As soon as we started telling people that a Croatia trip was on our travel agenda, almost every one said that we had to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park. I had never heard of the Lakes before moving to Serbia, but then all of a sudden pictures started popping up everywhere: facebook, twitter, pinterest, travel agency magazines - everywhere! The first picture that I posted is the one that kept taunting me though the frigged Balkan winter. Doesn't that just look heavenly after the winter from hell?! The Plitvice Lakes are only five hours away from Subotica, Serbia in the neighboring country of Croatia, but I wanted to see the lakes exactly like that picture, so we waited for the summer.
A little bit about the Lakes:
The Plitvica Lakes cover 73,350 acres or 296.85 square kilometers (making it the largest national park in Croatia) and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. On an average year, some 1,100,000 tourists visit Plitvica Lakes so you can count on it being super crowded in the summer! The Lakes are actually one of the most visited sites in all of Croatia and can easily be reached by bus from Zagreb or even the island of Krk.
In 1991, a bloody battle between the Croatian Army and the Yugoslav People's Army was fought here and Croatia lost control of the Lakes to Serb forces. Once the Croatian war ended in 1995, the Lakes were once again controlled by Croatia, but the war had taken a toll on the natural wonder and beauty of the site. In 1998, the Lakes were actually taken off of the UNESCO list due to the apparent risk of buried mines; that was all cleaned up quickly and UNESCO invited the site back into the fold once the dangers were eliminated. Today, you could lose your balance on the wooden walkways (there are no handlebars) or twist an ankle if you're not careful, but those are about the only dangers you might encounter.
What it cost in 2012: