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August 15 in Croatia

Is it better to spend August 15 in Plitvice National Park or in Zagreb ? Are there places to eat and rest in the national park ? I am pregnant so just trying to work out how best to spend the time in the park.
Do restaurants and shops close down in Zagreb on August 15 ?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2787 posts

There is a snack bar (fast food - burgers, etc.) with a bunch of picnic tables at the P1 boat launch in the lower lakes section at Plitvice. The park hotels may offer meals in their restaurants too - I don't remember. There isn't much of a town at Plitvice, not many real restaurants. There's a sit-down pizza joint in the place that rents ski equipment (outside the park).

How pregnant will you be by August 15? Getting into the park involves a lot of walking down steps and declines - and getting back up is much harder, of course. Plus, in August, the park is likely to be very crowded especially from mid-morning to late afternoon with tour groups. I wouldn't visit Plitvice in August without staying the night so I could get into the park at 7am when it opens - I just wouldn't want to deal with Disneyland-type crowds during the day.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
932 posts

Is Aug 15 some kind of special day? Croatian National Day is in June.

In Zagreb, restaurants are like in any town. However, last year we arrived late, and didn't start looking for a place to eat until after 11 on a Sat night. This was too late. There was a fancy bar ("New York"?) near Jelicic Square. All they had was cake. So we had cake.

It's best to arrive at PL Park early, by staying overnight near the park. The least strenuous approach is to ride the bus to the highest point and walk down. This is the common approach.

Posted by cala
Birmingham, AL
848 posts

Andrew, you seem to know a lot about this part of Europe. I know that Plitvice has large crowds most of the year, but at what point in the fall does it start to improve? Thanks

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2787 posts

Cala, I've been to Plitvice in May and in early October. In both cases, there were plenty of tourists by mid-day, but I wouldn't call them mob scenes - not unbearable. Still, as a photographer, I greatly preferred the early morning when the park was pretty empty. I'd say May or October isn't a bad time to go. Spring means the falls are probably running a little faster after the recent rains. Fall means more color in the trees.

I've not been to Plitvice in summer, but I've read numerous anecdotes about how incredibly crowded it can be - lines for boats, lots of people on the trails. Sounds unpleasant to me. However, if you get into the park at 7am, even in summer, I'm guessing it's not so bad for the first hour or two. Plitvice really doesn't require days to see. You can get the gist of it in 6-7 hours, easily. A few uncrowded hours in the morning or maybe late in the day might make up for a busier scene during the day. Doing it as a day trip say 10am-4PM would seem like about the worst time to be there, especially in summer, because you wouldn't see the park without people around you.

Posted by Paul
Cedar, IA, USA
3715 posts

FYI for those wondering, August 15 is a National Holiday in Croatia, The Assumption of Mary.

Posted by Anu OP
113 posts

Thanks everybody! We plan to stay at Hotel Plitvice and get into the park in the evening on the day we arrive after 5pm, walk around a bit and next day morning get in early. If anybody knows the best way to get around the park , that would be a major help. Also , any spots you found to get great pictures , thats also helpful.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
9001 posts

There are at least three proposed routes through the park, of different lengths. They are signposted and I think you'll be fine just following the signs if you opt for one of the plotted-out routes. There are also a few large signs scattered around the park, showing the entire layout. I was on a day-trip (which is how I know that is a very bad idea) and wanted to be sure I caught a bus back to Zagreb before too late, so I bought a map of the park from the small shop near the ticket window. It cost around $3 or $4 in 2015. The ticket booth had no maps; there was just the microscopic thing printed on the ticket itself. The large map would allow you to branch off the labeled trail if you choose to do so, without worrying about getting disoriented.