Last Updated on September 22, 2020 by

You hear them before you see them. Hundreds of waterfalls cascade from various heights in different corners of the impressive Plitvice Lakes National Park in central Croatia, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world

The emerald water shimmer and sparkle even from a far distance, reflecting the sun’s rays like a reflection. Thick beech and fir trees sprout out from the sides of the granite mountains and from the shores of the lakes. Everywhere you go, you see water — flowing gently as clear streams, bursting from porous rocks in the form of plummeting waterfalls, or keeping still and calm in the spearmint blue lake. 

Covering an area of approximately 295 square kilometers, this national park is the largest one in Croatia. The phenomenal site was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 and has since been highly protected by the government. No swimming is allowed as there are concerns of human activities (such as urination or sunscreen) affecting the pH of the water, which may have a destructive impact on the tufa formation.  There are boat trips that run along the lakes (aboard electric boats) and barbeque food stands but other than that, the forests and lakes are kept in their original conditions.

During our daytrip from Zagreb, we spent over four hours hiking along the many trails that crisscross the waterfalls and only managed to cover just one quarter of the enormous national park. The route took us from high up the karst mountains down to the level of the lakes and in and out of karst caves.

Our guide from Chillout Hostel was extremely informative, sharing local legends (one involving the origins of Milka chocolate) and myths that surround the lakes. The Plitvice Lakes are definitely some of the most beautiful natural wonders we’ve seen in the Balkans so far, and we highly recommend it to anyone visiting the region. I’ll let Alberto’s photos do the talking, enjoy the visual feast!

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Plitvice Lakes 1

The Plitvice Lakes from above

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Water cascading down from moss-covered rocks

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Sprinkling water everywhere

Plitvice Lakes Croatia in Photos

A series of waterfall forming the turquoise lakes

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Trails that weave through the national park allow visitors to walk on the travertines

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Clear spearmint blue water

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The trail that fringes the edge of the park

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Tiny fish that roam around the shore of the lake

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Water pouring out from the porous travertines

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Summer is usually the peak period for tourism in Croatia and the trails can get quite crowded

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Look how clear the water is

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Vertical karst mountain cliffs flank the lakes

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Different shades of blue

Plitvice Lakes 16 Gushing water forming mini waterfalls

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A bird’s eye view of the lakes

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The highest waterfall in the park plunging from 78m high

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We’re looking rather happy to here at Plitvice

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More waterfalls

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Trip Details:

The daytrip can be booked with Chillout Hostel Zagreb for 250Kunas (€35). It departs from the hostel at 9am and returns around 6pm. The journey there from Zagreb is around two hours each way and there are public buses from Zagreb but they don’t run very frequently and get full very quickly in summer (book in advance if possible).