April 24, 2010
PLITVICKA NATIONAL PARK, Croatia, Apr. 24, 2010/ Bon Voyage / — Plitvicka National Park, or Plitvice Lakes in English, is definitely worth your time to visit while in Croatia.
Its waterfalls look like they must have been concocted by some sort of mad scientist, but no, it was simply Mother Nature at her best. You’ll marvel at the incredible blues and greens and the water falling everywhere in every direction: little trickles of water, wide waterfalls, tall falls, short falls, twisting falls, waterfalls inside rocks, with bubbling streams connecting everything.
Not only for nature lovers
Plitvicka National Park is not just for nature lovers. It’s such an unusual place that everyone will be wowed by it. Be prepared to do quite a bit of walking, although I wouldn’t really call it hiking. The paths are good and there are lots of wooden walkways to get up close to the park’s beauty. The paths take you around and over the lakes and waterfalls, in some cases the paths even lead right up the middle of a waterfall!
There are 16 terraced lakes connected by all those waterfalls. The boardwalks are designed to give you great views of the travertine formations that account for the pretty lakes and so many waterfalls.
There is a boat ride along the park’s biggest lake, which takes you to the starting point for many of the boardwalks. The entrance fee is good for all day and includes the boat ride, shuttle buses and parking.
As inviting as those lakes look, swimming is not allowed because the environment is just too fragile. You can bird watch however, and you might even be lucky and see deer. If you’re really lucky, you could see bear or boar so take a camera with plenty of memory. The park is so beautiful that you’ll be snapping away.
There are three reasonably priced lodges right at “Entrance 2” to the park. That seems to be the main entrance to the park because it was the first entrance we came to, and we found it easily in the dark. They’re basic “national park” hotels with restaurants that serve good (if uninspiring) food.
We were very happy with our lodge, and even the food, since we arrived later than we wanted due to a road construction delay. (Something you will probably need to allow time for.) There are also hotels and campsites outside of the park.
Two hour drive from Zagreb
The Plitvicka National Park is located roughly halfway between the capital city of Zagreb and Split or Zadar on the Dalmatian Coast. It’s about a two hour drive from either direction (unless you hit those construction delays!)
You can take a bus from either Zagreb or Zadar. There are several every day. There is also a bus from Dubrovnik, but that’s a longer ride. It was easy driving in Croatia, and we had no trouble finding the park, even in the dark. Plitvicka is such a stunning place that if you go to Croatia, you should really make an effort to see it.
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Channels: The Calgary Beacon, April 25, 2010