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National park Plivice lakes

Plitvice

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National park Plitvice is situated in the region of Lika, on the source of river Korana and on the mounts of Mala Kapela and Plješevica. It spreads over 30 thousands hectares covered by dense woods, rivers, lakes, small bridges and walking pathways and caves. There are 16 cascade lakes which flow from higher to lower ones and are connected with a larger lake - Kozjak on which excursions with electric boats are regularly organized. Park Plitvice is the most significant national park in Croatia because of its extraordinary beauty, history and natural environment. It is the only national park in Croatia under the protection of UNESCO, mostly to the merit of scientists who proved an extraordinary influence of flora on this area, particularly algae and moss which cause the particular structure of the rock and form wonderful karst slopes. Plitvice are also known as tourist destination – and the number of visitors increases every year. This year, for example, Plitvice have been visited by 500.000 guests already in August. Nearby, one can find accommodation in hotels and apartments as well as numerous restaurants that serve national and traditional specialities of Lika region. Distance between the lakes and Zagreb is 140 km, while from Split it mounts to 200 km.

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History

Plitvice have been inaccessible for centuries, mostly because of the historical circumstances and invasions that occurred on Croatian territory, and people often avoided the area calling it The devil's garden. Besides that, when it takes to history, there are as well some historical traits which indicate the existence of roman settlements an illyrian tribes names Japodi. Later, in the 7th century, Croatians inhabit the territory but only in 18. century there are some findings that mention Plitvice by their present name. Understanding of the natural diversity and beauty of the area incited the Croatian scientists to proclaim it a national park already in 1949.

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Lakes and rivers

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In Lika region there are streams and rivers and river Korana that flows along the slopes of nearby mountains towards the lakes. Plitvice have 16 cascade lakes divided in Upper and Lower lakes and are connected by a lake Kozjak. Guests who wish to observe the lakes more closely can embark on one of the electric boats which drift along. The slopes are particular for their genesis since seaweed and moss cause their specific karst structure. Seliški vrh is the highest peak of Plitvice – it is situated on 1279 m above-sea, while the lowest is Koranski most – on 367 m above-sea. Among the streams and rivers flowing through the region the most important is Korana, while most interesting are Crna rijeka (Black river) which has in its rack black moss and (White River) which erupts white sand on the height of 700 meters.

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Flora and fauna

Besides the magnificent karst slopes and lakes that spread for almost 9 km, National park Plitvice is specific also for its endemic species - species present only on it territory. These refer to flora and fauna, among which some should be particularly highlighted: the bear – a trademark of Plitvice, then wolf, white and golden doe, and lynx. Plitvice are also known for numerous species of butterflies among which there are about 250 ones that appear during the night, then about 5 species of fish, particularly trout since Plitvice are its natural habitat already for centuries. Large variety of plants also grow here, like Cypripedium calceolus, one of the most beautiful examples of orchids, and carnivorous plants which are registered as one of the most delicate species in the area.

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Caves and barrows

In the National park Plitvice one can find many caves, barrows and pits which basically are not accessible to tourists since their exploration is not officially organized. The biggest cave is Čudinka – it is 200 meters deep. Particular structure of the karst does not allow the formation of harder cliffs which would make the safe exploration possible. Most caves are under water so can be searched only if swimming and with own equipment, while some are considered to be archaeological sites and need to be protected.

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Activities

Plitvice stretch on 30 thousand acres and we recommend you to single out at least one day in order to have enough time to explore its natural beauties, hidden pathways, sail the lake in the electric boat or meet with an exotic night butterfly in the evening. You can enjoy your stay to Plitvice by walking, climbing its highest peak, cycling, rowing the lakes or skiing. There are 16 lakes connected by a large lake called Kozjak. Little trains are also one of the ways to explore Plitvice since the area is large and it is easier to see it like this. Not all areas are accessible, especially because of the dense woods and karst relief. In winter, Plitvice is covered with snow so many lovers of skiing consider it their favourite destination. Nearby, one can find hotels and restaurants with very friendly staff who will readily advise you regarding the selection of most tasty specialties.

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