Wandering through the fairytale Plitvice Lakes National Park
Coming from Krka National Park, we get to the Plitvice Lakes National Park entrance around 9 a.m. and after parking the car, we are ready to explore this Croatian wonder.
Starting from the entrance 1 there is a choice of 5 touristic sightseeing programs named A-B-C-E-K. After studying a bit the map and the trails, since we have one day an half to spend in the park, we decide to split the visit of the lower and upper lakes and take it easy without rushing.
Today our program will be the trail B, whereas tomorrow we’ll hike through the trail E from entrance 2.
The trail B includes the visit of the lower lakes and a boat ride crossing the big lake Kozjak. From the top of the mountain where the entrance is located, we start descending into the canyon and the view is already breathtaking.
In front of us the wonderful view of the Veliki Slap, known as the big waterfall, and some other falls at the edge of the lake Novakovica (pic below), the lowest and latest of the park, located on an altitude of 503 meters above the sea level.
This is the right moment to take pictures but step by step, going on along the path, we’ll realize that is quite impossible to stop clicking. Following the trail and crossing a boardwalk lining the Kaluderovac and Novakovica lakes, we get to the bottom of the Big Waterfall.
This part is very exciting because the boardwalk passes by and over the left side of a series of waterfalls at the edge of the lake Novakovica. Here again with the pictures! Ok..we should stop a bit now.
Turning back on the path, the boardwalk lines the upper part of the Kaluderovac lake and, after passing a cool serious of small waterfalls at the end of the lake, we reach the lake Gavanovac.
Every now and then we take our rest to stare at the beautiful landscape surrounding the lakes area and obviously, the camera is always …at work!
The trail goes on lining the lake Milanovac where the big wall of the mountain on the opposite side mirrors its shape in the clear and green water of the lake.
After 1 hour and a half, still thinking to be in a fairy tale, we reach the small bridge that leads to the Kozjak lake and the docking area named P3.
Here at P3 there are 2 small restaurants, a bar, the toilets and a big meadow where you can take your rest and take the sun lied on the grass.
Since it’s almost noon and we are already hungry, we buy a burger with fries and with the full stomach we lie on the grass resting.
Around 1 pm, we decide to follow a path out of the park to see the lower lakes from the top of the mountains until the cool viewpoint on the “Big waterfall” and another one facing the series of waterfalls (pic nr.1) at the edge of Novakovica lake , the lake itself and the lake Kaluderovac.
The woman at the ticket office showed us the pic on the map taken from that viewpoint (pic nr. 1) and suggested us to go. Of course, we go! it’s stunning!!!
From the P3 area, we go back for a few meters until we reach the tarred road, here, turning left and following the ascent for 20 minutes, we get to a small secondary exit of the park with a small house and a metal bar.
Overstepping the metal bar we are now out of the park (don’t forget your ticket), then we continue to follow the tarred road on the right side until (after only 300 meters) we notice a dirt path on our right in the middle of the forest (it’s not marked).
We immediately find a junction but we first follow the right one that leads in just a minute to a wonderful viewpoint on the lake Milanovac (pic above).
After taking some pics, we turn back following the other part of the path that basically lines the tarred road in the middle of the forest.
Stopping every now an then at the different viewpoints on the lower lakes, in 20 minutes we get to the Big waterfall viewpoint.
Our hike does not end here, so we walk on for a few minutes until we reach the tarred road, then we proceed on the right until we get to a small wooden bridge.
Right after the bridge, on the right side, there is short dirt path that leads to one of the most wonderful sights of the park: the view of the series of cascades at the edge of the Novakovica lake, the lake itself and the lake Kaluderovac.
We are really satisfied because the view was worth the effort! Going back on the tarred road (the whole visit it takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes with a normal pace), in almost 30 minutes we get again to the second exit where the ranger check our ticket, then we go straight to the P3 dock for our boat ride on the Kozjak lake.
The ride takes 30 minutes and it is very relaxing and peaceful. Kozjak lake is very huge and surrounded by green hills and in the middle, there is an Island called Štefanijin.
Disembarked at the dock P1 (15 min walk from the entrance 2), we are not tired yet to jump out of the park, then we decide to walk from the dock P1 to the Kozjak small bridge following a path that lies the lower shore of the Kozjak lake (it takes 30 minutes).
Before reaching the small bridge, there are the signs of the last part of the trail A, a path that first climb up the mountain until it becomes flat and arrives at the entrance 1.
We hike along this uphill path and once got the top of the mountain (close to the shuttle bus stop ST1), the path become flat. Going on through it, we can admire some very stunning viewpoints on the lower lakes (pic below).
After a long and wonderful day, we finally reach the entrance 1. It’s almost 6.30 pm and …yes…. now we tired and it’s time to get to our accommodation in Grabovac.
Once got the B&B, the owner suggests us to have the dinner in Slunj, a small town with a very beautiful and peaceful historic centre named Rastoke where we can find some restaurants along the Korana river.
In the end, it was a very great tip because the place was really peaceful and lovely and the restaurant “Petro” very great.
We reach the entrance 2 at 8.30 am and after having breakfast at the bar, we go straight to the dock P1.
In 5 minutes we get the dock P2 by boat and from here it starts the program of the day, the trail E.
The path is wonderful and lines all the upper lakes Burgeti, Gradinsko, Galovac and others smaller, passing by a series of so cool waterfalls that link the lakes themselves.
The big one next to the lake Gradinsko is wonderful and it is so powerful that we get a bit wet as the “tremendous” sprays that also create a colourful rainbow.
After more than 2 hours we get to the right edge of Proscansko lake where we find a bar, toilets and the shuttle bus stop named ST3.
We could walk from here to the P2 dock following the path on the opposite side of the upper lakes but it is enough, the visit was wonderful and we decide to take the shuttle bus towards the entrance 2.
It’s almost noon so we take our lunch next to the entrance then, back to the car, we go on with our trip around Croatia proceeding to Zagreb.
In the end, it was once of the most beautiful National Park we have seen around Europe for its landscapes, its relaxing and fairy atmosphere, so, with no doubt, a day in the future we ‘ll be here again to enjoy this wonder of nature.
See you Plitvice!
Need to Know
Next to the ticket office at entrance 1 and next to entrance 2 there is an information centre where you can buy the map and get all the information you need to enjoy the park and get the most out of it. In case, there is also a currency exchange shop, a mini-market and souvenir shop.
Ticket fares and opening time
Click here to know the opening times and fares.
Facilities in the park
You’ll find restaurants next to the main entrances and at P3 docking area. Bar and toilets at the main entrances, at P3 docking area and at ST3.
Once in the park, you can organize many different amazing activities/tours such panoramic boat ride, bike tour, kayak safari, walking or guided tour and many other options. Have a look and book your activities/tour on Viator or GetYourGuide.
Where to sleep and eat outside the park
About eating, you’ll find restaurants in these towns as well or along the road. If you are not tired, we suggest having your dinner in Slunj. Here the wonderful tiny historic city centre (called Rastoke) is a very peaceful and relaxing area, where you’ll find restaurants and accommodations along the Korana river. We had a great dinner at Petro Restaurant.
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