Croatia is famous not only for its beautiful beaches and incredibly blue, clear waters. One of its treasures, attracting thousands of tourists from Europe and beyond, is the Plitvice Lakes National Park (Nacionalni Park Plitvička jezera), specifically its 16 karst lakes connected by a multitude of small and large waterfalls - over 90 of them have been counted. Plitvice Lakes consist of 16 large and several smaller lakes. Magnificent waterfalls flow from the highest-located Lake Proščanskie into the canyon of the Korana River. The difference in height between the highest and lowest points is almost 160 meters.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is the largest and oldest park in Croatia . It covers an area of almost 30 thousand square meters. km 2 and is deservedly included in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. It is an absolutely unique, fairy-tale place of breathtaking beauty. It is located in the central part of the country, approximately 140 kilometers from the capital. When passing through Zagreb, you must deviate towards the park, otherwise you will miss a really great opportunity to see a place full of magic straight from the movie "Avatar". It is perfect for an all-day family trip. With one "but" - the park is not very suitable for families with young children. The surface of the lakes is crossed by dozens of narrow wooden footbridges hanging just above the surface, many paths are steep, so a walk with the little ones would require 99% attention to ensuring that the child does not slip into the water or stumble. For them, the shortest routes with no steep slopes are the best.
Before exploring the Garden of Eden
Getting to the park from Poland will take us practically the whole day, and since we will spend the same time visiting the park (and it will not be walking aimlessly), it is worth looking for some accommodation in advance. Right next to our destination there is a large Korana campsite (Kvarner), where you can park a camper, car with a trailer or pitch a tent. It is situated on grassy, partially wooded hills and, with no plots on it, you can pitch wherever you want - on a hill or in a valley. Adults will pay 7-9 euro for a night, and a motorhome pitch is 6 euro. You can reach the park by bus that leaves regularly from the campsite itself.
And when we get there, we will start exploring the world of crystal clear turquoise lakes. Walking on wooden platforms will allow us to forget about the gray and mundane reality outside the lakes. In addition to the platforms and footbridges, we can also move around the park thanks to the free queue and also free, small electric ships.
Magic of Plitvice Lakes
The Plitvice Lakes is a complex formed by two groups of lakes: Lower and Upper Lakes. According to various reports, several thousand people come to the park every day in the summer. You can enter its area through one of the four entrances with extensive car parks and tourist service points. One thing is certain - there will be many walking routes. There are a dozen of them here, they are properly marked so that everyone can choose the one with the appropriate level of difficulty. The longest routes take visitors up to 8 hours, while the shortest ones - a maximum of 2 hours. Admission prices do not depend on the chosen route , an adult ticket costs HRK 110, and a child aged 7-18 will pay HRK 55. Of course, you are not allowed to swim in the lakes, however tempting you, camping, lighting a fire or fishing is also forbidden, not to mention venturing beyond the marked paths.
What will we admire during our walks? Among other things, the changing color of the water - the lake, which today attracts the eye with the turquoise shade of the surface, may tempt with its optimistic greenish color in a few days. The color change depends on various factors, as do some drying out and the formation of other waterfalls, ensuring a park never looks the same. The waters here are extremely clean, yet only a few species of fish swim in them, and life is intensively developed in the forests surrounding the lake. And the forests themselves are a great attraction - we can find 1,267 types of plants, including 55 different varieties of orchids and an equally numerous types of orchids. Agile martens and badgers slide between the lush vegetation, otters on the shores, and with a bit of luck we will see the silhouette of a lynx, a fox or a wolf in the distance. The representatives of 161 species of birds and 321 kinds of butterflies fly over the heads of tourists - indeed, we walk in paradise. There are also caves in the park. The largest are the 160-meter Golubinjaca and the 70-meter Supljara.
A feast for the eyes
"Water, lakes, waterfalls and forests are everywhere, but Plitvice Lakes are only one." These wise words were spoken by an equally wise man - Ivo Pevalek, an outstanding professor and one of the first lake explorers. As may be advised by less known but experienced travelers, you should spend much more time exploring the park than indicated in the trail descriptions. This tip should be taken to heart especially by those who intend to take pictures (probably everyone).
Many tourists stop by the lakes for about 2 days, and then continue their journey towards Croatian beaches. However, whether you plan a further trip or not, the Plitvice Lakes are worth seeing and no one needs to be convinced.
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