Short answer; yes.
If you have ever looked at travelling to Croatia, I suspect that you have probably heard a thing or two about Plitvice lakes. A National Park full of the most beautiful and breathtaking natural waterfalls, it is one of those places that is so naturally stunning beyond comprehension, and no amount of adjectives that I could muster would do it justice. So, let me just say this; I don’t think that you would ever regret spending a day here. A day here would definitely be a day that you would remember for the rest of your life.
However, from the spending the day there, I definitely learnt a thing or two. So I thought that I would share my little tips/tricks in this post to make your trip the best it could be.
First thing’s first: Supplies
We were a little* (*a lot) unprepared for just how much of a hike this is. Yes, there are paths and it is generally well sign posted etc, but that does not take away from the fact that you are about to embark on a long hike: take supplies! We were foolish in this and definitely did not take enough water/food and we really regretted it.
We figured that we could just buy food/drink from the cafes but these are like a 3 hour walk apart from each other so please don’t make the same mistakes we did. Plus, these are super over priced and absolutely rubbish for vegetarians. You’ve been warned now, take your own food/drink and take a hat and some sunscreen!
You do have to pay to visit Plitvice Lakes, but the experience is certainly worth the price. In fact, it is a very reasonable price no matter what time of year you visit, and aligns with other museums/attractions price-wise in Croatia.
The price does fluctuate depending if you’re visiting on-season/off-season, but it generally is quite affordable. Plus, the cost goes towards maintaining the park etc so I definitely didn’t mind paying it.
A little note here; if you are a student, they do student discount! You simply just have to show your student ID at the gate and you get about 25% off of the entry price (again, depending on time of year) so it is definitely worth it!
Where to park
We parked at entrance 2 as it was the most popular in other blog posts and, generally, no issues. You do have to pay for parking, so bare that in mind, and you might end up parked ages and ages away (like us) if you arrive after 10am. But, all that said, parking was no biggy.
We then actually queued for tickets at the entrance 2 carpark but one of the lovely stewards came and informed us that there is actually a box to buy tickets from at the entrance. It is a bit of a walk and we were kinda unsure if we were going to the right place, but alas we got there to no queue and got into the park completely hassle free!
We chose to follow route H which takes 4-6 hours and includes a bus and boat journey. Starting at the upper lakes, we quickly realised that this was a very popular route but we managed to get some good photos and views still, and the signage was very easy to follow.
The queue for the boat was long and we weren’t really prepared for that so, yeah, be prepared to wait. And ‘boat’ is a rather romantic word for what is essentially a people carrier across a lake (they cram as many people as possible on so not so good for views I’m afraid!). But, nonetheless, it did the job and we enjoyed our day.
Also be warned that route H involves a pretty long walk back up at the end. We chose this one because we figured that down hill would be better so were completely unprepared for this one, and would probably take a different route next time.
All in all, it took us 5 1/2 hours including time on the boat and our lunch stop, so was definitely a full on day. But, it was completely worth it. I may have been ridiculously exhausted at the end of it, but I am glad that I experienced this real-life piece of magic.
We said that next time we would probably drive there the night before and stay in one of the nearby lodges so that we could have more of an experience, an get up early enough to beat the crowds.
So, ignore what TLC say. Do go chasing waterfalls.