Plitvice (Pronounced Plitvica) Lakes National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia and in 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register.
The national park was founded in 1949 and is situated in the mountainous karst area of central Croatia, at the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The national park is world famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. Currently, 16 lakes can be seen from the surface. These lakes are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers. The lakes are all interconnected and follow the water flow. They are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
Through different climatic influences and the large difference in elevation within the protected area, a multifaceted flora and fauna has been created. The national park area is home to many endemic species. Those species that prevailed at the lakes before the arrival of man still exist. I have been to numerous National Parks around the UK & parts of Europe & I believe Plitvice Lakes is the most beautiful place I have seen. Plitvice is place from a fantasy novel.
We travelled to Plitvice after our 3 days of Split, we very nearly did not go, almost opting for another day mooching around Split. However at the last minute we changed our minds and stayed over night in a Cabin-like guest house in the woods of Plitvice Jezera. This part of Croatia has a very Austrian feel to the culture as oppose to the South where Dubrovnik is situated which has a very Italian feel which makes sense considering the South of Croatia has been very popular with Italian tourists and the further North you go in Croatia it boarders Slovenia,Hungary & Austria.
Plitvice is enchanting. The downside to visiting this place is the rain. Much like the Lake District in the UK, it rains frequently and heavily. We were there for 6 hours and within 5 minutes of getting out the car we were soaked alongside my suitcase that I was putting in storage. The great thing about being there when the weather is not great is the price, prices fall when it’s terrential rain so we pretty much got the whole park to ourselves other than a few groups of Japanese tourists merrily walking about in their brightly coloured ponchos and Hello Kitty umbrellas. We were fortunate that it rained so much, it was a blessing in disguise because Plitvice is a huge tourist destination and this place overflows with tourists when it’s dry and sunny, more than 1.2 million tourists visit the park every year. I’d rather be soaked to the bone & avoid spoiling my day being around vast amounts of tourists because it ruins the entire scenery. However I will say, as a person I ususally persevere when things are challenging but after 4 hours feeling like a drowned rat, I gave up and attempted to curl up in a towel, at a cafe with some hot chocolate. Jon however ventured back out into the national park to walk around another trail, he was gone for another 3 hours. Even though Plitvice is beautiful, we were glad to leave because we desperatley needed hot showers.
If you do decide to visit Plitvice (Which I highly recommend-it is definitely a bucket list destination) do check the weather forecast as well as your bus time schedules to get out of the park, it is very easy to get to the park from Split but Plitvice is not geared up to helping you leave so make sure you find either a day trip excursion pack that is pre-paid for by an agent in Split or know where your nearest bus stop is and know the times of all the buses you could catch. we opted to travel up alone so that we could stay over night, spend the entire day there and catch the last bus out of Plitvice which is risky-if we missed that bus we’d have been stuck there another night and the national park is miles away from the nearest guest house. The day excursion takes you there in a mini van or tourist coach with a group of other holiday-makers and brings you back safely to Split. Also pack water-proofs, walking boots, spare pair of shoes & thermals for just in case.
If you missed other Croatia write-ups, click on the links below.
Next week is my last blog post, stay tuned for Rijeka!
Soon I will be writing about our 18 day adventure in Nepal!
Four days in Dubrovnik.
Day trip to Lokrum Island.
Day excurision to Montenegro.
Three days in Split.
Day trip to Milna on Brac Island.
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