Is Plitvice Lakes Worth Visiting? Reasons To Visit These Waterfalls

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

If you’re planning a trip to Croatia, chances are you’ve heard about the stunning natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park.

As a local of Croatia, I have been asked countless times whether Plitvice or Krka National Park is the better destination. After exploring both parks many times, I can confidently say that Plitvice Lakes is one of the most unique and unique places to visit in Croatia.

Here is why it’s absolutely worth visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park this year.

Croatia Travel Blog_Is It Worth Visiting Plitvice Lakes

Is Plitvice Lakes Worth Visiting? Yes, Here’s Why Its Worth A Visit 

Located along the lower lakes, Plitvice Lakes National Park covers an expansive area and encompasses 16 interconnected lakes. Let me assure you that this national park is worth every bit of the hype. The park opens its doors to you all year round, meaning you can add it to your itinerary no matter the season.

But what makes Plitvice Lakes so special? Here is why the Plitvice National Park is worth visiting…

1. Embrace The Sensational Scenery & Turquoise Waters

A rushing stream flows into a serene turquoise lake surrounded by lush green foliage at the breathtaking Plitvice Lakes, making it undoubtedly worth visiting.

Prepare to be mesmerized by the exquisite scenery that awaits you at Plitvice Lakes. The park is home to a series of goregos lakes, waterfalls, and streams, with 16 terraced lakes joined by waterfalls that extend into a limestone canyon. The vivid blue-green upper and lower lakes are some of the most photographed scenes in Europe and will leave you in awe.

2. Discover An Oasis Of Biodiversity

Clear turquoise lake, reminiscent of Plitvice Lakes, with fish swimming near the surface next to wooden walkway and reeds.

Plitvice Lakes is not only a visual marvel but also a haven for biodiversity. Explore its rich ecosystems, home to various plant and animal species, some of which are endemic or rare. Whether you’re an enthusiast of wildlife or botany, this park offers a captivating opportunity to connect with nature.

3. Immerse Yourself In Nature Through Hiking And Walking Trails

Group of visitors on a wooden walkway by a turquoise lake with a rocky cliff in the background, illustrating why Plitvice Lakes is worth visiting.

Get ready to hit the trails! Plitvice Lakes National Park offers numerous hiking and easy walking trails that meander around the lakes and waterfalls, catering to all levels of hikers. Whether you embark on the upper or lower lakes routes, you’ll have the chance to explore the park’s natural attractiveness at your own pace.

4. Learn And Appreciate Nature’s Wonders

Wooden walkway beside a lush, moss-covered cascade in Plitvice Lakes, a vibrant green forest setting.

Plitvice Lakes National Park is not only a natural wonder but also an educational journey. Gain insights into the park’s geological history and the ongoing process of travertine barrier formation. This exceptional destination is an excellent place for both adults and children to learn about nature conservation, geology, and ecology.

5. Experience The Ever-Changing Beauty In Every Season

Snow in Croatia at Plitvice waterfalls, Croatia.

Each season unveils a unique and captivating side of Plitvice Lakes. From the lush greens of spring to the vibrant colors of autumn, the frozen waterfalls in winter, and the refreshing spray of the falls in the summer months, every visit offers a new and enchanting experience. No matter the time of year, Plitvice Lakes will leave you in awe.

6. Capture Unforgettable Moments With Your Camera

Sunrise over a tranquil lake with a small forested island in the center of Plitvice Lakes.

Calling all photography enthusiasts! Plitvice Lakes is a paradise for capturing dazzling shots. The ever-changing landscape, the captivating play of light on the water, and the sheer scale of natural charm provide endless opportunities for stunning photographs. Your camera won’t leave your hands!

7. Find Peace And Tranquility In Nature’s Embrace

Escape the chaos of city life and find serenity amidst nature at Plitvice Lakes. The sound of waterfalls, the calming natural setting, and the absence of urban distractions create a peaceful retreat. Allow yourself to unwind and recharge in this idyllic environment.

8 Discover Unique Experiences Through A Boat Ride

Plitvice Lakes National Park offers unique ways to explore its astonishing landscape. Hop aboard a boat to glide through the turquoise waters of the lakes to enjoy a different perspective. These experiences add a touch of magic to your visit, ensuring lasting memories.

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History Of Plitvice Lakes Waterfalls

A scenic view of Plitvice Lakes, featuring waterfalls with lush vegetation alongside a wooden boardwalk.

Plitvice Lakes National Park holds the distinction of being Croatia’s first national park, making it the oldest national park, founded in 1949.

It is also one of the most mesmerizing places in Croatia, and it has a remarkable story.

The discovery of Plitvice Lakes is attributed to the efforts of nature enthusiasts and explorers. It was first brought to wider attention in the late 19th century by an enterprising Austrian cartographer named Oskar Schabacher. He recognized the exceptional natural allure of the area and played a crucial role in popularizing it as a tourist destination.

In terms of age, the geological formation of Plitvice Lakes began thousands of years ago. The park’s distinctive features, such as the cascading waterfalls and interconnected lakes, were shaped by the natural processes of limestone dissolution and deposition.

Plitvice Lakes National Park has not only captured the hearts of visitors but also earned global recognition. In 1979, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This prestigious distinction highlights the exceptional universal value of the park’s natural and cultural significance.

Practical Tips For Visiting Plitvice Lakes

A serene waterfall amid lush greenery in a forest setting at Plitvice Lakes.

When visiting Plitvice Lakes, it’s essential to plan your trip well to make the most of your experience. Choosing the right time to visit is crucial to avoid the crowds and maximize your enjoyment of the park’s natural beauty.

