Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Today we left the coast behind us and headed inland – on a hot, cramped coach to Plitvice Lakes, arriving at about 12.15. I had never heard of Plitvice Lakes before booking this trip, but for Ben it was the big attraction of the trip and I was soon to learn to learn why.
Plitvice National Park consists of 16 lakes, and hundreds of waterfalls. The lakes are beautiful shades of blue, green and turquoise, and the water is so clear that at times you can hardly see it. The waterfalls are lovely and varied – some big and tall, falling from great heights to send spray out onto the tourists. Others small, tumbling over grass and rocks. Surrounding the water are hills with forests, and cliffs. The whole park is beautiful, glorious in the sunshine, but still stunning when overcast. Swimming isn’t allowed in any of the lakes, but there are easy walkways all round the National Park, making it very accessible, which means you can get quite close to the water and waterfalls.
That first day, Karen, Ben and I walked round some of the lakes before heading up a very steep set of steps up the hillside for possibly the best views of the trip, looking down onto the lakes. We ended the day with a quick boat trip across the lake back to the hotel.
Dinner that night was possibly the best of the trip – certainly the best to that point. The hotel restaurant only serves breakfast, so we all headed out, and ate at what is almost a canteen – the food is already cooked, and you just ask for what you want. I had beef goulash, and it was delicious, melt in your mouth tender. Some of the others had roast chicken and veggies, and were just as impressed. It was all a vast improvement on the uninspired chicken or pasta or pizza I had eaten up to that point.