Second Croatian post : after seeing Zagreb let’s go to Croatia’s national parks.Croatia has 8 national parks but unfortunately I just visited two, one in the mountain region (Plitvice) and one in the coastal region (Krka).
This is probably the most visited park in Croatia because it is the biggest of the country and the oldest of southern Europe. It is a UNESCO-inscribed site.
This park is located between the cities of Zagreb and Zadar. It includes 16 lakes connected to each other by 92 waterfalls or small rivers.
We went in October when the trees were so colorful, it was almost like we were in Canada, it was so beautiful ! Going there in autumn wasn’t such a bad idea after all, there was almost nobody (during summer it’s crowded), we were able to better feel the serenity of the place. I must say that we have been pretty lucky with the weather, the conditions were perfect to discover this breathtaking scenery !
You can go around the parks walking on the logs paths but you can also take a panoramic train. Of course I’d advise you to do everything by foot to be able to admire this leisure view and to better feel the wild atmosphere.
Apart from these paths and a few buildings for tourists, no human intervention is allowed, the nature is left in a wild state. Many species of plants and wildlife are living there like the brown bear (unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to meet one). You could almost feel like you’re in the movie “Into the wild”.
You can take a boat to cross the biggest lakes like Kozjac lake.The water is so clean and transparent but swimming is strictly prohibited (anyway if you put your hands in the water you probably will change your mind about swimming, it’s freezing). Regarding where to sleep and eat I won’t be of good help because we went to a small and very simple hotel. It had no particular charm but it was well located, clean and not expensive. For lunch we had a snack in the park and for dinner we went to the hotel’s restaurant. Plitvice lakes, an explosion of colors, it really is breathtaking !
Krka is also a park famous for its beautiful waterfalls. It is located a few kilometers from the city of Sibenik. This 72km river drains in deep canyons to fight its way to the Adriatic sea.
We stayed at a Bed and breakfast in Skradin, where we were welcomed by a very nice couple.
This is a small bonus because it is not a national park but if you have time, go to Karlovac, it is at 1h30 distance from Zagreb. You could practice canoe and swim in the Mrežnica river. The water is very cold but it is quite nice during summer when it’s 40°c outside (anyway, cold water is good for blood circulation and it gives brightness to the hair and the skin :p). In addition the water is very clear and clean !
If you decide to do canoe, don’t expect to have a nice and calm moment on waters to rest, it is actually quite athletic (a 3h tour) but my father and I had so much fun ! You have to make a reservation first on this website http://www.huckfinncroatia.com. The meeting point is in Zeleni Kut restaurant.
I hope that thanks to these strolls into the wild you got a breath of fresh air, you felt relaxed and serene and maybe it made you want to pack your things immediately and go.
Next stop : Croatian islands :)