Plitvice lakes are the oldest national park in southeasterly Europe and the biggest national park in Croatia. Surrounding area of Plitvice lakes, declared as national park is one of the most beautiful sights in the world and it is under the protection of UNESCO. Embraced by high wooded mountains, one beneath another lie sixteen beautiful lakes of crystal blue-green water.
Connected to each other by a series of foaming cascades and thundering waterfalls, the lakes are fed by many rivers and streams. Over the millennia, waters of these lakes have dissolved the limestone rock and carved out the valley in which they now lie. Through the process of sedimentation of calcium carbonate and the work of special kinds of algae and moss, tufa or travertine has been deposited, and is still deposited to form the natural dams that separate the lakes.
Since the process is going on today, just as it always has, new travertine barriers, curtains, stalactites, channels and cascades are being built and the existing ones are changing. As it is deposited, the tufa coasts the beds and banks of the lakes, giving the water sparkling beauty and petrifying trees and stones which fall into the lakes. The water keeps breaking through the travertine barriers at different places, so that the entire process of formation of lakes and dams is alive and very dynamic.
Flora and fauna
National park Plitvice lakes will attract and delight you by majestic forests of beech and fir, with spruce, hornbeam, maple and pine trees, the forests full of fragrant spring flowers, cool in the summer, tremendously coloured in autumn and clad in the exquisite winter attire of ice and snow. On the gentle sunny slopes near the Lakes, you will come across superb and lovely trees, hornbeams, maples and sumacs which give the whole landscape that extravagant and specific quality of the Plitvice atmosphere.
The exceptional beauty of mountain meadows and glades, and a thousand different vistas of high mountains, murmuring waters, small villages and hamlets and other scenic views along with fragrant flowers, the twittering of birds, humming bees in the presence of multicoloured butterflies.
If you are a patient type prepared to wait awhile in the heart of the tranquil forest, you may be lucky and spot chamois, deer, fox or a badger, or more rarely a bear and playful otters.
National park Plitvice lakes is also a home to numerous endemic species, relics of crab species, including several amphibian and reptile species. In the Park area live 126 birds species of which seventy are permanently nesting there.
The Park also abounds in big and small game. Bears and wolves and other wild animals here, enjoy a special state of protection. The presence of wildlife enlivens the environment and enhances its significance.