Travertine – a lime stone deposit from mineral springs.
Situated three hours North of Split, on the Bosnia-Herzegovina border is the mesmerizing natural wonder and UNESCO protected – Plitvice Lakes National Park. Over thousands of years deposited Travertine build-ups have formed dams which gave life to over sixteen natural lakes. The iconic turquoise water is so brilliant because the lake bottom lacks mud and contain minerals which form the Travertine. The park protects about 73,000 acres worth of untouched wilderness. A wilderness so dense that the park is home to wolves, bears, lynx and pole cats (wild ferrets).
As I was staying in Split, I actually booked a tour which worked out better in the long run. It’s about a three hour drive north of Split. There are many options to get to Plitvice: buses, tours, car rentals. It depends on how long and how far you would like to hike.
If you go during slow season the entrance fee is about 55 kuna or $8. Sounds great right? In peak season be prepared to dodge crowds and pay up to 180 kuna or $26. If you drive, parking is $7 per hour. Be sure to keep your ticket on you at all times and handy if you wish to take a ferry. The wooden bridges are fairly wide but, be prepared to negotiate space.
Bring water and a snack. I wouldn’t spend money within the park unless absolutely necessary. With that said, there is a bar located in the center of the park.
Swimming is STRICTLY prohibited. Just like touching stalactites in caves, skin oils and acidity can harm the natural process of Travertine forming. As tempting as it may be, keep out of the water.
Some of the deeper lakes are about 44m (144ft) but, its hard to tell because the water is so clear. The creation story of the lakes tells of villagers who experienced a terrible drought. They prayed to the Black Queen (or witch, depending on the storyteller) to help them. She sent rains and storms to fill the river beds back up. She then told them to protect the area and guard it from being destroyed. In 1949 UNESCO protected the area!
Here is my happy spot of the day! Peering over a railing you can see how the river snakes through the valley and the terraces that the Traverine forms.
There are many fish to see! The most common being Brown Trout. They float calmly in the shallows and feed on food that travels down river.
Nearly all of the trails are bridges to take you through the complicated system of waterfalls and streams. Pay attention: there are no rails and sometimes it’s hard to see steps. Especially, hard to miss while taking in the beauty.
All in all, you don’t have to do much chasing. Rather the waterfalls chase you. Please go see Plitvice Lake National Park. Nature lover or not, the area will get your attention!
Your Cobweb Clearer, Kate