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Croatia

Travel Tips: Where To Stay In Plitvice Lakes National Park

One day in Plitvice is not enough – it is merely a taste!

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Croatia

I had read that it was worthwhile to overnight in Plitvice as the National Park was something to see.  Listed as a World Heritage Site, the National Park boasts stunning waterfalls and loads of wooden walkways to lead you through the turquoise lakes, past waterfalls and through the forest.  Now that I have been, I can say with certainty, that overnighting is the way to go!  I spent close to 5 hours roaming the upper lakes the first day.  Hundreds of photographs later, I didn’t think it could be any better.  I was wrong!  My second day was spent in the lower lakes, and I am thrilled that I did.  It was nothing short of stunning!  A one day outing would have only been a taste. (For more photos from Plitvice visit: Croatia photo of the day: Plitvice Lakes)

So – where does one stay should they want to overnight at Plitvice Lakes National Park?  Let me share some lessons with you to help make your stay wonderful!

Croatia sights

Tip #1 – if you stay in one of the hotels within the park (i.e.: Hotel Bellevue or Hotel Plitvice), your second day entry to the park is covered by your overnight stay.  Just have the hotel validate your ticket.  These hotels are literally at the gateway to the park.  I had read a few negative reviews for Hotel Bellevue on Trip Advisor and decided against staying there.  In retrospect, I was there for the park and not the hotel – so what if the rooms were a little dated and tired, reminiscent of Yugo days – you can stumble out of bed and wander into the park, it is that close!

Where to stay in Plitvice Lakes National Park, accommodation in Plitvice

Tip #2 – The town of Jezero, where most of the B&Bs and hostels are found, is approximately a 1.5km walk to the park.  No big deal except that the road to the park, which is considerably busier that I would have imagined  - had a constant stream of buses and cars with nary a footpath in sight!  In other words, it was not a nice walk.  The buses come awfully close.  Even worse after dark as you walk home from the restaurant – no street lights!

busy roads

Tip #3 – There does not appear to be a lot of restaurant options outside of the park.  To my knowledge, there was one restaurant and demand was pretty high!  My first night, I wandered down for dinner only to hear that there was over an hours wait for pizza – and that was for the people who had a table.  Many had to walk away.  There is a supermarket where you can buy food, but I received conflicting reports as to hours of operation.  This leads me to Tip #4

Tip #4 – If you are staying in one of the many guest houses, try to select one that has a restaurant.  My understanding is that the restaurant is only for the guests of the house, not for people from other houses.

accommodation near Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Tip #5 – It would appear that a car would make an overnight to Plitvice Lakes National Park infinitely easier to access.  I took the bus from Zadar to Plitvice, which was quite easy, but am unsure about the next leg – a bus to Spilt.  I have heard different stories from different sources and only hope that the bus actually does come for me!  Fingers crossed for in the morning!

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Plitvice Lakes National Park and found the 2 nights to be the perfect way to fully experience the park.  With so many bus options from Zadar, I could have easily done the trip with only one night’s stay – but the leg to Split seems to have added an element of difficulty.  The park is so big – it would be incredibly tough to see it all on a day tour from Zadar or Zagreb.

where to stay in Plitvice Lakes National Park

The Lonely Planet recommends Pansion Eco-House, which was right across the street from where I stayed at Javorina House.  My room and en-suite were clean and bright, although the towels were a little stiff.  Breakfast was included with the stay – a traditional European breakfast with a hard boiled egg, slices of cheese, salami and ham, fresh bread and jam, all served with coffee and tea.  They also had nice fresh oranges which were a treat.

Related Links:

Croatia: Plitvice Lakes National Park

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About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!

Discussion

38 thoughts on “Travel Tips: Where To Stay In Plitvice Lakes National Park

  1. My husband and I booked rooms at Hotel Bellevue but were upgraded to Hotel Jerezo. Although dated, the room was comfortable and had a beautiful view. The hotel’s restaurant, geared to serve large groups, served some of the best food on our trip. And the proximity to the lakes was definitely a plus. IMHO, staying in the park is the best way to go. You’ll love Split…..wish we had spent more time there.

    Posted by Languedoc Lady | August 17, 2012, 12:57 pm
    • Thanks for the feedback – while I was perfectly happy with my room, I wish I had booked at the “in park” hotels. That is great that you had good food – I agree with you that staying in the park is the way to go!

      Posted by Anita Mac | August 17, 2012, 5:46 pm
  2. Thanks for sharing your tips. I’ve just been researching Plitvice Lakes as it is on my ‘must’ list for Croatia (where I’m headed tomorrow). Nic

    Posted by Nic Freeman | August 17, 2012, 4:49 pm
    • Have a great time! I just loved Plitvice – the scenery is really something you have to see with your own eyes! Go early if you can – I loved the lower lakes but stood in line for ages for the boats! Very cool that you are also in Croatia – let me know where you are off to next – perhaps we will run into each other!

