The Great European Adventure

The Obligatory Plitvice Post: A Photo Essay

I can’t NOT write about Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.

If there’s a “beaten path” for backpacking Europe, Plitvice is definitely on it. I know many travel bloggers before me have visited and written about this place, but Plitvice is awesome, so I’m going to go ahead and join their ranks.

In particular, I feel the need to share my photos because I visited under different circumstances than many travelers.

This is the classic Plitvice photo:

Photo by (Creative Commons)
Photo by To Uncertainty and Beyond (Creative Commons)

Beautiful, no?

And you can get this shot just by walking along the trail:

Photo by To Uncertainty and Beyond (Creative Commons)
Photo by To Uncertainty and Beyond (Creative Commons)

Well, I visited on a rainy day in November, and this was my experience with the same view:

I felt very silly putting a watermark on this photo.
I felt very silly putting a watermark on this photo.

Not quite as pretty…

I’m still glad I got to visit, and it was nice to take a long walk in the woods considering how much of The Great European Adventure was spent traipsing around cities. When you only have a few days in a place, sometimes you end up with gray photos (just ask Steph), but it’s not like you’re going to skip visiting a place you came halfway around the world to see just because it’s raining.


And the mist photos are sort of appealing in their own way.




My friend, Katie, and I spent a few hours crisscrossing the wooden walkways around the lower and upper lakes, but there are a variety of paths to take based on how much time and energy you have.

An attractive, but not to scale, map of the Plitvice Lakes
An attractive, but not to scale, map of the Plitvice Lakes
Wooden Walkways
Wooden walkways over the lakes and waterfalls
Spooky Path
Spooky Path

It was a cold day, and my fingers numbly gripped the camera to take these shots for you lovely readers, but I think it was worth it.






The water level was high thanks to the rain, and it sometimes felt like we were walking on water.




But even with all the rain and mist, we were still treated to Autumn colors and the green waters for which Plitvice is famous.





Sunken tree
Sunken tree



I saved my favorite photo for last:


Have you ever visited Plitvice Lakes National Park? Would you like to? How do you make the most of rainy travel days?

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.


  • Jessica

    Emma, these are incredible! It is so refreshing to see a different perspective on this popular place. The photos have a really haunting quality which makes them so interesting to look at. And I quite agree that it would be insane to skip a place just because it’s raining. 🙂

    • opportunemma

      Thank you so much, Jessica! I hoped my photos would provide a different perspective on Plitvice. As we were walking around, Katie and I kept commenting on how spooky the whole place looked in the mist, so I’m glad that haunting feeling came through!

  • Jean O'Donnell-Northup

    I would love to walk here!! Thanks for sharing these awesome pictures! How did you manage the transportation to reach this?

    • opportunemma

      It’s really a fantastic walk because the scenery is so lush. Katie and I took a bus from Zagreb (Croatia’s capital) and then spent a night at a guesthouse a short walk away from the park. Plitvice is a popular destination so, although the bus schedule was tricky, there are accommodations nearby. You could also visit as a daytrip because it’s only a few hours from Zagreb.

  • Anna

    Beautiful photos! I visited in late summer/early autumn and while it was less misty than for you, it still wasn’t the postcard view – and I appreciated seeing the lakes in an unexpected way. Another friend visited in pouring rain and loved it too. So it’s great to see your unique experience in pictures. Thanks!

    • opportunemma

      Thank you! I saw some photos on flickr of Plitvice in the snow and it looked stunning. There’s definitely something to be said for visiting in the off season. I’m glad you and your friend enjoyed the park in non-postcard weather!

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