When Is the Best Time
Plitvice is just mesmerizing throughout the year. The best months regarding weather and crowds are June and September, my favourite months. The hot summer months of July and August are the peak season. The best time of the day is the early morning, with perfect sunlight on the picturesque waterfalls. It is also less crowded early morning (the park opens at 7 am).
In the morning and evening, it's quiet and tranquil, and you can soak in the real beauty of this unique National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hiking Trails from Entrances 1 and 2
You can choose between 8 different routes and difficulty levels, hiking from 3 hours up to 8 hours.
- Trail A (2-3 hours - 3.5km - easy) lower lakes only as it starts and ends at Entrance 1. Walk to the Great Waterfall and Kozjaka Bridge.
- Trail B (3-4 hours -4km - easy) is similar to Trail A but includes a boat trip on Lake Kozjaka.
- Trail C (4-6 hours - 8km - moderate) extended Trail B, including a visit to the upper lakes.
For a more moderate hike, Trail C from Entrance No 1 is the best choice. You’ll visit both lakes, and you’ll start the trail uphill through the park and end at the top of the upper lakes, where you can eat your packed lunch at picnic tables.
- Trail K (6-8 hours - 18.3km - difficult) Explores the whole park.
If you start from Entrance 2 (south gate-Upper Lakes), you can choose between:
- Trail E (2-3 hours - 5.2 km - easy) upper lakes to Proscansko Jezero, starting with a boat ride across the Kozjak Lake.
- Trail F (3-4 hours - 4.6km - easy), walk the upper lakes and sail across Lake Kozjaka, then visit the lower lakes - take a shuttle back.
- Trail H (4-6 hours - 8.9km - moderate) starts with a bus ride to your starting point, walk the upper lakes, then sail across Lake Kozjaka to the lower lakes - take a shuttle bus back.
- Trail K-2 (6-8 hours - 18.3km -difficult) like Trail K-1 - explore the whole park.
We did a long hike from Entrance 2 to the beginning of the lilac track called "Plitvica Trail". The trail is 9 km long and leads to a beautiful landscape, and ends at the Kozjacka Draga boat dock. You can either take the boat or even walk back to Entrance 2, which we did. It's a full-day hike and not very popular.
Weather and Seasons
Park is open all year round, and most of the precipitation occurs in spring and autumn. However, if you don't mind some rain, spring or fall, the shoulder season is a great time to visit.
- Spring is a fabulous time as water levels are high from the melting snow, and waterfalls reach their peak flow. Bear in mind if the water level is too high, some parts may be closed. Most of the precipitation occurs in spring and autumn. The meadows are full of wildflowers.
- Summer (July & August) can become very hot, which is the most crowded time of the year. Besides, the water level is lower than at other times of the year.
- Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit when the changing leaves' vibrant colours are magnificent. However, rain occurs more often in spring and fall.
- Winter, when the park is quiet and beautiful, covered in snow, and the lakes are frozen.
Try to arrive early, best before 9 am (the park opens at 7 am), as most tourists come around mid-day via bus transfer. As an alternative, visit in the afternoon when most tour groups have finished their guided walks, and you can enjoy the tranquillity of the park. I recommend staying here for a minimum of two nights. Either choose the Hotel Bellevue with an excellent location inside the park where you are not dependent on transport, or one of the many private accommodations nearby. Enter your dates and click on the map. The big advantage is that you can visit the park already early morning and stay until the gates get closed.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
Plitvice is a natural wonder with its terraced crystal clear lakes and plenty of waterfalls. Every season has its unique charm, and the Plitvice Lakes are constant yet always different. Either trapped in ice or the shade of the trees, they will leave you with a very extraordinary, unique, and invaluable impression and surely surprise you with a new experience.
It is less crowded early in the morning and in the evening.
Tickets are valid for one day and include a boat ride on Lake Kozjak and don't need to be booked in advance for single visitors. If you show up with a larger group, consider booking in advance.
3 Tips for your Visit
- If you like to enjoy an entire day in the park, I recommend bringing lunch and snacks as the park's food is expensive and not the best quality.
- All trails are marked, and there is no need for guided tours in the park. If you extend the hike to the upper lakes, it becomes less crowded even in the high season.
- There aren't any restrooms along the hiking trails.