If you’re a nature lover, then the one thing you shouldn’t miss while in Croatia is a visit to Plitvice Lakes. Think turquoise lakes, cascading waterfalls, verdant green forest, and endless wooden walkways. Trust me, it’s worth the price tag.
We had tickets for the first entry slot of the morning, and I’m so glad we were there before the crowds (although entrance is staggered, once you’re in, you can stay as long as you like until closing time, so the numbers of people eventually do add up). But although we started out as part of a queue of people walking along the wooden walkways, we never felt crowded or rushed. With the little one by our side, we chose one of the easier routes leading to the exit a few kilometres on, and it still took us almost the entire day to explore the fantastic scenery.
For three South Africans hailing from the Highveld, where nature is endless fields of yellow grass with scraggly thornbushes casting wan shadows on dusty dirt, Plitvice was like stepping into a fairy tale. We gaped and stared and delighted in every spectacular waterfall, every green leaf that crossed our paths, at the incredible colour of the water. The air was thick with the scent of rain-moist earth, and butterflies flew leisurely past while frogs croaked in the bushes and cicadas filled the silence.
A happy place.
If you’re visiting with little kids, like we did, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring lots of water and snacks – there are no tuck shops inside the park and it’s quite a distance to walk. I wouldn’t advise bringing strollers and be prepared to carry the little ones towards the end. Our little man was excited at first, sprinting from tree to flower to butterfly to waterfall like a little hooligan, but he soon wore out and then we had to take turns carrying him up the steep hillside paths. He loved every minute of it though, and so did we!
(Although we didn’t have the opportunity, you might also want to consider a trip to Krka National Park, which is apparently a little less expensive to visit and just as beautiful.)
Is Plitvice Lakes on your must-see list? Have you been there already? Did you love it as much as we did?