Plitvice Lakes Guide | Eat. Sleep. Enjoy. Plitvicka Jezera

Croatia is a country full of beauty wherever you look. From the gorgeous Dalmatian Coastline to the mountains across the way, there’s something for everyone to see. But, one of the most famous things in all of Croatia is Plitvice Lakes National Park. Being a huge tourist attraction, and in some ways a tourist trap, you need all the Plitvice Lakes tips you can get!


Plitvice Lakes National Park is the number one reason we visited Croatia. Ever since Jason’s high school days, he’s been dreaming of visiting Plitvice Lakes, so when the opportunity arose for us to visit, we had to jump on it! However, after visiting the park, we found it would have been nice to have a list of Plitvice Lakes tips before heading in thinking it was full of nothing but fairies and waterfalls! So obviously we made one for you!! We’re so excited for you to visit this beautiful part of the world, but be sure to read up on these Plitvice Lakes tips before making your way into the park.. Trust us here, it will be much more enjoyable!






Let the Tour Groups Pass

Yes, unfortunately, there are loads of tour groups waltzing through Plitvice Lakes. With the small trails and pathways to stick to, sometimes you can feel like you’re simply being herded like sheep. However, we found that if we simply stepped to the side and let the tour groups pass, it made for a much more enjoyable experience.


Find a Private Area for Picnic Lunch

In the middle of the park, at the ferry station P3, there’s a space that’s super open for lunch. With small shops and loads of picnic tables, you’ll find tons of people eating here. Instead of sitting in the midst of everyone, walk just past the ferry dock and find a private place to sit and enjoy your lunch! Alternatively, you can wait till after the ferry crossing and head up the stairs on the right up past the lakes. There’s a gorgeous viewpoint with a bench where you can enjoy lunch!

{Traveler’s Tip… Stop in Korenica at the supermarket called Konzum before going into the park. Here you’ll be able to buy your own lunch stuff at a much cheaper price than in the park!}  

Don’t Try and Squeeze It All In

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a huge national park! If you find yourself feeling sluggish, or like you’re going through the motions and not enjoying it, slow down and soak it in. Don’t feel like you have to see every little bit of the park.

{Traveler’s Tip… Enter the park at Entrance One. This is where the more stunning falls are, and where you’ll probably want to spend most of your time.}


Spread Your Visit Out Over Two Days

If you do really want to see every little bit of the park, spread your visit out over two days. There’s really so much to see, and honestly, unless you’re running through the park, there won’t be enough time to really enjoy it all in one day.


Stop and Enjoy the Beauty Other Than the Waterfalls

Plitvice Lakes is a gorgeous place outside of just the waterfalls. With flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, and beautiful plants, there’s so much to see other than just the falls. Don’t forget to slow down and enjoy this beauty of the park as well!


Pack Snacks

Trust us here… bring more food and drinks than you think you need!! I mean, not so much that you’re lugging around a ton of extra weight, but enough to give you boosts of energy throughout the day! You’ll be walking a lot and likely in the sun, so your energy is going to be spent fast! We suggest bringing some kind of sweet treat like chocolate with nuts in it to give you that little extra boost!

{Traveler’s TipThis water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours.. like ice cold. There’s nothing better than a nice cold drink on a hot day in the park!}



Get in Early

Getting into the park early and staying late will allow you some time without the tour groups. With how big the park is, you’re going to want as much time there as possible, so get in as early as you can. And hey, if you get tired because you got there too early, you can always take a nap in the shade somewhere!


Take the Ferry

Once you finish the lower loop to the park, you can catch the ferry to the upper lakes. This ferry will save your legs and loads of time on the trail. Lines for the ferry can be extremely long in the high season, so be prepared to wait a bit, or better yet, ask how long the wait is and see if taking the trail will actually be quicker! You can take the ferry from P3 to P2, before walking the upper lakes and taking the train back!


Take the Train… Which is Actually a Bus

After finishing up the lower lakes, and then heading to the upper lakes, you can take a train from Station 3 all the way to Station 1. From here, it’s a short walk back to entrance one, where you’ll have a great view from above the lakes the entire way!

