If you are planning for Croatia trip this season, there is certainly one trip that you should not miss otherwise you end up regretting later. Imagine walking on the wooden trails in a wallpaper setup environment. The sceneries you have always watched on your laptop screen but never got the opportunity to feel it in real. Undiluted, vast and calm. Before being there, I have also read some opposite reviews about this place but yes if you are entering the park to walk in a long queue with scorching sun maximizing its heat waves on your head, what else can you expect??
Most importantly my blog talks about Plitvice Lakes tour with the small children so I will begin with first things first.
When to go??
We have been there recently in April and thankfully despite of rain speculations, it turned out to be a perfect weather with bright sunshine and clouds clusters in the late afternoon. I can’t imagine anytime better than April month when its less crowdy, spring time and a heavy flush of water in the lakes…
But whichever month you arrive there, that place willnot disappoint you.. You wil surely witness different colors and vibes. Just one thing, avoid the morning 9-10 AM time as this is the time when most of the big groups checked in and it’s not wise to walk slowly behind them and then end your journey nowhere. So better arrive there around 12 PM and stay comfortably for 6-7 hours.
Should we bring baby strollers or buggy rides:
If you intend to slope down half a kilometer on a concrete land and make some clicks of the initial waterfalls to go back, then certainly you should carry those rides else not. After all you are paying a good amount for the entry ticket and you must plan to stay for few hours in the lush flora and fauna if not the whole day. So what is the best alternative: well carry your child on a carrier or tie them..
My girl is a toddler now and there was no way I could leave her free even for a minute!! And trust me whichever route you choose, children will get tired soon if they decide to walk on their own.. The routes are nicely built but are slightly muddy, slippery or stoney at few points. Also children should atleast be 5 year old for you to expect them walk on their own.
Which route to select??
Plitvice park is designed to cater all: proficient, intermediate and beginner walkers like me.. There are ~3 entrances to the park and while one ascends first with a slope afterwards, the other entrances are built similarly or differently. Don’t get confused with a number of A to H routes marked in the board there, think first. Some say that C and H are the same routes starting from the opposite sides and doable with small children but I think you need to take care more about the 3 entrances and the stations. Also better decide whether to first step down or up. We knew with small children we might not be able to walk much but we were lucky enough to trail more than 10kms that day.
We started at the entrance 3 and walked upwards with the view of big Veliki waterfalls and trekked till the station 1. Then we changed 2 buses (station 1 to 2, station 2 to 3) and again started our journey from the Station No 3 to reach the ferry at P2 for entrance 3; the point from where we had begun.
Best is you do an analysis before and consult with the local host where you are staying.. And to tell you bus and ferry cost is all included in the lake entry ticket, so no need to pay extra and it actually comforts your journey to provide good moments of relaxation.
What to eat??
Honestly I started to feel homesick right after my second day in Croatia. A vegetarian Indian with no understanding of local croatian cuisine, but if you are acquainted with the croatian or western cusine then it’s well and good. You have options available at all the three stations 1,2,3 at a slightly higher price but still I suggest you to carry light snacks and food. I still can’t forget the luxury of 2 cuppa noodles we had while we sat on an old wooden bench amidst the blooming lilies of the spring on that sunny afternoon.
All we carried was boiling water, chips, chocolates, mineral water, and 2 packs of maggi. All the eateries remain opened till 6pm or so and you can easily barge on a cup of cappuccino.
where to Stay??
This is really a big question to be planned in advance. As we begun our journey from Zagreb, we took the bus to plitvice and dropped our luggage in a B&B situated 500 metres from the entrance 3. Some people make day trips to the park and return back to Zagreb and some prefer to stay inside the park so as to visit the park whenever they wish to. But the options inside the park seem to be very limited and its little stressful to depart back to Zagreb when the bus options are limited, so my suggestion: stay for a night.
What to Carry for the small children:
Well the list is endless, but this is what we carried for our toddler:
- 2 water bottles, formula milk powder, boiling water
- Some chips, chocolates, juices
- Diaper, Wipes, Sanitizer and a changing Mat
- 1 set of clothes, 1 woollen cap and 1 raincoat
- Baby Carrier, towel
Initially I was skeptical about how I will be able to walk on those narrow wooden pathaways and what If someone hits me from behind and I fell in the water; I was really scared. But since I have experienced it, I can proudly say that its good to go.
Your baby will see cute ducks floating in the water and will astonish to the humming sounds of the flowing water, they will love this place. No need to worry, just go and enjoy your trip:)