JC Travels: Exploring Plitvice National Park, Croatia

July 17, 2016

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After our time in Zadar and Split, we were heading up to Zagreb where we would drop off the car and then head to Slovenia. However, after doing my Croatia research, I was desperate to spend some time at some of the National Parks as, um, have you seen any of the photos?! So we rejigged a bit and went via the Plitvice National Park. It did mean one less day in Zagreb, but as you will see, was totally worth it.

Plitvice is only about a 90 minute drive out from Zadar, and again around 90 minutes to Zagreb so easily accessible. It essentially has a gate at either side of the park and is laid out really well – you can go from one gate to the other and then get the land train back, walk the whole lot, only walk half way and then take a boat ride or do the whole thing! When we arrived, they informed us the lower canyon was closed, so with that in mind we decided to walk half way, get the boat across, climb up to the top of the falls then get the land train back to where we parked the car.

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And well, it was pretty spectacular! The whole park is essentially a set of waterfalls all cascading down with various sizes of pools in between them. They are all mountain lakes which is what makes the water in them just SO blue. There were honestly hundreds of shades as you went through, from deep blues to light aquas.

The park itself is very smart in that the paths you take are pretty much just wooden slats built into the waterfalls themselves. This means you are walking up and around all the waterfalls right up close. When we walked up the higher canyon it involved coming across a huge number of waterfalls, each varying in size, depth, and angle. I don’t think I could have taken more photos of waterfalls!

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Here is where I give a little disclaimer, as you see in these photos it is GORGEOUS. And it kind of looks like we were the only people wandering round this little magical wonderland. Well…. it was packed. And to be fair, it was a really hot day and we went right at peak time, but man. Those little walkways which wind around the waterfalls? Totally awesome until you are behind 50 pensioners on a coach tour and the walkway is too thin to get past them. It was really frustrating at times, just how many big groups of largely inconsiderate people there were. No walking on the right to let people by! It did get better as we went up steeper and steeper as the crowds thinned out. So bare this in mind, if you do go – time it right, get there early and I bet you will have a nicer experience.

That said, as I mentioned, when we went the lower canyon which is a huge part of the park was shut. When we were walking among the upper edges, well, we could still see people down there dotted about. So of course, we did the thing I will not advise you to do, in that we jumped the barrier and headed down too. They said it was closed due to flooding, but well we didn’t really see any, other than a bit of path that wasn’t totally complete yet.

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And well, down the bottom it was glorious – stunning falls including some absolutely giant ones. And well, barely any people. I did get slight anxiety that I was about to be suddenly washed away by a giant flood but overall I very much enjoyed it. Not so much the walk up the giant hill afterwards.

So there we have it, I’m going to leave this post short and sweet – epic falls, loads of people, plan your trip right and you will get the best of it all!

Where have you seen the best waterfall of them all?

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Visiting the stunning Plitvice National Park in Croatia, Travel tips

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