Plitvice Lakes & Waterfalls during the Off Season [VIDEO]
Plitvice Lakes - worth seeing during off-peak times?
Most tourists visit Croatia during the peak summer months (June through September), when the Dalmatian seaside beckons and where visitors can count on sunshine and warmth as a welcome respite from home. But is it worth visiting Croatia, or specifically the Plitvice Lakes National Park, during the other months?
The park is open year-round, although you're going to have a different experience depending on when you plan on visiting.
- In December, January, and February, the Park will likely be covered with snow and very cold. You'll want to dress extremely warmly, and expect to make your way through the park very slowly, since the walkways might be icy and you might have to deal with falling snow or sleet.
- In November and March, the average temperature during the day is about 45 F (6-7 C), so still quite cold, although you might not have to deal with as much precipitation.
- In April and October, the average temperature is around 51 F (11 C), so a bit warmer, so at least when you're dealing with precipitation, it won't be freezing!
- In May, you're starting to approach the peak season, although it will still be a bit on the cool side (60 F or 16 C) during the day.
The video above was taken in April, when it was about 50 F (10 C) outside, and drizzly in general throughout the day. I had been to Plitvice during the peak summer months, and it was gorgeous, but relatively crowded, with lots of tourists stopping there as a diversion from the usual beach destinations.
This trip in April was a lot more unusual. There were virtually no tourists; we saw some small groups of Japanese, and a group of 3 British men, but other than that, we felt like we had the entire park to ourselves. There was a beautiful tranquility to everything (maybe the reason Japanese tourists were drawn to it?); the water was incredibly clear, tempting you to reach down and drink it. Most of the snow and ice was gone, but what was left was rapidly melting and contributing to the complex system of waterfalls, rivers, and streams, all blending together into a mellifluous, ever-changing natural melody. (I don't mean to get too poetic here, but it was one of the most serenely beautiful experiences I've had!) I deliberately didn't add music to the video above for this reason.
What I strongly suggest bringing if you're going to Plitvice during one of the off-peak months:
- warm, waterproof clothing, including gloves and a cap
- an umbrella, or a good raincoat
- waterproof shoes with good traction (the trails are often leaf-covered and slick)
- warm socks!
Hours throughout the year:
Although the Plitvicka Jezera National Park is open all year round, the hours and open entrances differ depending on when you plan on visiting.
8am - 6pm
8am - 3pm
1 (always), 2 (starting late-March or early-April)
7am - 8pm
7am - 4pm
8am - 6pm
8am - 3pm
1, 2 (through end of Sept only)
8am - 4pm
8am - noon
Note also that tickets are about 40-50% higher from April through October, than they are from November through March. Here's information on ticket prices, parking, and accommodation/lodging options.
Located about 2 hours away from Zagreb by car, Plitvice Lakes is a place to really commune with the beauty of nature.
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