The first destination of my Croatian holiday was the Plitvice Lakes in Central Croatia – Croatia’s biggest national park and a World Heritage site.
It was an absolute must-see for my trip to Croatia, especially after seeing pictures of this park beforehand, but as with any other World Heritage site, it was absoultely flooded with tourists. I have a slight case of touristaphobia, so one day in the park was enough for me. It was such a shame, actually, because I could have spent another day at least wandering around those beautiful waterfalls and lakes but the tour groups and crowds (and lack of a resemblance of decent food) definitely ruined it for me.
The park was really amazing though, and the day that we spent there was overcast and drizzly, so there was a gorgeous misty, dreamy look to the lakes and waterfalls. It gave it an almost mystical feel that was really special (until you were trodden on by a screaming Italian anklebiter).
Feast your eyes on these pics… (none of my photos have been filtered or colour enhanced – they are all the natural colours as you see it there)…
There are 3 hotels at the entrance to Entrance 2 of the Lakes. You can book beforehand at a Plitvice Tourist Office if you need to. There is also apparently accomodation in one of the villages near Entrance 1 (Rastovaca), but you would need to walk through the village to find houses with a “Zimmer” sign and enquire about this – you can’t book beforehand.
We opted for the pre-booked hotel option (due to a marathon being run that weekend through the park) and it was decent. We stayed in the Bellevue hotel (there is no decent website for them – you will need to book at a Plitvice tourist office). It was relatively cheap and simple, the staff not so friendly and the breakfast was almost edible.
There are not a lot of eating options in the park and you would need to eat at a hotel if you want an actual meal, but this really wasn’t particularly tasty or edible, really.
You can get to the Lakes by bus quite easily. I know that there were buses every 3 hours from Zagreb and there were also regular ones to and from Split. To get to Istria from Plitvice, you would need to take a bus from Plitvice to Karlovac (a stop along the Zagreb route) and then another bus to Pula.