Additionally, selecting the best route through the park will ensure that you see all the captivating scenery and attractions without feeling overwhelmed by the crowds or the complexities of navigating around.

Best Time To Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park

Wooden boardwalk winding through the lush green forest of Plitvice Lakes with vibrant undergrowth and a clear river.

Croatia’s most popular national park is open year-round, but for me, spring and fall are the best seasons to visit Plitvice Lakes. The water level is high, the weather is pleasant, the park is less crowded, and the colors are vibrant.


  1. High Water Level. Spring and fall provide a higher water level, making the lakes and waterfalls even more breathtaking
  2. Pleasant Weather. During spring and fall, the temperatures are comfortable for exploring, allowing for a more enjoyable experience
  3. Vibrant Colors. These seasons offer incredible displays of colorful foliage that enhance the natural splendor of the park
  4. Less Crowded. Compared to summer, spring and fall attract fewer explorers, providing a more peaceful and immersive experience in nature
  5. Pleasant Hiking Conditions. The moderate temperatures make hiking around the park more comfortable and enjoyable
  6. Photographers Paradise. Spring and fall offer excellent lighting conditions for photography enthusiasts seeking captivating shots of the landscape
  7. Wildlife Sightings. During these seasons, there are increased opportunities to spot diverse wildlife thriving in their natural habitat

That is not to say you can’t go to the park during the summer; just know that it can get crowded beyond belief—and it is not enjoyable. I did it once and will never do it again. 

Choosing The Right Route On Your Day Trip To Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park, home to the best Croatian waterfalls, Croatia.

To make the most of your visit to Plitvice Lakes, it’s crucial to choose the right route. Here are some tips to help you navigate the park effectively:

  1. Consider the upper and lower routes. The upper lakes offer elevated views of the lakes and waterfalls, while the lower routes provide a closer look at the cascading waters. Both routes have their own unique charm, so plan your itinerary based on your preferences
  2. Review the lake tour programs. There are seven suggested routes inside the park known as “Lake Tour Programs.” Each program varies in length and difficulty, catering to different interests and fitness levels
  3. Opt for less crowded paths. To avoid crowds, consider choosing routes that are less frequented by others. This can enhance your experience by providing a more serene and peaceful atmosphere while exploring the park’s natural wonders
  4. Plan according to the time available. Depending on how much time you have, select a route that aligns with your schedule. Some routes may require more time due to additional attractions or longer hiking trails

Avoiding Common Scams At National Parks In Croatia

Croatia walking Croatia - Woman walking in park, Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

When visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park or any national park in Croatia, it’s essential to be cautious of common scams to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are practical tips to avoid falling victim to scams:

  1. Purchase tickets only from authorized vendors at the park entrance to avoid counterfeit tickets or overpriced offers
  2. Keep an eye on personal belongings and valuables, especially in crowded areas, to prevent pickpocketing incidents
  3. Be wary of individuals offering unsolicited guiding services as they may not be official guides and could exploit you

Accommodation Near Plitvice Lakes

Do you want to splurge on your accommodation in Plitvice National Park, Croatia? Then, a few of these may tickle your fancy. 


Find Plitvice Hotels

Find the perfect place to stay in Plitvice Lakes, Croatia, using our map link below.

Click here to open a map of the top hotels at Plitvice Lakes National Park.

How To Get To Plitvice Lakes National Park 


To get to Plitvice Lakes National Park, you can follow these general directions:


The nearest airports are Zagreb Airport (ZAG) and Zadar Airport (ZAD). If arriving at Zagreb Airport, you can take a bus or rent a car to travel to Plitvice. If arriving at Zadar Airport, you can take a bus or book a transfer to Plitvice.

By Bus

Regular bus services connect major Croatian cities, such as Zagreb, Zadar, and Split, to Plitvice. You can also take a bus from the central bus station directly to Plitvice Lakes.

By Car

  • Plitvice Lakes National Park is located off the main A1 highway, approximately 130 km from Zagreb and 70 km from Zadar
  • If traveling from Zagreb, head south on the A1 motorway toward Zadar and take the exit for Plitvice Lakes (exit 1)
  • If traveling from Zadar, head north on the A1 motorway toward Zagreb and take the exit for Plitvice Lakes (exit 1)

Always check the latest schedules and transportation options, as they may change. It’s advisable to have a plan in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, and allow for extra travel time.

Final World On Your Visit To Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park CtD - 7

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Plitvice Lakes is a destination that simply can’t be missed. Located in central Croatia, this national park offers a unique adventure with its gorgeous turquoise lakes and magnificent waterfall formations, making it one of the largest and most beautiful parks in the country.

Exploring Plitvice Lakes is a treat for the senses, providing a peaceful haven where you can immerse yourself in the jaw-dropping scenery and discover the diverse wildlife that calls this place home.

Convenient boardwalks make navigating the park a breeze, ensuring that you have the best experience possible as you meander along the lakes and admire the captivating waterfalls.

Planning your visit well is key to fully appreciating the park’s wonders. Although this popular tourist attraction can get crowded, the awe-inspiring Veliki Slap, the largest waterfall in Plitvice, and other stunning waterfalls scattered throughout the park make it all worth it.

With an estimated visit time of 4-6 hours, you’ll have ample opportunity to explore and discover the park’s hidden gems.

Plitvice Lakes truly offers something for everyone. Whether you want to witness the serenity of nature up close or enjoy a wonderful time surrounded by tranquility, this national park has got you covered.

Don’t miss out on this incredible experience; Plitvice Lakes National Park is definitely worthy of a spot on your travel itinerary.

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