The blues and greens of Plitvice National Park

Plitvice National Park is one of Croatia’s greatest natural beauties — and Croatia has a few of those, so that claim genuinely means something.  (Catching buses from Split to Dubrovnik and then Dubrovnik back up to Zagreb was a quite spectacular way to see a lot of that natural beauty — especially along the coast.)

A lakeside waterfall in Plitvice National Park

There is some mythology behind the park’s natural wonders, but I’ll freely admit to not knowing it.  All I know is that it’s a collection of beautiful blue lakes, connected by a stunning array of streams and waterfalls, terraced over an area that makes for a good solid day’s hike, and all within a convenient couple of hours bus ride from Zagreb.  (And that combination of some great walking plus a couple of hours’ bus trip from the capital is even better when you consider that it’s enough to deter many of the tourist hordes that might otherwise ruin a perfectly pleasant meander in the woods!)

So instead of a story to tell, all I have is pictures to share.  Bear in mind that our trip to Plitvice happened just after I got my replacement camera, so this was a particularly welcome opportunity for me to put it to best use.  (Well, as best as my limited photographic ability can use it, anyway.)

Waterfalls and long exposures: a great way to play with a newly replaced camera

Suffice to say that it was a day of waterfalls, forest hiking (with possibly just a little bit of getting lost along the way), and happy snapping.  A fantastic day trip from Zagreb.

Lakeside by the beautifully clear water

Transport notes for any other aspiring visitors:

  • You can easily day trip via bus from Zagreb.  Get a nice early bus out from the main Zagreb bus station to Plitvička Jezera (timetable here), and you’ll find it easy enough to grab a bus on the road on the way back.  (Though it’s worth making sure you know when the return buses run – there’s a timetable posted by the ticket booth  to the National Park entrance which’ll tell you.  Probably worth a quick shot of that on your camera – you did bring a decent digital camera, right? – so that you can refer back to it when you’re coming towards the end of your day’s hiking and you’re trying to figure out roughly when you’re likely to be done for the day.)
  • If you get to the ticket desk of the bus station in Zagreb only to be told the bus is full, as we were, don’t sweat.  On a hunch, we wandered down to the actual platforms downstairs, found the bus, and asked the driver if he could take us.  Yes, it turned out, so long as we didn’t mind sitting in the aisle.  Done.
  • There are actually a couple of bus stops which you can jump off at for Plitvice – there are two main entrances to the park.  We jumped off at entrance one.  If you’re not sure where you are, ask your bus driver/attendant – chances are they’ll be very helpful.  Otherwise, get off at the stop where all the other English-speaking people get off!
  • We took WikiTravel’s advice and followed ‘route K’, anticlockwise (to avoid the teeming masses and maximise the “wow, I have this whole incredible place to myself!” feeling).  Worked well, albeit that the northwestern-most bit, up in the hills away from the lakes, is easy to get lost in.  Well, it was for us…

Shafts of rainbow light through trees and waterfalls

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