This April past, on a three week jaunt around Austria, Slovenia and the two capital cities of Hungary and Czech Republic, we decided to make a special side trip into Croatia. Yes. A very out of the way side trip – to see Plitvice Lakes National Park. We did not see anything else in Croatia … just the Park. Plitvice had been on my bucket list ever since I saw a photo on the internet of this magical place filled with waterfalls and turquoise green water so clear you can see another planet right through it.
Was Plitvice all that I expected it to be? Despite the fact that the park was smaller than I had expected, I must say yes yes yes. It was a surreal experience to be literally walking amongst the waterfalls. It did not matter that quite a few trails were blocked due to flooding (a risk that visitors take when visiting the Park in Spring), I saw enough to take my breath away and the only thing I regret is not having more time. It was way to rushed of a visit. In fact we loved it so much we very seriously contemplated staying another night and foregoing a night in Budapest (with a booking in the swanky Mariott Hotel). That didn’t happen, not for lack of will but because we simply did not have any feasible transportation options to Budapest otherwise.
So we spent only an afternoon and a morning at Plitvice, staying in a lodge nearby. I would recommend this way of seeing the park (and then some) because you would likely miss most of the biggest of the tour groups and being squished with hordes of people on narrow walkways. I have read that this is what takes away most from the Plitvice experience. We also made a special effort to get up really early and get in before the gates were even officially open in the morning. This ensured that we were the first people in the park. Now that was special. Having the whole place to yourself for the good hour or so was indescribable. Just you, the endless boardwalks promising magic with every step you take over the pristine lakes with the roar of the water thundering all around you. Priceless.
I hope you enjoy the photos, which unfortunately do not do this place any justice.