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Plitvice By Boat and/or Train?

From everything I've read, I'm under the impression that the only way to see the Plitvice Falls is by taking the very long walking tour. However, I recall possibly seeing something about having the option of taking a train and/or boat instead. Does anyone know if this is the case?

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
1893 posts

Plan on using both the boats and the "trains" (which are just small trams, like a golf cart with cars behind it) to get from place to place at Plitvice, if only to save time. There are two boat rides - a very short one from P1 to P2 at the upper lakes side (by entrance #2) and a longer boat ride between P2 (upper lakes) and P3 (lower lakes, closer to entrance #1). You can find P1, P2, and P3 as well as the entrances on a park map so this will make more sense. To start hiking from entrance #2, you'll want to take that short boat across to start hiking from the other side, most likely. You can hike down from entrance #1 to the P3 boat launch (lower lakes side) directly.

The long P2 to P3 boat ride (or P3 to P2) is a scenic, fun ride across the lake, maybe 20 minutes. You get one ride included with your ticket I believe. I highly suggest taking this boat ride. You could just hike along the lake instead - I don't think you are missing much by hiking instead.

At the P3 boat launch there are snack bars (mostly fast food) and big picnic tables - a convenient place to stop for lunch, FYI.

The "trains" (little trams) travel on the hill above the lakes, closer to the entrances, and aren't especially scenic. Use them when convenient - like when you are tired at the end of the day and want to get back to the other entrance where you parked or something.

https://np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/en/

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
8072 posts

The park has multiple labeled paths laid out. You can choose a shorter one if you prefer. I haven't taken the longest path, but the one I chose (second longest) took considerably less time than the estimate provided on the signs.

You really do need to do some walking to appreciate the park.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
1893 posts

Right, you won't see much of the park without a lot of walking. But the boat and the trams can save you a lot of extra walking between the upper and lower lakes, and the boat ride between them is really scenic.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
2703 posts

Echoing the other posters, the whole point of Plitvice is the (groomed and improved) often steep trails. It's not a case of failure to accomodate the disabled. Rather, building boardwalks with legal wheelchair ramp grades would completely destroy the (already "too much improved") national park ... er ... wilderness. (That last word is, of course, an overstatement!) The landscape and the tiny pools and streams surrounding the walkways cannot be experienced by boat or vehicle. Sorry.

Posted by Cindi OP
Montclair, Virginia, United States
91 posts

I appreciate all your replies. I'm not trying to avoid walking, it's just that I can't. No more than 50 yards or so and no more than 10 steps. I'm afraid to pay to go, then get there and realize I can't do it and sit there all that time waiting while my husband enjoys it. I'd just prefer he go without me so he can enjoy the experience.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
1893 posts

Sorry, Cindi, I don't think Plitvice is a good choice for you. Just getting down to the trails means going down hill quite a ways from the park entrances. And there would be a lot of walking once you get there. The "train" isn't particularly scenic anyway.

Krka National Park closer to Split and Zadar might be a better choice. It's not the same as Plitvice but still a really lovely park. The highlight is one huge cascading waterfall (Skradinski Buk). You could park a car at the town of Skradin and take a boat from there pretty close to the bottom of the falls. The boat ride is fun, and you don't have to hike up and around the falls like many people do, but your husband could while you take a seat below. So you could both enjoy it.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
8072 posts

I agree with Andrew, Cindi. You should opt out of Plitvice. I'm also wondering if you were planning to make a day-trip there from Zagreb, Zadar or Split. That timing doesn't work well because the park gets slammed by day-trippers. Even back in 2015 there were massive logjams on the walkways. I only recommend the park to people who can arrive the day before they plan to visit the park and spend the night.

I haven't been to Krk so can't add anything to what Andrew has told you about that park.

Posted by ddhostel
52 posts

Hi Cindi, I am the host and sometime I take guest to lakes. I will say go with the flow. If you are a couple you will enjoy in every moment. In addition to this as this is your second time, go visit Gacka river and try kayaking. Water in Gacka river is crystal clear. If you are there in August you can swim too. Is it called ice river. On the way to Gacka there is newly opened Zipline in Vrhovine. Longest zip line in Balkan region. The scenery I cant describes you. You should go and visit. Hostel in Vrhovine offers day trips to Gacka and Zipline.

Also, I will suggest to all other who like long walks and want to explore more of lakes to go on bottom part of lakes where Tito villa is hidden.

Enjoy

Posted by Cindi OP
Montclair, Virginia, United States
91 posts

Thank you everyone, You've been very helpful.