When you find yourself walking around the lakes of the largest national park in Croatia you feel like you entered a place of unspoiled beauty disconnected from the civilized life of the old continent. So pure that you can hardly believe it’s real. Even tourists who gather here lured by the international fame the place has already acquired admit that the spectacular pictures from Plitvice and theirs surreal colors fade in comparison with the real experience.
The waters springing from the Dinaric Mountains have created here a series of 16 interconnected lakes at different levels. Between them, the lakes have spectacular cascades, natural dams made by sediments and plants. The vegetation is luxurious in the surrounding Mala Kapela Mountain and Pljesevica Mountain, that form a green cauldron around the lakes. There are various hiking routes in these mountains, intersecting the banks of the lakes from time to time or offering a wonderful panoramic view.
The entire area is rigorously protected and perfectly preserved. Like in Krka, the second national park of the Croatians, further to the south, car access is forbidden, and you can get to the lakes using the provided buses.To get to Plitvicka Jezera, as the locals call it, you need to take a national road that connects two segments of the best highway in the country: A1 (E65 E75), which practically makes a big detour around the reservation and its surroundings. The northern segment, Zagreb – Rjeka, connects east to west. The other segment goes from north to south, following the coast line of Adriatic, and offering access to other important cities like Zadar and Split. It is in excellent shape and help crossing the mountains with numerous tunnels some even longer than 4 km. So the usual highway toll in Croatia is money well spent.
Plivitce National Park
The national road from the highway to Plitvice is very well signaled with billboards, in good shape and a pleasure in itself, with its hills and forests. There are four hotels and two campings on each side of the park on the national road, at 8-10 km each and some other accommodation facilities. After that, you will not be allowed to park the car anywhere outside the two specially created parking lots, at the two entrances. Parking costs 7 kuna (1 euro) per hour for a car. The adult entrance ticket is 110 kuna (15 euro) for one day, during the summer. The price includes two lake crossings by boat and two rides in the park with the electric bus. The price is the same regardless of the route you decide for inside the park. It’s up to the visitor how much time is willing to walk around the lakes. You could take just a short one hour trip to one of the lakes, or you could stay the entire program, from 7 to 20 and still not see all. The lower lakes are more spectacular, so if you want an immediate spectacular view, you should use entrance number one. There are two main restaurants inside the park, pointed out on the small map you receive with the ticket. The rides by boat or by electric bus are just as pleasant as walking over the carefully laid wooden bridges.
The waters in the Plitvice lakes takes different shades of blue and green, from turquoise to emerald. In many spots it is fully transparent, revealing travertine sediments and very large fish. It is a good idea to come prepared with food to feed the ducks and the fish that flock around the banks when they feel human presence. Fishing, swimming, camping or walking outside the tracks is forbidden and the cleanliness is spotless.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Pictures of the most beautiful place in Europe: Plitvice Lakes,