Our next destination in Croatia was Split. Enroute to Split is the Plitvice Lakes National Park which we really wanted to see. We decided the easiest way to do this was to hire a car for the day. We set off from Zagreb about 8.30am and arrived at the Lakes about 10.30am. Parking is of a premium and not in a conventional carpark but alongside these windy little roads. We managed to find a spot for our little car and went to get tickets to the park.
Thanks to some inside information (🙏 Di) I found a short ticket line inside the currency exchange place. The ticket includes the use of the boats and buses. When we got to the lake the queue for the boat was quite long so we opted to walk along the lake edge first. The park is well set up with a number of different walking tracks, boat and bus pick up options.
It was so nice to be out in nature again and the upper lake we were walking alongside was beautiful and so clear. You could see the fish going about their business.
We had a picnic lunch and then caught the boat back across the lake. Just as I was walking down the jetty to hop on the boat I pulled my phone out of my backpack – that wasn’t the only thing that came out of my bag. The parking ticket had got caught in the top of my phone cover so when I pulled the phone out the ticket came out and proceeded to sail off into the lake. it was my turn to have a muppet moment 🙈.
I went over to one of the park staff and told him what had happened – the lake was nice and calm so the ticket was bobbing merrily in one spot. He grabbed the boat hook and managed to fish the ticket out for me 👏 – crisis averted and we still managed to get on the boat before it left. It turned out the guy that had saved my bacon was actually the skipper of the boat.
The boat took us to P2 which also was the point where you caught another boat back to P1 and the carpark. P2 is a high congestion point so when we got off the queues were quite long and it was unclear where the queue for P1 was. We walked up the stairs thinking we could cross over to the P1 line but we just kept on walking and the next minute we were doing a loop through all these little lakes and waterfalls.
We then decided we would just walk back to P1. We were a bit confused when we saw a sign saying P2 – a quick check of the map confirmed that we were doing a loop and you actually couldn’t walk back to P1. The bonus was we got to see more of the lakes and get our daily steps up 😇.
Once we arrived back at P1 on the boat we went to find our car and carry on to Split which was just under three hours. We navigated our way to Villa Vice, our accomodation for the next three nights and dropped our bags off. Wow what a myriad of little streets, most of them one way. Parking is of a premium so the footpath doubles as a carpark so you generally have to walk on the road.
We then successfully re fuelled the car and dropped it back to the car rental depot before walking back to the hotel ✅.
The national park was founded in 1949 and is situated in the mountainous karst area of central Croatia, at the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The important north-south road connection, which passes through the national park area, connects the Croatian inland with the Adriatic coastal region.
Each year, more than 1 million visitors are recorded.
The national park is world-famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. Sixteen lakes can be seen from the surface. 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 (0.4 in) per year.
The 16 lakes are separated into an upper and lower cluster formed by runoff from the mountains, descending from an altitude of 636 to 503 m (2,087 to 1,650 ft) over a distance of some eight km, aligned in a south-north direction. The lakes collectively cover an area of about two square kilometres (0.77 square miles), 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.