Exploring the Park

From Entrance 2, the southernmost of the two entrances, it’s an easy amble down to the shore of 4km-long Kozjak Lake and P1 (a hut and boat stop). Surrounded by steep, forested slopes, Kozjak is the park's largest lake, and forms a boundary between the upper and lower valleys. It contains a small oval island composed of travertine. A good path runs along the lake’s eastern shore: follow it to reach the spectacular lower lakes – with forests, grottoes, steep cliffs and waterfalls – or take one of the regular free boats. Next is emerald Milanovac Lake, then the path runs below cliffs beside Gavanovac Lake. Above is the open-topped cavern of Šupljara, where there’s a lovely viewpoint over Plitvice’s lower reaches. A wooden walkway cuts across to the north bank, around reed-fringed Kaluđerovac Lake and past two towering sets of waterfalls. The second, the aptly named Veliki Slap, is the tallest in Croatia, with a 78m drop.

To explore the upper section of the lakes, return to P1 and follow the trails to Gradinsko Lake, bordered by reeds that often harbour nesting wild ducks. A series of cascades links Gradinsko to beautiful Galovac Lake, where an abundance of water has formed a series of ponds and falls. A set of concrete stairs over the falls, constructed long ago, has been covered by travertine, forming even more falls in a spectacular panorama. Several smaller lakes are topped by the larger Okrugljak Lake, supplied by two powerful waterfalls. Continuing upwards, you’ll come to Ciginovac Lake and, finally, Prošćansko Lake, surrounded by thick forests.

Various combinations of boat, road train (a tourist bus with carriages) and hiking are available, depending on your level of fitness and the amount of time you have. A useful map is printed on the tickets and the information booths are extremely helpful.