Plitvice Lakes: a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Croatia
If you love nothing better than getting out into the great outdoors when you’re on holiday, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to the Plitvice Lakes National Park when you’re in Croatia. From ways to explore the park to the Plitvice Lakes opening times, let’s take a look at what you need to know about visiting Croatia’s oldest, largest and most famous national park.
Why a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is renowned for its sixteen beautiful lakes, linked to each other by cascading waterfalls. Founded in 1949 and located in Croatia’s mountainous north, the stunning park has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1979. Its status as a UNESCO site comes from its unusual geology, which is the result of thousands of years of water flowing over limestone and chalk to create natural travertine dams. As well as creating the park’s famous lakes and waterfalls, this geological process has also formed some impressive caves that make for wonderful photo opportunities amidst the dense forest.
What can you see and do at Plitvice Lakes?
The park’s outstanding natural beauty is what earned it the recognition of UNESCO, and it’s also what continues to draw in over a million visitors a year. There are a few different ways to enjoy your time in the park; here are some suggestions…
- Hike the park on foot, discovering dense forest, natural springs and flower meadows via an excellent series of well-marked trails. Choose from seven different circular routes around the lakes, or four hiking trails if you want to get a little more off the beaten track.
- Hop on a panoramic electric train to a higher part of the park – it’s included in the price of your entrance ticket.
- Get out onto the water in a silent electric boat (also included in your ticket) and see the park from the perspective of Kozjak Lake.
- If you visit in winter, you can enjoy skiing and other winter sports.
However you choose to spend your time in the park, don’t forget to look out for endangered species of birds and animals; wolves and bears are among the creatures that call the Plitvice Lakes their home.
Plitvice Lakes opening times and when to visit
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is open 365 days a year, but you’ll find there are fewer facilities on offer in the winter months. Opening times vary for different parts of the park and its facilities at different times of year, so your best bet is to visit the national park’s website for up-to-date information on opening times before your visit.
The park is equally beautiful whatever time of year you choose to go. Whether you’re enjoying the meadows in full flower in spring, admiring the dazzling autumn colours in the trees or marvelling at the frozen waterfalls in winter, you’re sure to come away with a sense of awe and a camera full of memorable photos when you visit the Plitvice Lakes.