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Plitvice Lakes National Park – Oldest and largest national park in Croatia

Halfway between the Croatian capital, and the Adriatic coast, Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the European natural wonders.

Visitors from all over the world congregate here. From Japan and Russia to the USA and Australia. They are visiting at one of the last remaining places on the planet where nature is the sole architect.

Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National park: 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 during a different part of the year?

There is a perfectly logical reason behind this decision.

Waterfalls between the lakes turn into breathtaking ice sculptures during the winter when freezing temperatures dramatically reshape the landscape. What once was a wild and loud force of nature suddenly becomes a collection of silent, transparent monuments.

Plitvice Lakes National park in the Winter
Plitvice Lakes National park in the Winter

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 the unique opportunity to witness the

Delicate Tufa Barriers of Plitvice Lakes

A unique morphology, hydrology, and geology of the area that stretches close to 300 square kilometres enable a one of the kind lake chain formation. All thanks to an elaborate coexistence of minerals and primordial microorganisms. Earth’s original lifeforms.

Plitvice Lakes is Full of Nature
Plitvice Lakes is Full of Nature
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 this 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 scene that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the planet. This entire dramatic landscape resides hidden from sight deep inside.

The virgin forests of Plitvice Lakes National Park

One of Europe’s last primordial forests where human interference or access is highly limited and mostly prohibited is found in Plitvice Lakes National Park. The network of trails allows visitors to experience the nature in its prime.

Old Logs Used to Make Stairs
Old Logs Used to Make Stairs

These ancient forests are home to a large number of species. A stable population of owls and woodpeckers, are the reminders and proofs of the pristine quality of this entire ecosystem.

Plitvice Lakes is Wild Life Paradise
Plitvice Lakes is Wild Life Paradise

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 deer.

And if you remain calm and hidden 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

Mysterious underworld

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.

Plitvice Lakes Caves
Plitvice Lakes Caves

32 caves are explored in the total length of 1664 meters and depth of over 2000 meters. They attract 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 world-renowned scientists in Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Plitvice Lakes is Home to over 200 species of animals
Plitvice Lakes is Home to over 200 species of animals

Having the 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 a day or two in Plitvice Lakes National Park.

One species in particular is attracting enthusiasts and florists from all over the world. Its known as “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 flies became their primary source of food.

It’s beyond interesting to observe the plant hunting moths, flies, and butterflies. A prime example of how life adapts to an environment and thrives. Just make sure to take a wide-angle photo because you wouldn’t want to miss a 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 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.
Restaurants and Meat Cooking on Plitvice Lakes
Restaurants and Meat Cooking on Plitvice Lakes

After all, you are visiting 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 your vacation somewhere along the Adriatic coast.

 

Your CTC Team, I.K.

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