Activities

Hiking/walking

It is truly a special experience to observe Plitvice Lakes from hiking trails, despite the fact that most visitors opt for sightseeing opportunities provided by walking trails right along the lakes. Hiking trails can be a challenge to inexperienced hikers, however, although some trails are fairly easy. Five available trails will remind the visitors that three quarters of this protected area consist of forests.

Medvjeđak

Medvjeđak is a woodland slope 8 kilometers long, stretching from the mountain of Plješevica in the northwestern direction. It is one of the most enchanting areas of the Park, providing nature lovers with panorama views of one part of the Plitivce Lakes and the entire area between the mountains of Mala Kapela and Lička Plješevica.

There are three peaks rising from its ridge: Oštri Medvjeđak (889 m), Tupi Medvjeđak (868 m) and Turčić (801 m). One specific aspect of the trail linking the peaks of Medvjeđak are old, naturally developed beech forests, providing excellent conditions for the abundant and diverse plant and animal life in the area, including rare and endangered species suffering due to the decreasing number of such habitats globally.

Trail length: 10.1 km

Trail difficulty: Easy

Elevation difference: 230 m

Recommended time of year for visit: May to October

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible

Recommended equipment: Hiking equipment required.

Availability of drinking water: Drinking water available at the beginning of the trail.

Note: Educational and hiking trail. The trail passes through zones of strict and highest protection.

Čorkova Uvala

The experience of the Plitvice Lakes National Park would not be complete without getting acquainted with forest ecosystems covering over three quarters of its surface. Educational trails bring this forest ecosystem closer to the visitors. Trails lead through large forest complexes and mountain meadows with wonderful viewpoints. Information panels along the trails provide information to visitors about forest ecosystems and other natural and cultural features of the area

The beginning of the trail is on Labudovac (station of the panorama train), leading towards the village of Čorkova Uvala and back. The trail passes over the mountain of Preka kosa, where the Čorkova Uvala trail meets the Plitvica trail, and proceeds towards the boat pier at Kozjačka draga.

Trail length: 21 km

Trail difficulty: Medium difficulty

Elevation difference: 410 m

Recommended time of year for visit: June to October

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible

Recommended equipment: Hiking equipment for all conditions required.

Availability of drinking water: Drinking water available in the ranger station.

Note: Educational and hiking trail. The trail passes through zones of strict and highest protection.

Plitvica

The experience of the Plitvice Lakes National Park would not be complete without getting acquainted with forest ecosystems covering over three quarters of its surface. Educational trails bring this forest ecosystem closer to the visitors. Trails lead through large forest complexes and mountain meadows with wonderful viewpoints. Information panels along the trails provide information to visitors about forest ecosystems and other natural and cultural features of the area.

The beginning of the trail is on Labudovac (the last station of the panorama train). The Plitvica trail initially follows the route of the Čorkova Uvala trail, and then it separates in a further downstream direction along the creek of Plitvica to the Great Fall and the boat pier at Kozjačka draga.

Trail length: 9 km

Trail difficulty: Easy

Elevation difference: 130 m

Recommended time of year for visit: May to October

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible

Recommended equipment: Hiking equipment required.

Availability of drinking water: Not available

Note: Educational and hiking trail. The trail passes through zones of strict and highest protection.

Gola Plješevica

Located in the surrounding area of the Park. For more information, please visit the Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board website.

Trail length: 13.6 km

Mrsinj-grad

Located in the surrounding area of the Park. For more information, please visit the Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board website.

Trail length: 4.5 km

Cave tours

For millions of years, the patience of water has been creating the interior of the Baraćeve špilje cave complex. A tour approximately forty minutes long is bound to remain imprinted in the memory of every visitor, for the beautiful dripstone structures and attractions within the cave, such as the Hall of Lost Souls, represent extraordinary and impressive examples of subterranean landscape.

Baraćeve špilje

The cave system Baraćeve špilje was once called Radakovićeve špilje. According to folk tradition of the locals, the name of the caves stems from a certain Barać, who once defeated a giant Ottoman soldier in a heroic fight near these caves, thus deserving the honor. 
Visitors have a chance to see a natural phenomenon that took millions of years to be created, and to learn how the persistent work of water made this pearl of the subterranean world possible. As visitors pass through the halls and corridors of Gornja Baraćeva špilja, they can feel the experience of eternity. The entrance leads to the Guano Hall, and then through the Elephant Feet Hall full of dripstone structures such as stalagmites, stalactites and stalagnates, the latter in the form of pillars up to ten meters high.

Dragon's Gorge and the Hall of Lost Souls are here too, hiding a part of ancient history, and providing a glimpse into the beauty of absolute darkness. A pleasant walk through the cave takes 40 minutes, providing an insight into this natural phenomenon. Guides provide a wealth of information in an interesting and easy manner, bringing the subterranean world closer to visitors as they get acquainted with the long history of this cave that preserves its mystical nature regardless of special LED lighting facilitating the tours. Halls and channels are easily passable for all categories of visitors, from the youngest generations to senior citizens. The site is located near the village of Nova Kršlja.

Duration: 40 minutes

Note: The cave is located in the surrounding area, outside of the National Park. For more information, please visit the websites of the Rakovica Tourist Board and the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Natural Values.

