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:
Parking - 1 Euro an hour.
Entrance (in high season April - Oct)
Adult 15 Euro
Student 11 Euro
Under 7 Free
I heard that one man owns Plitvica Lakes National Park. Can you imagine?! Maybe it's true, maybe it's not. Either way, it is absolutely worth a visit! While you cannot swim in the turquoise water, you can take a whole lot of pictures! Chris and I caught the 5:30am ferry off of Hvar Island and got to Plitvica Lakes around 10:30am. We traded our sandals for hiking shoes, and with camera in hand, we saw the Lakes in record time! There are six routes that you can choose from, and we decided to follow "C" which claimed to take 4-6 hours - we did it in 3 hours. After the hike, we jumped back in the car and drove home. It was a long day, but I was so happy to check Plitvica off our Bucket List.
Enjoy a few of the 200+ pictures that we took at Plitvica Lakes National Park:
|Route "C" takes you to all the must-see sites around Plitvica Lakes.|
|See the wooded walkways? No guardrails, so be careful!|
|McCoy's on a run around Plitvica Lakes - Croatia.|
|It looked like you could reach out and grab one!|
|Chris - keeping himself entertained. Or rather, keeping the photographer entertained!|
|Had to include this - his face!?!|
|Set the camera on a rock and I am so happy with the pic we got!|
|Not supposed to be here. . . rule breaker!|
We visited in mid-June and while you cannot tell from my pictures, the Lakes were very crowded. I would totally suggest going in the summer, but just know that you will be fighting the crowds. All in all, this is absolutely a place you must see if you happen to visit Croatia!
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