Imagine a place with sixteen interconnected lakes. Each lake glows with an intense greenish-blue tint from afar, but the water is clear enough that the bottom is easily visible from close up. Waterfalls of vastly differing formations can be found everywhere you look – each more impressive than the last. You can walk right up to and even under the waterfalls, or you can explore caves that have been formed via erosion. Here Alpine and Mediterranean vegetation mix together for uniquely lush greenery surrounding the water. Plenty of animals live here too: wolves, deer, boar, otters, and even brown bears. You might never have expected it, but Croatia has the most beautiful national park I have ever seen. Plitvice Lakes really is magical.
Plitvice Lakes is not only stunning, but has some interesting history. The park was founded in 1949. The first shots of Croatia’s recent war with Yugoslavia were fired here and actually killed a park ranger. The Croatians living around here at the time were evacuated, and it’s still recommended to stay on the trails due to the possibility of uncleared landmines!
The park can have over 10,000 people visiting per day in the high season. The wooden pathways take you along the lakes and directly in front of the waterfalls, but are narrow and not easy to pass people on. I would definitely recommend going off-season as we did, because many of the paths were congested even on the rainy day in May that we visited.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.