One of nature wonders in Europe - Plitvice lakes National park, Croatia - in beautiful pictures and informative description
Plitvice lakes seen from above

If there are places in Europe which could be called as "the paradise" then one of those places definitely is Plitvice lakes (Pļitvička jezera) National park in Croatia. Here a nature lover can find almost anything in one site - countless picturesque waterfalls, lakes with beautiful, turqouise colored water, impressive cliffs and hills, lush green trees and forests and many great viewpoints to all this beauty. There is only one shortcoming of the place - as in a paradise (and a well known one), so many people wants to get there... thus turning the enjoyment of nature into more like a crowd in the train station during a rush hour (at least if you happen to be there in the middle of a day in the high season).
LOCATION Croatia, Karlovac county
AREA 296 sq km
COORDINATES 44°52′50″N 15°36′58″E
TOURISTS 1,4 MIO (2015)
RATING (9,3/10)

Symphony of water, rock, vegetation and atmosphere

There are many factors which makes Plitvice lakes a unique nature location. One is the fact that the 16 interconnected lakes here are situated on a several terrains in different height levels - thus creating a lake cascade. The borderlines between these lake terraces are travertine (tufa) formations, made by the chalk-rich flowing waters from mountains. Water breaks through these travertine cliffs by forming numerous waterfalls (in total - 90 of them). They're diverse - from 78 metres high Big Waterfall (Veliki slap) to less than metre high but wider cascades. Travertine dams are being washed away and grown at the same time, so the whole system is in the constant motion and development. Also vegetation makes natural barriers which contains the lakes. The lakes'
water is not only colored in turqouise, it can be also blue, green or even grey - it depends on mineral composition of the water which is also changing, the season, the angle of sunlight and other factors.

The Plitvice lakes area can be separated in two parts - Upper Lakes and Lower Lakes. The former are mostly based on dolomite cliffs but the later - on limestone cliffs. As Wikipedia informs, "from an aerial perspective, significant differences between the terrain of the Upper and the Lower Plitvice Lakes can be observed. At the Upper Lakes several little lakes have formed parallel to each other and a rather shallow water flow can be observed. The Lower Lakes, however, are much larger and virtually drill their path through the rock. Furthermore, there are only a few lakes at the Lower Lakes. They have formed a canyon, which continues as river Korana."

Origins of water stream

Another set of wonders is hidden from the observer, happening underground -
exactly there the initial phase of Plitvice lakes wonder is to be found. In the below-the-surface theater, countless streams of water flows through the mountains and karst processes are on-going. There the water washes out the chalk which later settles as a sediment on the lakes "borderlines" and also everywhere else (the chalk sedimentation happens all around not only in specific places).

As it would not been enough, the place is unusual also from the meteorological point of view. The unique local climate is made by the surrounding Velebit mountain range - it's more moderate than near-by areas which are located closer to sea and has more Mediterranean-type of weather. Thanks to this special climate as well as the height differences of mountain walls which encloses Plitvice lakes, the nature park area has a great biodiversity.

Made popular by Hollywood

Although Plitvice lakes were tourism object already in the 19th Century and the National park was founded here in 1949, several more decades had to pass before Plitvice lakes was discovered by masses. It became popular after several Hollywood westerns were filmed here back in 1960ies and 70ies. Nowadays Plitvice lakes is one of the most visited nature parks in Europe with around 1,5 million visitors per year.

Cliffs reflecting in one of Plitvice Lower lakes

Plitvice lakes seen from above

Plitvice lakes seen from above

Plitvice lakes seen from above, Big waterfall to the right

Plitvice lakes - tourist trail between the cliff and lake

Plitvice lakes - the Big Waterfall

Plitvice lakes seen from above

Plitvice lakes impressive waterfall from high cliff

Plitvice lakes Korana river canyon between mountains

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Travel Guide with beautiful photos and exciting descriptions of the most amazing and unique places in Baltic states and Europe. All content made by ⒸIkars Kublins. Contact me by e-mail:

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