Boat trips and rentals

Author: Romana Cetinjanin
Many visitors would say that no visit to the lakes and cascades is complete without a boat ride. Eight electric boats transfer passengers along the lakes throughout the year, except when the lakes are frozen. Visitors can also rent their own wooden boat, and explore the lake of Kozjak by rowing.

Boat trips and rentals

The Park fleet includes eight electric shuttle boats for transfer of visitors on Lake Kozjak. Boat transfers are constituent part of the tour around the lakes.

Duration: There are two transfer routes. The longer route connects the piers  Kozjačka draga P3 and Burgeti P2. The shorter route connects the piers Burgeti P2 and Kupalište P1.

Recommended time of year for visit: Throughout the year, unless the lake is frozen.

Suitable for individual / group visits: Individual and group visits

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Accessible

Boat trips and rentals

Visitors can rent a boat at the Kupalište (P1) site. Fifteen wooden rowing boats are available. Rowing is possible only on Lake Kozjak.

Duration: Boats are rented per hour.

Recommended time of year for visit: June to September

Suitable for individual / group visits: Individual visits

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible

Guided tours

The amazing biodiversity of Plitvice can be explored in guided tours that focus on special interests of individual visitors or groups. The tours can be thematic – focusing on geology, biology, forestry, the lakes or other aspects in consultation with Park experts. Summer or winter trekking equipment is required, and the tours are available throughout the year, except when the lakes are frozen.

Expert guidance

Tours are thematic, provided upon request; topics include forestry, geology, biology, etc.

Duration: Upon request

Recommended time of year for visit: Throughout the year, with the exception of major snowfall when parts of the Park are closed.

Suitable for individual / group visits: Individual and group visits

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible

Recommended equipment: Summer or winter trekking equipment

Tourist guidance

Provided based on defined tour programs

Duration: Depending on the program

Recommended time of year for visit: Throughout the year, with the exception of major snowfall when parts of the Park are closed.

Suitable for individual / group visits: Individual and group visits

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible

Recommended equipment: Summer or winter trekking equipment

Accommodation and catering

Four hotels and two camping sites are available for accommodation within the protected area or in its immediate vicinity. Many private establishments offer accommodation in the surrounding area, together with the opportunity to socialize with the locals and to taste culinary specialties of the region.

Hotel - Jezero

Hotel Jezero, the biggest of the four hotels in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, has 229 accommodation units. Located in the central zone of the Park, approx. 300 meters from the biggest Plitvice lake of Kozjak, it offers a relaxing and active vacation in a majestic natural setting. The hotel restaurant can seat 400 persons, and the hotel also includes a bar and a coffee room in the lobby. The offer includes a massage pool, Finnish sauna and Turkish steam bath, as well as a gym.

The hotel complex includes sport and recreational facilities. The hotel also has a congress hall with 250 seats and four meeting rooms.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 7 till 23. Hotel has its own parking, souvenir shop and ATM. Hotel services include bellhop services, exchange office, safe, elevator, laundry, room service and Internet use. The hotel is located at 550 meters above sea level.

Contact:

Phone:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 400
  • 00385 (0)53 751 500

Fax:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 600

E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr

Note: 

For more information, please visit:
http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/hr/planirajte-svoj-posjet/smjestaj/hotel-jezero,29.html

Hotel - Plitvice

Hotel Plitvice was built in the period from 1954 to 1957. It was designed by the renowned Croatian architect Marijan Haberle. Back when it was built, it was the first A-category hotel in Croatia, but also in the wider region, and it is considered one of the best architectural works in the category of public buildings built in the post-war period in Croatian architecture.

The hotel is located in the area of Velika poljana, with a view of the Upper Lakes zone. It has 51 accommodation units in superior, standard and economy category, and a restaurant seating 160 persons, an outdoor terrace and a TV room offering the possibility of organizing smaller events and seminars.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 7 till 23. Hotel has its own parking and souvenir shop. Hotel services include bellhop services, exchange office, safe, laundry, room service and Internet use. The hotel is located at 550 meters above sea level.

Contact:

Phone:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 100 
  • 00385 (0)53 751 200 

Fax:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 165

E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr

Note:

For more information, please visit:
http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/hr/planirajte-svoj-posjet/smjestaj/hotel-plitvice,30.html

Hotel - Bellevue

Hotel Bellevue is located in the immediate vicinity of Hotel Plitvice, in the very center of the lake zone of the Park. The hotel offers only overnight stays and breakfast, while other meals for half-board and full-board guests are served at Hotel Plitvice. As such, Hotel Bellevue is particularly suitable for organized visitor groups.

It has 69 accommodation units. In addition to its high functionality, the hotel is also specific for its external appearance and interior dominated by wood, making it an architecturally interesting and unique building. The hotel has its own parking, and there is also a bank branch in the hotel.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 7 till 23. Hotel services include bellhop services, 24/7 reception desk and laundry. The hotel is located at 550 meters above sea level.

