At the time of this post HRK 1 = USD 0.16
Thanks to Instagram I had been wanting to visit this national park for over a year and it was high up on my bucket list. It is recommended to check this place out in fall and winter too, which gives me an excuse to go back.
At the time trying to figure out how to get to Plitvice Lakes by booking a bus in advance was an absolute nightmare. I had read well over 10 blogs, contacted the national park, and the Zagreb bus station, and they all informed me that I had to buy my tickets at the station but could not guarantee a spot on the bus, which is worrying when you only have a few limited days. But thanks to Flixbus, you can now book bus tickets to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
My brother and I bought or bus tickets the night before at the main terminal station. The bus costs HRK 100 this and we arrived at 06:00 for the 06:30 bus planning to spend the whole day at the national park. They have 5 plus routes you can take which range from 3km (1.8mi) to 18km (11.3mi). We took the longest route (Trail C), which ignores lake 1. You can see the list of trail options here. This also has a nice long boat ride, we didn’t get on the train.
We arrived at 09:30 (3-hour bus ride), most people on the bus got off at the first entrance, the driver then said after everyone got off that he doesn’t recommend the first stop because the line to get tickets can take up to two hours. Plus you end up walking more along the main lake (or wait in line for the train) and this portion of the walk doesn’t have too many waterfalls (according to the driver). Luckily we stayed on and got off at the next stop. We bought our tickets when we arrived, the line took about twenty minutes and the cost for entry is HRK 80.
After paying to enter, we walked up the road to the hiking entrance, this merges with the walking entrance but doesn’t require you to take the boat across the lake. This might be why a lot of people get off at entrance 1. The hiking path portion is easy, you get the view of a few small lakes and then meet up with the walking path. Starting off the path you have a view of a big lake and crystal clear water. As you continue along the hiking path there are a few small waterfalls.
Once we made it down to Lake 1 to turn around and head down the walking path towards Lake 3 we started to see some awesome waterfalls. The entire time you’re in the park you hear running water, it is so peaceful. We passed so many lakes that are deep with crystal clear water that made me want to jump in, but unfortunately, you can’t swim in any of the lakes. We arrived at the boat launch which I thought we had lunch nearby but I don’t see a restaurant on the map.
After taking the boat across lake 12, we started making our way to the big waterfall which is number 22 and 23 on the map. This is the slowest time you’ll spend at the park. This is where everyone goes and people stop along the walking path to take the famous Instagram photo which I just skipped and walked by everyone because it was taking forever.
Plus the real photo is at the end (or beginning depending on what route you take). The path back to entrance one goes uphill and when you’re at the top, you can get the second famous IG photo overlooking the walking path splitting the lakes. We then took the next bus back to Zagreb and paid as we got on the bus, there was no need to get this in advance the bus was practically empty. You will need cash to do this, and it costs HRK 100.
This was a great experience, and I highly recommend it. I look forward to going back to Croatia someday so I can visit this park in the fall and winter. If you’ve been to the park I would love to hear your experience in the comments, if you’re curious about the park, let me know, glad to help!