National Park Plitvicka Jezera, founded in 1949, is part of UNESCO World Heritage since 1979, and is one of the oldest national parks in Central Europe. The protected area of the park extend over 297 square kilometres. The park is world wide famous for its sixteen lakes arranged in cascades. All lakes are interconnected and follow the water flow. In between each other the lakes are separated by natural dams and trevertine barriers. Water excisting from the lower lake - Novakovica brod - forming the Korana River.
Fondest memory: The sixteen lakes are separated into an upper and lower cluster, descending from an altitude of 636 to 503 m. The lakes are renowned from their dictinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey to blue. The colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water, but also by the angle of sunlight.
The main entrance (Ulaz 1) leading visitors to the location called Sastavci, which is probably the most attractive part of the national park with the Large Waterfall (Veliki Slap). It is also the lowest part of the park at 503 square meters. From Sastavci starts lower cluster of the lakes:
- Novakovica brod
the upper cluster consists of:
- Burget veliki
The first time of your visit probably wont be the last one, those who have seen Plitvice usually coming back, bringing friends along.
Moving around park is well organized, maybe even too organized for such natural phenomenon. But then, it is understandable given the number of visitors. Routes are colour coded and printed on the back of your entrance ticket so all you have to do is choose your route and follow the signs.
Routes from Entrance 1:
Green route: starts from the Big Waterfall and the Big Cascades, includes walks through the Lower lakes, boat across the Kozjak lake and a walk among most of the Upper lakes, ending with Veliki prstavci waterfall and a shuttle bus back to Entrance 1. Takes 5-6 hours.
Blue route: The Big waterfall, Lower lakes, boat across the Kozjak lake, Burgeti and Gradinsko lake, boat across the Kozjak lake, shuttle bus to Entrance 1. Takes 3-4 hours.
Orange route: Almost identical as the Blue route, but includes some shortcuts, only one boat ride across the Kozjak lake and ends at Entrance 2. Takes 3-4 hours, recommended for larger groups.
Routes from Entrance 2
Red route: Starts at Entrance 2, shuttle bus to top of the Upper lakes, walk through the Upper lakes, boat across the Kozjak lake, walk through the Lower lakes and the big waterfall. Takes 5-6 hours.
Yellow route: Same as the Blue route, but going in the opposite direction (starting from Entrance 2. Takes 3-4 hours.
Grey route: Same as the Orange route, but going in the opposite direction. Starts at Entrance 2 and ends at Entrance 1. Takes 3-4 hours.
Fondest memory: I recommend taking the Red route. It runs through both the Upper and the Lower lakes and ends with a rhapsody of the Big Cascades and the Big Waterfall.
My Plitvicka story is sad. We figured a couple extra days into our Europe trip to Slovenia and Italy trip to visit the park.
We arrived on March 21, 2005 and were somewhat alramed about all of the snow on the ground, but not at all concerened. That was until we found out that virtually all of the park was closed as a result. For months before our trip I had read everything about the park and it was to be a major highlight of our entire vacation. All guides we read said that the park was an all-season, all-weather destination. Due to the snow, however, we were relegated to only the one major waterfall near the visitor center and a short section of the walking path from the visitor center to one of the hotels above the string of lakes below. We were incredibly disappointed. Not with the park, of course, but with the fact that we had made many sacrifices to get there and could not fully enjoy the experience.
Trust me, what we saw was spectacular but was only a couple of hours worth and we were hoping to spend two full days hiking and boating.
Point is, make sure when you go that there isn't any snow. Hey, that rhymes!
Favorite thing: The look from above at the longest wooden path which is situated in between the Lower Lakes of Kaludjerovac and Milanovac. Viewing from above it looks like a big snake sliding through the still water of the lake.
Nature is breath taking here wherever you look. Big waterfalls, forest, lakes, rich plant and animal life... Contrasting colours, pure waters and fresh air can make you elevate.
To see all 16 lakes one would need more days, but it is possible to see quite a lot in a daily visit. Best is to do this through an organised excursion.
Fondest memory: boat trip and electric train ride as a child
Sun, water and fresh air ... perfect ingredients for a relaxing day at Plitvice.
This is one of the nicest spots in Plitvice .. a bridge between two running water lakes.
Favorite thing: The wooden path goes across the water and breaking through the bush and plants! Exciting! Beware of what might jump out from the green!