Contact:

Phone:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 700
  • 00385 (0)53 751 800

Fax:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 165

E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr

Note:

For more information, please visit:
http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/hr/planirajte-svoj-posjet/smjestaj/hotel-bellevue,31.html

Hotel - Grabovac

Hotel Grabovac is located along the northern road approach to the National Park, approximately 10 kilometers from the center of the tourist zone of Plitvice Lakes. It is a relatively small hotel situated in a pleasant horticultural environment, with high-quality accommodation and food on offer. The hotel has 31 accommodation units.

Catering services of the hotel include à la carte restaurant that can seat 55 persons; a self-service restaurant with a summer terrace, that can seat 75 persons; café with a summer terrace and TV. The hotel has its own parking, and there is a grocery store within the hotel as well.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 7 till 23. All rooms have air conditioning, bathrooms with shower, phone and satellite TV.

Contact:

Phone:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 999

Fax:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 892

E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr

Note:

For more information, please visit:
http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/hr/planirajte-svoj-posjet/smjestaj/hotel-grabovac,32.html

Camping site - Borje

Camping site Borje was built in 2007, only 15 kilometers away from the southern entrance to the National Park. Situated in the natural environment of the mountain of Lička Plješevica and the forested hill of Mrsinj, the surface of the camping site is 6.5 hectares.

It can accommodate around 350 guests, who can choose their desired spot for camping. Camping site guests use the joint toilet facilities.  

Important information:

Opening hours: 24/7. In the immediate vicinity of the camping site, Borje restaurant offers recognizable culinary offer, together with a bar, grocery store and exchange office.

Contact:

Phone:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 790

Fax:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 791

E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr

Note:

For more information, please visit:
http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/hr/planirajte-svoj-posjet/smjestaj/autokamp-borje,34.html

Camping site - Korana

Camping site Korana is one of the most beautiful camping sites of continental Croatia, 6 kilometers away from the entrance to the National Park. It covers the surface of 35 hectares, and it can accommodate around 2500 guests, who can choose the desired location for the placement of their camper, caravan or tent.

Camping site Korana offers its guests the possibility of accommodation in 47 pleasantly equipped bungalows with twin beds and linen, table and chairs. All guests use the joint toilet facilities.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 7 till 23. The camping site includes a restaurant (à la carte and self-service) with a summer terrace that can seat 250 persons in total, café with a summer terrace, grill area and a grocery store. The entire area of the camping site is forested, with an excellent horticultural design; the Korana River flows in the immediate vicinity of the camping site.

Contact:

Phone:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 888

Fax:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 882

E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr

Note:

For more information, please visit:
http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/hr/planirajte-svoj-posjet/smjestaj/autokamp-korana,33.html

National restaurant - Lička kuća

National restaurant Lička kuća was built in 1972, as a unique space where traditional dishes are prepared and presented to guests in the ambiance of a traditional house of the region of Lika. In 2015, the restaurant was fully renovated in the original rustic style of the region. Built in two levels, the restaurant Lička kuća can seat 270 persons in total. The restaurant is located next to the 5201 county road, opposite of Entrance 1, the northern entrance to the Park.

 In the middle of the restaurant, there is an open fireplace where lamb on the spit is prepared, together with various peka specialties of the region, cooked under a bell-shaped lid. Visitors can also see a range of items characteristic for the traditional life of Lika families in the restaurant.

Important information:

ROpening hours: from 11 till 23. The diverse offer of the restaurant includes culinary specialties of the region of Lika, made from domestic products according to traditional recipes. Smoked ham, local basa cheese and other cheese varieties, lamb under a bell-shaped lid, grilled meat, baked potato halves, trout, sour milk, Lika doughnuts, Lika strudel made from cheese, apple or plum - these are just some of the specialties of this renowned restaurant.

Contact:

Phone:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 379

Fax:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 378

E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr

Restaurant - Poljana

Poljana restaurant is located at Velika poljana, next to a trail leading towards the lakes from Entrance 2, the southern entrance to the Park. The restaurant includes a bar, a self-service area that can seat 120 persons in total, and a national restaurant with an open fireplace that can seat 100 persons. The restaurant also has a terrace with a wonderful view of the area of Upper Lakes, in a pleasant horticultural setting.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 8 till 23. Self-service area and bar of the Poljana Restaurant offers various meals and drinks for refreshment to visitors starting or wrapping up their tour of the Park. Visitors can enjoy traditional meals of the local cuisine in a pleasant atmosphere of the national restaurant.

Contact:

Phone:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 092

Fax:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 090

E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr

Restaurant - Borje

Borje restaurant is located next to the D-1 state road, on the intersection of important road links with the northern and central Adriatic, 15 kilometers away from Plitvice Lakes. The renovated ambiance of the restaurant, coupled with its recognizable and high-quality culinary offer, is bound to satisfy visitors. The restaurant includes a self-service part that can seat 120 persons, as well as the à la carte restaurant section that can seat 100 persons, and it also has a summer terrace. A grocery store is part of the complex. The camping site of Borje is located in the immediate vicinity of Borje restaurant.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 7 till 22.

Contact:

Phone:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 777

Fax:

  • 00385 (0)53 751 778

E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr

Bistro - Kozjačka draga

Kozjačka draga bistro is located in an open and spacious picnic area, ideally located right next to the shore of Lake Kozjak in the natural shade of the forest, making it an ideal place to rest and gather some energy during Park sightseeing. If you sit on the roofed terrace of the Kozjačka draga bistro, or on the meadow equipped with wooden tables and benches, you can enjoy a tasty meal as you watch the biggest lake of the Park and electric boats mooring to its shore.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 8 till 18.

