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Plitvice Lakes Entrance 1 or 2: Which is Best?

Are you wondering if Plitvice Lakes Entrance 1 or 2 is better for your visit to Croatia’s most famous national park? I’ve got you covered!

Located in central Croatia, Plitvice Lakes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top places to visit in Croatia. But which entrance should you start from?

The answer is: It depends. Entrances 1 and 2 both provide access to the same natural wonders, but the experience is different.

I’ve been living in Croatia since 2014 and visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park since I was a child. I’ve had the opportunity to explore the park in every single season and started my visits at various entrances, so I can tell you my absolute favorite based on views, walkability and overall experience.

In this travel guide, I’ll break down which Plitvice Lakes entrance is best to start from to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time at the park.

Short on time? Here are my top recommendations for planning a visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park:

🗺️ Best Plitvice Lakes Tours:
1. Plitvice Lakes & Rastoke Small Group Tour from Zagreb
2. Plitvice Lakes National Park Guided Day Trip from Split
3. Plitvice Lakes Day Tour from Zadar

🏨 Best Plitvice Lakes Accommodation:
1. Fenomen Plitvice (I loved staying here!)
2. Hotel Jezero (stay right inside the park)
3. Hotel Degenija (great value for money)

🚗 Best car rental company for a self-drive trip to Plitvice Lakes

How Many Entrances Does Plitvice Lakes Have?

Technically, Plitvice Lakes has 3 entrances.

Entrances 1 and 2 are the main entrances, both of which have ticket booths, large parking lots, and access to the main trails through the national park.

Plitvice Lakes Entrance 3, also called the Auxiliary Entrance “Flora”, can be accessed just a short walk away from some accommodations like Fenomen Plitvice.

To use this entrance, you’ll need to purchase your park tickets online from the official website. I really only recommend using Entrance 3 if you are staying at one of the nearby hotels or guesthouses.

Plitvice Lakes Entrances Map

Google Maps should take you exactly where you want to go, but in case you need it, below are the GPS locations for both entrances to the park:

Plitvice Lakes Entrance 1 (North Entrance)
Coordinates: 44°54’17.9”N  15°36’40.3”E

Plitvice Lakes Entrance 2 (South Entrance)
Coordinates: 44°52’58.5”N 15°37’25.2”E

A view looking down onto a small curving wooden walkway over blue-green waters surrounded by lush green vegetation with waterfalls flowing through.

Plitvice Lakes Entrance 1

  • It’s the most straightforward entrance to reach when coming down the state road D429 (Selište Drežničko – Prijeboj) from the direction of Zagreb/Zadar.
  • As soon as you enter through Entrance 1, you’re greeted with the most incredible view of Veliki Slap.
  • When you enter, you’ll be close to the trail that leads to the Lower Lakes.
  • The Flixbus drop-off point is here so it’s the easiest to access if visiting by bus.
  • Has a large parking lot, ticket booth, and restaurant.

Hiking trails that start from Entrance 1:

Trail A3.5 km2-3 hours
Trail B4 km3-4 hours
Trail C8 km4-5 hours
Trail K18. km6-8 hours
Trail K can be taken from either Entrance 1 or 2.

Plitvice Lakes Entrance 2

  • Entrance 2 is closer to accommodation options like Hotel Jezero and Hotel Plitvice.
  • Pathway that leads down to the boats or option to choose trails that lead to the Upper or Lower Lakes.
  • Has a large parking lot, ticket booth, and restaurant.

Hiking trails that start from Entrance 2:

Trail E5.1 km2-3 hours
Trail F4.6 km3-4 hours
Trail H8.9 km5-6 hours
Trail K18.3 km6-8 hours

What is the Difference Between Plitvice Entrance 1 and 2?

A gorgeous view of the waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia with a turquoise blue lake surrounded by lush green trees just above the waterfalls.

The main difference between the two park entrances is that Entrance 1 gets you straight to the park’s highlights. As soon as you step foot through the entrance, you’ll be met with a spectacular bird’s eye view of Veliki Slap, the highest waterfall in Croatia.

Plus, you’ll have immediate access to the trails that lead down to the Lower Lakes where you’ll find the famous wooden walkways over the lakes.

Plitvice Lakes Entrance 2 requires more walking from the entrance itself to reach any of the trails that lead to the Upper and Lower Lakes. Entrance 2 would be a good option if you want to stay at one of the accommodations inside the park, or if you plan to spend more than one day exploring Plitvice Lakes.

My Experience at Plitvice Lakes

A smiling woman with a camera, wearing a cozy sweater, jeans, and a wide-brimmed hat, poses in front of the stunning waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia.

I’ve visited Plitvice Lakes at least 10 times and in every single season, so here’s what I can tell you:

Plitvice Lakes are arguably the most beautiful during the summertime when the colors are vibrant. Think lush greenery and piercing blue lakes. However, the summer months are also the busiest time for tourists, which can make it challenging to fully appreciate the natural beauty of this national park.

If you do visit in the summer, my top tip is to be the first ones at the park. Literally. I’m talking show up at the entrance at 7:00 AM.

This way, you’ll have nearly 3 full hours to explore the park in peace before the tour buses start to arrive around 10:00 AM. Plus, the temperature will be much more enjoyable for hiking during these early hours.

The second best time to visit Plitvice Lakes is in October. This is when the leaves start to change color, the weather is still pleasant, and the crowds start to thin out. It’s a really beautiful time to be at the park!

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    Regarding which paths to take, my top picks are Program B or C, both accessible from Entrance 1.

    Program B leads you down to the boardwalk trails where the tallest waterfall, Veliki Slap, awaits. From there, you’ll hop on a boat across Kozjak Lake, and then choose between a shuttle ride or a scenic walk back to Entrance 1 along the lake.

    Program C is my personal favorite. It picks up where Program B leaves off. After crossing Kozjak Lake by boat, you’re onto the boardwalk trails that snake through the Upper lakes and their waterfalls, before catching the shuttle back to Entrance 1.


    How many entrances does Plitvice Lakes have?

    Plitvice Lakes officially has 2 entrances.

    Where is Plitvice Lakes National Park?

    Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in the central region of Croatia, close to the town of Slunj and the border of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

    Which is the best route for Plitvice Lakes?

    The best route for Plitvice Lakes is Route C, which starts at Entrance 1 and takes you to the Upper Lakes and Lower Lakes. It includes a boat ride across Kozjak Lake and a train ride back to Entrance 1. This route takes about 5 hours of easy hiking to complete.

    How many hours do you need in Plitvice?

    About 3-4 hours is enough to visit Plitvice Lakes and see the highlights.

    The Verdict: Plitvice Lakes Entrance 1 or 2

    If you skipped all the way to the bottom, no worries! The best entrance for Plitvice Lakes National Park is Entrance 1.

    Choosing Entrance 1 means you’re immediately treated to the park’s must-see sights. Right as you walk through, a breathtaking bird’s eye view of Veliki Slap, the tallest waterfall in Croatia, welcomes you.

    Additionally, Entrance 1 places you right at the beginning of trails leading to the Lower Lakes. Here, you’ll find the iconic wooden walkways that stretch across the lakes.

    Before you go…make sure you pack all the right things for Plitvice!

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