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Plitvice Lakes & Waterfalls during the Off Season [VIDEO]

Updated on July 10, 2015
Tranquil beauty...and almost completely yours alone if you come during one of the less-visited months
Tranquil beauty...and almost completely yours alone if you come during one of the less-visited months

Have you ever been to Croatia's Plitvice Lakes and Waterfalls?

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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.

Park Hours
Ticket Sales
8am - 6pm
8am - 3pm
1 (always), 2 (starting late-March or early-April)
7am - 8pm
7am - 4pm
1, 2
Fall (Autumn)
8am - 6pm
8am - 3pm
1, 2 (through end of Sept only)
8am - 4pm
8am - noon
1 only

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.

A markerPlitvice Lakes National Park -
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Starigrad, Croatia
get directions

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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    • bydojo profile image

      Ramona Jar 4 years ago from Romania

      It's CLEARLY on our 'to visit' list. We're visiting Croatia again this year, but won't get there (it's far from our main destination and I don't know if we can afford the detour), but I would love to see this place. I have close friends who visited it and they were thrilled. We're pretty close to Croatia from my country, so it's not that difficult to make it happen :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      For some reason your video did not play but Plitvice Lakes and waterfalls definitely sounds like a place that I would enjoy visiting someday. Thanks!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      I was so captivated by the video that I almost forgot about the rest of the hub - glad I read and ENJOYED the whole thing though. Lovely, lovely work, livelonger!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      This place is absolutely gorgeous- and the pathways are amazing! I hope I might be able to visit Plitvice someday... and the off season seems like a pretty good time to go!

      I would not want to brave those little bridges and walkways when they're PACKED with people!

    • Slightly Bonkers profile image

      Slightly Bonkers 6 years ago from Ireland

      Hi there, the Plitvice Lakes are indeed wonderful. It is a shame that we didnt make it there this year on our Europe-Trip to continental Europe. We therefore visited the Krka Waterfalls - also a must see in Croatia. Great Hub, loving the Video :)

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 6 years ago from Southern Spain

      Love the photography !looks like an amazing place to visit. We are staying by a lake for the wet season top of Australa & I should get some great photos after the rain

      I found you while hubhopping !

    • marriedwithdebt profile image

      marriedwithdebt 6 years ago from Illinois

      I actually had a conversation with a complete stranger today about Plitvice Lakes today. It was raining so hard when I went that we didn't get to go in. I still want to go back. Thanks for promoting my father's homeland and my favorite country to visit

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you so much, Hollie. It's a beautiful country, and small enough to explore without the need for extensive transportation plans. Most people head to the coast when they're there - with good reason - but Plitvice is worth seeing if you're in the area, too.

    • Hollie Thomas profile image

      Hollie Thomas 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      It's some coincidence that you have published this hub today Livelonger. It was only this morning that I discussed Croatia with my son and daughter. I have visited quite a few European countries and Croatia is next on my wish list. The park looks absolutely beautiful, and traveling off peak obviously has its advantages. Voted up and beautiful.