The Plitvice Lakes in Croatia are one of the most spectacular natural wonders on the planet. It was the eighth and last day of an eight-day adventure journey that my father and I were on. We stayed in the storybook village of Korana, just down the road from the national park, the night before we arrived.
It’s impossible to capture the park’s scope and splendor in photographs and words, as it is with any national park. Attempts to describe the views, sounds, smells, and feelings of a large natural site like this are generally underwhelming and insufficient. Regardless, I’ll give it my best shot!
The color and clarity of the water at the Plitvice lakes is the first thing that hits you like a ton of bricks. The word “emerald” comes to mind, yet it isn’t green. The water is a bluish-green color that appears to emit its own light. The water is so pure that it appears as if you’re staring through blue-green tinted glass at times. The branches and boulders at the bottom of the lakes are plainly visible.
There were a LOT of fish as well. Although fishing is prohibited in the park, it appeared as if you could reach in and fish by hand if you so desired. I’ve never visited anyplace where there weren’t so many visible fish. Actually, it isn’t the case. In Thailand, I went scuba diving and observed vast schools of fish. So this is possibly the most freshwater fish I’ve ever seen in one spot.
The next thing you’ll notice at Plitvice Lakes is the abundance of waterfalls. They’re everywhere in the park. I’ll present a sign later in the post that explains how the lakes were formed, but basically, these lakes are a series of natural stone dams that flow into one another one after the other.
Walking through the park is a wonderful experience. There are miles of small wooden walks that wind their way around and over the lakes and waterfalls. It can be a little stressful at times because the paths are limited and people stop for photos, but traffic flows quickly and passing individuals who are travelling slower than you is not difficult.
These types of wooden walkways are one of my favorites. We observed several such roads in Slovenia’s Lake Bled, and they had an amusement park feel to them, turning a mundane activity into an experience.
When we went to the park, as you can see in the photo above, there were quite a few people there. Although it is a popular tourist location, it did not appear to be overcrowded. Because the park is so wide and spread out, people do not congregate in large groups. There are several paths throughout the park, so no one is on the same trail at the same time. In most cases, it is easy to avoid congested locations.
The majority of the lakes are small enough to walk around. However, there are a few huge lakes that can be crossed by boat.
We packed our lunches and ate our lunch on a log. I’m not sure if we stayed with our group the entire day or if my father and I split off and went our separate ways for a while. I don’t see the rest of the group in any of my shots, so I’m guessing we split up and met up later.
We returned to the walkway and continued into the park. I guess I was driving my father insane by stopping every 5 seconds to take shots.
The formation of the lakes is one of the things that fascinates me. I know it’s not the most exciting subject, and no one wants to read about things they can look up on their own, but I’m going to discuss it anyway.
The lakes and waterfalls were created in the following manner: The water at the park has a high calcification level. The water goes underground before reaching the park, where it dissolves limestone and becomes saturated with chalk.
When water reaches the earth’s surface, anything exposed to it for an extended period of time becomes coated in stone and petrified. Our guide added that they’ve discovered petrified cameras in the water that have turned to stone in just a few years.
Plants thrive in this mineral-rich water, and they grow all around it. The plants encapsulate themselves in stone, forming natural stone dams. These dams gather water, which is then used to create lakes. Some dams fail when the lakes become too large, while others continue to grow as more plants grow and turn to stone.
The plants that grow in the water and become calcified and build a dam can be seen here. I’m not sure if they locate a lot of petrified fish. Petrification is unlikely since the dead fish decay too rapidly.
It’s a fun procedure with incredible outcomes! Though I’d expect dissolved chalk to make the water look chalky, the water is crystal clear.
That brings my journey of Plitvice Lakes National Park to a close. My father and I both had a great time visiting this natural wonder. Our group returned to Korana after our day at the park for one last night with the adventure tour group.
As I’ve previously stated, there are benefits and drawbacks to joining a tour group like this. In general, I enjoy the independence, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness of traveling alone. If I’m in a group for too long and don’t have time to myself, I feel irritable. But I saw a lot of fascinating stuff that I would have never noticed on my own. Having a local guide who can take you to spots that aren’t listed on tourism websites is quite valuable. The guides also know the local business owners, so you’ll be treated more like family at restaurants and motels than as visitors.
On our adventure tour with Huck Finn Adventures, I had a terrific time and would highly recommend them. Our guide was wonderful, and our group was small and intimate. You can’t go wrong with this group if you’re planning a trip to Croatia and need something to do while you’re there.
Though our voyage with Huck Finn adventures came to an end at this point, it was far from over! We still had a few days to get my father back to Budapest’s airport. And I had to hurry to a meeting in Greece with @doctorcrypto, a fellow Hiver. Stay tuned for the continuation of the journey tomorrow!