In the culture, mythology, traditions and collective consciousness of every nation, there are natural objects that have an emblematic, mythical value. Along with natural units such as the Adriatic Sea or Velebit mountain, Plitvice Lakes certainly have such a value in Croatia. They are at the very top among the destinations that we want to visit, and also that we recommend to others, especially visitors who come from areas where there is no karst relief, so this game of nature and water is not possible. Plitvice Lakes are our oldest, most famous, most visited and by many the most beautiful national park. They were declared a national park in 1949, and were one of the first destinations on the UNESCO list of natural heritage, they were inscribed in 1979.

Famous national park

The most important thing in understanding the origin of this natural spectacle is that it is a game of limestone bedrock and water. Namely, a large part of the Dinaric mountain range and our coast and islands consists of water-soluble limestone. This results in many attractive shapes that adorn these parts of our beautiful country. When travertine algae are added to this game, we get specific limestone forms such as travertine barriers that build waterfalls and cascades. Since Plitvice Lakes are well known to most, and basic information about them is easily available, so here we will look at some perhaps lesser known, but still interesting aspects of this national park and natural phenomenon. Although they are a standard part of the tourist offer and tourist development of our country and although it is desirable that tourist trends are upward, Plitvice Lakes is one of the few destinations for which we can say that there are too many visitors. And not too much in terms of one’s taste or affinity, but in terms of the sustainability of ecosystems and natural processes.

If you want to look at Plitvice Lakes from a new perspective, we recommend that you turn right from the main road before the bridge over the Korana (when going from the direction of Zagreb). After a few kilometres of driving you come to a pond located on one side of the road, and on the other a wooden fence behind which is an abyss. If you approach carefully, you will see that you are actually at the top of the Great Waterfall, the largest in Plitvice Lakes. The view is of course fascinating, but be careful as this is not an official lookout with firm fences.

A visit to this location in winter is even more interesting since in the warm part of the year the views are quite sheltered by lush foliage and vegetation.

Like other national parks, most visitors visit Plitvice Lakes as part of a day trip or on a journey from the coast or towards it. But if you want to spend the night, you will find many accommodation offers near the park. Within the park there are several hotels, and private rooms, apartments and holiday homes are part of the tourist landscape from Slunj to Korenica. While visiting Plitvice Lakes, let sustainability be your main light motive in your thoughts. This topic is always and everywhere relevant, but few places like here. We all, of course, aim at development and growth, but we must keep in mind that development in the next few years must not destroy the perspective of development in the next 50 or 100 years. The phrase about endangering the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren is as boring as it is accurate. Especially in Plitvice, which has already undergone certain changes caused by people, especially in the biosphere.