Plitvice Lakes National Park world famous Croatia waterfalls, lies at the south end of the slopes of Mala Kapela chain, located roughly halfway between capital city Zagreb and Zadar. Plitvice lakes are the most popular tourist attraction and definite, must-see national park park in Croatia. The National Park covers a total area of 300 square kilometres, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of eight kilometres which are arranged in cascades.
The beauty of the National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species. These lakes are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers. The lakes are all interconnected and follow the water flow. They are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria. The particularly sensitive travertine barriers are the result of an interplay between water, air and plants. The encrusted plants and bacteria accumulate on top of each other, forming travertine barriers which grow at the rate of about 1 cm per year.
Plitvice lakes collectively cover an area of about two square kilometres with the water exiting from the lowest lake forming the Korana River. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
Through different climatic influences and the large difference in elevation within the protected area, a multifaceted flora and fauna has been created. The national park area is home to many endemic species. Those species that prevailed at the lakes before the arrival of man still exist.
Archaeological research suggests that prehistoric settlements existed in the Park area, while ruins of a fortress of the Illyrian tribe Japodi have been found at the site known as “Gradina”. Here the Romans built watchtowers on the foundations of which a fortified monastery was later built. Its founders were most probably the Templars or the Paulines. Croats permanently settle here in the 7th Century. Turkish invaders are present in this area from 1528 to the beginning of the 18th century, when Austria established the Military Frontier, thus stopping the penetration of Turks into Europe.
The especially valuable and most attractive buildings in the Park area are the traditionally crafted mills and sawmills driven by the power of water, which are gradually being restored and presented to visitors. In 2002, the mill in Korana village was restored, while the restoration of the “Špoljarić” sawmill is underway.
Every season has its own unique charm and the Plitvice Lakes with their alternating colors and every new awakening, both trapped in ice or in the shade of the trees, will leave you with a very distinct, unique and invaluable impression. The Plitvice Lakes are constant, yet always different, and they will surely surprise you with a new experience or new revelation.
Enjoy walking (or hiking) through the Park, taking in the beautiful surroundings and admiring the lakes, waterfalls, nature and wildlife. There is also an electric boat that takes you from one side of the largest lake to the other. This boat runs all year round, more frequently during summer.
A “panoramic train” (i.e. a shuttle bus) also runs within a particular route in the park. You can walk part of the way through the park and then hop on the shuttle bus to take you back to one of the entrances.
To give you only a glimpse at their natural beauty and atmosphere and if you’re undecided about whether or not to visit Plitvice Lakes we have prepared a short virtual tour of the Park from official Plitvice Lakes website.
Turn your virtual tour into a live tour and allow us to take you to stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park! This is one of the best places to visit in Croatia.