Bistro - Hladovina

Hladovina bistro is located at Entrance 2, the southern entrance to the Park. This intriguing place, in the shade of tall beech trees, allows visitors to take some rest and order simple cold and warm meals and drinks. Hladovina bistro also has its grill service with barbecue meals on offer.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 8 till 18.

Buffet - Labudovac

Buffet Labudovac is located in the immediate vicinity of Prošćansko Lake and Station 3 of the panorama train. Before you proceed with Park sightseeing from this point - or if you come to Labudovac as the end point of your tour - make sure to drop by buffet Labudovac, since this establishment has a diverse offer of simple cold and warm meals and drinks that you can enjoy in a pleasant atmosphere of the terrace.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 9 till 18.

Bistro - Vučnica

Bistro Vučnica is located in the settlement of Mukinje, two kilometers away from the National Park Entrance 2. The Bistro, which is part of the ski center, can seat 40 persons in its closed section, and additional 40 persons on an open terrace. It is an ideal venue for a family lunch, or lunches for groups of visitors.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 8 till 22.

Buffet - Kupalište

Buffet Kupalište is located on the shore of Lake Kozjak, near the pier for electric boats (P1). The establishment serves drinks, cold meals and simple warm meals.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 9 till 18.

Buffet - Slap

Buffet Slap is part of the Entrance 1 complex, the northern entrance to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The establishment serves drinks, cold meals and simple warm meals.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 7 till 21.

Cafe-bar - Rapajinka

Rapajinka café is located at Station 1 of the panorama train, above the Lower Lakes canyon. The establishment serves coffee and other warm drinks, as well as various beverages, sandwiches and sweets.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 10 till 18.

Cafe-bar - Flora

Flora café is located at Station 2 of the panorama train, below Hotel Jezero. The establishment serves coffee and other warm drinks, as well as beverages, sandwiches and sweets.

Important information:

Opening hours: from 8 till 19.

Bicycling

Cyclists have abundant opportunities to explore the area of the Park and its surroundings. The southern part of the area is dominated by the high mountains of Plješevica and Mrsinj, karst fields with clear rivers, sheep herds and many forgotten villages and hamlets, while the northern part of the area is rich in cultivated green valleys, wonderful karst rivers such as the Korana with picturesque villages along its course, together with the sites of old Drežnik grad and Baraćeve špilje.

Oko Mrsinja

The trail designed in cooperation with the Plitvice Lakes National Park is predominantly located in the surrounding area of the National Park, and partly enters its area. For more information, please visit the Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board website.

Trail length: 36 km

Obroncima Plješevice

The trail designed in cooperation with the Plitvice Lakes National Park is predominantly located in the surrounding area of the National Park, and partly enters its area. For more information, please visit the Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board website.

Trail length: 36.5 km

Gola Plješevica

The trail designed in cooperation with the Plitvice Lakes National Park is predominantly located in the surrounding area of the National Park, and partly enters its area. For more information, please visit the Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board website.

Trail length: 44.9 km

Popolju

The trail designed in cooperation with the Plitvice Lakes National Park is predominantly located in the surrounding area of the National Park, and partly enters its area. For more information, please visit the Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board website.

Trail length: 16.8 km

The trial

The trail designed in cooperation with the Plitvice Lakes National Park is predominantly located in the surrounding area of the National Park, and partly enters its area. For more information, please visit the Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board website.

Trail length: 20.9 km

Alpinism/climbing

Two entrances to the cave Gajina pećina are bound to impress visitors. They are located on a vertical cliff rising above the Korana River. There is not much data on how this cave was used in the past; analysis of the remains of defense walls has shown that they stem from the period of Ottoman wars. With its openings, a hall and a chimney, this cave is very intriguing, leading the visitors to a time long past.

Gajina pećina

The climbing site is located in the surrounding area, outside of the National Park. For more information, please visit the Plitvice Lakes Tourist Board website.

Educational trails

Forest ecosystems represent the bulk of the Plitvice Lakes National Park surface – a frequently neglected fact, due to the attractiveness of the lakes themselves and the beauty of cascades. Three educational trails – Čorkova uvala, Plitvica and Medvjeđak – provide a wonderful experience of passing through mountain forest slopes and meadows with viewpoints. The vista from Oštri Medvjeđak will discover a less known face of the Plitvice Lakes, making it clearer to visitors why this entire area once used to be called the Devil’s Garden.

Čorkova Uvala

The experience of the Plitvice Lakes National Park would not be complete without getting acquainted with forest ecosystems covering over three quarters of its surface. Educational trails bring this forest ecosystem closer to the visitors. Trails lead through large forest complexes and mountain meadows with wonderful viewpoints. Information panels along the trails provide information to visitors about forest ecosystems and other natural and cultural features of the area.

The beginning of the trail is on Labudovac (station of the panorama train), leading towards the village of Čorkova Uvala and back. The trail passes over the mountain of Preka kosa, where the Čorkova Uvala trail meets the Plitvica trail, and proceeds towards the boat pier at Kozjačka draga.

