How to Spend 1 Day in Plitvice Lakes National Park
Although Plitvice Lakes is one of Croatia’s largest national parks, it’s possible to see both the Upper and Lower lakes in one day, if you plan ahead. Take advantage of the park’s shuttle system, or join a guided trip to make the most of your time. Here’s how to hit the highlights of Plitvice Lakes National Park in a single active day.
Morning: Lower Lakes
Plitvice Lakes is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Croatia, so you’ll want to start your day early to beat the crowds. If you’re not on a guided tour, purchase your admission ticket in advance to avoid long lines at the gate. Leave your car at entrance 1 on the eastern end of the park, head to the Lower Lakes, and spend the morning wandering the boardwalk trails. Don’t miss the spur trail to Veliki Slap, the biggest waterfall in the park. Then, enjoy the fantastic views of the Upper Lakes from the viewpoint above Supljara Cave.
Afternoon: Kozjak Lake
The Lower Lakes trail eventually leads you to Kozjak Lake, the largest and lowest lake in the park’s Upper Lakes region. Here you’ll find a restaurant, gift shop, restrooms, and picnic tables in front of the water—stop and rest a bit before continuing your explorations. Then, take the ferry—included in your Plitvice Lakes admission ticket—to the other side of the lake, where you can catch the Upper Lakes trails (or the shuttle back to entrance 1).
Evening: Upper Lakes
In what’s left of the afternoon, hike the Upper Lakes trails—or the entire perimeter trail—before taking the shuttle bus back to entrance 1. Wind down a full day by watching the sunset from one of the Lower Lakes viewpoints. Or, spend the evening in nearby Rastoke, a village known for its historic 17th-century mills and picturesque waterfalls.