Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes are on pretty much every traveller’s Pinterest board, and top the lists of most beautiful places in Europe. They were one of our top reasons for wanting to go to Croatia, and they didn’t disappoint.


From Ljubljana, we caught a train to Zagreb, where we whiled away an afternoon before picking up a hire car and driving to our bed and breakfast just outside the national park. Zagreb is an interesting city, less touristy than Split or Dubrovnik but with enough sights to keep us entertained for a day. We walked through the main square, and paid a small fee for an elevator to take us to a roof level cafe overlooking the city.


We rode what is possibly the worlds shortest funicular up to the upper town, and saw the most beautiful church roof I’ve ever seen. We then spent an hour wandering the Museum of Broken Relationships (I know, but it is actually interesting and was one of the things I was looking forward to most in Zagreb). We found lunch at a local brewery which made a gorgeous Brown Wheat beer, one of the best wheat beers I’ve had! Then it was off to Plitvice.


There are loads of B&B’s outside Plitvice, so the prices are pretty competitive. We stayed at House Tina, which was very clean and comfortable. Just know that most places only take cash. We may have had to cobble together a combination of kuna and euros since there aren’t any atms around.

We woke up early, and managed to make it to the park by 8am, which is probably the latest you’d want to get there to avoid the crowds (and to beat some of the heat!). There was a tour bus arriving about the same time as us, but we didn’t wait in line to get in the park and we were able to overtake them.


We arrived at Entrance 1, and hiked down the side of the cliffs to the lakes below before continuing on boardwalks that led us through waterfalls and lakes for the rest of our journey. The park is huge, and while there are tons of waterfalls, they were more spread out than I thought they’d be. After spending an hour or so at the lower lakes, looking through the very clear water at the fish below and admiring the waterfalls, we caught a boat to the upper lakes where the more impressive waterfalls are. It was slightly more crowded here (had to dodge a few selfie sticks), but still manageable. Overall, we spent 3-4 hours in the park before grabbing lunch and heading south to the coast.

Suitcases and Sandcastles
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38 Comments Add yours

  1. angharadeyre says:

    Ok – so it turns out these lakes are worth seeing after all! When I was there it was grey and cold and two storms were fighting it out overhead – it looked very different!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! That must have been disappointing! They were gorgeous in the sun!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Addie says:

    Beautiful pictures! High on the list for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I hope you get a chance to go, it’s worth a visit!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Frede says:

    I’m just back from Croatia, we visited Dubrovnik and stayed on Sipan Island… We didn’t visit much but we fell in love with the country and are planning to go back… This park will certainly be on our list of places to visit! Beautiful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely add it to the list-it’s one of the most beautiful parts of the country! I’ll post about our visit Dubrovnik soon, but Sipan island looks gorgeous as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Frede says:

        Sipan was gorgeous but very quiet… There’s only two small villages on the island. Beautiful place for hiking and snorkelling though!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sounds beautiful, I’ll have to check it out if we ever go back!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks stunning and am very intrigued by the Museum of Broken Relationships too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was gorgeous! It’s an interesting museum filled with the most important elements of relationships that failed and the personal stories that went along with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rebecca says:

    So beautiful; love your photos! Plitvice Lakes are high on my bucket list. I was also planning on getting there from Zagreb, but my question is whether they’re easily doable as a day trip? Any case, I’d love to go soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s about a two hour drive from Zagreb to the lakes, so definitely doable. I believe there are tour companies that make the day trip, or the drive is easy to do yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rebecca says:

        Excellent! I was looking into doing a company tour, so perhaps it’ll happen! Thanks. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The lakes look so attractive! I am hoping to visit Croatia later this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re absolutely stunning! I hope you get a chance to visit!

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  7. I am planning a trip to Croatia next year and am having trouble choosing where I want to visit in my 2 week time frame! If you have any recommendations please get in touch with me 🙂 A National Park is on my list, but not sure if Plitvice Lakes is the one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Plitvice is definitely worth visiting, I’ve never been anywhere quite like it! Plus it’s well positioned between the inland cities and the coast. Where are you planning to visit on your trip?

