Fashion

Packing for Plitvice Lakes National Park

plitvice lake what to wear

Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most beautiful natural sights in all of Europe, and it’s a must add to any Croatian vacation itinerary.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the middle of Croatia, about 130km south of the capital, Zagreb, and 118km north of Zadar, making it the perfect destination for a day trip (or two).

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a system of 16 stunning turquoise lakes linked together by waterfalls located in the middle of a large forest complex. The lakes cover a distance of more than 8km, ranging from an altitude of 1,280m to 380m, with trails and paths winding alongside and through them.

No matter your style, whether you’re a hardcore hiker, athleisure chic, or a fashionista, you can visit Plitvice Lakes, take in one of the most beautiful wonders of the world, and look great and feel comfortable doing it. 

Shoes

One of the most important decisions you’ll make on your trip to Plitvice Lakes is what to wear on your feet. Whether you decide to hike up or down, the easiest route at Plitvice Lakes will take you more than two hours to complete and the last thing you want is to develop a blister mid-route (this definitely isn’t the time to break in those new shoes!).

Additionally, it’s important to remember that Plitvice Lakes is a park. While some of the walkways over the lakes are covered by wooden planks, the majority of the route is dirt, and in some areas mud and puddles.

When picking shoes, opt for something you’ll feel comfortable walking and standing in for more than a few hours.

For the hardcore hiker

Feel secure and stable as you tackle the mountainside, the muddy trails and the slippery wooden paths by strapping into a pair of well-heeled hiking boots.

 

For the Athleisure Chic

Opt for cute but functional footwear, like Nike Airmax or Reebok Women’s Skyscape Runaround 2.0 Walking shoes. These shoes come in a myriad of colours, feature padded insoles and provide you with all the arch support you’ll need to keep you walking in style AND comfort no matter where the paths in Plitvice Lakes take you.

For the Fashionista

This isn’t the time to be breaking in those new studded flats you’ve been dying to wear; instead, reach for a pair of comfortable flats like Crocs (ideal because they won’t get ruined if you happen upon a little mud). Or, why not lace up a pair of classic Converse or Sam Smiths; these shoes will not only keep you comfortable but will look great with any ensemble you pick.

walking in plitvice lake

Layers

While the temperatures throughout the rest of Croatia might be blistering, it’s important to remember that Plitvice Lakes National Park is in a little realm of its own. The higher altitude often translates into a colder, wetter climate than what you’re used to along the coast, and the temperatures can vary significantly throughout the day: from frost and dew in the morning to sweltering heat in the afternoon.

This is why it’s so important to dress in layers when you head off to Plitvice Lakes: you’ll want to be prepared for all kinds of weather and temperatures.

For the hardcore hiker

Opt for loose-fitting clothes in breathable fabrics, so you can easily move about the trail.

For pants, look for a lightweight, stretchy, water resistant, sunblocking pair like Patagonia Simul Alpine Pants, or Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pants.

On top, opt for long sleeve shirts will keep you feeling warm during those early morning walks. And, whenever possible, it’s best to go for sweat-wicking fabrics that will keep you feeling cool and dry all day long.

For the Athleisure Chic

To get that athletic-chic look, why not try a pair of ¾ length cropped legging (my personal faves are Lululemon’s Wunder Under crops). These pants will keep you warm in the mornings, but not so warm when the temperature rises in the afternoon. The cut also protects you from the sun and from getting any pesky back of the thigh bug bites. You’ll also be able to show off that toned bod that you’ve been working on all year long thanks to the tighter fit and fabric.

On top, you’ll want to layer a few different shirts to give you as many options as possible throughout the way. Why not start with a sports bra and t-shirt topped with a workout jumper or sweatshirt. Again, if you can, it’s always best to pick wicking materials or something that’s breathable.

For the Fashionista

The walk through Plitvice Lakes can be as difficult or as leisurely as you want to make it, so if you’re the kind of traveller who doesn’t have room for workout or hiking gear, then you’re in luck. The walk through the park can most definitely be done in a pair of jeans. Just try and pick a pair that that are comfortable and have a bit of stretch so you can easily navigate the trail’s twists and turns without feeling restrained.

Top off your classic denim with a graphic t-shirt. If possible, pick one in a breathable fabric so you’ll look insta-ready the whole day through.

plitvice lakes packing list

Outer wear

The park is located in the middle of a forest, so rain is a real possibility. You’ll also be walking alongside and around a series of waterfalls where mist fills the air and getting splashed is a real possibility. This is why I highly recommend you top off any outfit with a waterproof outer layer.

For the hardcore hiker

Pick a durable, lightweight and waterproof jacket that can get you through any weather – from cloudy mornings to torrential downpours – like the Outdoor Research Aspire or the North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix. Look for a topper with zippered armpit vents, which help keep you cool when you really get going, and a hood to keep your noggin dry while you take in the views.

Depending on the time of year you visit, or even the time of day, you might want to toss a beanie (toque for fellow Canucks out there) and a pair of gloves into your bag to ensure you don’t lose a tonne of heat through your extremities.

For the Athleisure Chic

Opt for a lightweight and breathable jacket like the Marmot Crystalline or PreCip (which I’ve been faithfully rocking for a while now), or the Outdoor Research Helium II. These jackets are extremely versatile and will protect you from rain, wind and whatever else Mother Nature might throw your way. They are also easy to compress and very packable, so they won’t take up too much precious real estate in your suitcase or backpack.

For the Fashionista

Top off your insta-ready look with an always-in-style leather (or pleather) moto-jacket. These fashionable and functional pieces will not only keep you warm while walking along the shady trail, but they’ll keep you protected if the skies just happen to suddenly open.

If a leather/pleather jacket isn’t your style, opt for a classic trench coat in a lightweight fabric. This versatile classic will keep you safe from mid-day showers while still looking polished and put together.

Accessories

And finally, no matter your style, there are a few key accessories that everyone should pack when they visit Plitvice Lakes.

Water bottle

Plitvice Lakes is a national park so refreshment stands are at a minimum. Even on the coldest of days, it’s important to bring a water bottle and stay hydrated during your walk. And, although you’ll be surrounded by water, it’s not safe to drink. So, avoid the beaver fever and bring a water bottle with you. Our favorite is the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle which allows you to fill up from anywhere and instantly filter it into drinking water.

Umbrella

When it rains in Plitvice Lakes, it pours, so it’s never a bad idea to throw an umbrella in your bag. Better to be prepared than a drowned rat, amiright?!

Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most spectacular natural wonders in Europe, and a must-see for anyone traveling through Croatia. When packing for your trip to Plitvice Lakes, remember that comfort is key, layers are always a good idea, and no matter what your style or taste, you can experience the magnificence of Plitvice in comfort and style.

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