Plitvice Lakes National Park
The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia’s most popular tourist attraction, was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979. Located roughly halfway between capital city Zagreb and Zadar on the coast, the lakes are a definite must-see in Croatia. The beauty of the National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species. The National Park covers a total area of 300 square kilometres, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of eight kilometres.
There’s also quite an altitude difference – the highest point is at 1,280m, the lowest at 380m – although the total height difference between the lakes themselves is only 135m. (Veliki Slap, the largest waterfall, is 70m tall.)
There really is nothing better than to walk (or hike) through the Park, taking in the beautiful surroundings and admiring the lakes, waterfalls, nature and wildlife. The Park prints out maps for a number of different walks, of varying lengths, that can be undertaken starting from either entrance – who’s tough enough for the 8 hour sightseeing walk?!
There is also an electric boat that takes you from one side of the largest lake to the other. This boat runs all year round, more frequently during summer.
A “panoramic train” (i.e. a shuttle bus) also runs within a particular route in the park. You can walk part of the way through the park and then hop on the shuttle bus to take you back to one of the entrances.
Best of all, Plitvice Lakes isn’t just for summer. It’s a stunning place to visit any time of year as the different seasons see the Park take on different hues. Even in winter – Plitvice is also amazing to see in the snow.
And in answer to a question we sometimes receive – no, swimming (or any other kind of water activity) is not allowed anywhere in the Park. The Park’s wonderfully clear waters need to be kept that way!