Monday, December 1, 2014

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Executive summary by darmansjah

The extraordinarily beautiful pocket of wooded hills in this World Heritage site enclose 16 turquoise lakes that are connected by waterfalls and cascades. The mineral-rich waters carve through the rock, depositing tufa in continually changing formations. Wooden footbridges follow the rumbling water for an exhilaratingly damp 18km (11mi).

Animal life flourishes in the unspoiled conditions. The stars of the park are bears and wolves, but there are also deer, boar, rabbits, foxes and badgers. There are over 120 different species of bird such as hawks, owls, cuckoos, thrushes, starlings, kingfishers, wild ducks and herons. You might also occasionally see black storks and ospreys. Flocks of butterflies flutter throughout the park. For mor details please visit :

Plitvice Lakes National Park  is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia.

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 important north-south road connection, which passes through the national park area, connects the Croatian inland with the Adriatic coastal region.

The protected area extends over 296.85 square kilometres (73,350 acres). About 90% of this area are part of Lika-Senj County, while the remaining 10% are part of Karlovac County.

In 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register among the first natural sites worldwide. Each year, more than 1,200,000 visitors are recorded. Entrance is subject to variable charges, up to 110 kuna or around $18USD per adult in peak season. Strict regulations apply.

The preservation of old customs and traditions is of high significance for the local population. The local culture has also been detected as an important factor for tourism. As regards architecture, the region of Lika is well known for its low wooden houses with roofs made of rye straw or shingles. Many features of the ancient living style are mirrored in local costumes. They tell a lot about regional affiliations or social standings of those who have worn those costumes. Under French rule, men were allowed to wear their costumes during military service.

Up until the 20th century, social gatherings during the winter months, when no agricultural activities could be performed, called "prelo" represented a typical tradition of this region.[38] These gatherings served for the joint production of textiles or butter or for the further processing of harvest products (production of flour, etc.). These activities used to be accompanied by drinks and dances, particularly during the evenings. A well-known dance of this region is the round dance (Croatian kolo).

Local cuisine consists of drinks, such as Slivovitz (Croatian šljivovica), wine and coffee or dishes, such as soft cheese (Croatian vrhnje), polenta, pršut, sausages, (as for example the paprika sausage), roasted suckling pig (Croatian: odojak) or lamb (Croatian: janjetina).

It was raining but that still didn't deter us. Had heard only good things about this park and it was worth seeing. The waterfalls, lakes and surrounds just beautiful. Can be quite unsettling when raining as there are quite a lot of steps and rickety bridges to make your way over. and can get very slippery. 

It truly is out of this world to visit. Water everywhere coming down all around the visitor in absolutely beautiful falls from the walls of the valley. Lakes large and small filled with fish, birds, and other wildlife. Definitely a not to be missed treat in this country. Our only issue, and we know it can't be helped, but negotiating.

Make no mistake, the lakes are beautiful, although mountain lakes, in comparison to Plitvice - which are more like swamp lakes, are my preference. What diminishes their charm is the fact that due to many tourists, there are no free paths, but you have to walk on especially designed ones, and cannot wander around. This makes the experience closer to.

We had read all the reviews and also had only one day to spend in the park. We decided to take the longest walk (walk K) which although around 16 miles takes you right round the park and to all the main sights. We saw some beautiful panoramic views . The intense colours were unbelievable and water so clear!

The trail signs were easy to follow and our chosen trail kept us away from the bulk of the crowds while still enjoying the lake panoramas! There were a couple of harder uphill climbs. There was food available in the park but I would recommend you bring your own and plenty of water too. Arrive early for this walk as it takes around 8 hrs. 

Yes, there are a lot of people around and true, this is not The place for solitude and quiet contemplation - BUT: it is an incredibly beautiful spot, the path is prettily done, the site is clean and well maintained and despite the number of visitors, things operate quite smoothly. Pictures and videos can not do justice to the place- not to be missed!! 

It is well accessible, well maintained, clean, natural and beautiful place. Walking trails are easy but long. These are worth doing. Water is crystal clear. Road train is also good especially if tired of walking. There is lot of parking space outside gates. There are restaurants and toilets in the park. Must be visited in every season. 

An amazing place but a word of warning; if you are looking for peace and contemplation, or somewhere to take your time to compose some memorable photos, don't visit during the summer. We visited at the end of a wonderful two weeks in Croatia (mid Sept 2013) but I was staggered by the sheer volume of people; at the park entrance you'd be forgiven for thinking you were at Alton Towers as bus after bus disgorges tourists who throng onto the narrow boardwalks.

There is no denying that this is a wonderful and magical place, but my experience was tainted by the insane number of people. For large parts of the walk along the boardwalks, you are stuck in a conveyor of moving people; so not the slightest chance of being able to compose a good photo or just take in the sights. This is not what I was expecting from a national park. Perhaps I've been spoilt by time in some of the big US national parks last year, but I feel that the Park really needs to get a handle on visitor numbers/management somehow. As it stands, I'd only contemplate visiting again in the depths of winter. 

This is a national treasure and highly worthy of a visit . You need 2 x 4 hr visits to walk the upper and lower lakes properly which we did over 2 days - if time is a constraint you can do the shorter walks and use the boats and motor tram which is all part of the entry in one day .

The food in the park we found was substandard , take water, good walking shoes - plenty of ice cream available, and you will take lots of photos. 

There are waterfalls and lakes elsewhere, but nothing like this. Strolling along on those wooden trails, being so close to hundreds of waterfalls each with its own unique character, seeing the crystal clear water and the unbeleavable colour of those lakes is an unmissable experience.

We payed 220 kunas (€30) for a pair of adult tickets and that gives you access to the park for the whole day. You can chose different loops of trails around the park depending on how much time you have. The short loops take abot 2-3 hours to complete, while there's a 4-6 hour and a 6-8 hour loop too. We took trail H (4-6 hour) which took us 5 hours with countless stops for photos and a 45 minute lunch break and it pretty much covered the whole park. There are some remarkable elevation changes so if you're not young and fit, plan for a bit longer. Make sure you take your camera with you, the pictures you take home from this place will hold some serious magic! 

No comments:

Post a Comment