In the traveler’s world of gray concrete, black asphalt and dull steel-silver it’s almost necessary to step into another color every once in awhile – in this case green. Those smart enough to traverse the Croatian countryside to the Plitvice Jezera region will be treated to what may be the most pleasant hiking experience they’ll ever have. Over slatted boardwalks, landscaped trails and stone steps through some of the most stunning terrain anywhere, the lakes of Plitvice National Park will take you instantly into the Garden of Eden.
Plitvice National Park is located near the Bosnian border in central Croatia about 2 hour drive south of Zagreb. The region of Plitvice Jezera is home to what’s known as karst topography, an ever changing, reducing and dynamic landscape where water and giant deposits of limestone do a bubbly tango to the beat of tens of thousands of years. The result is a richly vegetated and visually elaborate canvas of lakes, waterfalls, rivulets, caves, springs and wonderfully prismatic water.
Treks through the park travel along well-marked trails and take about 3 hours depending on how fast you walk and how far you go. Ours was marked with photo stops (it’s hard not to want to capture it all) but covered it over a reasonable part of the day. I’ve gone ahead and put my shots into a video to give to you all. The video was created at animoto.com, a site that uses complex dissolves and transitions to make a pretty slideshow. There’s music too, so use your speakers. It’s about 6 minutes long. Hope you like it.
Park entry fees are 110 Kuna per person or about $19 USD, but the price gets you the entire park, the boat ride between the lower and upper lakes (Donja and Gornja Jezera) and the shuttle back to the parking lot. Snacks are not included but available.
You can get to Plitvice via car or bus on the comfortably well-paved roads leading from either Zagreb or Dubrovnik. Directions are easy. Note, this area was involved in the beginnings of the Bosnian War so staying in a local Sobe (a room for rent) and talking to the proprietor is highly encouraged. Finding out about a region’s history from someone who lives there is the best education you’ll ever get. Sobes are everywhere so locating one will not be a problem – you just drive up!
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