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Plitvice October

We are having to re- plan a trip we were originally going to take this month. If we go in October of 2021, is it still a good idea to see Plitvice in the late afternoon/early evening after driving from Ljubljana? I don't know how late it stays light that time of year. Originally I had read that seeing it in the evening it is a good way to avoid crowds. We could then follow up with what we missed the next morning and only have to spend one night.

Thank you.

Posted by
18156 posts

You can find the time the sun sets on each day here: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/@10630047?month=10&year=2020. Note that Croatia goes off Daylight Saving Time on October 25.

Hours for the park are available on the park website.

I don't drive in Europe, so I refer you to ViaMichelin.com for a possibly-optimistic estimate of the driving time from Ljubljana. I remember that there is some two-lane road on the way to the park, and it's difficult to be sure of the driving time in that situation. Also keep in mind that there will be a border crossing. Be sure you cross at a true international border, not one that can be used only by Slovenians and Croatians. From time to time people mention significant border tie-ups in that area, but I'm not sure how likely that is to happen outside peak season.

Under normal circumstances, one night spent in the area near the park is sufficient, so I believe you will be OK. I took the next-to-longest walk posted in the park on a wildly crowded June [ correction: August] day in 2015 and I still finished the walk over an hour faster than the signage projected. Mind you, I took almost no photographs.

Posted by
4422 posts

Croatia is farther south than Washington, so from September thru March, anyplace there will automatically stay light longer than in Spokane - overcast skies notwithstanding. Plitvice wasn’t crowded for us in June 15 years ago, early afternoon, but I understand it became a much bigger destination since then. It’s a magical place, though - hope your visit is great, whenever you can go.

Posted by
18156 posts

I don't know what kind of provision the park has for getting people out at closing time. The park isn't dangerous (no cliffs or anything like that), but the over-water walkways usually have no railings, and the paths on land are not groomed; there could be wet, slippery leaves lying around if it has been raining. I'm past my prime and don't see as well in low light as I used to; I wouldn't want to be stumbling around in the dark, because a sprained ankle is a serious pain (literally) on a European vacation.

Posted by
162 posts

We have been there twice. Both times we arrived later in the afternoon and stayed at the hotel in the park. We walked around the grounds near the hotel and down to the lake in the evening and took the first boat in the morning, leaving the park after noontime. Our first time was on June 30th, a weekday, and it was not very crowded. The second time was September 18th, a Saturday, and it became very crowded. After an hour or so we ran into many people coming from the opposite direction. If we went again we would try to arrange it to avoid the weekend.

Posted by
18156 posts

Consultation of my trip notes reveals that the day of my super-crowded 2015 visit was Friday, August 28. I did wonder whether Friday was a not-so-good day of the week to be there. Given the opportunity, I would try for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. But I think being there late in the day and/or at opening time is probably more important.

Posted by
2510 posts

We were at Plitvice in September 2018 on the RS Adriatic Tour. We arrived in the afternoon and spent the night at the Park. The following morning we headed to the path upon opening. Our guide used the strategy of starting at the upper area to avoid the "lower area" start where the day trippers tend to begin. It worked out very well. I personally wouldn't want to walk without daylight. Some of the terrain is uneven hence a chance of falling or slipping. As others have alluded to, an afternoon walk may be another viable option. Plitvice was a wow moment on our tour!

Posted by
190 posts

Thank you everyone for your very helpful replies.

Posted by
58 posts

We visited late Sept last year, and did the late arrival, then upper park, stayed next to entrance 2 and did the lower then next morning. For the second morning, the park opens an hour before the lower boat runs (not sure about the upper boat, which is a very short ride). Didn't know that, wife waited for the boat, and I walked the 1/2 hour or so around a lake to get to the lower portion. Highly recommend that. The walk is a great wake up, and you have portions to yourself before the boat and entrance 1 people showed up.

The park is very non-commercial, so bring drinks and snacks. In the US, there'd be a cart selling something every 50'. Very few places to buy anything, which is great, just don't get get without water.

Enjoy, it was a bit out of the way, but worth it.

Posted by
18156 posts

I don't know what entrance I used in 2015; I just walked over from the public-bus stop. There was a small hut containing a shop. I believe I bought yogurt and a package of cookies there. I'm sure they had beverages; perhaps simple sandwiches are also available. I agree that having food and drink with you when you enter the park is a very good idea; it will maximize the time you can spend walking.

The hut also sold a large-format map of the park for 3 or 3.50 euros. The labeled routes are well-signed as you walk through the park, but the map would be helpful if you wanted to create your own itinerary. I was glad to have the security blanket of a decent map since I was worried about catching a bus back to Zagreb. They were not handing out a usable map with entrance tickets; the ticket had a nearly microscopic sketch of the park on it.

Posted by
58 posts

Good advice on map. The one shop that is on the upper lakes, they just had a big map on the wall, nothing to buy, and the signage isn't that great. The young workers did advise walking down and skipping bus back. Other than that, I would love to speak Croatian because some good gossip seemed to be going on.

Posted by
190 posts

bdokeefe....where did you stay near entrance 2? I really appreciate your input because you were there about the same time of year we will be.

Thank you!

Posted by
10 posts

Miric Inn would be a cool place, not too far from entrance nr. 2 https://www.google.com/maps/place/Plitvice+Miric+Inn/@44.8730432,15.6182986,14.5z/data=!4m18!1m9!3m8!1s0x0:0x8e0aece063866429!2sPlitvice+Miric+Inn!5m2!4m1!1i2!8m2!3d44.867753!4d15.636566!3m7!1s0x0:0x8e0aece063866429!5m2!4m1!1i2!8m2!3d44.867753!4d15.636566
However, you would still need to walk for 2 km to the entrance nr. 2. There are places that are closer to the entrance nr. 2. I'd rather stay at Miric's Place then to go to the hotels in the national park itself. Some of those really need an update.

Posted by
18156 posts

The last time I checked, booking.com had some listings for places outside but fairly near the park. I don't know that any of them are within easy walking distance, or that there's a safe way to walk along the rural roads leading to the park. Perhaps one or two of them provide a local shuttle service? Any information of that sort found on the internet should be verified directly with the hotel or guest house.