Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park

After our brief stop in Rijeka we headed for Plitvice Lakes National Park. We arrived in the area with enough light to see some of the waterfalls from a popular, free viewpoint. We took a few photographs but would pay for entry early the next morning for a proper visit of the park.

Plitvice Lakes – What to expect

There is accommodation to suit everyone who wants to visit Plitvice Lakes. For those travelling by motorhome or campervan, Camping Korona is a good option. It’s the campsite I used for both my visits to Plitvice Lakes in 2010.

For those relying on public transport one of the hotels near one of the main entrances might be the best option. Since we had our own transport we decided to stay at House Šapina which is very competitively priced and just a short drive from Plitvice Lakes. There is ample parking at Plitvice Lakes but it’s not free. Being the most popular national park in Croatia comes at a cost. We had purchased our timed entry tickets in advance whilst still in the UK and printed them out.

If you read any guidebook about Croatia, Plitvice Lakes is usually described as a ‘must see’. The waterfalls are indeed stunning but the success of the place can count against it. Don’t expect a peaceful haven, the place is almost always full of tourists of all nationalities. Despite being incredibly photogenic, it’s not exactly ideally setup to appeal to photographers. The more serious photographers will be carrying tripods to keep the camera steady on long exposures, in an attempt to blur the water. The problem however is that you will be mostly walking on wooden decking and the constant traffic from other feet makes it almost impossible to take a photograph without feeling vibration.

Aerial view of wooden decking at Plitvice Lakes
Example of wooden decking at Plitvice Lakes

There are a couple of viewpoints made of concrete where this is not an issue. If your main reason for visiting Plitvice Lakes was photography, don’t be too surprised to be left slightly frustrated. Even when you are not faced with vibration, chances are there will be someone taking endless ‘selfies’ in your field of view!

Plitvice Lakes – Something in all seasons

My two visits in 2010 were during the summer. This visit was autumn but I’ve also seen some incredible photographs taken in winter. The image below gives a good idea what the autumn colours were like during our visit.

Plitvice Lakes autumn colours
Plitvice Lakes in Autumn

In the end we decided to leave early in the afternoon. Most people will say this is a place to spend the entire day or indeed two days but Ewelina and I felt it was too busy and that we were unlikely to get any more uninterrupted viewpoints. For people visiting Croatia for the first time I would recommend including Plitvice Lakes on the itinerary. Just understand that it’s very popular and therefore is likely to be crowded.

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