I often get asked when is the best time to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Here are the reasons why visiting Plitvice in early Spring may be a good idea:
- All the waterfalls are at their peak
- All the waterfalls are fully visible
- Spring flowers are amazing
- The park is not too busy
- Entrance fees are reasonable
The Plitvice Lakes are stunning all year around. They actually change their appearance DAILY. However, the Spring has some great advantages:
All The Waterfalls Are At Their Peak
I can’t really describe the excitement I experienced on this day, April 2, 2018.
The waterfalls I remembered as gentle trickles of water turned into miniature Niagara Falls.
The boardwalks were all trembling beneath my feet. Adrenaline was rampant.
Where Does The Water Come From?
This is one of the most common questions I get. (The other one is: “Is this fresh water?)
Well, precipitation. Rain and snowmelt.
The year 2018 was very snowy. All the melting snow has even destroyed one of the lake barriers, annihilating one of the Upper Lakes.
After Winter 2018, and the snowmelt that ensued, this beautiful lake vanished.
The next time you visit the Plitvice Lakes in 500 years or so, the lake will probably be back.
See you then!
Sometimes the heavy rainfall makes the water level go up, flooding the trails. That occasionally happens even is Summer.
Basically, the more it rains, or the more snow melts, the higher the water level gets, and the waterfalls become more powerful.
All The Waterfalls Are Fully Visible
In early Spring, most trees and shrubs are still hibernating. Unobstructed, the waterfalls then display their full splendour.
The top of the Veliki Prštavac waterfall is one of my favourite spots in the park.
The view THROUGH the waterfall is truly spectacular.
In Spring though, you see details that are otherwise hidden in Summer.
Spring Flowers Are Amazing
The absence of foliage that prevents sunshine to reach the forest bed is an ideal moment for the spring flowers to pop out.
The snow has melted away, and it’s getting warmer and warmer. Then a miracle happens!
Flowers of all shapes display their beauty in a fireworks of colour.
Beware, though, as a protection against grazing, most, it not all or these beautiful blossoms are highly poisonous.
It was named after the Greek word hepar, or liver, hepatica, because of the similarity of the leaves with the shape of the liver.
In folk medicine, hepatica is used to treat liver and bile, from liver failure to cirrhosis, hepatitis, cramps and blood clots in the liver, swollen liver, clogged liver, weak liver, jaundice, gallstones and sand, spleen disease ), kidney and bladder diseases (stones and sand, infection, uncontrolled urination), lung and respiratory diseases.
The word primula is the Latin feminine diminutive of primus, meaning first (prime), applied to flowers that are among the first to open in spring.
Syrup made of primrose (primula) is commonly prescribed cough medicine in Croatia and can be purchased in pharmacies.
All parts of snowdrops contain toxic alkaloids. The most common alkaloid is galantamine, which is most abundant in bulbs. Galantamine is highly toxic and causes vomiting. On the other hand, it is very healing in small amounts. That’s why the snowdrop is both a poisonous and medicinal plant.
The Park Is Not Too Busy
One of the most usual complaints I hear is that the park is crowded.
Indeed, long lines are all too common in Summer. Holidaymakers from Central European countries like Hungary or Austria, tourist travelling to or back from the Adriatic, large groups of Polish visitors, Croatian school children screaming like the Gremlins…
In Early Spring, though, you can have the park just for yourself. An occasional adventurer here and there will only make you feel less lonely.
In Summer, there is an incessant flow of tourists swarming down or up these boardwalks.
In early spring, you will be able to make a photo like this one, devoid of people.
BTW, the boardwalks get constant attention from the Park administration.
Rotten beams are being replaced and new sections are being added to the existing miles and miles of wooden bridges and pathways.
This is certainly one of the most scenic views of the waterfalls framed by the boardwalks.
To reach this point, walk between Entrance 1 and Station 1 (of the panoramic train).
Again, since it’s early spring, there is almost nobody down there.
Entrance Fees Are Reasonable
Since the Plitvice Lakes National Park belongs among the world heritage of nature protected by the UNESCO, this organisation has ordered the park to do something about the crazy number of visitors that would invade the park in Summer.
Several measures have been implemented. For example, the TIME SHIFT mode allows only a limited number of visitors to enter the park.
You also need to book your ticket in advance (if you did’t do that, the only option might be to join an organised tour).
But one of the most effective moves to decrease the number of visitors was INCREASING THE ENTRANCE FEES.
The cost of entrance tickets has been rising exponentially for the past couple of years, and it is believed to keep growing (because some people just don’t get it!).
The entrance fees in March or April have been traditionally low. Additionally, The Park organises “Special Offer Weeks” of “Family Weeks” to attract predominately Croatian visitors. Nonetheless, ALL visitors (except for the organised tour groups) are allowed to benefit from the arrangement.
Of course, visiting the Plitvice Lakes is once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you don’t want to be a miser. Still, it good to know, especially if you planned to visit the park anyway.
One of the downsides of visiting the Plitvice National Park in the “wet” season might be the closed trails due to the flooding.
Don’t let that discourage you. The parts you GET to see are so amazing and overwhelming, even awe-inspiring, that it’s worth your time and effort to go there anyway.
Even though the Big Waterfall may be inaccessible, the view over it is so spectacular.
This is the tallest waterfall in Croatia, 78 meters tall.
The GRAND FINALE!