Plitvice Lakes since 2019 requires pre-ordering ticket vouchers online. You can still purchase tickets on the spot at entrances, however you are risking being denied entry in case too many visitors already purchased tickets on that day.
If you plan on visiting Plitvice Lakes this year, it is extremely important to reserve your ticket at least 48 hours in advance. This article will show you how to reserve your ticket vouchers online to make sure you can experience our most beautiful national park.
Why do I have to reserve tickets?
Plitvice Lakes (Plitvička Jezera in Croatian) is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia. UNESCO has been warning Plitvice Lakes management for years about increased construction in the area and pollution caused by high number of visitors every year. There are even worrying problems with waste and sanitation due to over 1 million visitors coming every year.
All of this threatens Plitvice Lakes’ status as UNESCO World Heritage. As a consequence the management decided to limit the number of visitors to 10,000 per day. This means you may not be able to enter this national park unless you reserve your ticket in advance.
Traveling from Split to Plitvice takes about 3 hours, so needless to say you don’t want to travel all this way only to have to turn back. Here’s what you must do to ensure you can gain entry to the lakes.
How to reserve your ticket
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to reserve a Plitvice Lakes ticket:
- Visit Plitvice Lakes website’s e-ticket system
- Choose your date of arrival and exact time (must be minimum 48 hours before your visit)
- Select your entry point to the park, and number of tickets
- Click the “add to cart” button and continue to checkout
- Your receipt will be issued after a successful payment, and a voucher will be sent to your email address.
- You must print your purchased voucher and present it at the park entrance to redeem it for a ticket.
I was unable to find out if you can redeem a digital copy of the voucher (such as a PDF file on your phone), so I’d recommend actually printing a hard copy of the voucher just to be on the safe side.
You can (and must) reserve your Plitvice Lakes tickets (ticket vouchers) here. You will need to specify the exact date and time of your arrival. Reserved ticket vouchers can be picked up at any Plitvice Lakes entry. But, keep in mind you must pick up your ticket half an hour before and during the hour you booked!
For example if you reserve your ticket for 16:00 hours, you will not be able to redeem it before 15:30 or later than 16:30. And if there are too many visitors in the park already, you will be unable to purchase another ticket for different time.
- Pets are permitted in the park, but must be on a leash.
- Tickets can be changed or refunded only until 48 hours before
Plitvice Lakes opening hours:
- WINTER – winter (standard) time (from the last Sunday in October) – summer (daylight saving) time (until the last Saturday in March): 8.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. (entry/purchase/collection of tickets until 2 p.m.)
- SPRING – summer (daylight saving) time (from the last Sunday in March) – 1 June: 8.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m. (entry/purchase/collection of tickets until 5 p.m.)
- SUMMER – 1 June – 25 August: 7.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m. (entry/purchase/collection of tickets until 6 p.m.)
- AUTUMN – 25 August – 1 October: 7.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m. (entry/purchase/collection of tickets until 5 p.m.)
- 1 October – winter (standard) time (until the last Sunday in October): 8.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. (entry/purchase/collection of tickets until 4 p.m.)
Plitvice was getting over 16,000 visits in the height of our tourist season before COVID-19, and this was simply too many people to maintain this pristine ecosystem. Poor weather in nearby coastal destinations during some days made Plitvice especially crowded. Average time tourists spend in the Lakes is 3.5 hours, and reserving tickets at least 2 days ahead ensures the number of visitors can be equally distributed throughout the day and week.
To be perfectly honest, you do not want to visit Plitvice along with 16,000 other people. This national park is spread across 30,000 acres, but visitors are generally in a zone of less than 2% of the total Lakes area, on maintained paths and routes. It used to get very crowded, and it’s hard to appreciate the beauty of the lakes in a crowd of thousands.
Plitvice Lakes alternatives
If you happen to find yourself at Plitvice without a reserved ticket, you may be recommended some of the following sites: National Parks Paklenica or Sjeverni Velebit, Velebit nature park (Zavratnica cove and Cerovačke caves), cave park Grabovača, or Baraćeve caves. In my opinion none of them can compare with the breathtaking beauty of Plitvice, but it can fulfill your day if Plitvice happens to be full.
You can consider Krka National Park if you’re looking for something closer to Split. It’s only an hour away (or hour and a half, depending on your route). It’s a fabulous and almost equally beautiful alternative, and has been getting an increased number of visitors in the past few years as well.
It is understandably difficult to always plan your trip to every minute, but if you’re visiting Plitvice it’s very important to reserve your ticket. Tickets on some dates and times are unavailable even in Spring when we have far fewer tourists than summer.
Some guided tours may not include tickets to Plitvice National Park. Make sure to double check to ensure you reserve tickets if necessary.
I’ve read stories in our newspapers of tourists coming from various parts of the world and not being able to see Plitvice Lakes. Don’t let this happen to you!