Plitvice Lakes National Park Travel Guide
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- 98%Outdoor Enthusiasts
- 88%Green Travelers
- 63%Family Travelers
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- Plitvice Lakes National ParkOct 16, 2013
Croatia might not immediately pop into your head when putting together your list of must-see tourist attractions during planning of your next European tour, but if you do a little research on the Plitvice Lakes National Park, you might change your mind. This absolutely amazing natural location has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, and for good reason. The waters flowing over the limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dams which in turn have created a series of beautiful lakes, caves and waterfalls. These geological processes continue today. Unfortunately, swimming at this park is not allowed. However, if you are up for a hike, touring the Plitvice Lakes National Park is sure to add a touch of rarely visited natural beauty that will stand out among even the most comprehensive of European explorations.Recommended for:
- Plitvice Lakes National ParkJan 09, 2013
This magical place contains 16 jewel-toned lakes, ranging in color from pale jade green to deep sapphire blue, and separated by natural dams of travertine (a mix of moss, algae and limestone). Spectacular waterfalls of every size cascade into and between the lakes. In order to protect the fragile travertine, a series of wooden walkways has been built along the edges of the lakes and over the tops of the falls. The park is breathtaking any time of year, and makes an easy day trip from Zagreb or Split.
- Plitvice Lakes National ParkOct 10, 2012
Excerpt from an Everywhere Article I worte: In six days God created the earth, but he must of had Plitvice National Park in mind when he thought about resting on the seventh. Plitvice National Park, located half-way between Croatia's capital Zagreb and its coastal hub Zadar, is a soothing symphony of water that instinctively congers up images of peacefully relaxing in your favorite day spa, even if you've never stepped foot in one.
Plitvice was Croatia's first National Park, and rightfully so. With close to 300 square kilometers (okay... 294.82 to be exact) of non-stop falling water, it's little wonder that the park is a top tourist attraction in Croatia. Not only is the park a treasure trove of nature, but if you're a photographer this is one day trip you'll never want to miss.
Plitvice (pronounced PLIT-veetz-a) was already established as a tourist destination when the first hotel was built here in 1896. Since that time it has achieved National Park status (1949) and, most recently, UNESCO World Heritage fame (1979). The park consists of sixteen brilliantly blue lakes, nearly all of which are connected by a series of waterfalls. To facilitate seeing God's water park at work, 18 kilometers of wooden footbridges and trails run over, under, and around the rushing water, making it impossible not to wander around for hours with your jaw dropped.
The Park is a unique creation (you know, it's not just ANY sixteen-lake-waterfall sensation) because of how it's built. The lakes and waterfalls are a result of karst hydrography. "Karst what?!" you say. Well, watering it down quite a bit, it goes a little like this: 1) Underground springs and the White and Black Rivers feed water into the Park's upper lakes. 2) Water moves away from the the upper lakes, which lie in a dolomite valley, carrying calcium carbonate. 3) Calcium carbonate in water is caught by the moss and algae, making the underwater plant life quite crusty. 4) Crusty plant life begets more crusty plant life, which in turn creates new barriers and waterfalls.
Bottom line: Since the park's falls are constantly evolving and changing, no two trips to Plitvice are ever the same. From blazing azures to deep blues and cool grays, even the color of the water at Plitvice changes depending on the minerals, organisms, and the angle of the sun. This waterworld version of the circle-of-life has basically been running non-stop since since the last ice age.
As a bonus, you'll also find Croatia's largest waterfall, Veliki Slap, in the national park. Since its not officially part of the lake system, it's as though the 70 meter waterfall relocated from some remote corner of Croatia to be with the in-crowd of waterfalls. In fact, Plitvice has managed to attract much of the best Croatia has to offer. It boasts one of the most beautiful virgin beech-fir forests in the world, over 1250 different species of plants, 321 species of butterflies, 161 species of birds, 55 different species of orchids, 21 species of bats, 7 ladies dancing, and the Park's furriest fellow - the brown bear.
Plitvice is an possible day-trip from either the coast at Zadar or the capital Zagreb. However, it is highly recommended that you spend 2-3 days to fully capture the misty majesty. The park is wonderfully organized to fit every visitor imaginable with a number of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure trail options (minus the dead-ends with dinosaurs and brain-eating aliens). So whether you're only available for a two-hour whirlwind tour or up to a full day's work worth of sightseeing, the perfect combination of wooden walkways, electrical trains and electrical boats awaits you.
If you do happen to stay on for an extended tour, know that there are hotels and eating establishments located within the park. If you'd like to get a better feel for the area, try one of the sobes (private rooms) located around the park.
So next time you feel the need to relax to the tune of rushing water, simply head to the Croatian hills. You'll thank God that you did
- Plitvice Lakes National ParkSep 28, 2013
This park is extremely well run. I was surprised by how many tourists were there, like, "how did they get all the way out here in the Croatian hinterlands?" but word of beauty travels fast, and these lakes truly are beautiful.
As with most things in nature, weather is a key variable, so if you can you should go when it's sunny and the lakes sparkle like jewels. If not, it'll still be gorgeous but you might find yourself freezing and wanting to be inside reading a book.
It's even crazier to think that this area was recently part of a war zone. There are still mines so when they say stay on the path, STAY ON THE PATH.
Nota bene: there are rooms for rent all around this area, and they can be much cheaper than the hotels or hostels, though they come at the price of being farther away from the action. A car would be very helpful for getting around, though there is also a bus.
Croatia might not immediately pop into your head when putting together your list of must-see tourist attractions for your next European tour, but if you do a little research on the Plitvice Lakes National Park, you might change your mind. This...read more from whc.unesco.org
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