Plitvice Lakes National park - oldest and largest national park in Croatia
Halfway between the Croatian capital, and Adriatic coast, Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the last European untouched nature’s wonders.
Visitors from all over the world congregate here. From Japan and Russia to the USA and Australia. They are arriving at one of the last remaining places on the planet where nature is the sole architect.
And the appearance of that amazing architecture solely depends on the season
Did you know that over fifty percent of people who visit Plitvice Lakes for the first time decide to return in a different part of the year?
There is a perfectly good reason behind that decision.
Waterfalls between the lakes turn into the breathtaking giant ice sculptures during winter when freezing temperatures dramatically reshape the landscape. What once was this wild and loud force of nature suddenly becomes the collection of silent, transparent monuments.
But there are several other important reasons why so many people are visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park year after a year.
The most important is definitely a unique opportunity to witness the
Delicate Tufa Barriers of Plitvice Lakes
A unique morphology, hydrology, and geology of the area that stretches on close to 300 square kilometres enable a one of the kind lake chain formation. All thanks to an elaborate coexistence of particular minerals and primordial microorganisms. The Earth’s original lifeforms.
Working together for millions of years, these natural engineers are responsible for the massive formation of tiny agglomerating crystals of calcite known as tufa barriers. A phenomenon that retains water inside the network of lakes in the national park.
Natural forces and different geology of the bedrock are responsible for a unique cascading chain of lakes connected by the giant waterfalls. It’s a scenery that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the planet.
This entire dramatic landscape resides hidden from the sight deep inside.
The virgin forests of Plitvice Lakes National Park
One of the Europe’s last primordial forests where human interference or access is highly limited and mostly prohibited are found in Plitvice Lakes National Park. The network of trails allows visitors to experience the nature in its prime.
These ancient forests are home to a large number of species. A stable population of owls and woodpeckers, in particular, are the reminders and the proofs of the pristine quality of this entire ecosystem.
A shadow, deep in the forest, may surprise you. It’s probably a curious bear or a pack of wolves wandering through the area in search for roe and red deers.
And if you remain calm and hidden the chances are that you’ll spot the Europe’s most elusive cat, the lynx.
They are monitoring and watching over their population in these pristine forests. Because they are undoubtfully a vital part of the entire ecosystem.
The ecosystem that is also famous for its
In total, there are 114 speleological objects recorded thus far.
One group are subterranean pits. Some are over 200 meters deep and completely vertical. They are magnets for those looking for a mixture of adrenaline and a good old scientific exploration of endemic species and paleontological evidence of life.
32 caves are explored in the total length of 1664 meters and depth of over 2000 meters. They are attracting not only professional explorers but also everyday people since some of the caves are made available for visitors.
These caves, pits, lakes, and forests are home to
1267 plant species and over 200 species of animals
Considering the Park’s relatively small area, these numbers speak about the concentration and diversity of flora and fauna. Some of the plants are on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. It explains the increasing interest of the world-renowned scientists for the Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Having a privilege to see, touch, and explore a large number of endemic species that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet is certainly a good reason to spend the day or two in Plitvice Lakes National Park.
One, in particular, is attracting enthusiasts and florists from all over the world. It’s “Lady’s Slipper.” The most beautiful orchid in Europe. A rare and endangered forest plant that is now on the IUCN Red List.
But what comes as a surprise to many are rare carnivorous plants that are not found anywhere else in Europe. These lifeforms adapted to the environment with over 321 insect species. Everything that’s small enough and fly became their primary source of food.
It’s beyond just interesting to observe the plant hunting moths, flies, and butterflies. The prime example of how life adapts to an environment and thrives.
Just make sure to take a wide-angle photo. Because you would want to catch the passing bear or a wolf. Or even a lynx, hidden in the bushes, waiting for you to move on so it could go back to its daily routine.
And when you feel hungry, feel free to visit any of the restaurants scattered all over the Park for
A unique gastronomic experience
Local people are known for their specific taste and habits when it comes to food. A rustical setting and traditional preparation of lamb, veal, and the different game make the essential part of the overall experience of anyone visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park.
So don’t be surprised if you feel this irresistible urge to sit down in the middle of your exploration and feast on different meat that just came off the fire.
After all, you are visiting the pristine environment. It’s only natural to have an appropriate meal that originates from the times of the kings.
And this was just a glimpse of everything that’s waiting for you in Plitvice Lakes National Park. Don’t miss it, even if you are aiming to spend the vacation somewhere along the Adriatic coast.
Your CTC Team, I.K.