Trail length: 21 km

Duration: 7 h

Elevation difference: 410 m

Recommended time of year for visit: June to October

Suitable for individual / group visits: Individual and group visits

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible

Trail type: Forest path

Number of interpretation panels: 12

Plitvica

The experience of the Plitvice Lakes National Park would not be complete without getting acquainted with forest ecosystems covering over three quarters of its surface. Educational trails bring this forest ecosystem closer to the visitors. Trails lead through large forest complexes and mountain meadows with wonderful viewpoints. Information panels along the trails provide information to visitors about forest ecosystems and other natural and cultural features of the area.

The beginning of the trail is on Labudovac (the last station of the panorama train). The Plitvica trail initially follows the route of the Čorkova Uvala trail, and then it separates in a further downstream direction along the creek of Plitvica to the Great Fall and the boat pier at Kozjačka draga.

Trail length: 9 km

Duration: 3 hours 20 minutes

Elevation difference: 130 m

Recommended time of year for visit: May to October

Suitable for individual / group visits: Individual and group visits

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible

Trail type: Forest path

Number of interpretation panels: 6

Medvjeđak

Medvjeđak is a woodland slope 8 kilometers long, stretching from the mountain of Plješevica in the northwestern direction. It is one of the most enchanting areas of the Park, providing nature lovers with panoramic views of one part of the Plitivce Lakes and the entire area between the mountains of Mala Kapela and Lička Plješevica. There are three peaks rising from its ridge: Oštri Medvjeđak (889 m), Tupi Medvjeđak (868 m) and Turčić (801 m).

One specific aspect of the trail linking the peaks of Medvjeđak are old, naturally developed beech forests, providing excellent conditions for the abundant and diverse plant and animal life in the area, including rare and endangered species suffering due to the decreasing number of such habitats globally.

Trail length: 10.1 km

Duration: 4 hours

Elevation difference: 230 m

Recommended time of year for visit: May to October

Suitable for individual / group visits: Individual and group visits

Accessible to persons with disabilities: Not accessible

Trail type: Forest path

Number of interpretation panels: 6

Attractions

Upper Lakes

The Upper Lakes are a lake system consisting of 12 lakes divided by tufa barriers: Prošćansko, Ciginovac, Okrugljak, Batinovac, Veliko, Malo, Vir, Galovac, Milino, Gradinsko, Veliki Burget and Kozjak. The lakes lie on an impermeable dolomite belt from the Upper Triassic. Elevation difference between the lake of Prošćansko and Kozjak is 100 meters, and these two lakes are also the largest lakes of the entire lake system.

The Matica River, formed by the confluence of the Black River and the White River at the settlement of Plitvički Ljeskovac, flows into the Prošćansko Lake. The lake 37 meters deep is located at 636 meters above sea level, and it is the second-largest lake in the overall system of Upper Lakes. Its left shore is located in the highest protection zone, which means that access to visitors is forbidden. The lake ends with the Labudovac plateau and the Labudovačka barrier.

Lakes Ciginovac and Okrugljak follow next, with waters from Ciginovac flowing into Okrugljak on the northwestern side. Labudovački slap, a waterfall over 20 meters high, adorns the dried-up part of the tufa barrier over 100 meters wide, and below it lie many cracks, half-caves and caves, creating the so-called Cave Garden. It was once possible to walk between the barriers by using stone steps carved into the rock. Below the Labudovački slap, there was once an entrance into the Janeček cave, which is over 50 meters long. Today, one part of the waterfall flows onto the opening, and it is no longer possible to enter the cave. The lakes that follow are Batinovac, Veliko jezero (Great Lake), Malo jezero (Small Lake), Vir jezero (Vir Lake) and Galovac. The entire eastern side of Galovac, approximately 200 meters long, is significant for its multitude of cascades called Prštavci. After Galovac, one comes across the lakes Milino, Gradinsko and Burgeti. Near the edge of Burgeti, the forest hides the remains of a small stone building, a reminder of an attempt to use the flow of Plitvice waters for energy production.

Waters from Burgeti flow into Lake Kozjak. This lake is the final lake in the series of Upper Lakes, located at 534 meters above sea level, with maximum depth of 46 meters. In addition to Burget waterfall, Lake Kozjak also receives water from the brook of Rječica. The eastern side of Kozjak is made from karstified rudist limestone from the Cretaceous.

Around 400 years ago, Lake Kozjak consisted of two lakes that were divided by a fall approximately 40 meters high. However, the tufa barrier at the end of Lake Kozjak (Kozjački mostovi) grew much quicker than the barrier that was separating it. Water level in the lake thus grew, and it gradually covered the fall. When the barrier ended up submerged, the two lakes merged into one lake that we see today.

One specific characteristic of this lake is Štefanijin otok, an island 275 meters long and approx. 60 meters wide, with the surface of 0.014 square kilometers.

Prošćansko Lake

Water level of Prošćansko Lake or Prošća is at 636.6 meters above sea level, and its maximum measured depth is 37.4 meters. The surface of the lake is 68.2 hectares, making it the second-biggest lake of the system after Lake Kozjak.

The Matica River, formed by the confluence of the Black River and the White River, flows into the lake.

