Plitvička Jezera National Park

Introducing Plitvice

Plitvice Lakes () is one of the most beautiful spots in the whole of Croatia, with its sixteen terraced lakes, limestone gorges, 80-foot waterfall, and numerous hiking trails.

One could spend days exploring this large and magnificent national park and still not see everything it has to offer.

Visiting Plitvice Lakes national parkVisiting Plitvice Lakes national park

Where is Plitvice?

The national park is located quite remotely, about 10km from the Bosnian border, and the closest city is actually the Bosnian town of Bihač.

Plitvice falls within of the Croatian county of Lika and to get there you'll need to drive about 50km on smaller roads from the nearest motorway, which is the E71 between Zagreb and Split.

When did Plitvice become a national park?

In acknowledgement of its prominence as one of Europe's most outstanding natural wonders, the Plitvice Lakes were declared Croatia's first national park on April 8, 1949, following the end of World War II.

Let's Learn Croatian Insider Tip

A mysterious lady has a role in the Plitvice Lakes' genesis story. The 'Legend of the Black Queen' is linked to Prošćansko Lake. The tale on 'Prošnja' talks of a time when the land was ravaged by drought. The locals petitioned the magical queen for assistance, and she answered by building the Plitvice lakes. As a result, Prošćansko Jezero was thought to be her first creation.

Does Plitvice allow swimming in 2024?

No swimming allowed: but why?

Swimming had been forbidden in the Plitvice Lakes National Park since 2006.

A rapid increase in tourism in the 1990's – as well as water contamination from nearby hotels and agricultural operations – resulted in increased concentrations of organic substances within the water, which posed a threat to the natural balance of the park.

Bathing and swimming in the lakes was hence prohibited in 2006 to protect this fragile environment from further human impact and to ensure the long-term creation of tufa (porous rock), making Plitvice Lakes National Park a forerunner in this field (in Krka National Park for example, swimming was only banned in 2021).

Wooden walkways in Plitvice Lakes national parkWooden walkways in Plitvice Lakes national park

A chance to cool off nearby!

Although visitors aren't allowed to swim in the lakes directly, just few kilometers north of the National Park, swimming is possible!

Did you know Croatia has 8 national parks?

Take a look at our overview of Croatian national parks, which provides details on each park, it's location, what makes it special and what you can do when get there. We also include some Croatian vocabulary that you can learn and practice if you're interested in learning the Croatian language.

On a hot day the Korana river which runs into the Plitvice Lakes National Park, can be just as attractive as the park's dazzling lakes. Villagers have even built a little ladder next to a tree just outside the village of Korana to make diving into the crystal blue river easier.

Further reading