When I arrived in Croatia, my first job was working as a tour guide. This was a real opportunity for me to discover the most beautiful regions of Croatia, which are also the most touristic: main towns and small villages on the coast, islands, national parks and natural parks.
The routes in general took us either to visit Croatia from Split going up north or from Split going down south. The tour that was taking us to the north used to pass through a magnificent national park halfway between Zadar and Zagreb, it is called Plitvice National Park.
In Croatian Plitvice is also called Plitvička jezera, it is the name of the town where the park is situated and it also means ‘Plitvice lakes’.
The National park Plitvice consists of 16 lakes that are connected one to another by waterfalls. These waterfalls were created by the limestome sediments contained in the water, that were deposited between the lakes creating a limestone barrier known as tufa or travertine.
I have had the chance to visit it in each season, and whether it is spring, summer, or autumn, it is always a real pleasure to discover new landscapes. Each season brings a different vegetation and new colors.
When is the best time to visit the park?
I can say that it is beautiful at anytime of the year. But be aware that if you go in early spring, let’s say in April, a small part of the park can be flooded after snow melting and heavy rains. You will either have to go around and find another path, or just roll up your pants and walk in the water.
I experienced once the second solution with clients who were not determined to retreat in front of a little bit of water… it remains for me one of my best memories at the park.
In July and August do not expect to be alone. It is really crowded at this period of the year.
Fortunately the park is well organized. In the price of the entrance you can take a train that goes along the park all day long. It runs between the highest point (called St3) and the lowest point (St1). And you can also take a boat to cross the lake Kozjak which is the largest lake in the park. So with a little bit of patience you will be able to use these modes of transport that are at your disposal.
In autumn the crowd has left the park and it is then much more calm. The colors of the vegetation change and give another aspect to the park. The leaves of the trees get a beautiful golden and purple color. The water level gets down and is lower than in spring or early summer, but it is still a real treat for the eyes.
You can spend a whole day at the park by walking without any rush and taking the time to take pictures.
In winter it is covered with snow. It is a beautiful spectacle! You can still visit it and it is definetely worth it but you better wear appropriate shoes.
There is a large choice of itineraries to visit the park, choose one according to your abilities and the time you have.
As far as I am concern my favorite itinerary starts at entrance number 2 (st2). Take the train there to the top of the park (st3). Then walk down to the lake Kozjak where you will take a boat to cross it. Then walk down to the big waterfall. Walk up to entrance number 1 (st1) where you will catch a train to go back to entrance number 2 (st2). This tour takes about 4 hours but it actually depends of the time you will spend to take pictures and rest.
Moreover I think that it is the easiest way since you go up by train and down by walk so you don’t get too much tired.
Plitvice Lakes have been part of UNESCO’s world heritage since 1979, you will understand why once you visit it!
More information on my page National park Plitvice.
More information about opening hours, prices, itineraries and parking on http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr
Written in: June 2014
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