Plitvice Lakes National Park

Can You Swim in Plitvice Lakes National Park? (2023 Update)

When I first heard about Plitvice Lakes National Park, I was immediately drawn to its breathtaking photos showcasing turquoise waters and cascading waterfalls.

Naturally, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Can I swim in those beautiful lakes?” It’s a question many of us would have, especially when faced with such inviting waters.

During my visit, I took the time to understand the park’s regulations and its stance on swimming. I also explored nearby areas to find out where one could get a refreshing dip.

In this article, I’ll share what I learned, ensuring that your experience is both enjoyable and respectful of this natural wonder.

Where is Plitvice Lakes National Park?

Plitvice Lakes National Park is in Croatia. If you’ve ever been to Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, the park is just a 2-hour drive away. It’s nicely tucked between Zagreb and the Adriatic Coast, making it a central attraction for many travelers.

The park is vast, covering almost 300 square kilometers. Beyond its size, it’s the beauty that captures you. Within it, there are 16 interconnected lakes, each with its own unique hue. It’s truly a nature lover’s dream.

If you’re not into driving, that’s okay. Some buses head to the park regularly, making it easy for anyone to visit.

Is Plitvice Lakes Worth Visiting?

is Plitvice Lakes National Park worth it

If you’re asking yourself this, I had the same question before my visit. The short answer is Absolutely yes. The moment I stepped into the park, I was taken aback. Pictures don’t do it justice. The waterfalls, the sounds of nature, the serene ambiance – like walking into a painting.

Now, it’s not just about the views. The trails are well-marked, making it easy for even first-timers. They give you a feeling of floating just above the water.

Despite its popularity, there are spots in the park where you can just sit, relax, and soak in the beauty around you.
So, is it worth visiting? From my experience, it’s a resounding yes. But don’t just take my word for it; see it yourself.

Can You Swim in Plitvice Lakes?

Can You Swim in Plitvice Lakes

It is hard to accept that swimming is not allowed in Plitvice Lakes. It’s a letdown, especially when you see the crystal-clear waters. I felt the same way before my visit.

But once I was there, the sheer beauty of the place made up for it. With every step I took, there was something new to marvel at. Waterfalls, serene lakes, and paths that felt like they were leading to hidden treasures.

Now, while swimming is off the table, there’s still much to do. One of the best parts is the boat rides. They’re part of the park’s experience, and trust me, floating on those waters is just as magical. It gives you a whole new perspective.

And if you’re looking for something a bit different, some parts of the park offer horse riding. Not every day you get to ride a horse through such a breathtaking landscape.

So, even though you can’t dive into the waters of Plitvice Lakes, the experience is still unforgettable.

Read also: Cocoa Beach Bioluminescence – A Magical Experience In 2023

Why is Swimming Banned in Plitvice Lakes?

Believe it or not, there was a time when visitors could enjoy a refreshing swim in Plitvice’s waters, specifically in Jezero Kozjak. But that changed in 2006 when the park administration stopped it.

The primary reason was to safeguard the delicate environment of the park and to ensure the conservation of its unique ecosystems. Plitvice Lakes is a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds significant ecological importance. The priority is to keep its natural beauty intact.

It was observed that swimming activities were affecting the delicate ecosystems of the lakes. The impact on the environment was evident, with the flora and fauna of the region suffering due to human interference.

It’s been quite a few years since that decision, and while many, including myself, initially missed the opportunity to swim, the reasons for the ban became clear over time. The park’s beauty remains undisturbed, a testament to the importance of such measures.

Is Plitvice Lakes Safe?

From my experience, Plitvice Lakes felt very safe. The paths and wooden boardwalks are well-maintained, with clear signages pointing out routes and any potential hazards. The park’s management prioritizes visitor safety.

Of course, nature has its unpredictability. There are areas with steeper terrains and spots that can get slippery, especially after rain. So, wearing sturdy shoes and being cautious is key.

As for wildlife, while the park is home to various species, encounters with larger animals are rare. Being aware of your surroundings is always good, but there’s no significant threat to visitors.