The left shore of Prošćansko Lake is in the highest protection zone, and access to visitors is not permitted. The lake was named after prošć – wooden poles that people once used to support the stone and clay levees in order to defend their hay meadows along the lake – or after prošnje, i.e. prayers to the Black Queen who created the Plitvice Lakes according to legend.

Lake Ciginovac

Water level of Lake Ciginovac, also known as Cigino jezero or Ciganovac among the locals, is at 625.6 meters above sea level, and it is 11.1 meters deep at medium water level.

Its waters partly come from the underground, through cracked tufa and limestone layers, and partly through the channel dug out in the past that connects it with Prošćansko Lake. The lake’s name stems from a legend of a traveler from ancient times who drowned in the lake as he attempted to catch fish.

Lake Okrugljak

Water level of Lake Okrugljak is at 613.6 meters above sea level, and it is 15.3 meters deep. Other folk names of the lake are Okruglić, Okrugljaj and Kruginovac.

The most beautiful view of the 20-meter high waterfall Labudovački slap diving into the lake is offered by a trail passing along the northern side of the lake, one hundred meters downstream from a smaller cascade directing the waters of Ciginovac into Lake Okrugljak.

Lake Batinovac

Water level of Lake Batinovac is at 610.1 meters above sea level, and its maximum depth is 5.5 meters. This lake receives water from Lake Okrugljak and one channel dug out in the past leading from Prošćansko Lake.

The locals once referred to this lake as Batin or Bakinovac as well, since, according to legend, an old lady (baka in Croatian) once drowned in it, although it could also have been a villager called Batin, Batić or Batinić.

Veliko jezero (Great Lake)

Author: Ante Bionda

Water level of Veliko jezero (Great Lake) is at 607.5 meters above sea level, and it is 8.1 meters deep.

The locals once referred to this lake as Jovinovac Veliki as well.

Malo jezero (Small Lake)

Author: Ante Bionda

Water level of Malo jezero (Small Lake) is at 605.6 meters above sea level, and it is 9 meters deep.

The locals once referred to it as Veliko jezerce or Jovinovac Mali as well. In his book Plitvice Lakes and Their Surroundings from 1910, Dragutin Franić wrote: “Jovinovac Veliki and Jovinovac Mali were once one single lake, for they are divided only by a low tufa barrier. Veliko jezero and Malo jezero had one single name in the past as well, it seems: they were called Crno jezero, until the lake was gradually divided in two by a low tufa barrier.” The quote points to the dynamic of tufa creation and the process associated with it.

Lake Vir

Author: Ante Bionda

Water level of Lake Vir is at 598.7 meters above sea level, and it is 5 meters deep.

Lake Vir receives water from Veliko jezero, and, to a lesser extent, from Malo jezero as well; water from Lake Vir then flows further across the cascades to the lake of Galovac.

Lake Galovac

Water level of Lake Galovac is at 582 meters above sea level, and it is 24.4 meters deep. With its surface of 12.5 hectares, it is the third lake of the area of Plitvice in terms of size, after Kozjak and Prošćansko Lake.

On its northern side, it is bordered by vertical dolomite rocks of Stubica, covered in low deciduous vegetation; dense forest of the slopes of Crni vrh marks its southern side, with the panorama train passing along its base.

The imposing barrier of Galovac on the eastern side is particularly interesting, spanning some 200 meters.

On the southern side, there is a small cove with a series of interesting cascades, with the 20-meter high Galovački buk alongside it.

On the northern side of this barrier, attractive Prštavci cascades reach their imposing height of around 20 meters.

A brass relief picturing professor Ivo Pevalek, one of the key scientists involved in explaining the origin of the tufa phenomenon of Plitvice Lakes, and a major advocate for their protection and conservation, is placed near Galovački buk.

According to legend, Galovac was named after captain Galo who “defeated the Turks” near the lake, or after a certain Galović, the leader of outlaws from the Ottoman period who was murdered next to the lake.

Milino Lake

Author: Ante Bionda

Water level of Milino Lake is at 564 meters above sea level, and it is only one meter deep. The lake is located between the lakes Galovac and Gradinsko jezero.

According to one of the folk tales, it was named after Mile Mirić who was attempting to catchi fish where nobody else had ever tried, and who drowned in this lake.

Gradinsko Lake

Water level of Gradinsko Lake is at 556 meters above sea level, and its maximum depth is 8.1 meters in the easternmost part of the lake with three submerged tufa barriers.

Tour of the lake is possible from both the northern and the southern side. It was named after “gradina” – remains of a medieval town – as confirmed by the recent archaeological excavations.

Lake Veliki Burget

The name Burgeti denotes a series of smaller lakes located between Gradinsko Lake and Kozjak; their water level is at 553 meters above sea level, and their depth reaches up to 7 meters. Water from the lakes flows into Lake Kozjak.

The locals also referred to them as Burget, Buk and Jezerce.

Lake Kozjak

With its surface of 82 hectares, Lake Kozjak is the largest lake of the Plitvice Lakes area. Water level of Lake Kozjak is at 534 meters above sea level, and its maximum depth is considerable 46 meters.

