What are the Plitvice Lakes ? Who does not know this phrase? Any person who was just a little interested in Croatia , of course, heard these words.
A walk in this park leaves an unforgettable impression for life. The virginity of the natural environment, the broad expanse of water, the noisy waterfalls or just a trickle current, the clean air, the smell of flowers and plants adjust to the feeling of oneness with nature. The water in the lakes is of unusual colors: bright emerald-blue ... and at the same time completely transparent. Looking at the trees that fell into the water , it is sometimes difficult to distinguish what part in the water is, but some in the air ... When you walk along the path along the water's edge, you're accompanied by a whole flock of fish. They swim over you, begging for treats.
Plitvice- Flocks of fish
Quite often fishes are joined by ducks. A slice of bread is quite good as treats ... funny to see the fight of the fish and ducks for a piece of bread. One of the most interesting points of the route is at the bottom of the lake, where the wooden bridge passes on the edge of the cliff about halfway of the Great Falls. On the left you see a cliff where water flows, and on the right the same steep abyss into which other flows rush. When you climb at the end of the route on the high bank, you can start an unforgettable picture view of the large waterfall and panorama of lakes, the most probably replicated place to photograph of this park.
One of the first researchers of the Plitvice Lakes was the academician Ivo Pevalek . He once said: "The rivers, the waterfalls, the lakes and the forests, are wonderful places. But the Plitvice lakes are unique. And they definitely need to be seen. "
The Great Falls
First of all, this is a national park of Croatia . Its area is of 29,685 hectares. It is the largest of the 8 natural and national parks of Croatia and the oldest. It received this status in 1949. There is a park in the valley between the high mountains of Dinaric ( the highest point is of 1280 m, the lowest is of 367 m) in the valley of the river of the Koran . The main attraction of the park is a cascade of 16 large and small lakes , connected with each other more than 140 channels , rapids and waterfalls . Scientists believe that the age of the lakes is more than 4,000 years. This area was discovered and this place was described little over 400 years ago. The largest of the upper lakes is the Proščansko Lake. It is fed by the waters of two small rivers Crna and Biela . Below, after a chain of small lakes located in the park's largest lake is the Kozjak Lake , its length is about 3 km. At the end of the chain of lakes is the Great Falls. It overthrows the water in the rivers of the Koran and the Plitvice from a height of 72 meters.
The Kozjak Lake
This is a whole complex of the Plitvice National Park. The lake is a unique natural phenomenon. The water in the lakes is of an amazing emerald-blue color. This color is attached to a great content with the calcium carbonate and the presence of specific algae and bacteria in the water. In addition to lakes, the complex of the National Park includes the surrounding mountains covered with relict beech and spruce forests. They are rich in different species of flora and fauna. For example, the park is inhabited by deer, bobcats and even bears! Small waterfalls cascade The unique Plitvice Lakes give a structural feature of the surrounding mountains. They mainly consist of limestone, cut by fractures and caves. They are based on the Waterproof rock bottom. The groundwater and the rainwater penetrating through the surface soil is saturated with carbon dioxide, which contributes to the dissolution of limestone. Resting on the waterproof layers, the water comes to the surface and many brooks and streams are already saturated with calcium and magnesium carbonates. This gives it an unusual, unique color.
Plitvice Fallen Trees
The evaporation of this water, minerals calcium and magnesium, eventually turned into stone travertine . This is facilitated by specific algae and bacteria. In the course of their life they consume carbonates and form a mineral deposit. Especially a lot of them on mosses, fallen trees in the water and trees. The process is so fast that what fell into the water a branch, for example is later mineralized, but after a while it is turned to stone. The barriers are formed of travertine , blocking the path of the water and the waterfalls, which overcomes them. The current water wash stone, finding new ways comes across new barriers. This process goes on continuously. Almost every year the form of rapids and waterfalls is changed. This is an exclusive feature of the Plitvice Lakes.
The nature of Plitvice Lakes
The Plitvice mountains surrounding the Plitvice Lakes are covered with virgin forest . These unique forests, consisting mainly of beech and spruce, of thousands of years without human intervention have the ability to self-healing. A part of the national park forest Chorkova Ridge is one of the finest virgin forests in Europe . Individual trees reach a height of 50 meters and 140 cm in diameter. The Plitvice Lakes have a rich flora and fauna. There are more than 1,200 species of plants, 75 of which are endemic. There are 55 species of orchids. The place is home to 161 species of birds and 21 species of bats. From large mammals there are wild cats, deer, otters, wolves, and the largest representative of the forest kingdom - the brown bear. For the uniqueness, the beauty and the integrity of this natural phenomenon, the Plitvice Lakes were introduced by UNESCO in the World Heritage List in 1979.
