Plitvice Lakes National Park

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Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia. In 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register.

The national park was founded in 1949 and is in the mountainous karst area of central Croatia, at the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The important north–south road that passes through the national park area connects the Croatian inland with the Adriatic coastal region.

The protected area extends over 296.85 square kilometres (73,350 acres). About 90% of this area is part of Lika-Senj County, while the remaining 10% is part of Karlovac County.

Each year, more than 1 million visitors are recorded. Entrance is subject to variable charges, up to 250 kuna or around €34 per adult per day in summer 2018.


The national park is world-famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. Sixteen lakes can be seen from the surface. These lakes are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers. The lakes are all interconnected and follow the water flow. They are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria. The particularly sensitive travertine barriers are the result of an interplay between water, air and plants. The encrusted plants and bacteria accumulate on top of each other, forming travertine barriers which grow at the rate of about 1 cm (0.4 in) per year.


The 16 lakes are separated into an upper and lower cluster formed by runoff from the mountains, descending from an altitude of 636 to 503 m (2,087 to 1,650 ft) over a distance of some 8 kilometres (5.0 mi), aligned in a south–north direction. The lakes collectively cover an area of about 0.77 square miles, the water exiting from the lowest lake forming the Korana River.

The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.

Getting there

Plitvice Lakes National Park is easy to reach some of the major cities. This includes Zagreb, Split, Sibenik and Zadar as well as other surrounding places. Generally, you have to go by car or by bus.

From Zagreb to Plitvice

A fairly short drive that takes around 2 hours by car depending on the traffic. Plenty of busses leave for the national park and a bus will take around 2 - 3 hours.

From Zadar to Plitvice

The same story as from Zagreb. The easiest option is a car and the trip will take 2 - 3 hours. You will find plenty of options for day trips with a bus. There are no trains going to Plitvice.

When to visit

The park is popular year round and you will likely encounter plenty of tourists. However, summer is obviously the most popular and you can end up in a line throughout the park. Try to visit during off peak to limit the amount of other visitors.


Park website


Park size

297 km²

Park founded


Useful links

Park Wildlife


Park Fauna


Map of Plitvice Lakes National Park

Image gallery of Plitvice Lakes National Park

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Sights in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Some national parks contain more than just natural wonders. This list shows you some of the sights that are located in the national park. This includes museums, cathedrals, bridges, dams and much more.

Visitor/Information centres in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Most national parks have an associated visitor centre to help visitors. They are usually open most of the year but some close in the off-season. You will often be able to find information on all the activities in the national park. A visit to the visitor centre is often recommended before venturing into the park.

Wildlife in Plitvice Lakes National Park

These sections shows you some of the characteristic wildlife to the national park.

Bears in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Bears in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Few bears in the park

This national park has bears and you need to take the necessary precautions. It is however unlikely that you will come across a bear.