Over 2.3 kilometers long, the lake largely spans from north to south, with a minor turn towards the west in its central part. The width of the lake at the electric boat route is merely 135 meters; in its northernmost part, the lake is approximately 670 meters wide.

Just like Prošćansko Lake, Lake Kozjak has a sideways section too. Located in the southern part of the lake, it is called Glibovita draga, and that is where the Lake Kozjak’s biggest tributary – Rječica – flows into the lake. In addition to Rječica, permanent tributaries of Kozjak include the creeks of Jasenovac, entering the lake at Jasenova draga, and Matijaševac. Other smaller creeks run dry during summer. One particular characteristic of Lake Kozjak is Štefanijin otok or Školj, an island 275 meters long, around 60 meters wide, and 9.5 meters high. Some 400 years ago, Lake Kozjak was divided into two lakes, separated by a cascade around 40 meters high. However, the tufa barrier towards the end of Lake Kozjak (Kozjački mostovi) grew much more quickly than the barrier that had separated the lakes. Water level in the lake grew as a result, gradually covering the cascade. Once the barrier was finally submerged, the two lakes merged into one.

Nowadays, Lake Kozjak is home to the biggest electric boat fleet in Croatia.

The locals once referred to Kozjak as Kozje jezero – or Goat Lake – a result of a legend according to which goats once attempted to cross the frozen lake trying to escape the wolves, and fell through ice.

Lower Lakes

Lakes Milanovac, Gavanovac, Kaluđerovac and Novakovića Brod create the Lower Lakes system, formed in a canyon consisting of porous limestone from the Upper Cretaceous period. The highest rocks in the canyon reach approximately 40 meters. Lake Milanovac is surrounded by cliffs towering over twenty meters above the lake. There is a sightseeing trail around the lake, right next to the water. However, the lake can also be explored by using the trails on the upper side of the canyon, which include several stone belvederes. The eastern part of Lake Milanovac cascades is named Slapovi Milke Trnine, or Milka Trnina Cascades, after the renowned Croatian opera singer, as a sign of gratitude for her decision to donate part of her income to Plitvice Lakes.

Lake Gavanovac follows next, flowing across Velike kaskade tufa barriers into Lake Kaluđerovac. From these cascades onwards, a trail branches off to the opening of Cave Šupljara, where visitors can climb the stone steps to reach a plateau and upper trail leading along the edge of the canyon. The opening of Modra špilja (Blue Cave) can be seen from this spot too; it was once possible to enter the cave by boat. Today, it is prohibited to enter the Blue Cave, just like other caves in the canyon of Lower Lakes, in order to protect bat colonies living in the caves. The main tourist trail leads further along the cascades, passing to the western side of the canyon and continuing to the end of the lake system.

There is a tourist trail leading along the tufa cascade between Kaluđerovac and Novakovića Brod, descending from Entrance 1 to the Great Fall of Plitvice, with one trail branch proceeding further upstream towards the Lower Lakes, in the direction of Lake Kozjak.

At the end of the lake Novakovića Brod, water flowing over the cascades 25 meters high dives into a large hollow called Sastavci. This is where lake waters mix with the water from the creek Plitvica diving over the Great Fall 78 meters high, creating the source of the Korana River at the base of the Sastavci site.

Lake Milanovac

Water level of Lake Milanovac, the first lake in the Lower Lakes series, is at 523 meters above sea level, and it is 18.4 meters deep. The end of Lake Milanovac is marked by the Milka Trnina Cascades, named after the renowned Croatian opera singer. In 1897, she gave the Society for the Preservation of the Plitvice Lakes her fee amounting to 1902 crowns received for the performance at a theatre in Zagreb, for the purpose of building trails along the lakes.

Lake Milanovac was named after a shepherd Mile Perišić, who owned a water mill on it. A horrible torrent took him into the lake, where he drowned.

Gavanovac

Water level of Gavanovac is at 514 meters above sea level, and it is 10 meters deep. The lake is situated in the immediate vicinity of Milka Trnina Cascades, downstream from the site. On the right shore of the lake, there is a plaque with a relief of Milka Trnina, placed there by the Society of Admirers of Milka Trnina.

The lake ends with the remarkable site of Velike kaskade (Great Cascades). In the middle of the vertical rock on the right side, there is a black opening of the Šupljara cave, with Modra pećina (Blue Cave) below it. Gavanovac is also known as Gavanovo jezero or the Lake of Gavan (according to a legend saying that the treasure of Gavan disappeared in the lake). Other alternative names of this lake are Lake Osredak and Okrugljak donji.

Kaluđerovac

Water level of Kaluđerovac is at 505 meters above sea level, and it is 13 meters deep. The trail made of chestnut logs passes next to the cave Donja kaluđerova pećina or Lower Monk’s Cave. The cave Gornja kaluđerova pećina (Upper Monk’s Cave) is located above it, at the very edge of the canyon

Kaluđerovac is also known as Kaluđerovo jezero or Monk’s Lake, and it was named after a hermit monk who allegedly lived in these caves.

Novakovića Brod

Novakovića Brod is the final lake in the series of Plitvice Lakes. Water level of the lake is at 503 meters above sea level, and its depth exceeds 4 meters.

The lake was named after the crossing of the Novaković family whose members used to cross the lakes here.