{Traveler’s Tip… The walk from Station 1 to Entrance 1 is along the K trail, this is where the most famous picture of Plitvice Lakes is taken.}




Avoid Paying for Parking by Staying at a Place with a Shuttle

As if the park isn’t making enough money from the tickets themselves, once you arrive at the park you have to pay for parking. To avoid paying for parking, book accommodation that either has a shuttle service to the park or that is within walking distance from the park itself.

{Traveler’s TipBungalows Korana is the perfect place to stay and save money on accommodation too! They’re darling little cabins, with free parking, breakfast, and a shuttle service!}


Pack Your Own Lunch, Snacks, and Drinks

Let’s just say that buying food and drinks in the park is not the best way to spend your money! Head to the grocery store in Korenica before making your way to the park and stock up on drinks and food.

{Traveler’s Tip… We recommend visiting Konzum. While we don’t typically recommend visiting chain grocery stores, the workers at the local grocery store didn’t seem very happy to have us there.}

Ferry and Train Are Included

If you’re taking a tour from one of the bigger cities outside of Plitvice Lakes, the tour agents typically use the inclusion of tickets for both the ferry and train as selling points. Don’t be fooled… These are included in your park ticket already. You’ll get one ferry ride (which will be stamped) and a train ride through all the stations (ours wasn’t stamped) printed on your park ticket. Don’t pay anything extra for them!


Eat Outside of the Park

Prices in the park and right around the park are quite expensive, but if you can hold off and drive just a few minutes down the road, you’ll find better prices and in our opinion better food as well just down the road.

{Traveler’s Tip… Eat at Vila Velebita about ten minutes down the road from Entrance One to Plitvice Lakes. The staff are lovely, the food is amazing and they really take the time to stop and talk with you about your time in Croatia. Expect to pay about 100 HKN (16 USD) per person for a meal like this photo, bread, and dessert!}




Understanding the Park

The trails and stations we talked about above will make sense when you get your ticket with the park map on the back. For a more detailed map that you can use offline, check out this post. Using this map app will really help with distances from one place to another, and seeing where the different viewpoints are.


There Are Loads of Stairs

While you won’t be going up and down stairs all day long, there are loads of stairs scattered throughout the park. We wouldn’t recommend bringing a stroller here, as it wouldn’t be nice carrying it up and down the stairs!


You Can’t Actually Get In

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a protected area, and the water is crystal clear. That being said, people are not allowed to get in the water, if so, it wouldn’t stay as gorgeous as it is. If you’re looking for a park to being able to swim at checkout Krka National Park instead!


There’s Hardly Any Railings

In most places along the water, you won’t find any railing protecting you and your children from falling in. This can be a bit sketchy when crowds of people are pushing by to rush to the next fall. Be sure to be aware of where you’re stepping and how far you’re leaning over to get that perfect picture.. Heather nearly fell in!!


Recommended Gear for Plitvice Lakes National Park



All the photos and video in this post were taken on this camera using this lens. While we love this setup, we know it’s not for everyone. If you’re not into carrying around a large camera, a point and shoot will do! We definitely recommend bringing a waterproof camera for those underwater pictures, or a waterproof case for your phone!


If you’re not visiting in the high season, you may want to consider bringing a poncho. This way it doesn’t take up much space, but definitely keeps you dry if the rain comes! We didn’t bring one with us, however, our most recent #arboursabroadtraveler needed one when she visited this park.


This backpack is the perfect bag if you’re traveling with camera gear or want a discrete nice backpacking backpack. If you’re traveling with more than what would fit in that backpack, we recommend bringing a day-bag like this one to carry your belongings at the national park.

Water Bottle:

We can’t recommend this water bottle enough. It keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot for up to eight. No matter what time of year you’re visiting this water bottle is perfect for the cold and hot days in the park!



We’re so excited for you to go to Plitvice Lakes National Park. It really is a beautiful slice of paradise, once you get past the crowds! Be sure to slow down and enjoy your time there!

As always, if you have any more questions, or want to add something extra for other readers, let us know in the comments below!

If you’re interested in more on Croatia, don’t forget to read more of our Croatia travel tips and advice here.


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*Prices and experiences are from our trip to Plitvice Lakes in May 2017. If anything has changed since then, please let us know!
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