Plitvice Lakes was a dream come true. While I was at home, planning my three months solo trip in Europe, I kept imagining myself in this place.
Visiting thse lakes was the only thing that made me visit Croatia in the Winter. Usually everyone goes to Croatia in the summer as the country has some of the best beaches in Europe.
I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to visit Plitvice Lakes. So, I decided to do it even facing some cold weather.
Things in Croatia didn’t start that great, as I had a hard time in Zagreb. I felt like I was falling apart and that I had no idea what I was doing. Plus, I missed my bus to the Plitvice Lakes the first day. It sucked and got me in a very angry, weird mood.
Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes
So, the next day, was my last chance to visit the National Park. After finding Zagreb to be a boring city, I was determined to get that bus no matter what.
Got up at 6am and basically ran to the bus stations I would be there on time. I couldn’t risk missing the bus again.
Buying the ticket, I was told there was only one bus back to Zagreb at 6pm. I found it strange, but if it was the only one I had no choice but to buy it.
I would only find out at the lakes that buying that ticket was a big mistake.
Lets just say that there are a lot of buses that go from Plitivice Lakes to Zagreb. Plus, in the Winter the Park closes at 4pm. You can imagine how angry I was to find out about this. I had to buy another ticket to go back to Zagreb earlier. And the driver even gave me the wrong change.
Sometimes being a tourist kinda sucks, trust me, I know this better than anyone.
I fell asleep on the bus. By the time I woke up I was somewhere in the middle of the mountains, and there was snow everywhere!
I suddenly got the cutest smile on my face. I can’t tell you how much I’d been wishing to get to a place covered in snow.
It makes me happy, like I’m in a fairytale land, far, far away from home
I was looking like a kid watching the snow when I noticed we stopped and I was suppose to get out! I grabbed my stuff and ran outside afraid the bus would leave with me still inside.
It was freazing cold! I was not ready for cold. In Zagreb the sky was blue and the sun was shinning. Obviously I just figured I would take a Spring shirt and my Winter jacket.
Little did I know I would end up with my nose burned because of the cold.
The hilarious moment the bus drove away and there was just me and a bunch of Korean guys in the middle of the snow trying to understand where the lakes actually were.
All I know is it was freezing cold, but I was a happy kid walking in the mountains surrounded with snow.
Something like this was just what I needed that day. I needed something to make my heart race, to make me happy and remember why I was backacpking solo in the first place, and Plitivice was just that.
I wanted Paradise and I got it sooner than I expected.
There’s no better feeling than getting to a new place and falling in love with it as soon as you look outside the bus.
It’s that heart racing moment as you feel you are exacly where you’re suppose to be.
Walking around the park and seeing those views, I couldn’t believe I was really there.
I felt like living a dream. Just a month before I was working at a restaurant, planning and dreaming of the places I was working for, and this was one of those for sure!
It’s about that moment, you know? That unforgetable moment when you just feel pure joy, you’re eyes get all shinny and you notice you have this smile on your face.
I believe that happiness while travelling is about the small things that you would never appreciate or even notice at home.
For me, at the Plitive Lakes, it was about the snow and the clear water, seeing all that beauty in person and feeling I made it there on my own.
It was a mix of being proud of myself and the fact I couldn’t believe how a place like that can exist .
l lucky I was to be able to witness something so amazing.
So I walked, and had a little happy dance moment in the trails, all alone in the middle of nowhere.
I sat on the higher places and just enjoyed the view and watched the waterfalls for ages and the half frozen lake, appreciating every second of that place.
I even embraced the cold and decided it was part of the beauty of the place, because if it wasn’t that cold it meant there was no snow, and trust me, the mountains covered in snow made the difference.
It was what made this place to special to me.
So, even if my stay in Croatia wasn’t as great as I thought it would, being Zagreb my least favorite place of the ones I’ve visited, taking the trip to the Plitvice Lakes was one of the highlights of my backpacking trip around Europe.
I’m so, so happy I decided to stop by Croatia simply with the excuse of being so close to it at the time.
It was a day that will stay carved in my memory for the rest of my life.
Getting to Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb
The entrance at the Plitvice Lakes will cost you 55Kunas (around 7,5€) during low season, and around 10€ during high season. As for the transport to the Park, the best way to get there is by getting a bus. You have a few buses from Zagreb (a journey of 2h30) that will cost you less than 10€. Don’t buy the return ticket there. You can buy the return ticket directly inside the bus and you can get one anytime you want once you’re out of the Park.