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.