No matter what season it is, Plitvice Lakes always have the best scenery to look at. The autumn breeze in this October pull me through all the way there and to feel the red orange-ish colour theme which was so mesmerizing !
Actually, there are many ways that can lead you to the location. Most popular are taking a bus from the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb, or another nearby city on the northwest called Split or Zadar. The Plitvice Lake is the second destination of my Croatia trip after Dubrovnik, so if you are doing the same itinerary as me it’s gonna be a bit tricky. To be honest, it is not too easy to plan this trip. The schedule of the bus going from Dubrovnik to Plitvice is considerably plentiful, but somehow it was just not fit with my itinerary. The last bus that was depart from Dubrovnik will arrive at Plitvice around 2 am ! We tried to find an accommodation with 24 hours reception and we found none. Reading some stuff on the internet that we are not gonna be drop off at some place like decent main bus station but a bus stop (and of course literally in the middle of a jungle) made us decide to take a long route to get there. At last, the option that we chose was taking a bus from Dubrovnik to Zagreb which was taking 10 hours travel time. The bus was depart at 6 pm from Dubrovnik and arrive at 4 am in Zagreb Autobusni Kolodvor (Central Bus Station). There were another 1.5 hours waiting time before boarding to the next bus to Plitvice at 5.45 am.
The National Park itself open at 8 am at that time. The operating hours and entrance fee is different at a certain season, for more information you can read here. It has two entrance gates which are Entrance 1 and Entrance 2. However, I would suggest starting from the Entrance 1. Funny enough, that the bus driver didn’t speak English well. Every time he announced something, he just spoke local that we had no idea what is he talking about. There was one stop that we thought we had arrived just because we already had 1.5 hours in a bus. Without any explanation from bus driver, few passengers prepared to get off while I still hesitated to follow because my offline map showed it was just a city before the national park. Later on, one hour to go to finally arrived at Entrance 1.
I stuffed myself with a few information before going there. In fact, the bus just momentarily stop at the Entrance 1 and I just stay calm cause I know there is another entrance gate in front. What I don’t know that the Entrance 2 was not like an entrance. It is a jungle with nothing looked like an entrance. We just laughed and felt lost in a jungle before it was even started. The thing is, we carried our backpacks. The information that I got from many travel blogs said that the luggage storage is located at Entrance 1.
What should we do now? The distance between those two entrances is quite far. We thought we will have lost times to go there by foot. After a minute thinking, we just crossed the road and hop on the random bus that we don’t even know where will the bus heading on. We just asked him to drive us to the Entrance 1, and it was free 🙂
The luggage storage is not too safe I would say. It’s just a room with a shelf where we can put the bag or suitcase without any locks. Everybody can easily ask the room key and take any bags carelessly. You can get the room key from the information center. The rule is the key should be returned in five minutes. However, you will be charged nothing for storing your luggage, so can’t claim anything for undesirable thing happened.
Another suggestion is : It is not highly suggested to buy the map from the information center. The entire map is easily be found along the track. There are many routes you can choose. From the short up to the long track. The shortest time is around 2-3 hours tracking, but the longest would take more than 10 hours. It depends on how long you are investing the time when visiting this National Park. Many suggestions to have 6-8 hours, this already include the walking, taking many pictures, crossing the lake by boat, and the tourist vehicle. The route that we chose was Route C, it took 6-8 hours to complete the journey.
1. KALUDEROVAC – GAVANOVAC – MILANOVAC
The picture above was the first view that I caught. Amazing isn’t it?
2. VELIKI SLAP (THE BIG WATERFALL)
Most of the times that we’ve spent just for taking a snap, selfies, snapping again, another selfies. Too happy I just can’t describe.
3. JEZERO KOZJAK
After around two hours tracking, you’ll have arrived at P3. It is a dock where you can start crossing the big lakes to P1. It also the first checkpoint for having a restroom, chillin’ in a cafetaria or buy some souvenirs.
This place is so beautiful, serene, and Instagram-able. The red-orange-ish leaves have just fallen from the tree, we just can’t help ourselves for not taking many pictures.
After crossing the lake, we have arrived at P1, then we transferred by tourist vehicle to go to ST3. It was quite a long way to go there and the fact that we are going uphill. Meaning that, fog everywhere. It was unfortunate that the weather is not so friendly that day, but it was still beyond our expectation. We came with the bad weather forecast, it was said it will be raining all day long whether in fact it’s just a cloudy day.
Do you wanna see what I saw up there?
FOG AND FOG …We were in despair.
Not until we saw this reddish forest. Tripod is in action then.
Going back from ST3 to ST1 by tourist vehicle, walking down the path which was heading to entrance 1. The 7 hours walking tour was over. It’s time to go back to Zagreb. Au revoir Plitvice !
- The Croatia bus is the cheapest of all but the facilities are quite poor. The bus from Dubrovnik – Zagreb is not equipped with wifi even the wifi sticker is sticked on the bus window.
- There is no power socket in the bus so make sure your electronic devices are not running out of battery.
- It’s better to book the ticket from the internet. You’ll find a strange pdf ticket downloaded. Following the main ticket, it also attached the copy of the tickets which at first I thought that it was not needed. Well, I was wrong. The printed ticket will be taken by the bus driver and once in a while the ticket inspection will be held again in the middle of the trip and the copy of the ticket will be asked.
- 1.5 hours is sufficient to take a peaceful time in the restroom before starting an exciting journey ahead. There is a public toilette on the 2nd floor of Zagreb Central Bus Station. You need to pay 3 kuna with coin.
- Don’t forget to bring the student ID card to get a student price.