The Undiscovered Croatia: Waterfalls and Canyons in Rastoke

If you’re looking for travel inspiration for a European road trip, the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia needs to be on your to-do list. The lakes area contains 16 lakes which flow into one another through a giant canyon, creating hundreds of natural waterfalls. It’s simply stunning.

However, if you’re looking for places to see on the road less travelled, then consider stopping by in the little Croatian village of Rastoke, about a 45 minute drive north on the highway 1 from the main lakes area. Still technically within the national park, you’ll find waterfalls, canyons and awesome vistas in every direction, but without the crowds of the Plitvice Lakes.

You’ll need a car, for sure. But the drive up to Rastoke is worth it. The road winds around the rolling green hills like spaghetti clinging to a wall, and it’s dotted with waterfalls and traditional Croatian huts (just keep your eyes on the road!). Here is my guide to things to do in Rastoke.

See the wonderful waterfalls (and water mill)

These are dotted about everywhere so a walk around the town will show you a multitude of pretty natural waterfalls. make sure you remember your camera and leave plenty of time for taking pictures! A visit to the mill is pretty cutesy too. For the equivalent of a couple of quid you can enter the mill area and see the water rushing through it to power the town.

Rastoke waterfalls

The waterfalls and mill in Rastoke

Climb down into the canyon

Take the steps down into the canyon to see from a different perspective (careful, they’re slippery!)

Rastoke canyon

Eat fresh fish in Petro’s

By far the best restaurant in town, Petro’s has a fresh trout pen in the centre of the outside dining area and fish directly from there (fish are gathered from the river). The trout was the best I’ve tasted and the beer wasn’t bad either…. not to mention the views!

Petro Restaurant in Rastoke

Petro Restaurant in Rastoke

Raft the waters

There’s a local company which organises whitewater rafting through the Korana river, which I was gutted we couldn’t partake in, as we visited in October. I hear on good authority that it’s brilliant fun, but is only available in the summer months, so time your visit accordingly if you can.

Rastoke river rafting

Go back in time

Within the watermill area, there is a pretty freaky museum, made up to look like the olden days. It reminded me of visiting an old Tudor town in Amberley (south England) when I was a kid. This is a pretty rubbish thing to do, admittedly. But it’s good for some creepy photos….

No idea what this is about

No idea what this is about


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Hayley is the author behind A Life of More, a travel and lifestyle blog with the goal of helping you to live a happier and more fulfilled life, whether you're currently travelling or happily settled.

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Comments 10

  1. frankaboutcroatia

    We love Rastoke! This village is beautiful. And still not too many people visit it. We are going to Plitvice tomorrow. Really looking forward to the trip. Just hope that the weather will be nice and we can make lots of great photos. Lovely post!

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  3. Vincent Saw

    Hi Hayley,

    Chanced upon your blog on Rastoke and love it.

    Will be driving to Rastoke in May when i visit Croatia – just wondering if there is any place that I can park the car around these areas so we will not be walking a distance. Haven seen any post on parking in Rastoke town actually.

    Warm Regards,

  4. Post
    LovePuffin Travel Blog

    Hi Vincent

    Thanks for getting in touch, and glad you enjoyed the blog! Parking in Rastoke is indeed limited, but you can leave your car in a small lay-by car park near to the main bridge in the centre of town. From memory there is space for about 20 cars so you should be ok in May.

    If that car park is full, there’s also the option to continue along the road (when travelling from Plitvice Lakes) and after the bridge you can turn left down to the water’s edge and park along the road there. I don’t think you have to pay for the parking but I might be wrong on that one.

    I hope this helped, and please do get in touch to let me know how you enjoyed your trip 🙂

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  6. Mare

    Hi Haley,
    We are going to Croatia in Sept. I have been looking for accommodations in Rastoke right in the town. I only find the Mijana hotel. Do you know of any other rooms, B&Bs ?

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    LovePuffin Travel Blog

    Hi Mare

    I’m afraid I don’t know of any others, no. The town is very small so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was just one hotel there. You could always try neighbouring towns if you’re looking for something different in a hotel? Sorry I couldn’t be of more help on this occasion, Hayley

  8. Gareth

    Is there a hotel in rastoke, were hoping to get married there and curious if that’s doable ? Many thanks

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