Plitvice lakes travel guide
A National Park with 16 linked cascading lakes, walking trails and boat trips. Breathtakingly beautiful in every season. A nature paradise
The breath-taking beauty of the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Central Croatia attracts thousands of visitors year after year. Lying between Zagreb
, the 16 stunning lakes linked by powerful cascading waterfalls and impressive caves are a UNESCO world heritage site, ensuring its continued preservation. The beauty and tranquillity of the 300 square kilometres area has to be seen to be believed.The Plitvice National Park consists of a dense beech forest surrounded by upper lakes in the Dolomite Valley and the smaller, shallower lower lakes. Visitors can walk for 18km across the calm, clear waters and exhilarating cascades and waterfalls, using attractive wooden footbridges. Boat rides, walking trails and a tourist train allows all visitors to observe and enjoy the tranquillity and incredible colour changes as the lakes change from azure, emerald, turquoise and deep blue.
The lakes are fed by water from two small rivers and underground springs and are separated by natural and ever changing travertine dams built up by characteristic formations, formed by years of algae, moss and calciferous travertine rock. There are magnificent waterfalls including the 70 metre tall Veliki Slap, the park's largest fall. The Park is separated from the coast by 120km of beautiful scenic route, it offers a refreshing change from the hot coastal temperatures in summer. This does make July and August Plitvice's busiest months but the Park does not lose its charm nor sense of tranquillity during this time. The Park is also wonderful in spring and when the trees transform in autumn. Many say that it is worth visiting the Plitvice Lakes during each changing season to marvel at the changes in colour and light. Winters are magical and you are just a 15 minute drive away from skiing.
For nature lovers, Plitvice is the place to go for flourishing, unspoilt animal and plant life. It is the perfect place to visit for glimpses of bears and wolves as well as sightings of deer, boar, foxes, badgers and 50 different species of butterfly that populate the surrounding forest. For bird lovers over 120 different species of bird can be found here including hawks and kingfishers and the rarer osprey and black stork.The National Park is situated just between Zagreb
with buses to Plitvice from both as well as from Split
. It is recommended that visitors drive and stay in a villa close to the Park. Visiting the Plitvice Lakes makes a wonderful day out but at least a 3 night stay is desirable to fully make the most of all that the lakes have to offer. There are also many other activities on offer in the area including:
- White water rafting
- Cycle routes
- Quad biking
- Nordic Walking
- Horse riding
Other places of interest in the region are the Rastoke Water Mill village and Cetin Old Town and Castle. Plitvice National Park is 1 hour 15 minutes drive from the closest coastal resorts.