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Plitvice National Park

In your opinion: what is the best trail in Plitvice National Park. Have only one day ( even less ) and then a long trip to the next destination. We are planning to enter from North entrance. More to see and the most beautiful trail?

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
3302 posts

You can get the gist of the entire park in a good 6-7 hours - both upper and lower lakes. I've been to the park twice, and I don't remember which trails I followed - don't think it's that important to plan ahead that much. My one piece of advice is to get to the park as early as possible - it opens at 7am in season, and if you wait too long it will get very crowded, especially in the summer. It's a very popular park. Staying over near the park and entering first thing when it opens is a good strategy if you can do it.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
3461 posts

Like so many places in Europe that have become so popular they may be difficult to fully enjoy (Mont St Michel, Toledo, etc.) I think the best way to do Plitvice is to spend the night there. Arrive mid afternoon (as the crowds start to dwindle), do a few hours before they close up, spend the night in the park (at the funky park hotel), get up early and be out there when the park opens (and before the crowds show up), do a few more hours. Then, mid- to late-morning, when the worst of the crowding heats up, get outta Dodge and head on to your next destination.

A few hours at the end of the day and a few more at the start of the next is all the time you will need to see the park, and you see it at its best. Show up mid-day - like everyone else does - and you see it at its worst.

Posted by matthew.meytin OP
53 posts

We staying overnight in Smoljanac. We get there around 2 pm and the plan is to start next day at 7 am. Is it a good idea to start in the afternoon and the next in the morning? I think we will cover most of the park like that,

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
3302 posts

You can certainly see the park over two days - I did the first time, but unless you stay in one of the park-run hotels (like I did the first time), you have to pay the park entrance fee two days in a row. Those park hotels are overpriced for sure, but they are convenient and do have advantages.

Otherwise, as I said above, it's quite possible to see the gist of the park in a good 6-7 hours. Plitvice is amazing, but at some point you start to get saturated - and it's just not that important to see every angle, every little waterfall, ever odd trail. because it isn't going to add much to the overall experience. The main thing is to see some of the upper and lower lakes trails and take the long boat ride (included in the cost of your ticket) between them.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
3302 posts

I don't remember. The park has a good website - easy to find in Google.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10682 posts

I think there's a two-day ticket that is less expensive than buying two one-day tickets. I found the time estimate for the posted walking route I followed to be quite conservative. I bet you could complete the longest route (which doesn't cover every trail) in about 5 hours. That's not including lots of photography stops, though.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10682 posts

One other thing: Perhaps it's because I'm a map junkie (the suggested routes are signposted) but I liked having a map of the park. I bought mine at the little shop near the ticket booth. All you get with your ticket is something too tiny to be useful. However, I think I paid the equivalent of $3 in 2015, and no one else seemed to have a map.

I also carried water and a snack. With a bus to catch after my walk, I knew I wouldn't want to leave the trail.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
3302 posts

There is food (fast food) inside the park, however, at the P3 boat launch on the lower lakes side (closer to entrance #1). You can eat lunch at the picnic tables there for a break.

Posted by garywboydstun
8 posts

This park was a highlight for us,don’t watch the clock too much. Take your time and enjoy ,the beautiful Plitvice it is a special place

Posted by Little lulu
Newport Beach
14 posts

We are quite excited to visit Plitvice Lakes on our first trip to Croatia. We'll be staying in Zagreb (September 22-25) and had planned to take an early morning bus to the park. Looks like this first bus doesn't arrive until 9:45 AM. Does anyone know how crowded it might be at this time of year? Perhaps the overnight option is the best