Family-Run, Boutique Hotel at Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in Central Croatia. It was enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. For thousands of years, water has flown over limestone and chalk creating natural dams and reservoirs which are now linked by many waterfalls. The largest waterfall is called Veliki Slap which translates as ‘Great Waterfall’ and is 79 meters high.

During COVID lockdown, we called Ivan, the Director of Hotel Degenija, one of the most popular in the Plitvice area. The hotel has been reopened for two weeks. Croatia at this point has almost eradicated the virus but eagerly awaits tourists to be allowed to visit.

Hotel Degenija, Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes walkways

HK: Hi Ivan, nice to talk to you. Please describe your role at Hotel Degenija.

Ivan: I am the Hotel Director and also one of the owners of our family-owned hotel. As we are just a small boutique hotel, I am included in every aspect of hotel life. From sales, meetings with partners, managing our marketing, our social networks, working on our food and bar menu, human resources, staff relations – so everything really!

HK: How long has Hotel Degenija been running?

We’ve now been open for 10 years but we’ve been in this business for more than 20. We started with a restaurant In 1997 and then we expanded with rooms into a hotel.

HK: Can you tell me why Plitvice Lakes is must-see on any Croatia activity?

Ivan: Of course. I would say it’s a ‘World Wonder’. It’s a really unique place. They say there are plenty of waterfalls in the world, but there is only one Plitvice Lakes. The area is made up of 16 lakes and 92 waterfalls. If you love nature, history, photography, the sound of waterfalls or simply a hike, then there is no place in the world as mesmerizing as the Plitvice Lakes.

Looking to visit Plitvice Lakes? Discover our Private Tours to Plitvice Lakes and more here >>

Rowing boats at Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes

HK: Sounds amazing. I’ve never been, but it’s on my list. Could you describe a perfect trip for couples to the Lakes?

Ivan: We always recommend to start early in the morning. Guests have breakfast then head straight out to be in the park for 8am in order to avoid the crowds which usually start to arrive around 9 or 10. We usually recommend guests should use entrance number 1, which is the main entrance.

So once you’re in the park, you can walk around the lower lakes, the big waterfall, the upper lakes then up to the electric boats where you can have a break for a hot or cold refreshment. The electric boat is a great inclusion – it’s a must-do in the national park. The boat ride lasts about 20 minutes and you can buy the ticket as an optional inclusion with your entrance fee.

A tip that we like to give to couples is to rent a rowing boat so you can discover some hidden parts of the lakes that you cannot reach on foot. It’s very romantic with peaceful scenery which you can only reach by boat.

Plitvice Lakes in Fall
Plitvice Lakes in Winter

HK: I know the lakes do get very busy, so the rowing boat sounds like an ideal way to escape the crowds.

Ivan: Yes, it does get busy in peak season which is why we suggest to go early at 8am, or sometimes later at 3 or 4pm or to watch the sunset once the coaches have left. It’s busiest in the morning between 11 and 12 when lots of groups arrive. The busiest time of year is June to September, but the lakes are also beautiful in the fall, winter and spring.

Hotel Degenija Pool, Plitvice Lakes
Hotel Degenija Restaurant

HK: What makes Hotel Degenija the best place to stay when visiting?

Ivan: For sure it’s our location, which is only 5km from the main entrance. We are a small boutique hotel with just 20 very comfortable rooms, we have parking onsite, we have beautiful gardens and orchards, we have restaurants on site, a large outdoor pool with nice sun loungers and beautiful views.

Also our staff is our true asset. The atmosphere in the hotel is really good. It’s like one big family so they take really good care of our guests. I think we are the number one option for guests when they visit Plitvice Lakes National Park.

HK: Sounds lovely. Are you working on anything in particular at the moment?

Ivan: We have just finished renovation on our Restaurant Degenija. We have fresh new exterior and interior, we have a much nicer ambience for our guests and also for our workers. The new restaurant has new parking too, and inside there is much more space between the tables. The whole restaurant is much better looking and much nicer than before.

HK: Sounds great. I can’t wait to visit.

Ivan: Thanks, Heather. I hope to see you soon.

For more information about discovering the beauty of Plitvice Lakes for yourself, contact our team >>