Plitvice Jezera is the home of Plitvice Lakes National Park, a dreamy oasis in the centre of Croatia. Made up of 16 turquoise lakes interconnected by cascading waterfalls, all set within a lush alpine forest full of beautiful wildlife, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a true slice of Croatian heaven. Winding between the lakes, wooden walkways (18 kilometres worth, to be exact) make the park accessible, and allow its many annual visitors to snake through the trees and soak up the picture-perfect scenes.
Although a natural area of the country, there is an entrance fee which goes towards the lasting protection of the National Park, with the choice between a one or two day ticket. Prices range from 55 to 150 kuna for a one day ticket, and 90 to 250 kuna for a two day ticket, depending on the season. If you're doing a road trip around Croatia or a day trip from Rovinj, Plitvice Lakes is most definitely worth a visit. There are even hotels within the park that make it easy to explore the lakes.
The best way to explore the Plitvice Lakes National Park is via one of the eight walking trails which range from three to eighteen kilometres (taking two to eight hours to complete). All the routes are well marked, so if you follow the signs you shouldn't get lost!
Trail A is the shortest (and most popular) walking route, and covers roughly 3 and a half kilometres in two to three hours. It is a circular walk that explores the Lower Lakes area of the park, taking you past Veliki Slap (the Great Waterfall) and along Kaluđerovac, Gavanovac and Milanovac lakes before looping back around.
Trial C is a slightly longer walk. Covering eight kilometres over four hours, this trail explores both the upper and lower lakes. This is a great option for those that are spending the day in the park but aren't up for the full hike. Note that this trail is often closed in the winter due to snowy weather.
Trail K is the big one. Covering around 18 kilometres, this trial takes you in a full loop from the north entrance to the park and is a full day commitment. Although this sounds daunting, it's a great way to ensure you don't miss a bit of this beautiful place.
If even just reading this is making you feel tired, don't let all those kilometres put you off! For many of the trails there are boats and trains available for parts of the routes if you don't fancy walking the whole way.
Being a national park and UNESCO site, it's really important to follow the rules and help preserve the park's beauty. There are a couples of things to bear in mind ahead of your trip to Plitvice Jezera:
Although the water is super inviting, swimming is actually forbidden throughout the park, so leave your swimsuit at home and enjoy the lakes from dry ground.
Cycling is also not allowed, even on the paths, so just explore by foot (and stick to the walkways!)
This sounds obvious, but remember to take all your rubbish with you - leave the park how you'd expect to find it, with no trace of your visit left behind.
Respect the wildlife. Don't pick any of the plants, damage the trees, feed the animals, or go fishing; just admire the wildlife from afar.
Shouting is also frowned upon, so keep noise to a minimum and maintain the park's calm and relaxing vibe.