Plitvice Lakes is located in central Croatia, close to the border of Bosnia-Herzegovina. If you are looking at this map thinking 'Hmm... that seems kinda far from where you were staying in Pula.' You're right. It WAS kinda far. It took almost three hours to drive to Plitvice Lakes. So if you are planning a trip to Croatia and want to see this national park, I definitely recommend staying closer. (Want to know more technical stuff about how the lakes were formed? Click HERE.)
So, what is so special about Plitvice Lakes? Well, this for starters. Plitvice Lakes is a series of cascading lakes and waterfalls that are different shades of blue, green, aqua, and turquoise due to the different mineral contents of the water. They are pretty amazing.
And when the sun hits the water, wow!
The lakes and waterfalls are connected by boardwalks that line the edges so you can get up close to the beauty without disturbing nature.
The lakes are closed to swimming, and boats are only allowed on the largest lake in the middle of the park. The park is quite large. Eight kilometers from one end to the other (or about 4 1/2 miles for us Yanks). The park does provide shuttles between the large lakes. Something we did not figure out until we had walked half the park with eight tired kids.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself. It was still early and we were still fresh. We were enjoying the beauty of the lakes, the sunshine, the waterfalls. It was spectacular!
At this point we were at the bottom of the canyon. We really wanted to see the sweeping views of the park.
There was one way to go to see the view. Up. I feel it necessary to say here that I was one week out in recovery from a horrible bout of influenza. Climbing these stairs to the top was a personal challenge for me that practically brought me to my knees. Actually, it brought me to my butt. I had to sit and rest many, many times.
The trail snaked up and through the mountain. We hiked through many drippy and dank tunnels like this one.
Finally! A view from the top!
The trail meanders up and down the canyon, and as we explored the park, we found little caves and spots to hide in. Hide in, that is, if you want to go for a swim.
I think right now I will introduce you to our good friend's daughter, Miss M. Miss M kept trying to get in our family pictures that her mom, Mrs. Chocolate, was taking of us. I can only say it is because our family is so cool, she just wanted to be a part of it. (See Miss M? I told you I would put your picture on the internet!)
It was right about here that everybody started getting tired. The Chocolate Family's youngest daughter was only 18 months and was insisting on walking. So that is how slow our progress was, 18 month old walking progress. After hiking up a hill for the better part of an hour, we realized that there was a tram offered by the park that went up and down between the different sections of the lakes. If we would have taken this tram we would have been able to see the whole park. But because we are stupid and ignored the signs with little buses on them pointing and saying HEY! THIS WAY! We only got to see half the park.
As it came to me that I wouldn't be able to see the whole park, I immediately began planning a return to Croatia just to see the rest of Plitvice Lakes. Why? Because of this view.
And because of this view.
And because of this view. Any beautiful place where I can be with all these beautiful people and be happy and smiling under the sun, surrounded by nature, is definitely a place I want to return to.
Want to read about our first day in Croatia that we spent in Pula? Click Pulling Along In Pula.