I love a good lake and Plitvice National Park in Croatia is home to a staggering array of lakes.
It’s a popular place to visit though, and in summer the crowds can be so fearsome you’re in danger of being forced into the water by the sheer numbers pushing their way around. I decided to pay the lakes a visit in Autumn, and found minimal crowds and glorious beauty.
Plitvice Lakes are part of a protected national park. The Croatian’s want to keep this beautiful area as incredible as possible for as long as possible.
The lakes are layered and interconnected, and water drops from plateau to plateau across the park, culminating in the Big Slap Waterfall which you can see in the picture directly above and directly below- ‘Veliki Slap‘ is Croatian for Big Waterfall you see.
The water is crystal clear too, with vivid shades of turquoise, green and blue. The lakes are home to thousands of trout, who swim around carefree. Fishing is prohibited, as is, unfortunately, swimming.
The lakes are linked with a series of rustic, wooden walkboards which will take you along the edge of the water and right under the waterfalls too.
Even in low season the narrow planks were crammed with people, especially when the odd tour group came charging through mercilessly. Pausing for a selfie is a real hazard in these conditions. It’s hard to calculate the staggering numbers lost in the waters as wild tour groups wreak havoc on the walkways in peak season.
Autumn was in full swing around the lakes. Leaves were dropping and trees were browning. If I was a more poetic writer I’d probably write a beautiful verse here about the glorious colours. But I’m not.
After avoiding near death on the wooden planks, I caught the boat across the larger lake, to really immerse myself in the Autumn colours.
And I found some more waterfalls. Not quite as large as the Big Slap, but size isn’t everything.
And more waterfalls…
And more tour groups…all resplendent in the Autumn climate.
But the national park is much more than just lakes. There’s almost 300 square kilometres of woodland, full of all manner of wildlife, including rare species such as the Brown Bear, Lynx and Wolf. I was hoping they might savage a few tour groups on the water’s edge, but even these mighty beasts of the wild were terrified enough to stay far away. The woodland is full of hiking trails as well, and I set off to climb a nearby peak.
The trails are all clearly marked, the only thing you need to worry about is bears. Although these stay far away from civilization and they are few and far between.
Everyone else in the park was probably too scared to leave the safety of the lakes. There was no one in sight for the trek up to the peak of Turcic, itself only a mile or so from the waterfalls.
It was an equally magnificent scene.
Plitvice Lakes truly were glorious in Autumn.
If you love a good lake as much as me then why not check out Slovenia’s Lake Bled in Winter.
You can easily do Plitvice in a day from Zagreb, or from the nearer coastline at Zadar. It’s around 2 hours by bus from either, and buses run all day. There’s a handy timetable right here.
Accommodation in the park is expensive if you are on a budget, but if you do want more time to get off the beaten walkboards and explore the miles of woodland and mountain tops that surround the lakes, then you can camp out at Camp Korana, just a few miles down the road from the lakes and in the heart of the National Park. Just watch out for bears.
I went Plitvice one summer- should gone in autumn though. Looks prettier and seems like there were less people from your photos x
Yes there weren’t quite as many people as in Summer, it still wasn’t quiet however, but I don’t think it ever will be.
The first and only time I’ve visited Plitvice Lakes was in the fall and I’m so glad I did. It was stunning. The colours were unforgettable and the best part was the lakes were decently quiet. There were still people around but not many so we could enjoy the peaceful nature by ourselves.
I think that if the lake was too crowded it would really spoil the beauty of it. That’s why Autumn is such a great time to visit!
Wow, that park sure has it all, there’s the lake, there’s the waterfalls! Absolutely majestic. I’d probably go home with many poems in my head if I had a chance to get to that place. Hopefully I’d get to visit Plitvice lakes someday.
I would really recommend a visit if you ever get the chance too!
It’s lovely seeing pics of Plitvice other than nice and shiny in the summer, I love the colours of Autumn and they’re magical here too. Just as good as the summer!
Autumn is a really under rated season anywhere in the world
I would love to see these beautiful lakes and waterfalls! Many have told me how beautiful Croatia is. I guess I have to…now!
Yes you really have to now! It’s incredible!
Looks like a perfect place to hike …. Lots of tourist though! Love the colors of autumn, it adds a bit of a “drama” to the hike 🙂
The hiking was wonderful! Get onto the trails and you can escape the tourists too!
Autumn colours makes everything pretty but plitvice is such a beautiful place all year round
Yup it’s really a special place
I would have to go with the others – Plitvice looks amazing in autumn! Not that I have been to it in summer, but the fall really offers a palette of colours!
I love the trail photos too.
Thanks Svet, yes it’s a really colourful place
Absolutely love the wooden plank walkway! Looks like an awesome and unique trail to see the lake and waterfalls. I have to imagine fall is one of the best times due to the added color of the trees.
Haha yes the wooden planks really gave the place a rustic feel!
Absolutely gorgeous! Nature really brings in so much positiev vibes when you immerse yourself to it.
there’s nothing better than escaping it all in nature!
The term glorious was given justice through your photos! 🙂 Very glorious! 🙂
Glorious is the perfect adjective! You should check out Lake Bled too…its glorious in winter! https://www.travel-tramp.com/lake-bled-glorious-winter/
Oh wauw! We’ve been here in summer, but this place look stunning in Autumn too! And so different actually.. Love it 🙂
I think every season will give the lakes a new look!
It looks stunning with all the fall leaves!
This isn’t the first I’ve heard of the Plitvice Lakes and your photos are great. Visiting in Autumn seems like a good idea considering that it’s popular with tourists.
Visiting in Autumn is a great way to escape the crowds! Thanks for reading!
I can’t imagine wanting to go any time other than the fall after seeing your images.
There’s no better time of the year!
Oh, I’ve always wanted to visit these lakes and waterfalls, they look so beautiful!
They really are beautiful!
Stunning, I think that mist really adds to the atmosphere. I think we will be visiting in late Spring next year so hoping it will be just as amazing!
I’m sure they will look great as well Nic!
Such beautiful photos!
Full credit goes to the lakes rather than my photography skills
Well, that’s just absolutely stunning. How beautiful! Croatia is one of my favourite countries I’ve visited, and my favourite season is the fall. Put those two things together and this happens! Need to go back!
Croatia is definitely on of the most beautiful countries in Europe, if not the world
Wow, beautiful pictures! This is on my wishlist.
I highly recommend a trip to remove it from your wishlist