Plitvice National Park
Every country on the face of the planet has its areas of natural beauty, from the Grand Canyon in the U.S. to Kakadu National Park in Australia. One of Croatia’s contributions to this elite group would undoubtedly be the Plitvice National Park. Located some 2 hours from Zagreb, Plitvice is a series of 16 (yes 16) lakes that cascade and waterfall from one to other following the path of the Korana river.
The lakes descend from an attitude of 636m (2090ft) to 503m (1650ft) over a distance of 8km (4.9mi) and cover an area of 2km² (0.70mi²). The lakes are fed by a series of underground springs which flow through a porous limestone plateau which eventually enter into the Korana river near Sastavci. This water is very high in calcium and as a consequence anything it covers eventually becomes encrusted and then later forms a travertine barrier that forms the waterfalls. The travertine is constantly forming and reforming creating and endless combinations of an ever-changing landscape.
This unique combination of water, and plant life has continued, more or less, since the ice age.
The water colour changes constantly from pale blue to bright green, deep blue of grey all depending on the on the quantity of minerals and organisms in the water, whether rain has come recently and the angles of sunlight.
The majority of the lakes is surrounded by a beech forest, however spruce, fir, white pine, hornbeam and flowering ash also exist. More than 126 species of bird have been recorded in the area with 70 of those having been recorded as breeding. European brown bears, wolves, dear, rabbit, foxes and badgers also inhabit the forest.
In all my years of travelling, I can truly say one of the most naturally beautiful places I have seen.