After spending the day in Slovenia at Lake Bled and the Vintgar Gorge, we stayed the night in Ljubliana then drove into Croatia. Next stop, the Plitvice Lakes! Again, my pictures don’t do this beautiful place justice! Google Plitvice Lakes and take a look for yourself how amazing this place is.
Finding the Lakes was a little stressful. We had directions from Ljubliana and unfortunately there is no easy way to get there. If you’re coming from the Ljubljana direction Google Maps will tell you to take exit 3 off of A1 and head towards Karlovac. I would not suggest this. I would continue on A1 and take exit 10 towards Otočac. It says it adds about 30 minutes to the drive but it will significantly cut back on the tiny sketchy back roads. It’s a beautiful drive all through Croatia but some of the roads are very small and you have a cliff on one side. If you’re the passenger, it may get a little stressful!
You do not need a vignette for Croatia but be prepared to pay tolls and lots of them! You also have to stop at the border for Croatia to have your passports checked. We happened to go through a small border crossing in the middle of nowhere. The guy seemed to be a little confused that we had German tags and American passports. Once we explained the US Army thing it was no problem. We did get a stamp in our passports!! We were pretty excited about that! We’ve been to so many countries but you never have to stop at the border.
Croatia has their own currency called the Kona or Kuna, we saw it written both ways. It’s an odd exchange rate, I believe it was 100 Kuna = 17 USD. We were constantly pulling up our converter app to figure out how much money we were spending. Most of Croatia only accepts their currency so find an ATM when you can to get Kuna out. The tolls DO accept euro and credit card, just remember if you pay in euro you will receive kuna back as change.
If you have a GPS or use Google Maps on your phone, just type in Plitvce Lakes National Park and you’ll find it. Once you get there, park in one of their many parking lots which you do have to pay for. You’ll get a ticket when you pull in then pay on the way out at the kiosk, NOT a machine like most German parking. Once you’ve parked there are NOT clear signs telling you where to go. We wondered around a bit until we found a path that we hoped would get us to the entrance. If you can’t figure it out just ask someone, most everyone there speaks English. The entrance fee was 110 kuna per person, so that’s around 19 USD. Make sure you pick up a map when you get your tickets. We didn’t know they had any until we left and it would have been very helpful!
Be prepared to walk A LOT! We only did half of the lakes and we were out walking for 4 hours. This is definitely not a stroller friendly place or for small children unless you have them in a carrier on your back. The wooden walkways do not have railings so you’d have to constantly keep a close eye on a child to make sure they don’t fall in. If you do not want to spend the entire day there then I suggest doing the “right” half of the lakes. Now I’m sure that sounds a little weird, but when you get there a ferry will take you across one lake that then drops you off where everything starts. You can either go off to the left or the right. Go to the right! That is where the big famous waterfalls are. The left side is beautiful and awesome too but the waterfalls are not as big. Unfortunately we went to the left because we didn’t pick up a map at the beginning. Once we realized the big awesome waterfalls were on the other side we were too tired to even try the other half. I do recommend bringing snacks and plenty of water! I believe there are 2 places along the way where you can get food and or use the restroom. I would also maybe bring a rain jacket (unless it’s super hot) or umbrella since some of the waterfalls spray water. This is definitely a place I recommend on visiting! It’s absolutely beautiful and worth seeing!