will cost about 12-14 Euro/day. Loved the service of Sixt and hence recommend it.
Pro Tip: Pre-booking the car is advisable as the rates are lower than on the spot bookings. 

Suggested Itinerary:

Day 1: Drive from Slovenia to Croatia via Rijeka to reach Plitvice Lake National Park

Day 2 & 3: Explore Plitvice Lake National Park

Day 4: Drive back to Slovenia

Tips for visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park

  1. Go to the park at the opening time to experience the boardwalk trails with quiet calm moments and being one with nature
  2. Go to the park post September if you are keen to see the park dressed in the beautiful autumn colors. Spring is another good time to visit the park. 
  3. The park entrance fee is about 30 Eur for a 2-day ticket. A two-day combined ticket costs lesser. Valid for multiple entry and exits to the park.
  4. The entrance fee covers all the costs – Walking, hiking, transportation by bus, boats within the park. Only food is not included.
  5. If you are a student do remember to bring your Student ID as the entrance fees are much lower
  6. Carry a good backpack with essentials like water, jacket, snacks
  7. Wear good comfortable walking shoes 
  8. Bring lunch, there are a few spots where you could have a lunch picnic in the park. You could also choose to buy lunch at multiple kiosks too.
  9. Stay overnight near the park. That way you can get to the park early in the morning. We stayed at Vila Vuk with just a 15 mins walking distance from the park.

The Walk

Plitvice Lakes in Autumn
Autumn Wonderland

The only reason Croatia first came up on our list was because of the momentous waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes. So, what makes Plitvice so special, you ask? The park is the oldest and largest spread over 300 square kilometers. Made up of 16 lakes that cascade and intertwine into each other forming some of the most beautiful waterfalls you’ll ever see. Throughout Plitvice you have a constant companion of water gurgling sounds, either slowly dripping or massive water gushing waterfalls. 

How to explore Plitvice Lakes
Fascinating to watch the complex intertwined connected lakes 

Plitvice lakes is like the Garden of Eden. The bountiful national parks’ typography is such a treasure. Diverse in flora and fauna, it looks like a paradise on earth. It was very early on in the 1940s recognised as a national park protecting the plant and animal life in and around the park. The UNESCO World Heritage site listed it in the 1970s protecting it even further.

Magic of Plitvice Lakes
pan your eyes across this Calm, Serene, and Beautiful landscape

The landscape changes across all seasons of the year. It would be a grave disservice if I told you which season to go in when I have not experienced it myself. I chose to see Plitvice Lakes in autumn. Boy oh boy! Its exceptional natural beauty was a sight to behold -as we walked on a golden carpet of leaves lining the boardwalk beneath my feet. And right there I made a wish to live in autumn wonderlands for all my days to come.

Ichigo ichie Life
What a lovely Ichigo Ichie moment!

The boardwalk trails make you one with nature, getting lost in shades of emerald green blue waters, walking on crunchy autumn leaves filled with crimson yellow hues. Our walks took us to unexplored lesser known boardwalk trails with the beautiful views that took our breath away. The sheets of azure and turquoise water so crystal-clear you can see your own reflection with clarity. The waterfalls however small were intertwined like a complex web forging their own paths. In various stretches of the park we walked right above the waterfalls. It was almost like moon walking over waterfalls. At every nook and corner throughout the park we were greeted with a waterfall each more splendid than the last. The last being Veliki Slap (Great Waterfall) with a stunning drop of 255 ft – the fall so strong that you get a pleasing mist spray as you walk and admire its majestic beauty. 

Photographer in Plitvice Lakes
Completely lost in the moment perfecting his craft

We entered the park as the very first few and left the park as very last few. We were very excited to go the next day for the K Program for a full day hike through the entire park but for now, we just needed to shower and lovely early dinner.

We recommend House Katarina for a lovely dinner. The menu is limited with a limited selection to choose from. We ate grilled trout and mixed meat grilled on a salad. Cooked to perfection with subtle flavors. The cheese bread platter and strudel were scrumptious.

The next day we were acclimated to the boardwalks and the park, hence we had much more time to slow down, pause, wander, reflect and have soul searching talks. Though the K program was intense but it gave us an opportunity to view the natural beauty once again in all its crimson emerald glory.

Mesmerizing emerald green blue waters Plitvice Lakes
Mesmerizing emerald green blue waters

Our view on how to cover Plitvice Lakes National Park

The park is gigantic and obviously you want to see it all. You can enter the park through Entrance 1 or Entrance 2. We recommend entering the park through Entrance 1 especially if you are there first thing in the morning at 7am for the park opening. That should give you atleast 3 hours for the park to be all to yourself. There are seven routes called programs that run through the park. You can choose to do all or do only a few depending upon your energy levels, enthusiasm, the time you have and the starting point you choose. The best guidance you will get from the Plitvice Lakes team with Maps here.

  1. Programs A, B, and C all start at Entrance 1. 
  2. Programs E, F and H all start at Entrance 2 and they travel in the opposite direction. 
  3. Program K is a full day hike through the entire park.

It is worth a visit to both the lower and the upper lakes. Our recommendation is to do the Program C (from Entrance 1) or Program H (from Entrance 2). Do both the routes you will love to see the different perspectives it offers to viewing the park. 

Over the course of the day we walked on a lot of boardwalk trails in both directions, used the shuttle bus, hopped on to an electric boat to cross the lakes and explored various viewpoints. The next day you can cover program K taking you through the entire park.

Magical postcard from Plitvice Lakes National Park
Magical postcard from Plitvice Lakes National Park

Tell us about the scenic spots you loved the most!

PS: My request to please ‘Stay on the Path’ respect nature to keep it bountiful for future generations to experience.

We drove down back to Slovenia on long winding roads passing through national parks, cliff views, sunset views, late lunches at Konoba Kostanjac and lots of Ice cream on our drive back to Slovenia 😊

If you found this informative or if it inspires you to live the Ichigo Ichie moment, let us know.
We will be overjoyed to hear!

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