Creek Plitvica and the Korana River

Around ten meters downstream from the Great Fall, waters of the Plitvica creek dive into the rough waters passing the cascades from the lake of Novakovića Brod. It is there that the course of the karst Korana River starts, at 475 meters above sea level.

The Korana River continues its flow through the canyon, with the watercourse diving across cascades on four locations, continuing towards the cave of Golubnjača. In the dry periods, entire water flowing in from the source zone disappears underground to the borders of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, and the riverbed becomes dry. Length of the Korana River from its source to the confluence with the Kupa River near the city of Karlovac is 134 kilometers. The Korana canyon is part of the zone of very strict protection.

Cave Šupljara

Water seeping through the fractured surface gradually melted the limestone rock. Subterranean cracks were gradually expanding, and channels were created. Creation of the canyon of the Lower Lakes, coupled with the expansion of underground cavities below a sinkhole at the edge of the canyon, resulted in instability of the terrain, with the bottom of the sinkhole – the ceiling of the cave – eventually collapsing. That process opened the access to hidden spaces and a passage leading to today’s Lake Kaluđerovac. The passable vertical passage connects the side channels and galleries. Two galleries adjacent to the passage are very simple, mainly with little or no cave decorations; galleries in the longest side-channel are predominantly characterized by bulbous shapes.

Šupljara is an underground cave habitat with a specific set of ecological characteristics. Cave area temperature is constant, at approx. 10.5°C, and the air is saturated with moisture. Due to such unfavorable conditions, Šupljara is inhabited by specially adapted cave fauna. Although the cave itself is not particularly large, it is rich in cave fauna; in fact, some species were discovered in it and scientifically described for the first time. On June 22, 1895, the curator of the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Rudolf Sturany, collected a false scorpion specimen, and the Viennese expert for arachnids, Max Beier, described it as a new species, Neobisium speluncarium, in 1928. This relatively large false scorpion is an endemic species in the wider area of the National Park. One of the smallest troglobionts is the 1-milimeter large snail Zospeum isselianum, which glides along the damp speleothems and feeds on dead organic matter from the cave sediment. Millipedes are represented by a cave species from the genus Brachydesmus, and false scorpions in the cave of Šupljara include a tiny Meusel pseudoscorpion (Chthonius subterraneus meuseli), an endemic Croatian species also known from the mountain of Velebit. In addition to these troglobionts, Šupljara Cave is also a habitat to troglophiles – species that only occasionally inhabit the cave (such as the cave beetle Laemostenus cavicola, cave cricket Troglophilus cavicola, and moth species Triphosa dubitata).

In 1964, Šupljara Cave was additionally protected as a geomorphological monument of nature.

Karlovci

Author: Nikola Magdić
The karst relief is primarily associated with carbonate rocks (limestone and dolomite), given their strong susceptibility to chemical and mechanical wear, and with tectonic impact (faulting, folding, cracking, etc.).

Water rich in carbon dioxide penetrates through cracks in the carbonate bedrock, thereby dissolving it and creating various surface features (cracks, sinkholes, karst fields, pavements, peaks, towers and columns), and subterranean features (holes, caves, caverns) in the karst terrain.

The National Park area of Karlovci includes surface karst features such as monoliths, blocks and columns formed by selective weathering.

The Karlovci site consists of sedimentary carbonate rocks, calcareous dolomite, deposited during the Upper Jurassic period approximately 200 million years ago. 

Čorkova uvala

Virgin forest of Čorkova uvala is located in the northwestern part of the Park, at 860 to 1028 meters above sea level, in the zone of beech and fir forests. It covers 80 hectares of steep (5°-37°) karst terrain (limestone with layers of dolomite) with numerous sinkholes, cracks and stone blocks covered in thin or thick layers of brown soil. These were the environmental conditions that resulted in the growth of the fir and beech forest (Omphalode fagetum), which has remained in its virgin forest stage due to the inaccessible terrain (old-growth forest developed with no human influence or negligible influence).

It is characterized by high volume of wood reserves (660 m/ha), mix ratio (fir 50%, beech 43%, spruce 7%), base area (42.61 sq.m/ha), thickest trees (fir 140 cm, spruce 130 cm, beech 102 cm), maximum tree height (spruce over 50 m, fir 47 m, and beech 35 m).

Given the fact that all life processes in this virgin forest proceed without disturbance (i.e. human influence), one comes across all the spatial and temporal development stages of all members of this ecosystem. Particularly dominant are trees of various height, diameter and age (fir over 500 years old, beech up to 300 years old).

After monitoring virgin forests for many years, researchers have come to understand that successional dynamics never stop, not even in the so-called climax. The centuries-long development cycle of the virgin forest results in changes of the horizontal structure; vertical layers; ratio of tree species; quantity of dead trees; density and number of snags; amount and size of canopy openings; the likelihood of windthrow or outbreak of harmful insects. Such phenomena do not affect the entire forest area at once; instead, they occur in unsynchronized cycles in certain parts of the forest, leading to its mosaic-like appearance and structure of the forest habitat. Therefore, like all old-growth forests, the forest of Čorkova Uvala is a perfect habitat where those who love, research and take care of nature are bound to find many answers.

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