In order to get from Slovenia to Bosnia & Herzegovina, unless I wanted to do a 12 hour day train I had to stop in Zagreb- the capital of Croatia which is inland and in the North to help break up the journey. I didn’t know much about the city and that’s not surprising it’s actually quite small for a capital city and when you think of Croatia you think of the coast but I decided to make the most of the stop and visit Plitvice Lakes National Park as I had seen some amazing waterfall pictures taken there and it turns out they were easiest to get to from Zagreb.
You can get there by public bus which maybe I should have done to save some money but my hostel advertised a company that takes you there by private car a lot quicker and more comfortably so I booked this which cost about £20 and took 2 hours to get there and back each way.
The weather hadn’t been that good in the area for the last few days and the day prior my weather app showed sun and clouds however on the day it ended up mostly cloudy with a bit of rain at the end!
Once we got to the park we arranged a time to meet back with the driver (5 other girls from different hostels were also in the mini van) and decided to give ourselves 5 hours to see the park which was more than enough time.
The park itself is split into many sections with lots of different walks, mainly though it has the lower section which you start at and gives great views of some falls from above, then you can choose to get the train (included in the ticket price) to the middle section or walk. From there I got a boat across the water which took me a lot closer to the falls and from here there were lots of walk ways running over the water.
The paths are all on a map and each are given a letter you can follow, I always get confused about these but a lady who worked there told me to follow the letter E which will take me right to the higher section and from there I can get the train all the way back down which is what a did. By doing this path I ended up walking right by the huge lakes that were a gorgeous green colour despite it being cloudy and there were some points walking along the path where I was the only one which was really nice, although after a few minutes this would be spoiled by a huge group of tourists coming at me on a guided tour (who needs a guided tour around some waterfalls!), I also got even closer to some of the falls with great photo opportunities.
I’ll mention here that I was told to wear ‘good shoes’, my only covered shoes were my Converse which are still pretty new and I didn’t want to get them dirty but also they rub after an hour or so do I opted for my flip flops because well.. I had nothing else! I certainly got some funny looks as everyone else was in trainers or walking boots (the odd few in sandals) and although my feet got pretty wet and dirty as some of the paths were a bit flooded overall I felt I was the winner because my feet dried quickly (no wet socks here) and after I had a shower and rinsed my flip flops both these and my feet were clean so no having to scrub trainers clean either!
I say that I have become a bit of a beach snob because I’ve seen some amazing beaches and I think now I have become a waterfall snob because it’s difficult for any other waterfall to match up to Iguazu falls in Brazil and Argentina which I visited in January 2015 (apart from Victoria falls which is on my bucket list!).
Overall though it was a good trip, it was good to see another side of Croatia that isn’t the coastline and it was a good use of a cloudy and rainy day however I have seen photos of when it’s sunny and I can imagine it’s amazing then and you could really spend a lot of time there!
The entrance fee to get in is £8 for students and £11 for adults.
Just be warned that I heard in high season on average up to 10,000 people a day can enter the park so it’s best to get there as early as possible to start your walk or later on in the day to miss the crowds.
The park is closest to Zagreb which is where I went from- 2-2.5hours but also close to Zadar- 3 hours, they advertise the trip from Split but it’s a good 3 hour journey up the coast from Split to Zadar plus the extra hours from Zadar I can imagine it makes it a very long day!