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      1. I plan on traveling to Croatia and Greece. Honestly I want to go everywhere in Croatia, but I have only 2 weeks vacation and need to stay limited to a few places. I was set on Zagreb, but now after doing more research on Rovinj, I’m torn. I explain this on my blog post. I am reaching out to travelers who could give their input to help me plan the most amazing trip 🙂 Please check out and keep in touch!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. We went to both in 2015 and LOOOOVED Croatia! Although I would never go back in peak summer months! There were faaar too many tourists for comfort! #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh yeah I could imagine it could be really crowded! It wasn’t too bad in May though, I absolutely loved it as well!

      Like

  9. kitgraham says:

    So interesting that they have a Museum of Broken Relationships – I went to one in Helsinki and it was so well put together, but so sad! The Plitvice Lakes look gorgeous – similar to some waterfalls I was in Bosnia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think parts of the exhibit travel, so they could have been related! It was really interesting, I’ve never been anywhere quite like it. Plitvice Lakes are only about a half hour drive from Bosnia, so that’s not surprising. Beautiful though!

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  10. Ruth says:

    You are right, a lot of us travel lovers want to go there so bad (at least I do). Like you, I would like to visit Slovenia and then move to Zagreb. I like the idea of renting a car to have the flexibility to move around as wanted. #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Driving there is pretty easy and safe so it’s a great option. And I’m so glad we visited Slovenia. The Lakes are awesome, they definitely do not disappoint! I hope you get a chance to visit soon!

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  11. Hilary says:

    Stunning! This is high on my bucket list. How did you get these photos without any people? #farawayfiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We got there early, by 8 am and it wasn’t peak season. The boardwalks are fairly narrow so if you can edge your way to the front, it’s possible to avoid getting the crowds in the photos!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Katy says:

    It’s such a beautiful place. There looks like a lot more water cascading down the falls than when we were there too. I’d love to go back again. One day! #farawayfiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t mind going back either, it’s such a gorgeous place to visit!

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  13. Clare Thomson says:

    Wow, I’m really impressed that you got there by 8am! Your photos of the Lakes are beautiful. I’m intrigued by the Museum of Broken Relationships too. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We really didn’t want to hit the crowds so that was good motivation, and our guest house was a 5 min drive from the entrance. The museum of broken relationships was interesting, definitely one of a kind!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Wonderful photos Amanda! We will be visiting in September so, hopefully, fewer crowds but still good weather. We have a car and are staying at a guest house for one night, so we will likely have only up to a day and a half at Plitvice. My question is, besides arriving early, do you have any other suggestions about avoiding crowds? Are the lower lakes generally less crowded than upper? Any insights into how, when and where most crowds flow through the park?

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    1. Unless you want to do extensive hiking in the park, 5 hours or so is probably sufficient to see all the main sights. Most people arrive at the lower Lakes and work their way up to the upper Lakes, with the pinch point being the boat ride between the two. Some people stay in guest houses in the upper Lakes, and probably head there first. Sounds like your plan should allow you to beat the crowds!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Reblogged this on Travel Inspire Connect and commented:
    I can’t wait to experience Plitvice, one of Europe’s most beautiful national parks and a UNESCO world heritage site!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the reblog!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wherejogoes says:

    That water is so crystal clear it looks so inviting – are you able to swim in it? I’d have to refrain from jumping in!
    The Museum of Broken Relationships sounds thoroughly intriguing. What a wonderful day, a combination of city and beautiful scenery of the lakes. #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly you can’t swim! But it’s really cool to see the fish and plants so clearly. You can swim in Krka National park which has similar waterfalls and is closer to Split. It was a unique museum, worth visiting.

      Like

  17. Beautiful scenery! I really enjoyed that place as well.. and lost my hat over there. It landed in the middle of a beautiful lake and probably ruined thousands of pictures that day 😦

    Like

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