Winter wonderland in Plitvice Lakes Park

This winter has been very generous with freezing temperatures and there is at least one good consequence to it: freezing of lakes and waterfalls. Since it doesn't happen every year, we decided to use the opportunity and visit Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.

Plitvice lakes and waterfalls - frozen, covered with snow and peaceful
It was Sunday morning, when we parked at Parking 1 in Plitvice Lakes Park. Right after entering the park there was a big board with all hiking trails. Where to go? Take the longest hike, of course! So we decided for a hike C, but then later extended it to hike K. (here is the list of all the hikes: link)

First we had to descend from the entrance down to the Great Fall. The path was quite steep and more importantly it was all frozen! Among the whole group of people, who entered at the same time, we were the only ones with apporpriate equipment. With crampons on our hiking boots and warm winter hiking pants we first felt a bit out of place :) But at this first descend, the crampons were super handy. We walked normally on icy slopes past all the tourists, underdressed for the occasion!

Comparison of the footwear: Rok with hiking boots and crampons and a tourist with light sneakers in the background :)
Here you can see how icy the path was and the line of tourist, who did not know whter to turn around or not.
Ice on the stairs! For us - no problem, crampons on and walk further :)
First waterfall, called Great Fall was impressive. With the height of 78m and tons of frozen water, forming interesting sculptures, it was just amazing.

Freat Fall
Icicles under the fall
From the Great Fall we walked towards P3, the first pier, where tourists can board a small boat to take them to the other side of the lake. Well, in winter conditions, when the lake is frozen, there is no boat, of course. So we had to walk along the lake. No problem for us :) Paths were less and less crowded and we could enjoy next falls, Milka Trnina Falls alone. Wonderful snowy forest, the peace and quietness of the nature, covered with snow ... we all had it just to ourselves. It was magical!

Pier in winter
Milka Trnina Falls
A path along the frozen lake
Winter wonderland!
One of the hidden falls
(Partially) frozen Lake Kozjak
After about 1,5h we reached the Upper Lakes, where we found even more frozen waterfalls: one was more breathtaking the another. We can point out Galovački buk and Prštavci falls as most impressove. Once we reached the last lake on our hike, Veliko jezero (The Big Lake), we had to trudge through fresh snow, meaning that we were the first people walking there since the snow had fallen. Amazing feeling!

Prštavci Falls
Galovački buk
Path above the lake
The day was slowly comming to an end and we had to hurry to catch the last bus from the station St3 taking us back to the parking. Once at the bus station: road was covered with snow and no signs of any bus or whatsoever.

Bus station, St3 :)
We were first people to walk this path
Winter and trees ...
Ups! Now what? How are we going to get to our car? It was already 4pm, meaning that the sun si about to set anytime. Well ... we started walking the snowy, what else could we do? Rok also called the reception and told them our situation, their answer was (typical Croatian): "Well, f**k it!" :) With fast pace we walked towards next bus station, St2 and along the way we met park's keeper in a Toyota Hilux driving the snowing road and looking for two other girls, who were also waiting for a bus at St3, but were not in shape for the long walk to St2 station. When we arrived to St2, we were relived to see that the road was cleaned from there on. But still we missed the last bus for about an hour. Just at that time, the keeper also returned with the girls and picked up Rok as well and took all of them to the parking. A few minutes later, just when it got dark, Rok came back in our car. All's well that ends well.

And here is a photo of us in front of the falls, so you can believe, that we were actually there :)
 A few tips for those who will visit Plitvice Lakes National Park in winter:
  • Boats in the park do NOT operate in winter
  • Bus operates only between St1 and St2, connecting parking 1 with parking 2
  • Only Entrance 1 (Ulaz 1) is opened
  • No parking fees
  • Warm clothes, waterproof hiking boots and crampons (if you have them) should be an obligatory gear
  • Bring your own food and drinks, since we didn't see any of the restaurants or shops opened.
  • Enjoy the beauty of this winter fairytale :)
Snow, ice and some sunshine ... perfect day in Plitvice Lakes park



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