Plitvice Lakes

Published: September 10th 2017
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Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life, and I live in Scotland. I've never seen so many waterfalls in one place, and even the dramatic mist rolling over the lush hills made it feel like we were in some tropical rainforest, not Southern Europe. And the colours. Oh the colours. Vibrant blues and greens, I've never seen water in these hues before.

After months with no rain, there were intense thunderstorms the day we visited. Of course. It was virtually a monsoon! We had to buy plastic ponchos and walk around with our beach parasol up. Other visitors were envious of it though!

The park is arranged into different routes A, B, C, etc, depending on your walking abilities or how long you want to spend exploring, anything from 2 hours to 8 hours. Given the weather we chose a shorter route B, but due to the signage being a bit rubbish somehow ended up on C. Which turned out to be a good thing. We took the boat across the upper lakes like all visitors do, but then we also hopped on a bus to higher in the hills where we followed some lovely nature trails.

The biggest advantage to coming when the weather was really dire was getting to see several fire salamanders. They would normally hide during the day, but love the rain. Another wildlife encounter we had was seeing an otter, albeit from a distance.

It is possible to visit Plitvice for the day from Split. Driving straight there could be done in 2.5 hours, but all the bus routes seemed to take at least 4.5 hours, so we opted to get to the area the night before so we could be at the park for it opening at 8am. We passed lots of little towns and villages with tourist accommodation for the park, but many were still a half hour drive away from the entrance. We stayed in the nearest village to Entrance 1, Rastovaca, so it was walkable for us. This village's houses have pretty much all become guesthouses. They are quite spread out, arriving after dark we couldn't see one from the next and ours ended up being one of the last ones, so our walk there was a bit scary as well as tiring with our big backpacks.

One other tip I have for the park, the food there is horrendous, so bring your own!

In the great debate of Krka Vs Plitvice, in my opinion Plitvice wins hands down, even without the benefit of getting to swim. Even with the horrible weather and therefore not having the clearest of views, the park's beauty took my breath away. I'd urge anyone to put this place on your bucket list, you won't be disappointed!

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