Last Saturday, I’ve finally crossed one thing off my bucket list and visited the Plitvice lakes. Seeing how I live in Croatia, this was long overdue. It was an organized day trip so there wasn’t much room for exploring alone, and we were time-constrained, but I saw a lot nonetheless.
Visiting Plitvice in February was very different from the pictures I saw online, the pictures that will surely come up first if you google Plitvice Lakes. Blue water and everything else green and vibrant. My experience was of a more moody, autumnal nature with an overcast sky and grey tones. However, I liked this as I like this type of atmosphere in general, and there were a lot fewer people than there usually would be.
When you enter the park and park your car or get off the bus, you cross the road by a wooden overpass that takes you to the northern entrance where there is a souvenir shop and a small buffet (Entrance 1). I was pleasantly surprised to see a vegan burger on the menu for 55 kuna (around 7 euro). Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to try it, but it looks like it might be a beyond burger or Lidl’s next level burger.
We were promised a winter wonderland, but the snow had already melted and you can see how the lakes looked in the pictures. Seeing how slippery and rickety the wooden path above the water is, maybe this was for the best. There is no railing in the majority of the wooden bridges/paths, which is great for pictures, but potentially dangerous when there are a lot of people.
Unfortunately, the upper lakes were closed. We started by climbing down towards the big waterfall, where we stopped to take some pictures. The way down is really beautiful and also a bit adventurous as you are walking on a narrow wooden path with no railings and can feel the deafening rush of the water gurgling below your feet.
We then made our way to an area with a small boat harbor, where there is also a restaurant and a place to sit in nature. The boat took us over to the other side where the hotel Jezero is. This boat was the slowest boat I’ve ever been on, but you can at least enjoy the views. The weather was quite moody and overcast (but dry thankfully!) and the boat ride reminded me of Bled and riding to the little island with the church because I had also visited it in winter. While waiting for the boat, we sat and ate our sandwiches and I took the opportunity to take a few photos on this little bridge that leads to a small beach, if there is such a thing as a lake beach.
The great thing for the budget traveler(ess) about going to Plitvice in winter is the discounted entrance ticket. The adult ticket was 75 kuna (about 10 euro) as opposed to 300 kuna in the summer months! That’s four times less – quite the savings.
When we transferred over to the other side we hiked up to Hotel Jezero and from there took a bus to the beginning of the next trail. That trail was really beautiful and you walked through a forest. The last part of that trail was fairly flat, as opposed to previous ones which were an uphill climb, and it takes you back to the main entrance (entrance 1).
The boat and the bus rides in the park are included in the price admission. We were told to hold on to our tickets so we could show them when boarding, but no one asked us for the tickets in the end.
All in all, this was a pleasant day, but I will definitely be coming back someday to see the part that was closed and hopefully catch some sunny weather.