Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
© Janne Kahila/Getty Image
Boardwalk over Balkan lakes. Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
Welcome to Plitvice Lakes, the oldest and largest of Croatia's national parks. The big attraction is the series of 16 descending, turquoise lakes connected by underground rivers and, above ground, by streams and waterfalls. The lakes are separated by natural dams of travertine, a type of limestone which is deposited by the action of moss, algae and bacteria. The water changes colour from green to blue to grey, depending on the light and the density of minerals in the water. About 11 miles of wooden boardwalk make it easy for people to get around among the lakes, waterfalls and caves here.
The 115-square-mile park was established in 1949 in what is now central Croatia, near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1979, Plitvice’s unique beauty put it on the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites. The lakes seem to magically disappear into the moss-covered earth, and then reappear downstream, enchanting visitors to these beautiful woods.