We are hoping to do the park in 2 half days as many have suggested. Evening the first day, and then early morning the second. My question is how do we break this up. What entrance do we take and what paths do you suggest? Thank you!
We visited Plitvice Lakes on our RS Adriatic Tour in 2018. We spent the night at the park and did an early am tour. Our guide recommends an upper lakes start. Why? He said the day trippers usually start at the lower lakes. It was a wise decision. This link may be helpful as well: https://www.earthtrekkers.com/how-to-visit-plitvice-lakes-travel-guide/
We purchased 2-day tickets for Plitvice, and we purchased them for Entrance 2. Our entry time for the first day was 4PM but you can pick up your tickets 30 minutes prior. We hiked the Upper Lakes on our first day. The receptionist at our hotel suggested we take the shuttle bus from ST-2 up to ST-3, and then hike down on the H Trail. That is what we did, and it worked out for us. It was almost a 2-hour hike for us. We took our time, enjoyed the scenery and took lots of photos.
The next day we hiked the Lower Lakes. Because we bought our tickets for Entrance 2, we had to enter via the same entrance on our second day. We took the bus from ST-2 to ST-1, and we were on the trail by 9:15AM. The person at the information desk recommended Trail B, so that is what we did. We were back in the parking lot by 12:30pm.
Thank you that is about our time frame. We wanted a few hours the first evening, and then about 2-3 the next morning. I was unaware that we would purchase tickets for one particular gate, this suggestion probably saved us a lot of walking. Regarding the upper lakes, is there a particular route we should avoid if we don't want to do the steep inclines?
I've been to Plitvice Lakes several times (though only once recently) and I don't remember any significant declines. There are a few places where you may go up or down a few steps. But I certainly haven't walked through the entire park. If no one here can help you, I'd suggest checking with your hotel and with the ticket/information-booth folks. The latter would obviously be best, but I can't guarantee that all of them will speak English well enough to understand your question.
There are two transportation links included in your ticket: a boat across one of the lakes and a bus. Maybe the bus is used to cover most of the difference in levels, and that's why I don't remember much uphill or downhill walking.
I just Googled Plitvice uphill walk and got a lot of hits. I suggest you dig into those. Some of the questions seem pretty specific. The answers may be a good guide to sections of the park to avoid (if any).
Yes, the best approach "start at the Upper and go to the Lower". We did that in 2011. It worked fine and we often found crowds going the other direction.
I've been following this thread, and I'm going to Plitvice Lakes in May. I have already booked at one of the park hotels and also plan to do the late afternoon/next morning double visit.
So, my question is, when people say to go to the upper lakes first, does that apply to late afternoon? Or would that apply to people doing just one visit? Because if most people start at the lower lakes and then go to the upper lakes, wouldn't it then make sense to go to the lower lakes for the afternoon visit and the upper lakes for the morning one? Or am I mixed up?
Beside the wish to avoid the crowds, you should also consider your walking fitness and your photographic wishes.
I was there in June 2019. We did not start as early as planned and it was 10 am until we walked from P2 up the upper lakes towards St3. It was busy at the start (all people from the boat started at the same time) but later the crowd dispersed.
When walking upwards from P2 towards St3 in the morning you always have the cascades and waterfalls in front of you and the sun from behind. Thus, it’s the best experience you can get.
Early afternoon down at the lower lakes it was really crowded and I returned again in the evening about 5.30 pm. Now it was relaxed but around 6 the lakes were in the shadow.
Next morning, we walked along the cliffs for viewpoints over the lower lakes. You can walk up either form the big waterfall or from P3 boat-stop or you can go there by car or bicycle on a public road.
„Janis” shared already the very usefull link https://www.earthtrekkers.com/how-to-visit-plitvice-lakes-travel-guide/
Under “Viewpoints over Plitvice Lakes” it is described how to get there. If you have the time I would highly recommend to go there, may be during the peak-time early afternoon.
If that sort of thing really, really turns you on spend as much time as you can. But you can get a good sampling in about 4 hours.
I agree with James, though hard-core photographers would be smart to allow extra time.
I remember thinking that the time allowance posted for the walk I chose to do seemed very, very conservative. I beat that time by a lot, and the park was totally (unpleasantly) overrun during my middle-of-the-day visit in 2015. I definitely was slowed down by the packed walkways. You couldn't pass anyone lest a bunch of people end up in the (shallow) water, because there was almost never a railing and there were constant streams of people moving in both directions.