- Go to Zagreb Bus station (if you are going to Split you can also buy the ticket). You can take Tram 6 from the city center and trams 2 and 3 from the train station. YOU MUST GO TO THE STATION to get tickets. You can see the schedule online but not book.
TIP: If you’re planning to go to Split also you might consider just going straight from the lakes. It’s almost half way there. You can book you’re ticket at the same time and it cost an additional 149kn. It picks up right where you’re dropped off for the lakes.
2. Buy a ticket to Plitvica-Jezera. Ticket cost 93kn one way and they only take cash.
3. Board the bus on one of the platforms. the number is printed in the upper right of your ticket. if you have a bag that needs to go under the bus it’s an extra 7kn (this is most buses in Croatia)
4. The ride takes about 2 hours with a 20 minute stop. plan on about 2:30. where you sit didn’t seem to matter much. locals get on and off regularly and just sit wherever they can. only foreigners are worried about the seat numbers from what I saw.
5. You’ll be dropped off near entrance 2. make sure to tell the driver you’re going to Plitvice or Plitvica in Croatian. This bus has far more locals throughout the trip than tourist. Pay attention to the time. and you’ll be fine. Not to mention the driver announces the stop. Don’t count on this as one bus I took didn’t have the PA system working.
6. When arriving cross the street from the bus stop and turn left. Walk about 20 feet and you’ll see stairs going up (in front of these is a bus stop going in the opposite direction back to Zagreb). Climb those stairs and follow them to the left.
7. The road will start turn to the right. follow it. this is the entrance to the park and parking #2.
8. If you have bags go to this counter and have them stored FOR FREE. Get there early because they don’t have many.
9. Enter the ticket office and buy your ticket. they take credit card as well. Entrance cost 110kn for adults from April 1st-June 30th and 180kn from July 1st-August 31st.
10. Choose your route and get moving. If you arrived early don’t waste valuable “tourist” free time by hanging around chatting and eating. You’ll have plenty of time for that once the hordes arrive around 10:30. I recommend route “H”. It has all the highlights and is relatively easy.
11. HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE. And take a lunch. Some sandwiches and snacks. The food areas are expensive and aren’t very close together. It can be a couple hours trek between on some trails. Be prepared. We stopped a few times for a quick sandwich and it was perfect planning.
CHARGE YOUR BATTERIES. My goodness I made a rookie mistake and missed an amazing shot at the very end of our day.
Take CP (Circular Polarizer) and ND (Neutral Density) filters. The water is amazingly clear but a CP will pull that glare off. ND filters will come in handy for calming the waters BUT time may be against. The chances of taking a 45 second exposure without other guest shaking the bridges is slim to none. Prepare for a hand held day. If you arrive early enough you can pull it off though. I met a couple using Lee Big Stopper ND6s.
Tripod/Monopod. I was able to use my tripod but a monopod would have worked well with the crowds. Early, my tripod was fine but I would definitely say a monopod is more efficient here unless you know you’ll be taking long exposure shots.
Lens Cleaner. There are two gorgeous falls that shoot mist right at you. You’re so close on the catwalk that you can’t avoid it. Lens cleaner and a cloth are necessary.
Wide and Telephoto lenses. Plitvice Lakes National Parks offer a wide range of opportunity for all focal lengths. But I found I basically lived between 11mm-120mm.
Shoulder Harness. Pretty self explanatory. makes it so much easier to shoot and move which you’ll need.
Know Your Gear. one of the biggest time wasters were people out there with D800s and 6Ds that were too busy trying to figure them out than shooting. they were just in the way. KNOW YOUR CAMERA. If all else fails switch it to AP and move out of the way.
If possible stay at one of the park hotels. Some fine “Golden Hour” photo opportunities. Guesthouses and hotels in the area are going to run you around 100 Euro. A bit expensive imo but worth the extra park time and photo ops.
Don’t waste money on a guide. Really no need. Site is set up well and easy to follow the marked paths.