The second leg of my trip took me away from the coastline (where most people stay) and into the heart of the country. My destination was Plitvice Lakes National Park, which had been on my list after researching things to do in Croatia.
Note that another option is Krka National Park, which I also hear is beautiful and a bit closer to the coastline. But after reading more about Plitvice, I decided that it was that national park for me. So, I committed and made the three-hour drive northeast from Split.
So what’s in store for you? In Part 2 of my Croatia travel guide, you’re going to get more details about Plitvice Lakes National Park, along with the fairytale village, Rastoke, that I stumbled upon while searching for a place to stay near the park. Enjoy!
Things To Do In Croatia: Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a beautiful chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. That you can casually stroll through and enjoy.
I left Split at around 7:30 am to start the journey to the park. It was a bit of a drive, so I wanted to make sure I got to the park at the proper time. And more importantly, to give me enough time to take one of the longer trails. Especially since I only had one day to explore!
Make sure to get there early, for two very important reasons:
- You’ll thank yourself later when finding parking at one of three entrances. I got there fairly early, and I still had to drive a bit to find a good parking spot.
- You’ll beat the crowds into the park, which means that the trails will not be so packed.
Ideally, you’d want to spend a day or two in Plitvice Lakes to really explore everything. As I mentioned earlier, I only had one day, but I got to the park early, so it allowed me enough time to wander around. As such, I decided to take the second longest trail, Trail H, which is expected to take about 4-5 hours. But I’m a fast walker, so it only took me a little over 3 hours to complete the loop!
If you take this trail, you’ll get to see both the Upper and Lower Lakes, and you’ll hop on a nice little boat ride to get you across one of the lakes along the way. Tip: Make sure to bring in or buy food before entering the park. You’re walking a lot, so the boat ride was a nice moment to sit down, relax, and grab a bite to eat.
Check out all the trail options in Plitvice Lakes National Park here.
So, what were some of my favorite things about the park?
- The majority of the trail has you walking over these beautiful wood plank walkways (above), wherein in some spots, you’re literally walking just above the waterline or a waterfall!
- In some areas of the park, the water is this incredible turquoise blue, which reminded me of the color of the water in the Caribbean.
- And, of course, the waterfalls. There are waterfalls everywhere you look. It’s incredible. Imagine finding this place for the first time, way back when, and what a magnificent sight that must have been.
Pro Tip: It rains about 60% of the time in Plitvice, so make sure you have some waterproof layers or an umbrella. When I was there, it sprinkled for about 15 minutes, so having an umbrella with me was much appreciated!
If you have any specific questions about Plitvice Lake National Park, just comment below and I’ll get back to you soon!
Things To Do In Croatia: Visit The Village Of Rastoke
Why? Because Rastoke is a hidden fairytale village that will capture your heart.
In an effort to find a place to stay while I was exploring Plitvice Lakes, I looked at Airbnb to see what was in the area. And I’m SO glad I did because I found Apartment Slap, a little cottage that sits over a trickling stream and waterfall. Literally! The stream goes right under the cottage and on the other side, turns into a small waterfall.
Let’s just say that I slept like a baby while staying in the cottage that night. The sound of the running water really does lulls you asleep.
And that’s really the magic of the entire village of Rastoke. Similar to Plitvice, there are streams and waterfalls all around. And little mills too! I couldn’t believe the amount of running water throughout the village. It gives off this energy that I can’t even describe.
There are two restaurants in the village that you’ll have to check out. And actually, Apartment Slap is situated right between the two. My favorite was Petro. They have a lovely outdoor patio where you can enjoy the sound of the stream and fresh trout!
The other spot, Konoba Pod, has a fun little park out back where you can enjoy a quick stroll through the gardens, see many waterfalls, and explore a little cave that takes you into a canyon along the river. Which, you guessed it, will give you more lovely views of that waterfalls!
But the best part was just being able to enjoy my cottage. I’d open the windows to let the sound of the water rush in. And I had a private picnic spot just off the cottage that felt like its own little island with water trickling by on every side.
The sound and the light reflecting off the water was just magical.
Rastoke was such a unique, peaceful place that I’ll hold dear to my heart. I feel so incredibly grateful to have stumbled upon what I can only describe as a lovely fairytale village in northern Croatia.
Note that Rastoke is about a 30-minute drive north of Plitvice Lakes, but to me, it was so worth the drive.
If you couldn’t tell from this post, I 100% recommended heading to Plitvice Lakes National Park. 🙂 And if you can swing it, take the extra drive to Rastoke as well. You won’t regret it!
The last part of my Croatia travel guide will be up on the blog soon! It will be covering one of the country’s most famous cities — Dubrovnik. Thanks, Game of Thrones.
Let’s go places,
Have you been to Plitvice Lakes National Park? What did you love about it? Share with us in the comments section below.
All photos on this blog are mine. Feel free to share but please credit me with a link back to the blog. Much appreciated and thank you for your support!