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Plitvice Lakes – Options for Visit

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Apr 8th, 2016, 10:52 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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Plitvice Lakes – Options for Visit

In mid-May we will drive from Rovinj to Plitvice Lakes. We are booked at the Plitvice Miric Inn on Rt. 1 about 2 km. south of the park for one night.

Route planners (Via Michelin etc.) indicate an approximately 4 hour drive direct (with small stops), so we could be at the park in the early afternoon. This would allow us to 3 or so hours that afternoon, and another 3 or so hours the next morning before driving on to Zadar.

Understanding that many wish to spend days, we want a good general experience including the boat ride and walks.

Is it a good idea to split our stay into an afternoon and next morning? If so, what itinerary, section, approach is recommended?

Thanks again. You all have helped a great deal already in planning this trip.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 11:34 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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I am in the midst of planning a trip to France and just happened to see you query about Plitvice. I just want to say that it is one my all time wonderful memories. We did our Croatia trip by bus and stayed in the park, which I would recommend but only have the one experience.

One reason is that one can ONLY enjoy the beauty of Plitvice when it is clear enough to SEE it. The weather is often bad. Stay at least 2 days or so to have a chance to choose the best day. Being IN the park makes it simple to evaluate the day, with the helpful advice of local staff. You can then start your walk and boat ride immediately when you get the "all clear" from them.

I highly recommend finding a copy of Rick Steve's Croatia guide and follow his lead on how to best enjoy it. It is truly incredibly beautiful! We have our photos rotating on our screensaver and I always have to stop and take another look.

I also recommend watching Rick's Croatia travel CD on his website. He allows free viewing of any of his trips. That is where I first became aware of Plitvice and HAD to go there. We traveled his whole itinerary on our own using his book.

Have a wonderful time. By the way, we ended up standing in pouring rain for easily an hour while attempting to catch the bus from Plitvice and even that did not dampen our experience. (We eventually went back to our hotel where they explained that it was commute time and all buses were full. We waited in the hotel, tried again, no problem People are wonderfully kind.)
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Apr 8th, 2016, 02:46 PM
  #3
 
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Here is our day at one of the most beautiful spots on earth (with photos, of course):

http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/chapter-sixteen-paradise-found-in-plitvice/

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Apr 8th, 2016, 03:00 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
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I visited Plitvice in May 2014. I also drove from Rovinj that morning, arrived early afternoon, checked into my hotel, cleaned up, and headed to the park that afternoon. I had considered the option of waiting until morning to visit the park, but the weather forecast called for rain the next day, so I decided to go that afternoon. I had plenty of time, wasn't at all rushed, walked, took the boat rides, and got what I am sure was the full experience. Got back to the hotel in time for a leisurely outdoor dinner with still several hours of daylight.

Many people recommend going to Plitvice first thing in the morning because of the crowds, but in mid-May, yes there were a lot of people in some sections of the park, but overall I was not put off by excessive crowds.

If you get there and the weather is bad and you have the option of waiting until the next morning, that might not be a bad idea.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 05:17 PM
  #5
 
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FYI, if you stay at one of the park hotels, not only can you walk right into the park but they will stamp your park pass from the previous day so you can enter the park a second day without paying again. So this might help make the extra expense of an overpriced park hotel more worth it.

And FYI, there's really only one boat ride - between the lower and upper lakes. (About 20 minutes.) There is another boat that takes about 5 minutes from the base of Entrance #2 (southern entrance, near two of the hotels), to the start of the upper lakes trails - more of a way to shuttle across the lake than something you would have time to enjoy. The longer boat ride is nice but you can't really any waterfalls from the boat as I recall. I wouldn't consider the boat ride a highlight.

5-6 hours is really plenty of time to see the park - it's not that big. I was lucky to have great weather on both of my visits (one last May, one in October a few years ago). It is true that I wouldn't want to see it in the rain, but I can't imagine spending 3 days near Plitvice. I would be bored out of my mind. There is no real town to speak of. I think I would stay in Rovinj an extra day or something if it were raining and go a day later or otherwise try to adjust my schedule.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 07:18 PM
  #6
kja
 
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IMO, if there is any question about the weather, then by all means, take advantage of whatever time you have! When I was there, park staff manned each entrance and were happy to help people plan a route that met their interests and times.

That said, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is, IMO, the single most un-missable of Croatia's many splendors. Not only are the lakes connected by travertine waterfall formations, each lake has unique microbiota, and as a result, the lakes are different colors. The best way to see that, IMO, is to make a single, long loop through the park -- something on the order of 6 hours or more (including time for the boat that connects the lower and upper lakes), and by all means, start at the lowest part of the park so you are facing the falls as you proceed. I stopped for a LOT of pictures, and took something on the order of 7 hours for my visit, IIRC.

BTW, I was there in 2009, so my info might not be up-to-date, but I actually found some inaccurate info about the Plitvice Lakes in the Rick Steves guidebook that was then most current, and I was VERY glad that I heeded the advice of the other guidebooks I used when planning my trip. I've since destroyed that guidebook, so regret that I can't be more specific about the erroneous info I encountered ... and again, maybe things have changed.

As for timing, I am NOT a morning person, so I waited until the vast majority of tour groups had left for the day and then followed behind them (with a larger and larger gap between us. ;-) ) That worked VERY well for me! Just one option....

Hope that helps!
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