Located in the mountainous area of central Croatia, Plitvice lakes are nature’s fairy tale that you will surely include in your “must see” list. In case you are planning visiting Croatia, Plitvice lakes are definitely a destination you must visit. Unique waterfalls, turquoise lakes and untouched nature will convince you that Plitvice really are heaven on Earth!
General information about Plitvice lakes National Park:
Plitvice lakes are the largest, oldest and most visited National park in the Republic of Croatia. They are located halfway between the capital Zagreb and unique Adriatic coast.
Plitvice were proclaimed National Park in 1949 and their beauty was recognized by UNESCO which added them to World Heritage register in 1979.
Protected area extends over 300 km², dominated by dense forests. Plitvice lakes consist of 16 small and large turquoise colored lakes that flow from one to another with numerous magnificent waterfalls.
Due to its uniqueness, Plitvice lakes are called “Land of the falling lakes where stones grow”. The growth of travertine barriers in Plitvice lakes are unique case in entire world. The world average growth of travertine barriers is only couple of centimeters in every 30 years, while, in Plitvice lakes National Park, travertine barriers grow 30 to 90 centimeters in same time period.
Why to visit Plitvice lakes?
Regardless the season, Plitvice lakes will leave you speechless. Every season brings different experience. Fore example, during summer you can find refreshment by the waterfalls and enjoy in blossomed nature while in winter frozen waterfalls create magnificent winter fairy tale. Spring and autumn are, however, more suitable for all those who want to avoid big crowds and enjoy every moment spent in this water paradise.
Plitvice lakes consist of 16 large and several smaller, cascading lakes. The lake system is divided into Upper and Lower lakes. Some of the more famous Upper lakes are: Prošćansko jezero, Veliko jezero, Malo jezero i Kozjak. Lower lakes include Milanovac, Gavanovac, Kaluđerovac i Novakovića Brod.
Plitvice are situated between 380 and 1280 m above sea level which significantly contributes to the diversity of flora and fauna, which is why this National park is habitat to bears, wild swines, deer and wolves.
Wide range of colors will enjoy all photography lovers meanwhile, all those looking for adventure can explore the National park by hiking through wooden trails.
What else can you visit near Plitvice lakes National Park?
Not far from Plitvice lakes are located Rastoke, picturesque village often called “Small Plitvice”. Rastoke are often compared to Plitvice because river Slunjčica flows through travertine barriers towards Korana river and creates numerous lakes, waterfalls and rapids.
Due to travertine barriers and dense forests, Rastoke were suitable for constructing water mills since ancient times. The oldest water mill was built in 17th century while a larger number of water mills was built during 19th and early 20th century. Besides water mills, Rastoke have unique architectural heritage, ethnographic and historic values and for that reason Rastoke was proclaimed cultural monument since 1969.
Near the town of Otočac, there is village of Kuterevo, well known as a Bear Sanctuary. Sanctuary serves as a shelter for orphaned bear cubs and promotes protection of natural bear habitat, sustainable development and tradition of local mountain community.
You can visit Bear Sanctuary during spring, summer and autumn, since bears are hibernating during winter period.
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning Significant Landscape of Barać Caves, located close to Plitvice. It is karst formation in which visitors can see various cave structures like stalagmites, various dripstone formations and fossil remains from the Pleistocene times that make the cave one-of-a-kind phenomenon in the wider region.
The main objective in protecting this area is to preserve geomorphological and speleological values of the area, as well as associated biodiversity.