I’d seen pictures of it. I’d seen it featured on travel specials.
I knew I wanted to go there.
Finally today, we got out to Plitvice Lakes National Park. It was about a 2 hour drive from Miloš’ home town of Crikvenica. We were joined by his mom for a nice half-day trip on this lovely sunny warm day.
Since it’s still the off-season, only the Lower Lakes section of the park was open. (But an added bonus was that there was a reduced rate to get into the park – half price – 55 kuna.)
Here’s a map and link for the park, if you want to get some more info:
(The map covers the entire region, just to put things into perspective. You can see our driving route highlighted in blue. Italy is on the left, across the Adriatic Sea. In the middle of the photo is the Istrian Peninsula, which is part of Croatia. Slovenia is to the north. And to the right of Croatia, past Plitvice, is Bosnia.)
We started out on our journey around 11:40am. We had two big mountains to cross – twisty roads up and then twisty roads down. We drove through some small towns and lots of countrysides. When we got farther into the inland part of Croatia, you could see skeletons of old country houses that were still sitting damaged from the war in the early 1990s.
Even though the day was so warm, you could see snow up on one of the distant mountains.
Here are some pics from our drive…
Here’s a map of the actual park itself…
We arrived at the park around 1:45pm and set out on the trail. Upon arriving from Entrance Number 1 (top of the park map), you are presented with the view of the Great Falls and the crystal clear waters below – particularly one of the most famous views featured in many travel photos.
Taking the trail down the hillside gives you breathtaking sights of not only the falls, but also the various sections of the first of the lower lakes. Then at the bottom are all these super cool wooden walkways over and along the water.
And throughout it all – are lots and lots of waterfalls. There are so many fabulous views. All I could think of over and over was just how awesome it was. AWESOME! And all those waterfalls every where just give you this amazing hit of energy. Water rushing everywhere. We hiked along the trail for awhile, then got on the boat that took us down the lake a little further. From there, you can catch another boat that takes you to the opposite shore for more exploration. From that point, you can access the upper lakes. However, we couldn’t access that part of the park this time of year, nor did we have time, as the last boat to the other side was at 4:30pm.
I’ve heard that the summer season is super busy – lots of crowds. But even today being mid-March, there were a decent amount of people there.
But here, let me stop talking and just show you. We took over 440 photos, so it was hard to decide on the best ones, but here are some of the highlights:
Our plan is to get back to Plitvice to see the rest of the lakes and falls. And quite honestly, we both said we could spend days there just wandering around and exploring. (There are a number of hotels near the park for those wanting to stay overnight.) I would encourage anyone traveling in this part of the world to get yourselves to Plitvice and see this amazing place with your own eyes, as photos just don’t do it justice!