The primary concern of the employees of the National Park is to preserve this unique natural phenomenon in integrity, to minimize the human impact on the environment. Any activities as hunting, fishing, independent tourism, collection of plants, dog walking, even bathing in the lakes are prohibited.
The Unforgettable Beauty of Plitvice
Since 1958, the park is open to visitors. To prevent the influence of the man in the natural park, hiking trails had been laid out, and over the water wooden bridge in the most picturesque places. Getting around the park can only be on them. It runs along the lake road where visitors carry trains on electric traction. With the same purpose boats float on the biggest lake -Kozjak to prevent the minimal contamination of the lakes. Intervention in the life of the forest is also minimal. The fallen branches and the trees are not raised and not removed, so as not to interfere in the process of the self-regeneration of the forest. The trees and the branches that fall into the water, too, are not touched, because they participate in the life of the lakes - the petrification, the formation of new barriers and new waterfalls.
The Climate of the Lakes
The waterfalls of the Plitvice Lakes are situated in the heart of the country, at the junction of the continental and the maritime climates. There's a special microclimate. The air temperature even on a sunny day is 3-5 degrees lower than on the coast. There are frequent rains and cloudy weather. In such cases, the temperature can drop to sixteen ° C and below, with thirty ° C on the coast. So when you visit this national park you are attended by the presence of warm and waterproof clothing and comfortable shoes with soft soles of sneakers or loafers type. In winter, there is heavy snowfall, and in January and February the Plitvice Lakes are frozen.
Visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park
The road to the park is almost on the highway D1, leading from Zagreb and Karlovac in the direction of Zadar , Split ,Dubrovnik . You can get there either with guided tours, or by car or by bus, plying between the coast and Zagreb.
The park is opened to visitors daily, including the weekends and public holidays:
• in winter from 9 to 16 hours
• in spring and fall from 8 to 18 hours
• in summer from 7 am to 20 pm Admission (2010) from November to March / April to October:
• Adults 80 kuna / 110 kunas
• groups of adults (20 men) 70 kuna / 100 kunas
• students 60 kuna / 80 Coon
• children (7 to 18 years) 40 kuna / 55 Coon
• Children under 7 years free of charge
• bikes for free
• Cars 7 kuna / hour
• the remaining 70 cars Coon / day
Half ticket (once for 2 days) in winter / summer:
• adults 130 kuna / 180 kunas
• children 60 kuna / 90 Coon
The price of the ticket includes a travel by boat on a short route ( P1-P2 ), a travel for road trains on the panoramic road and one-time trip by boat on a long route ( P2-P3 ).
Map of the park Plitvice Lakes
The tickets and the numerous billboards show a diagram of the national park , which marked all the lakes, trails and routes. The routes are divided into groups according to the length and their difficulty level. The shortest route is designed for 2-3 hours, the longest can take 8 hours. You can drive on the road trains and sail little boats. Explanation of the scheme:
• Ulaz / Entrans № 1 and № 2 - inputs to the park with ticket offices
• St1, St2, St3, St4 - stopping trains. You can reach any further and stop walking
• The red solid lines in the diagram - hiking trails
• The thin gray line - too pedestrian routes, longer
• The points P1, P2 and P3 - dock boat
Outdoors in Plitvice
Skiing at Plitvice
There are other opportunities for recreation at the Plitvice Lakes besides walks in the park. In winter there is a ski resort . There you can rent boots, skis or snowboard, sled and spend time on the snowy slopes. Their length is small, only 300-400 m, but you are offered an exceptional beauty of the area, like holiday promise a lot of fun. There are several routes for those who like mountain climbing . One of them leads to the Medvjeđak Mountain having a height of 886 meters. The trail passes through a virgin forest where beech, spruce, maple and sycamore grow. The mountains are one of the few places in Europe, the place of permanent habitat of the brown bears . The summit offers an unforgettable view of the complex of lakes and waterfalls.
For fans of biking in the park and around are few paved bicycle trails . They go through the woods and fields, on hillsides, paved and gravel roads. Bicycle rides can become better acquainted with the neighborhood and reach the areas of the park not accessible by walking tourists. The routes pass through the extreme points of the park and St4 St1. When traveling on a bicycle you should adhere to the rules and visit the national park and ride only on designated routes.
If you wish, contacting the administration of the park , you can arrange a wedding at the Plitvice Lakes .
Where to Stay at Plitvice Lakes?
For the visitors who want to spend more than one day, at the park there are 4 hotels. Three of them are right at the park , at the entrance, this hotel Jezero ***, Plitvice ** and Bellevue **. At 10 kilometers north of the park is located the Grabovac *** Hotel. All hotels operate all the year round, they have a comfortable air-conditioned rooms, gyms and swimming pools. In the immediate vicinity there are two camping Korana ** (6 km) and Borje *** (15 km). The campsites are opened from April to October. In addition, all the surrounding villages offer great rooms and apartments for every pocket and taste.
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