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Nestled in Croatia sits Plitvice Lakes National Park, a natural wonder and UNESCO-listed area that covers an astounding 73,000 acres and boasts more than 16 lakes, 90 waterfalls and an endless array of caves, caverns and forest landscapes. Meander around this mesmerizing park and you’ll be taken aback by its emerald green and aqua blue waters that is a stark contrast to the lush foliage that surrounds it.
Sitting between the capital city Zagreb and Zadar on the coast, Plitvice National Park is a must-see destination when visiting Croatia. There are as many as eight different hiking routes found in the park with two main entrances, with the shortest taking around three hours and the longest up to eight.
There’s nothing better than spending a day exploring this beautiful parkland on foot as you marvel at its alluring collection of lakes, waterfalls and wildlife. You’ll lose track of time as you walk along the 11 miles of wooden footbridges that wrap around the edges of the water, while nature enthusiasts won’t want to miss the chance of seeing Veliki Slap, the tallest waterfall in Croatia at 255 feet up close.
If you’re after the best photo opportunities, start your exploration through Entrance 1 to get a bird’s-eye view of the park’s scenery, then traverse down the picturesque paths to cross the lakes. You can also start at Entrance 2, which starts with a boat trip across the lake or a shuttle bus up to higher points. This will take you to the park’s largest lake, Kozjak, where you can simply sit and admire its natural beauty.
While summer is undoubtedly the most popular time of year to visit, fall and winter feature unique landscapes with its changing foliage and falling snow. If you want to see the park from a unique perspective, hire a small row-boat and spend a sunny afternoon floating on its crystalline waters.
There are hotels located right outside if you want to start your exploration early, while bus services are available from Zagreb, Zadar and Split. There are also a variety of companies that offer organized excursions to Plitvice Lakes.