Founded in 1949, Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s oldest and largest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. Set in an unusual karst landscape surrounded by dense forest, the park’s 16 lakes form the headwaters of the Korana River, flowing over a series of tufa waterfalls along the way. This full-day tour with a private driver and guide will help you understand the distinctive geological processes at work here and why the region holds such importance internationally. You’ll also get to visit a local village where you’ll see old watermills and learn about the area’s traditional way of life.
Your private guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Plitvice, Zadar or Zagreb on the morning of your tour and take you directly to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Set in the karst landscape of central Croatia, the park’s most striking feature is the unusual sedimentation of chalk in the river system here. The sediment gradually builds up into tufa barriers, the terraces of soft rock creating larger and larger waterfalls with the passing of time.
Your private guide will take you through the forest along wooden walkways and paths explaining the geology behind the distinctive formations and taking you to the best viewpoints along the way.
You’ll take a 15-minute boat ride along the lower lake to a small dock where — if you’re visiting between April and October — you can continue along the upper trails.
There are a variety of ways to explore the park depending on your preferences and your guide will design a route to make the most of your visit. Along the way, learn about the history of the park, its significance as an important transport route, and the traders and farmers who met to haggle over local flour and cheese.
Stop in the park for lunch and then head on to the nearby town of Rastoke, approximately 25 minutes to the north. An important mill town dating back over 300 years, the village exploited the Slunjčica River to power watermills, dividing it into a series of cascading waterfalls along the way.
The historic nature of the village has been preserved with exhibitions examining the milling process in the old watermills and wooden houses. There is also a museum that showcases the traditional milling techniques, and the furniture and tools of the period.
You can follow a series of walkways that pass through the property and offer panoramic views of the town and the numerous cascades which powered the mills.
Once you’ve had a chance to look around, your driver and guide will then escort you back to your hotel.
Photos of Plitvice Lakes National Park and Rastoke
Experience it for yourself
You can enjoy this activity as part of the suggested tours below, or we can weave it into a trip shaped entirely around you.
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CroatiaView this tour