On our last day in Rastoke after reading a numerous amount of blogs and information we travelled the endless path of winding roads to get to Plitvicka National Park. After doing so much research we realised that our dream day at Plitvice around nature would more than likely be a school excursion where we play follow the leader caught in a traffic jam and bottle neck of tour groups!!!!
But we were armed with a plan. That was bet that the tourist buses more than likely wouldn’t arrive till 10am. Sooo we were up super early and in the gate of Plitvice National Park at 7-00am. I was reassured by a sign that yes bears do inhabit Plitvice National Park which made me a little nervous!!!! We parked in Carpark 1…as there are 2 entrances but Entrance 1 is the start of the lower track.
But there was barely a soul around and of course we wanted this water filled playground to ourselves!!! So once we admired the panoramic water land from the entrance viewing point we were inspired.
We had grand plans to stay ahead of the teems of tourists that would swarm the walk ways and hiking tracks.
Plan 2… Complete the stunning cascading pools, board walk and waterfalls in the lower track before 8-00am which would lead us to the first boat across the lake at 8-30am. At the eating area whilst we waited for the boat to come we chatted to the wild cats that roam the park. This was better than running into a wild bear!!!
After a tranquil ride across the picturesque calm mirror reflective lake with only a hand full of early birds we didn’t hike up hill to the upper lakes ….
We waited for 5 minutes and caught the connecting boat which takes one minute across the second lake and this is a back -to- front move as most tourists group we coming across the lake from entrance 2.. to start their journey to lower or upper track. Just near here you can also hire a boat to go rowing on the lake.
Once across the lake we walked out of entrance 2 to the bus stop and got on an empty bus that drove us up to the top of the upper falls walk. This meant we didn’t need to walk up just down hill which we thought was clever and this is how we stayed ahead of the tourist groups as they hiked uphill and caught the bus down.
We had an amazing morning with trails and board walks pretty much to ourselves. The lakes were JAW DROPPINGLY GLORIOUS!!! A landscape of blue/green emerald pools, with cascading falls plunging like artwork all around. It is hard to believe that it was here that an armed clash at the beginning of the Croatia War of Independence (1991)took place and the first shot was fired in such a landscape of true beauty!!!
I was also worried about snakes as I had read a few blogs who had seen a few snakes. Maybe because we were really it wasn’t hot enough which was great. We did see some beautiful fish swimming in the crystal clear water.
Something we did notice was that sometimes there were gaps between the timber board walk so you need good walking shoes that don’t get caught in the gaps.
The timber can also be slippery especially near the falls as it is wet.
The timber walkways in some areas are graduated which is hard to see as they are all one colour so if you are not paying attention you may miss a step and fall. We witnessed a man slip trying to get on the boat!!
We also witnessed one of those tourist who decided to stand on a high rail and look over !!! Tourist have died here trying to that photo and have slipped!!!!
We took a few photos which compared us arriving at 7am and what it looked like when we were leaving at 12pm.
On our way out we grabbed a homemade apple and fruit strudel which was delicious!!
Our plan worked but it was hot and crowded when we left and the queues were extreme for those trying to buy tickets at the entrance. It cost us 55 kn which was about 8 euros!!! It was definitely worth it but I would really try to avoid the crowds if you want a day amongst nature or do 2 half days and stay in an Airbnb close to the park. All up we covered an 18 kilometre track which included us walking, catching a bus and 2 ferries which was included in our tickets.