Plitvice Lakes national park was founded in 1949 and is situated in the mountainous karst area of central Croatia, at the border to Bosnia.
It’s made up of 16 interconnected lakes – the Upper and Lower lake areas, separated by the large Kozjak lake.
Once in the park we take the panoramic land train to the upper lakes to begin our walk (included in the entrance ticket price).
The park extends over 296.85 square kilometres (73,350 acres) and the 16 lakes are arranged in cascades. There are a variety of different walking routes that visitors can take.
These range in duration from a gentle two hour potter all the way to a day long, eight hour trek. You can plan your trip in advance here.
Visitors can get up close and personal to the lakes thanks to a series of wooden walkways that criss cross the park and waterways.
The lakes are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers. Around every corner is yet another breath taking view of a serene lake or thundering waterfall.
The lakes are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria.
The name Plitvice was first mentioned in a written document in 1777 by Dominik Vukasović, the priest of Otočac.
This name was given thanks to the natural phenomena that created the lakes. These are naturally formed shallow basins – in Croatian known as pličina or plitvak – which have been filled with water.
The lakes are well known for their distinctive and beautiful colours, ranging from azure to green, grey or turquoise blue.
They are like the most delicate of artist’s palettes and the colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
We were lucky enough to see the waters in a variety of different lights. The day went from cloudy and overcast with corresponding slatey grey waters to sun shine and blue skies that turned the lakes and pools into enchanting mirrors of green and aqua.
The park has a fairy-tale like feel. If it wasn’t for the hordes of tourists (trust us – we picked a national holiday to visit!) you’d expect to see some woodland nymph or middle earth hobbit poke their heads from behind a tree.