Plitvice Lakes National Park consists of 16 beautiful lakes in untouched nature and has been on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List since 1979. Therefore, it is not surprising that they are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Croatia, and annually have more than a million visitors from around the world.
Plitvice Lakes consist of 16 cascading tufa lakes and numerous waterfalls. Tufa is a porous type of rock formed by the deposition of dissolved calcium carbonate by plants such as algae and moss. Over time, tufa barriers dammed the river valley, creating lakes. Due to these processes, unique ecology and exceptional beauty, Plitvice Lakes have been included in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List.
There are two entrances to the Park: Entrance 1 (Rastovaca) and Entrance 2 (Hladovina). Each of the entrances is the start of four lake tour programs. At Entrance 1, trails A, B, C and K begin, which are marked with green markings. At Entrance 2, trails E, F, H and K start. Trails are of different durations from 2 up to 8 hours, depending on your wishes and physical shape. The park offers a web application with all tour programs. Although the Park is open all year round, some of the trails are not open during the colder part of the year, so be sure to check before leaving.
In addition to walking, the Park can be visited by boat on Lake Kozjak or by tourist train.
Further in the text, find out which places in the Park you should not miss to visit and where you can take a break with great food and drinks.
Top Attractions in Plitvice Lakes
Places that you should definitely visit in the Plitvice Lakes National Park are:
1. Veliki slap - The largest waterfalls in the Plitvice Lakes National Park are Veliki slap with its 78 meters, located on the Lower Lakes and Galovacki buk with its 25 meters on the Upper Lakes. Veliki slap is the highest waterfall in Plitvice National Park and is located near Plitvice Sela at the end of the lakes, near Entrance 1 to the national park. According to many, this is the most beautiful part of Plitvice National Park.
2. Galovacki buk - Galovacki buk is an amazing 25-meter high waterfall located in the heart of the Upper Lakes. After the Veliki slap, this is the second-largest waterfall in Plitvice Lakes. It used to be much taller and wider, but due to the many fallen trees and debris, the waterfall is much smaller today, but equally beautiful and amazing.
3. Lake Kozjak - The largest lake in Plitvice, has an area of 81.5 hectares and a depth of 47 m, which makes it the deepest. A boat sails from Lake Kozjak to Gradinsko Lake. This is where a series of breathtaking waterfalls begin, and the 'Prstavci', ie the Big and the Small Prstavac, are especially thrilling. The name Kozjak comes from goats ('koze') which, according to legend, escaped from wolves and crossed the frozen lake and perished in the ice.
4. Stefanija's Islet - Stefanija's islet is located on Lake Kozjak and can be reached by boat. The island is home to many plant species, some of which are endemic and protected. The islet was named in honor of Habsburg Princess Stephanie of Belgium, who visited Plitvice Lakes on September 5, 1888.
5. Milka Trnina Waterfalls - Located in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, on the barrier between Milanovac and Lake Gavanovac - in Lower Lakes, Milka Trnina Waterfalls is named after the famous opera singer from the late 19th century, soprano Milka Trnina, who donated significant funds for the preservation and protection of the nature of Plitvice Lakes.
6. Proscansko Lake - It is said that Proscansko Lake was named after the legend of the Black Queen, who people asked ('prositi') to send rain during the great drought and soak the thirsty land. The queen took pity on them, covered the sky with black clouds, and the rain kept falling and falling until the lakes formed. This lake is the second-largest and deepest in Plitvice.
7. Supljara Cave - Supljara is a cave located on the eastern edge of the Lower Lakes, in a limestone canyon above the path that leads to Lake Kaluderovac. It has three halls and its total length is 68 meters. It is the only cave in the National Park that is open to visitors.
Top Places to Take a Break in Plitvice Lakes
A visit to the Park includes a lot of physical activity, so you will undoubtedly want to take a break with great food or a cup of hot tea. You can do this in the following places:
1. Ethno Garden - Restaurant Etno Garden Plitvice is located in the National Park. The rustical traditional ambiance and homemade mountain Lika food made according to traditional old recipes are what attracts guests to this place for many years. Start your day with a rich continental breakfast, a cup of hot coffee and hot homemade donuts. Here you can also try various types of homemade prosciutto, ham and cheese selections.
2. Licka kuca - If you are looking for a wide range of specialties of indigenous flavors prepared in new ways and served in the original ambiance, then the national restaurant Licka kuca is a location you must visit. What has made them one of the most popular and high-quality gastronomic places for years is the fact that they make their broths exclusively from vegetables and meat from local suppliers, while they produce dough and desserts in their own bakery and process meat in their own butcher's.
3. Bistro Plum - Bistro & Caffe Plum is located within the Plitvice National Park. Its elegant, modern interior perfectly matches the pleasant, friendly atmosphere that will immediately overwhelm you. Bistro Plum boasts a surprisingly wide menu that includes Italian, Croatian and Mexican cuisine. The wine list is rich, contains many top Croatian and foreign labels, and goes perfectly with the menu.
4. Old Shatterhand - Old Shatterhand is a small family restaurant in Rakovica, on Plitvice Lakes, which has been successfully serving regional and Italian cuisine for many years. The offer is dominated by kebabs, pizzas, burgers, and kebabs, and the most popular dish for which guests keep coming back is Shatterhand burger made from a mixture of Sarajevo Cevapcici with BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, lettuce and purple onion.
5. Degenija- Restaurant Degenija is a famous place to eat a delicious meal at an affordable price, and is located within the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The menu consists of classic pizzas to novelties of the chef. All the ingredients used are fresh and seasonal, and the delicious dough is made according to a secret recipe. Also, all sauces and fillings are homemade, so you can be sure of the quality of each dish.