Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

Plitvice Jezera – a waterfall paradise in Croatia

I’ve always felt very connected with waterfalls. They are a symbol of unleashed creativity, constant movement, an ever-changing and powerful energy. I feel those vibrations flowing within myself. When I use this energy in my daily life, I’m at my very best. And when I surround myself by waterfalls, I feel their power flowing in and through me. They make me feel happy, strong and connected with the forces of life.

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

 

During the past five years of my travels I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls. The first ten times they fascinated me. I took the time to look at them, to take their powerful energy in. But when I saw the eleventh or twelfth waterfall, I felt less moved. Not that I stopped loving them, but unless the waterfall was really impressive, it felt more like ‘just another one’. Maybe I just had an overdose of waterfalls. When you see too many similar things, you may fall into the trap of not appreciating it so much anymore. But the waterfalls of Plitvice Jezera National Park take your breath away!

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

 

Plitvice Jezera has always been in my top 5 list of places I wanted to visit in Europe. We normally don’t really plan our journey ahead. It’s hard to do that in the way we travel. We kind of know in what direction we’re heading and then we see what comes on our path. Just before we enter a new country, we do some research of places worth visiting. But when we were close with the border of Croatia, I knew straight away where to go: Plitvice (after looking it up numerous times, the name slowly started to stick to my brain instead of calling it ‘that waterfall place’). It was of course the first destination of our journey through Croatia.

We started our visit very early in the morning. So early that we were the only ones in this 297 km2 park. Nobody is allowed to go in before opening hours. But we camped in the park the night before, not knowing we passed the entrance. Assuming that wild camping was probably not allowed (like in most places), we decided to camp in a hidden area, not far from the entrance. In the darkness we couldn’t really see where we were going but after stumbling over rocks and maneuvering in between trees we found a nice spot for the night. The morning after we packed up very early to avoid leaving any traces. In the first morning light we realized we were already in the park. Instead of waiting three more hours to pay the entrance fee, we decided to explore the place (what would you do…). It was a unique feeling, knowing that there are daily thousands of visitors and now we had the whole park to ourselves.

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

all by ourselves in the park

We started our visit at the first of the two main entrances of the National Park. Straight away we had a panoramic view over a European Niagara Falls, diced and sprinkled over a heavily forested Grand Canyon. Heading down the steep zigzag path we left civilization behind and entered a wonderland of crystalline lakes that tumble into each other via a series of waterfalls and cascades. The board walks took us over and around almost all the waterfalls and gave us some of the most intimate ‘waterfalling’ experiences. We were in heaven! It took about six hours to explore the whole park by foot. Halfway through our path we took one of the park’s free electric boats to cross the biggest lake. At the far side of the lake, more board walks took us to more spectacular nature and falls.

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

The best time to visit Plitvice is probably during winter or late autumn/ early spring. In summer it is very busy. You can expect to be surrounded by 10,000 other hikers. Sometimes people line up on the board walks. Enjoying silently the beauty of the park with that many people around you can be challenging. Outside the summer season there are a lot fewer visitors and the most quiet time is during winter. The entrance fee during summer is also more expensive. One ticket costs 180KN (24) in summer, 110KN (€ 15) during autumn and fall and 55KN (€ 7) in the winter.

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

 

I think we managed to camp in the wild because it was so quiet. I don’t think it would have been possible during the busy summer months. There are many hotels around and plenty of cheap options. You can rent a room in the private home of locals (named sobe) and there are many B&B dotting the countryside. On Hostelworld you get an overview of prices and places.

To get there you can hitchhike like us. If that way of traveling doesn’t appeal to you, you can take one of the many public buses passing by Plitvice. The bus is relatively cheap but keep in mind that you have to pay an extra fee for your luggage (about €1). It’s also cheaper to buy your ticket from the driver.

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

 

If there is one destination in Croatia you have to visit, then it’s definitely Plitvice Jezera National Park! It’s a Disneyland of waterfalls and a nature photographer’s wet dream! A visit outside the main tourist season shouldn’t cost you a lot or you could try it our way (hitchhiking, camping and somehow managing to pass the entrance without paying). As I review my photos for this article, I realize that Plitvice Jezera truly brings the beauty of waterfalls to another level!

