This is the kind of place you could only dream about, stunning waterfalls, turquoise blue lakes and lush greenery. I would rate this as one of the most beautiful national parks in the entire world.
As my second time on Croatia I absolutely cannot miss out on visiting the world renowned lakes again. This was pretty much the only reason we stayed in Zadar; to do a day trip out to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
The 2 hour bus ride has pleasant panoramic views of the Croatian landscape, before we start carving our way into a little valley. Weare dropped off seemingly in the middle of the forest before we walked over to the visitor centre. If you are/were a student don’t forget to bring your student ID to save on park entry with concession tickets.
The magical waters when you first see them seem a little unreal at first, almost as if it the lakes were filled with blue gatorade. To preserve the beauty and cleanliness of the waters, no swimming is allowed. The shoreline is a great place to have a picnic, and had we known there were barbecues we might have brought some meats for a little lunch and some wines.
To start exporing the park and seeing some of the graceful waterfalls, you first take a shuttle boat to the other side of the big lake (there are several smaller ones), which puts you at the bottom of the waterfalls. The idea is that you walk past and make your way up all the waterfalls to the very top, where a shuttle bus will bring you back down to the visitor centre and then you can explore other waterfalls.
Some parts of the trail can get a little crowded at times with the amount of tourists taking pictures but overall it is not too bad once the crowd dissipates. Take your time and enjoy the views!
By the time we had walked up it was time for a bite to eat so we headed back on the bus winding its way back down to the visitor centre and then we walked down to the smaller lakes, but this one had the biggest waterfall of them all as it was fed from a massive cliff. We had some overpriced and bland sandwiches for lunch (our fault for not planning ahead) and started walking again. As you head down you will probably spot one of the famous views of the boardwalks and the lakes from above – pretty cool sight!
Take some snaps at the big waterfall before walking on the same boardwalks back to the shuttle boat that will take you back to the visitor centre and bus stop to end the day. Note that although the boats come frequently, they are quite small so long lines might develop for the boat and you could be waiting a long time to get on. Our bus was coming soon and we would rather a 20 min walk/jog than a potentially 40+ min wait for the boat.
Overall a beautiful day in an amazing national park – I don’t think I will ever forget the sight of those incredible blue waters. p.s. I actually scooped up some of the water in a bottle to see if it was actually blue but turns out it was clear – must be some funky science stuff going on to explain why it is so blue!