Home Croatia The Waterfalls of Rastoke in Slunj, Croatia

The Waterfalls of Rastoke in Slunj, Croatia

by David
Rastoke Viewpoint, Waterfalls of Rastoke Slunj, Croatia

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It can be hard living in the shadow of a more popular, more impressive sibling. I’m sure that’s how the village of Rastoke would feel towards the famous Plitvice Lakes in central Croatia. The two may sound completely unrelated despite being a short drive from one another, but they do indeed have something in common – waterfalls. The waterfalls of the Plitvice Lakes are an iconic spectacle that visitors to Croatia can’t wait to see. And yet Rastoke, a village with cascading waterfalls flowing through it, barely registers as a blip on the tourism radar.


The Village of Rastoke

Rastoke Village in central Croatia

Found on the edge of the town of Slunj, a gateway of sorts to Plitvice, Rastoke is the town’s historical core. While staying in Slunj to visit the Plitvice Lakes, I had an inkling that there was a waterfall to visit here. I’d first learned of the village from a photo I found online back when I was first thinking of visiting the lakes. It really wasn’t until my bus from Zagreb rolled past that I realised the scale of Rastoke’s waterfalls.

Part of the reason that Rastoke has been traditionally overlooked is that it and Slunj were a frontier border for much of their history. Wedged between the Ottoman Empire and the kingdoms of Europe, it was often only seen as a line on the map. There’s also the problem that the local economy took quite a hit in the 20th century.

Because it sat at the confluence of two rivers, the Korana and the Slunjčica, Slunj was a milling town that got hit hard by the Industrial Revolution. Throw in the blinding tourist beacon that is Plitvice Lakes and its understandable how this gem has escaped major notice.

Rastoke Rapids, Waterfalls of Rastoke Slunj, Croatia


Waterfalls of Rastoke

Croatia Waterfalls, Rastoke Slunj

Although Rastoke shares the Korana River with the Plitvice Lakes, it is the Slunjčica River that creates the village waterfalls. As the river hits Rastoke, it begins to fork and fork again, creating streams that spread throughout the village. All these different streams end up creating over 23 separate waterfalls, through a limestone substance called tufa.

Some little rapids pass through the village, while larger ones pour down into the Korana River. None are as great a drop as the big falls at Plitvice Lakes, but they’re nevertheless pretty.

The village itself plays a big part in the beauty of Rastoke. Certainly the view wouldn’t be the same without the traditional wooden houses that line the streams or rest out on the little islands. Yes, there are some spots that are only reachable by quaint little bridges. You can even stay in some that offer guest accommodation, while others are restaurants with little decks out over the water.

Rastoke Restaurants, Waterfalls of Rastoke, Croatia

I have to say, I was extremely lucky with my timing for Rastoke. Visiting Croatia in winter, I had arrived at Rastoke roughly a week after a major snowstorm. Croatia like much of Europe had been blanketed in snow before then being hit by a heat wave, causing major flooding as all that snow quickly melted away.

While this meant I saw towns downstream fighting floodwaters with sandbags, the waterfalls of Rastoke were practically raging. It didn’t seem like the village had suffered damage as a result, it hadn’t washed away, but I really wouldn’t have been surprised.

Major Waterfalls, Rastoke Croatia

Perhaps the only downside to seeing the waterfalls here at full force was that they were hard to identify. Several of the more well-known Rastoke waterfalls are named like Vilina kosa the “Fairy’s Hair” and Hrvoje. Because none looked like the information boards representing them, it was a little hard to keep track.

Related: What it’s like Visiting Plitvice Lakes in Winter


The Best Viewpoint

Walking through the village, you’re going to find plenty of great spots for photos. For the best views of Rastoke and its waterfalls though, I think you actually need to leave the village. At the northern end of the village, there’s a small bridge that takes you across to the far side of the Korana River.

Just a little downstream from there you’ll find a fantastic viewpoint on top of the hill there that lets you see all of Rastoke’s most impressive waterfalls. That said, also head the other direction at the bridge to see a waterfall flow out from under a house. It was a photo of that very view that brought me to Rastoke.


Visiting Rastoke Slunj

Rastoke House, Waterfalls of Rastoke Slunj, Croatia

From the centre of Slunj, Rastoke is a gentle 10 minute walk away. Alternatively, you can park at the viewpoint north of the river and walk down to the village that way. It’s also possible to combine the waterfalls here with Plitvice if you take this guided tour to both.

In all honesty, it was unclear whether you need to pay a park entrance or something for Rastoke. There is a tourist information centre in an out-of-the-way spot in Slunj that had some sort of sign about Rastoke but I only glimpsed it as I was leaving. Again, this was in the off-season so perhaps things are clearer and busier in summer.

As mentioned in my Plitvice Lakes article, I totally recommend Apartment Tomašević for your visit to Rastoke, Slunj and/or Plitvice. Not only are the owners welcoming, but I paid less for an apartment that slept 6+ people than I have for a small budget room elsewhere.


Have you heard of the waterfalls of Rastoke in Croatia before? Can you think of another scenario where an interesting attraction is completely overshadowed like this? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Carol Kubicki February 21, 2019 - 3:07 pm

Wow! We visited last spring and there was nowhere near as much water as you’ve seen in winter. Incredible. We thought Rastoke and Slunj were charming and yes, so much less crowded that the nearby lakes. Thank you for these amazing photographs.

David February 23, 2019 - 5:41 am

Ah that’s really cool that you’ve been here too Carol! I definitely saw the waterfalls at their strongest, especially given how much flooding there was around at that time. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) March 1, 2019 - 6:46 am

Holy smokes! What a gorgeous village. Can you imagine living there? Walking to work would be SO much more enjoyable. 😉 Thanks for putting this charmer on our radar!

California Globetrotter March 6, 2019 - 12:47 pm

I remember this one too, and yet, you’re photos here are way more enlightening on a big screen! It is sad that Rastoke’s waterfalls are overshadowed by Plitvice Lakes and it’s always fascinating to see which towns suffered from things like the Industrial Revolution, thus preserving the town’s quaint appearance!

Marshall Miller April 21, 2021 - 10:50 am

My Ohio USA and Brussels Belgium family have visited the village of Rastoke twice in recent years, The village people are so friendly an happy to see visitors. The local restaurant with a view of the falls serves delicious fish dinners and great drinks. My web site waterfallphoto.com has my most praised photo of Restoke. It was taken early fall. It is second photo in the Croatia file. We long to go back again.

Tony Bridgens July 24, 2021 - 10:36 pm

We noticed the village from the bus en route to Plitvice so I looked up the name and read and enjoyed your report. We were travelling with “Unforgettable Croatia” which was very well organized.

Jan Jennings September 23, 2021 - 6:39 pm

Came across Rastoke Village quite by accident while travelling with a friend to Plitvice Jezera in April 2021. It was lovely with lots of tourists but still on the quiet side because of Covid. So nice to just stumble on these places!

David September 27, 2021 - 11:34 am

A great place to stumble across Jan that’s for sure. I’d love to return in the warmer months to see it with a little more life.

Plitvice Lakes National Park and Rastoke Village Croatia – suemtravels December 8, 2022 - 10:15 pm

[…] We began the day with a brief tour of Rastoke – a mill village on top of a waterfall! The beautiful settlement is part of Slunj, a town in Karlovac County situated over the Slunjčica River. The Slunjčica flows over travertine rocks into the Korana River, creating small lakes, rapids, and waterfalls. […]


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