      Posted by Anita Mac | August 17, 2012, 5:48 pm
  3. Stunning Photos!

    Posted by TinCanTraveler | August 18, 2012, 8:16 pm
  4. I loved Plitvice too!Great choice!
    Enjoy your time in Croatia!

    Posted by aidaweb101 | August 20, 2012, 11:05 am
    • I am loving it! Glad I put Plitvice Lakes on the plan with an overnight – it would be too much to do the entire park in one day, especially if taking a bus tour!

      Posted by Anita Mac | August 20, 2012, 2:11 pm
      • hi,
        i will be travelling along with my gf around the 1st week of sept. as the ‘in-park’ hotels are too expensive for us could you suggest places similar to Javorina house?

        Posted by arjun | August 21, 2012, 1:15 am
      • Hi Arjun,
        While I did not tour other options, I met people who stayed at the bed and breakfasts across the street. Pension Miric looked clean and had the symbols for food – they may be worth checking out. I booked in advance through http://www.hotelbookers.com – they had reviews on their site – the best I could suggest is to look for places with the food symbol. I was very happy with the Javorina House – it was very clean and the proprietor was quite nice. If you are travelling in September, you may find the restaurant up the road to be less busy if you and your GF are happy to walk there for dinner. They also do take out pizza if you go to get it and bring it back to your room.
        Hope that helps.

        Posted by Anita Mac | August 21, 2012, 2:42 pm
  5. Anita, we’ve just arrived to Croatia, and I’m wondering if Plitvice might be worthwhile to visit this time of year? I’ve heard it’s such a special place…

    Posted by Tricia A. Mitchell | February 9, 2013, 8:44 am
    • Enjoy…you are in for a real treat! Plitvice Lakes National Park was stunning in summer, but also super crowded. I have not been in winter but imagine it is equally beautiful. I hope you are able to go….would love to see your photographs in winter time! Enjoy.

      Posted by Anita Mac | February 9, 2013, 9:13 pm
  6. Let’s say welcome Croatia to the EU

    Posted by mezzo | February 10, 2013, 2:10 pm
    • Awesome…it’s official now! Will have to trade my Croatian money to Euros…traveling just got easier!

      Posted by Anita Mac | March 10, 2013, 3:34 pm
      • Hi Anita! Me and 2 friends are going to travel to Croatia in the first week of May. Our first stop is Split, then Plitvice Lakes and afterwards Zadar. We’ll be without car so we’ll travelling around by bus. I’ve checked the website of Javorina House and it seems a very nice place to stay. It’s safe and walkable the distance until the main entrance? What about the buses? It’s easy to get/from there? I’ve found your tips very very useful!! Thanks a lot!!

        Posted by inaram | April 21, 2013, 1:01 pm
      • Inram, that is so awesome. You are going to be doing what I did in reverse. I started in Zadar, to Plitvice to Split, also without car. I think it was approx a 10 minute walk from Javorina House to the park…just be careful as the side of the road is narrow. There is a pizza place around 5 minutes walk for dinner, or you can also eat at the park entrance, although there are no street lights, so be careful walking home in the dark .

        Buses to and from Plitvice are pretty easy to come by…check the local schedule. I just bought my tickets when I went to the bus station – got there early and had no problems at all. Have a great time!

        Posted by Anita Mac | April 21, 2013, 3:25 pm
  7. Hi guy, you still need to tell us how to get there as well. Would love to check things out myself. Great pics and inviting ones at that.

    Posted by akmosol64 | May 25, 2013, 12:28 pm
    • There are a few options – I took a bus from Zadar to Plitvice which was super easy. It was also easy to catch a bus to Split which was the next leg of my journey. Many people do rent cars which would certainly add to your travel flexibility on this one!

      Posted by Anita Mac | June 12, 2013, 4:55 pm
  8. I stayed at the Hotel Jezero when I went. The hotel / rooms are a little dated, but everything is clean and comfortable. The convenience factor is really the closer!

    i absolutely loved the park and am so glad I made the unexpected trip! I blogged about my trip as well :)

    http://shershegoes.com/plitvicelakes/

    Posted by sher | July 8, 2013, 1:42 pm
    • It was pretty special! Thanks for confirming what I thought about the hotel. It worked out ok for me to stay at the place I stayed, but I would have preferred the dated decor of the hotels right at the gate. The walk was not too bad but had the sun set earlier, it would not have been a nice walk!

      Posted by Anita Mac | August 8, 2013, 8:39 pm
  9. My husband and I are planning to visit the Lakes from Zagreb. But when I checked the official http://www.akz.hr bus co. schedule just now, they have blacked out many days in Oct. Does this mean that the buses are full? Help!!

    Posted by Janet CHEUNG | August 7, 2013, 8:47 am

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