Croatia 2016 Day 9 – Plitvice National Park waterfalls and towards Zagreb

Woke up to the usual same routine with the exception of moving to another accommodation after only a night stay. I carried the 2 huge luggage up the short flight of steps and loaded the them into the trunk of my car, parked outside, meters from the flight of stairs. The staff at the reception was kind to offer some coffee for us while we lounged at the sofas in front of the door for a bit before we hit the road at around 930am, in the direction of Plitvice National Park.

As we understood, there were different entrances for Plitvice National Park and we decided to start our hike from Entrance 1 after some research before the trip on Tripadvisor (Things like the best route to see the waterfalls and the gradient of the walk etc). The GPS guided me towards entrance 1 in the nearly 2 hours of driving where baby K also fell asleep.

Upon the exit from the expressway, we paid the toll fees and continued towards the park entrance. Here the mobile signal was weak and I missed the carpark and overshot by a distance before realising and made a U turn back. We arrived at almost 1130, turning into a big carpark that was parked full of cars but there were lots so I just chose a spot beside a tree and parked there. As expected, there was a long queue at the ticket office but it was fast moving. After a visit to the toilet near the entrance, we went into the park armed with a map that costed us 20 kunas.

Entrance 1

Plitvice National Park was huge, unlike what we had experienced in Krka National Park. From the entrance, there was a huge waterfall aptly named the Great Waterfall just near the split path. Went over to take a photo with it. Selfie with a camera was hard work (especially with a toddler who had the least interest and a tall waterfall in the backdrop that couldn’t fit into the selfie) but thankfully someone offered to help. There was a pathway uphill that seemed to lead to a viewpoint by we didn’t attempt that as we did not know if it was too challenging to go with a toddler in tow. We got back onto the wooden walkway following signs that said Route C.

Welcome view entering from Entrance 1
Nice stone pathway
One of the many turquiose lakes
Gushing waters on the way to the Great Waterfall
The Great Waterfall

The walk was easy but it was quite a distance. The park was beautiful with quite a number waterfalls of all shapes and sizes and the crowd was not too bad, at least there were more than enough space to stand and admire the scenery and snap a picture or two. Many of the large lakes were turquoise in colour and pretty clear, allowing us to see the fishes in them. Other the wooden pathway, the walking terrain changed as we proceeded deeper, from the initial nice wooden bridge to older ones, dirt road and rocks, and undulating slopes but nothing serious that a normal fitness person could tackle.

Clear waters
Wooden bridge pathway
Walking above the waters
One of the many lakes
Another view
Waterfalls next to path
More gushing waters
Small fishes could be seen

We managed an hour of walking before we reached P3 where we would need to take a boat to the upper lakes. Fortunately, it was also a rest stop of us and many other people as there was some eateries and tables and benches available. As mommy fed baby K his packed lunch prepared in Zadar, I went to get ourselves a chicken burger and pork chop for lunch. Online reviews were pretty accurate on the taste of the food here, the pork chop was hard! Spent some time there and before we jump start the 2nd leg of the walk, I use the toilet and changed K’s diapers. At this time, there was already a long snaking line for the boat. We waited 10mins before 2 boats came and got everyone onboard.

Rest stop
Kitchen at the rest stop
Our lunch of chop and burger
Ducks afloat at the jetty
Boat tickets
Boat arriving

The boat ride was smooth sailing but boring to say the least as there was nothing much to see except trees that filled the banks of the river. We just sat back and enjoyed the ride and the cool wind.

We alighted at the disembarkation and continued the walk, climbing the flight of steps upwards. It was then more or less the same, more waterfalls along the way, more lakes and more gushing waters. The difference was that the crowd seemed to dwindle the further we walked, rightly so as the time got closer to closing. Our final destination on Route C was the bus station ST3 and it was only after an hour of walking that we finally arrived at around 345pm. We visited the restroom and bought ice-cream to cool ourselves down after this long walk. The bus arrived shortly and we got onto the bus. Baby K fell asleep after eating some bread, knocked out from this tiring trail in the National Park. It was a 30 mins ride back through the park, except that it was travelling on roads meant for vehicles and different from our walking route. It made a stop at ST 2 where many people got on and finally at ST 1 where we got off, as this was the station closest to entrance 1. The walk didn’t stop as there was a further 30mins distance to get back to entrance and with baby K sleeping in my arms, I walked ahead while mommy offered to be the photographer (as my arms were occupied), shooting the park scenery at a bird’s eye view level.

View from the boat
Waterfall seen from the boat nearing drop off
Wooden bridge for the 2nd part of the walk
Another turquiose lake
Waterfalls of different shapes and sizes
Another one with multiple streams
One taken up close
A hint of Autumn
Station 3 finally
Thankfully transport to return us back
Birds eye view of the park
View of one the many wooden bridge
Multiple levels

We walked back to the car first and transferred baby K to mommy in the back seat before heading to the payment counter across the road to pay for the carpark fees, amounting to 36kuna before driving out of the almost empty carpark. Without telecom signal, I started the journey to Zagreb based on road signs and intuitive. Stayed on D1 and drove thru a lot of small towns before reaching the tolled highway. Then it was an easy drive to Zagreb that we managed to get in by 7pm, a 2hrs drive from Plitvice NP. While Zagreb was modern town with a lot of traffic and trams sharing the road, it was still not too difficult to drive in, unlike other big European cities.

Our Airbnb Time Inn apartment was closed to city center. The GPS directed me onto a small road without much moving traffic and I got out to look for owner by pressing on the doorbell that spelt the apartment’s name. He came immediately as he was already waiting for us and led us into a compound which was the private carpark. He was helpful with our twin 28″ luggage as there were 2 flights of steps to climb. After explaining the directions for a few important places, like the supermarket and the old town orientation, he left us to the nice cosy 2 bedroom apartment. We then proceeded to visit Spar supermarket to shop for groceries and dinner.

Baby cot in the master
Second bedroom
Bathroom with tub
Living room

Mommy cooked for baby K while I ate the dinner from Spar – tasty but cold. Then we switched roles and fed baby K his dinner before giving him a bath in the bathtub. Something unexpected happened in the toilet as water back flowed from drain pipe which made the toilet smelled a little but it wasn’t a big deal. The day finally ended after I dumped the thrash downstairs, bathed and then went to bed.

Wine sold in litres!
Dinner from a supermarket
Spar supermarket