Plitvice Lakes National Park – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Plitvice Lakes National Park is another Croatian asset that is on UNESCO’s World Heritage listing. Set in the heart of Croatia, it was discovered in 1949. There’s some 300 sq kilometres of parkland comprising 16 lakes, forests and beautiful waterfalls.
In the dense forests within the National Park, there is a huge range of flora and fauna, including wolves, foxes, wild boar, wild cats, etc. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we didn’t encounter any of these furry animals. Some 160 species of bird life have been recorded, including eagles, falcons and peregrines.
Visiting the Park
You can walk around the lakes by following the paths and in some sections there are nicely laid timber walkways. Electric buses are available to take walkers to the starting points of the trails or to take people back to their hotels in the park. With the exception of some hotels, there are no towns or villages in the reserve, keeping the area pristine.
There are two entrances to the lake. When we visited, our electric bus took us to the top of the waterfalls for a view. We then did a 3 km. walk downhill, around the shores of the lake, to where our boat was waiting for us. When I first learnt of the 3 km walk, I was a little concerned for some of the older people in the group, but everyone made it without problems.
Along the walk, the scenery was fabulous. There were large and little waterfalls, streams and lakes, and apart from the gushing water, the atmosphere was so serene. Our electric boat took us on a scenic ride across the lake. We had a stop at a picnic location where there were wooden stalls selling some local handicraft, food and cheese. The gift shop there had espresso coffee which was rather good and a pleasant surprise for coffee addicts. When we reached the other end of the lake, we walked back up to the largest waterfall for a view and then it was uphill and back to where our bus was waiting.
In all it took 3 hours. It was a very pleasant sightseeing experience with a difference and also got us some much needed exercise!