Added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1979, the Plitvice National Park is an absolute must visit if you’re in the region! It can be reached via day trips from Zagreb and Zadar, which are both roughly a two hour bus ride to the park. However, I would recommend staying in the nearby town of Korenica. This way, you can catch an early 6:20 am bus to the park to ensure that you beat the inevitable tourist crowds. There is a really nice hostel called ‘Falling Lakes Hostel’ that I would suggest staying at in Korenica.
Once you get to the parks, you will want to plan for about 6-8 hours or walking, sitting, picture taking etc. In total there are 16 interconnected lakes that are separated by natural dams covering an area of about 2km. There is just so much to see and having a full day to explore is part of what makes this national park so special. There is basically zero markings throughout the park so it’s sort of a ‘choose your own adventure’ day of exploration!
A few other things of note:
– It costs 180 Kuna to enter (32usd) or 110 if you have a student card.
– There are free lockers at entrances 1 and 2 to store big backpacks, so you can plan on catching a bus to a different city directly when you are finished exploring the park, if you wish.
– It gets pretty busy in the afternoons so definitely try to arrive at the parks as early as possible. It opens at 7am.
– Food is available in the park but it isn’t the cheapest so packing a lunch would be advisable.