 

 

Plitive Jezera - Croatia - Journal of Nomads

 

 

Plitvice Jezera - Journal of Nomads
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Would you also like to experience the beauty of the waterfalls? Watch this video!

 

 

Follow Cynthia - Journal of Nomads:

Writer, travel photographer, Panasonic Lumix Ambassador and co-founder of Journal of Nomads

I have Belgian roots but the world has been my home for the past 8 years. I'm an artist at heart and often get lost in my thoughts. I like to create some-thing out of no-thing and once I feel inspired, I'm unstoppable. I love telling stories and taking photos, showing the beauty and extraordinary of the world around me. Oh, and I love making the impossible elegantly probable. Once you realize that you're a creator and the world is your playfield, there's no limit to what can be done!

20 Responses

  1. Lance Kerwin
    | Reply

    I was in Croatia in 2014 and was unable to see the lake due to limited time. Love the pictures. Plitvice is really incredible. I hope I can visit that place someday.

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      Thank you! Plitvice is a little paradise. If you would ever go back to Croatia, definitely try to visit it!

  2. Renne Simpson
    | Reply

    “A Disneyland of waterfalls” is right! This looks incredible!! Adding Plitvice to my list.

  3. elizabeth
    | Reply

    I too am a fan of waterfalls. I have seen some really great ones- I like the really big ones, they just seem to roar. This place looks lovely, I like the color of the water! Thank goodness for digital cameras- you can go picture crazy here!

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      I love the big ones too, they are so powerful! And indeed hooray for digital cameras, this place didn’t stop flirting with mine! 🙂

  4. Indrani
    | Reply

    Lots to explore in Croatia. Lovely scenic captures, seems perfect for a romantic outing!

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      If you love nature then Croatia and especially Plitvice Jezera is definitely the place to go! One can have a very romantic picnic there 🙂

  5. Allison (Fun Family Vacations)
    | Reply

    Before I started reading a lot of Travel Blogs, I would not have thought of Croatia as a vacation destination. This looks amazing.

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      It’s only since the last few years that Croatia is getting a touristic boost. It’s a country that has so much to offer! It’s becoming a popular destination during summer holidays for Europeans!

  6. Heather
    | Reply

    Love this place. Visited quite a few years back and wish I had spent more time walking around.

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      You didn’t spent much time in the park? See it as an excuse to go back 😉

  7. Voyager
    | Reply

    wow! wonderful, looks like a dream, would love to live this dream some day, thanks for sharing.

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      I’m happy this little paradise inspired you!

  8. Ami
    | Reply

    It is almost fairy tale like. Yes this is an Eden of waterfalls and your pictures capture this so well.

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      Thanks Ami! An Eden is a perfect way to describe it!

  9. Rob Taylor
    | Reply

    This place really is incredible. And going there in the winter seems both brilliant (fewer tourists) and magical (so pretty)!! This site definitely carries the WOW factor!

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      Yes, winter is definitely the time to go! Plitvice Jezera really mesmerized us!!

  10. Marleen
    | Reply

    In 1989 bezochten we ook het park, prachtig was het toen. Met de burgeroorlog werd het blijkbaar een onderdeel van het strijdtoneel en waren er veel verwoestingen. Ik ben blij te horen dat het park nu weer hersteld is tot machtig wonder!.

    • Cynthia Bil
      | Reply

      Hoi Marleen, het park is nu inderdaad weer een prachtige wonderlijke plaats! Er is intussen al veel hersteld in Kroatie maar hier en daar kan je wel nog kogelgaten in de gebouwen of zelfs verwoeste gebouwen zien. Wij moesten zelfs opletten tijdens het wild kamperen voor mijnen die nog steeds niet opgegraven zijn! Dankzij het nieuwe opbloeiende toerisme krijgen de mensen gelukkig weer een kans om zich economisch op te bouwen. Zie je veel verschil van hoe het park er in 1989 uitzag en met de foto’s nu of lijkt het er nog steeds goed op?

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