Lastly, the park staff and guides are knowledgeable and always ready to assist. If ever in doubt or need assistance, they’re just a shout away.

Best Time to Visit Plitvice Lakes and Avoid Crowds

Best Time to Visit Plitvice Lakes and Avoid Crowds

Choosing the right time to visit Plitvice Lakes can make all the difference. I wanted to experience its beauty without the distraction of large crowds. So, I did a bit of research before my trip.

Summer, particularly July and August, is peak season. The weather is lovely, but the trails can get crowded. If you’re keen on visiting during these months, I’d recommend starting early in the morning. The park is quieter, and the early sunlight over the lakes is magical.

Spring and autumn are my personal favorites. The temperatures are milder, and the colors – oh, the colors! Everything is in bloom in spring, and in autumn, the fall foliage adds another layer of beauty to the park. Plus, fewer visitors mean a more peaceful experience.

Winter turns the park into a snowy wonderland. It’s less frequent, so it’s an excellent time if you’re up for a serene, snowy adventure. Just remember, some paths might be closed due to snow.

While there’s no wrong time to visit Plitvice Lakes, considering what kind of experience you’re looking for can help you pick the perfect time.

Places to Swim Near Plitvice Lakes

Korana River in Slunj

While swimming is prohibited in Plitvice lakes. But there are plenty of spots and other places nearby where you can enjoy a swim.

Not far from Plitvice, there’s the Korana River in Slunj. It’s known for its clear waters and stunning cascades. The river has several natural pools, perfect for a refreshing dip. And the town of Slunj, with its charming watermills and cascades, adds to the experience.

Another gem is Barać Caves. While you can’t swim inside the caves, there’s a beautiful lake nearby. Surrounded by nature, it’s an ideal spot to relax and take a swim.

Krka National Park is a bit further away, but it’s worth the drive. Like Plitvice, it boasts mesmerizing waterfalls and the best part is swimming is allowed in designated areas. The experience of swimming near waterfalls is genuinely unique.

What to Explore Else?

While Plitvice Lakes captivates with its beauty, there’s much more to explore in the surrounding area. If you’re keen on diving deeper into the region’s offerings, here are some recommendations:

Flora and Fauna: The park’s biodiversity is remarkable. From diverse bird species to fluttering butterflies, nature enthusiasts will have a field day spotting the local wildlife.

Caves: Don’t miss out on exploring the Šupljara Cave. Nestled within the park, this cave offers a glimpse into the area’s geological wonders.

Cultural Sites: As you wander, you’ll find traces of the region’s rich history. Traditional watermills and age-old houses provide insights into the local way of life from years gone by.

Viewpoints: For a bird’s-eye view of the park, head to one of the designated viewpoints. The panoramic sights, especially during dawn or dusk, are truly mesmerizing.

Events: If your timing is right, you might catch a local festival or event. These gatherings are a great way to immerse yourself in the region’s culture and traditions.


How much time do I need to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park?

While you can get a good feel of the park in a day, spending two days allows a more relaxed exploration, especially if you want to cover most trails.

Are there any guided tours available?

Yes, guided tours are available, offering insights into the park’s history, geology, and biodiversity. You can book them at the entrance or in advance.

Is there a place to eat inside the park?

Yes, there are several restaurants and snack bars scattered throughout the park. They offer a range of options from local Croatian dishes to quick bites.

What should I wear for my visit?

Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Depending on the season, bring a hat, sunscreen, or rain gear. Always check the weather forecast before heading out.

Are there accommodations inside or near the park?

While there aren’t accommodations within the park boundaries, several hotels, guesthouses, and campsites are located nearby, catering to different budgets.


Plitvice Lakes National Park, with its cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, and lush forests, is undoubtedly one of Croatia’s most treasured natural wonders.

While the no-swimming rule might be a slight disappointment, the park’s sheer beauty and the plethora of other activities make up for it.

In the end, a visit to Plitvice is not just about the sights; it’s about the memories you create, the sounds of nature you hear, and the feeling of being in one of the world’s most beautiful places. It’s a journey I’d recommend to anyone and one I’m eager to embark on again.

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