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5 Tips to Avoid the Crowds at Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park is incredibly beautiful but can get extremely busy. But with these tips you can avoid the crowds.

By: Cat Ekkelboom-White + Save to a List

Plitvice Lakes National Park is featured in almost every travel bucket list coffee table book. And for one good reason. It's an absolutely stunning place to visit. With clear crystal waters and cascading waterfalls, it looks as majestic in person as it does in the pictures. As a photographer, the most important thing for me is to be able to get great pictures of the landscape, without them being spoiled by hundreds of tourists.

But the park can get insanely busy, with busloads of tourists arriving throughout the day. We spent two days there last May and we discovered the best way to avoid these large crowds of tourists. 

1. Stay Locally

There are a couple of hotels that are actually part of the park and allow early access, however these are usually pretty expensive and get fully booked quite quickly. There are also some great options in nearby villages. We found a lovely room on Booking.com just a few minutes away from entrance 2. 

2. Stay for at Least Two Days

We stayed for two nights and bought a two-day entrance ticket to the park. Although we didn't do the largest walking circuit, we felt like we got to see most of the park in this time.

3. Get There Early

Most of the big groups of tourists arrive mid-morning and tend to leave in the afternoon as many of them are on a bus tour with a strict itinerary. We arrived at the park shortly after it opened and for the first couple of hours it was pretty quiet. It's definitely a good idea to start early at the biggest waterfall in the lower lakes and work back into the park from there, as many of the big tour groups won't go further in to the park.

4. Make The Most Of Your Multiple Entry Ticket

Tickets for Plitvice Lakes National Park are multiple entry tickets, meaning that you can come and go as much as you like within the timeframe of your ticket. Because the park became super crowded around late-morning, we went back to our B&B for lunch and a rest, and came back to the park later in the afternoon when many of the day trippers were leaving and stayed until closing.

5. Plan Your Route Wisely

We spoke to the owner of our accommodation who advised us that the upper lakes were usually quieter than the lower lakes, and we found this to be the case. If you are short for time, and can't visit the entire park, consider just the upper lakes. You won't see the largest waterfall in the park, but you will see a number of smaller ones and lots of beautiful crystal clear pools cascading down in steps.


All images © Wild Connections Photography

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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