Visiting Plitvice Lakes in Croatia
A place that you should see with your own eyes
Plitvice Lakes (Plitvička Jezera), one of the most beautiful places to be discovered in Europe. The National Park can be found in Croatia, it is that kind of nature that you have to see with your own eyes. The lake is famous for its crystal clear- and azure-colored water.
Visitors per year: 1,000,000+
Prices: 26 USD (varies during season)
A combination of limestone and algae
The reason why the lakes are so clear and azure blue colored has to do with two components: Limestone and the algae that grow and decomposes below the surface.
The reaction of gases that the algae, mosses and other plants releases react with the water. That same water has changed the limestone for centuries, creating a very pretty sight. It's a continuous cycle of nature doing its thing. The scenery changes over time, where the stream of water will create new lakes, and desiccate previous lakes. This is a process that can take up for many years. Paths that have been created will be absorbed by nature, as if it never existed.
When it was discovered that both the limestone and algae have such an impact on this magnificent eco-system, swimming in the lakes is highly forbidden.
Planning a trip? This is what you should know
If you're planning a trip to Croatia and you wish to visit the Plitvice Lakes, this is what you should know:
1) Can you swim here?
No, you can't swim in the water, the eco-system of the lakes is fully dependable on the limestone and natural gases the algae and moss releases. All plants, trees, mosses, and other surroundings have an effect on the entire process. With over one million visitors every year, it is hard keeping up to sustain its magnificent eco-system.
If you do want to swim in those kinds of waters, there is a similar lake located just two hours away from it (Krka National Park) where you can get splash yourself in azure blue water.
2) Plan your trip
While the National Park is about 300km², you better plan your visit beforehand. There are several spots marked as P1, P2, and P3. While most places are accessible by foot, those hikes getting you from A to B can take up hours. Those hours hiking, however, will be rewarded with beautiful scenery all around you.
To get the most out of your visit, plan your trip and make sure you are staying on track... it is easy to get lost and walk the same path twice (I am a master in getting lost and sidetracked).
3) 1,000,000 visitors every year
It's getting packed, pretty damn fast. If you want to get the most out of your visit, go as early as possible. Even though the park is 300km², the paths are limited and it will get packed. My advice would be to go as soon as possible, take the boat between P1 and P3, continue the flow of your path and hike the rest.
4) Stay hydrated and dress-up
Bring enough beverages and food, make sure to not leave or deposit your waste in the park other than the designated places. Also, check the weather forecast before you go and dress accordingly. Hikes can take up to 8 hours, you don't want to forget your umbrella when it is raining, or some sunscreen while its 30 degrees during these hikes.
You can buy food at the park as well.
5) Sleep, eat and repeat?
There are several camping sites nearby, the closest one is about 20 minutes away from it. There are also plenty of hotels at the very center of the protected area.
Thank you for reading, I hope that you learned something and that you have enjoyed the photographs! Are you planning a trip to Plitvice Lakes after reading this? Check out their hiking programs here. I would love to know, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your photographs with me.