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I refused to leave Croatia without visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the oldest national parks in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia. When my family visited Europe in 2012, we had Plitvice Lakes National Park on our itinerary. However, by the time we reached Croatia, we were all exhausted and decided to scratch Plitvice in favor of an extra day in Opatija, Croatia.

Once again, I cut it close and saved this national park for my last weekend in Croatia. Luckily, there are buses that run every hour to two from Zagreb directly to the entrances of the park. I’m glad I didn’t write this off again because look at those waterfalls! and blue water! and greenness!

I wouldn’t exactly call myself an outdoorsy person but I’ve really been getting into hiking lately! This was actually a pretty easy hike. From start to finish it was about 7 to 8 miles on moderately flat land. I did the hike in about 5 hours but kept stopping to taking photos!

Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerPlitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerPlitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerI had so much fun playing around with the manual settings on my camera. This was my first time shooting in manual (gasp! I know, judge me.) so I kept tinkering with my shutter speed (it needs to be super long for waterfalls!), aperture, and ISO. I definitely need more practice but Plitvice Lakes was a great starting place.

Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerPlitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerPlitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerI just can’t get over how blue and teal everything looked. And I swear, I barely touched up a lot of these photos!

Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerView from the top! This is the first view you’ll see when entering the park. I recommend entering at Entrance 2, hiking counter-clockwise, and exiting at Entrance 1. I’ll write a post later about the specifics for the hike but hiking the above route allows you to see the most without doubling back! Plus, going counter-clockwise means the waterfalls are always in front of you.

Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerPlitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerThis was probably my favorite section of the hike. Going over wooden pathways while winding around waterfalls everywhere. I got pretty lucky and the trails were quite sparse for it being mid-May so I didn’t have to nudge anyone out of the way!

Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerPlitvice Lakes National Park via Wayfaring With WagnerThat sweet boat above takes you from one side of the lakes to the other. Although you can hike it, it is much faster to take the boat! Plus, it comes included in the price of the entrance fee and gives you some great views from the water. And let’s be honest, I’ll never pass up an opportunity to be on a boat!

Have you been to Plitvice Lakes National Park? If not, where’s your favorite spot to hike in Europe?

35 Comments

  1. Christine Keane Reply

    Wow that water! Those waterfalls! Everything! I remember seeing some pictures on your IG and thought this place is crazy beautiful! Seriously like I need another reason to visit Croatia :)

    • Jordan Reply

      Seriously Christine, Croatia is the best! Convince your husband to go there!!! hahaha

  2. I visited a couple years ago and it’s my all time favorite hike. I can attest to the fact that yes, the water is truly that color and yes, it really is that beautiful in person.

    • Jordan Reply

      Awww thanks so much :) I know, I couldn’t get over how AMAZING everything was!!! Seriously, it was a great, relaxing hike with some of the best views.

  3. these shots are fantastic, Jo! oh. my. word. what a place and WHAT a photographer!? if only I could have made it there before I leave Europe, if only. wah.

    • Jordan Reply

      awwww thanks so much Mo!!! I guess you have an excuse to come back to Europe, right?! I mean, I definitely think we need a girls trip the two of us (duhhhh when we get our own travel show!) xoxoxo

    • Jordan Reply

      Thanks so much Jessica! Loving all your European adventures right now xo

    • Jordan Reply

      Thanks so much Emily! I honestly took like 500 pictures at all different shutter speeds in order to get the waterfalls :) xo

  4. These are beyond great photos….wow. Sorry we missed is while we were in Croatia….xoxoxo

    • Jordan Reply

      There’s always next time Dad! The hike is totally do-able for the entire family :)

  5. these photos are amazing! I can’t believe that was your first time in manual. this park is definitely a great place to test out your waterfall shots or just go for a hike- so gorgeous.

    • Jordan Reply

      Thanks so much Jamie! I know, how have I not shot in manual yet? I was frantically googling “how to shoot waterfalls” while at the park haha!

    • Jordan Reply

      Thanks so much!!! It was amazing Sara, you definitely need to do it :)

    • Jordan Reply

      yay, you’re going to have so much fun! Feel free to email me at jordanbeckwagner@gmail.com if you want anymore advice! Where all are you going besides the national park! I have SO MUCH Croatia information, hints, tips, etc :) xo

  6. Hannah @ Traveling Banana Reply

    GORGEOUS photos!!! Looks crazy magical. I must get to Croatia!

    • Jordan Reply

      Thanks so much! I’m drooling over all your Iceland posts though :) xo

    • Jordan Reply

      Thanks so much Kaelene!!! Croatia is just so breathtaking! xo

    • Jordan Reply

      Awww thanks so much Daisy!!! I love you blog and have been reading it for a while so I’m glad you stumbled across mine! xo

  7. Wow! Those waterfalls are beautiful and the color of the water is unreal! I would love to spend a day hiking up to those waterfalls and looking out onto that lake. Nice job capturing their beauty! :)

  8. What a dreamy place!! I definitely want to visit one day! :) And I’m glad that these beautiful waterfalls inspired you to use your camera in manual – the results are amazing!! :)

  9. Alexandria Reply

    Absolutely breathtaking! I cannot get over my envy of your trip. My best friend and I have been planning our Croatia trip for over a year now. She wants to go before it become the next big thing, I’m afraid we already missed that window. But know I definitely know to add Plitvice Lakes to our list of places to see.

    • Jordan Reply

      Awww thank you so much for the sweet words Alexandria! You definitely need to go to Croatia. It is really cheap right now and only getting more popular so head there sooner than later!!! :)

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  11. The cascading waterfalls of the lakes are so enchanting and the wooden pathways definitely add to the charm! Spectacular photos, genuinely enjoyed reading this post!

  12. Have visited Croatia a number of times now from Australia as fell in love with the place on my first visit ten years ago and is now my favourite travel destination in the world. There are so many hidden treasures. Please Google image these and you’ll be thanking me later. Betina on the island of Murter and the Kornati archipelago, Town of Sibenik and Krka Falls, Motovun, Rovinj, Mali Losinj on the island of Losinj, Pucisca on Island of Brac, Varazdin and Trakoscan castle and the beautiful village on waterfalls of Tattoos.

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