Croatia- A brief respite in Plitvice Lakes National Park

As we left the city of Split behind we were ready for a bit of nature and calm. As we drove the 280km from Split to Plitvice we left behind the motorways and entered a serene world of woodlands and differing shades of green. The picturesque Plitvice Lakes National Park is an area of 300sq km covered in lakes and forest.

We arrived at our accommodation choosing Ethno Houses Plitvica Selo http://www.ethnoplitvice.com as they were located in the heart of the National Park. What a wonderful choice!! The perfect set up for families. The kids were instantly out of the car and running around to explore. The accommodation is a set up of very quaint wooden cabins perfectly suited to a family with a kitchenette and plenty of space to spread out. We were in a family suite and there was more than enough room for our family of five.

Not only were we located only 400 metres from the highest waterfall in the heart of Plitvice Lakes National Park, we had a choice of many activities on hand to try like cycling along marked routes, archery, bowling, badminton, miniature golf, table-tennis, darts and hanging bowling.

Mini golf at Ethno Houses

Mini golf at Ethno Houses

The kids were kept entertained with the outdoor obstacle course, the mini ZOO and even the pet Vietnamese pig. They weren’t even interested in venturing out to the park as they were so enthralled in all the joy of running around and playing with all the animals.

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We finally dragged ourselves away from this wonderful place and headed off to the starting point. Paths, mostly made of wooden planks or gravel have been built and take you through the whole park. We started with an Electric boat that transported us and hordes of tourists (this wasn’t even high season) to the beginning of the trail.

Electric boat at Plitvice

Electric boat at Plitvice

The paths meander through the park allowing you to take in the most awe inspiring beauty, the colours and calmness you feel as you walk through the park cannot be described. It’s like you’ve entered a movie set to some fantasy movie like “Lord of the Rings”.  A walk from one end of the park to the other normally takes around four hours but there are so many wonderful views it took us around 6 hours to meander through the park.

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The only drawback to this extraordinary place is the amount of tourists, but how could one complain when we are exactly that! There are many instances where the path is extremely narrow and there is no way to take over the person in front of you if they have stopped for a moment. This in turn causes a back log of people stopping dead in their tracks wondering what is going on ahead. The feeling of being rushed deters from the serene surroundings and brings you back with a thump knowing your still in this modern day crazy rushed world.

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We only spent one night here thinking it would be enough. Looking back we should of stayed longer. I’m sure that if we’d started our hike at the very beginning of the day we would of been able to avoid the tourist buses coming in for their day trip. Our accommodation was so comfortable we could of relaxed at the end of the day with a sauna or a good book and glass of wine.

Wherever we travelled in Croatia we had the same thought..it wasn’t long enough. This country is full of amazing surprises, from it’s dramatic Adriatic coastline through to it’s emerald green lakes and wooded forests, we merely touched the surface of a truly extraordinary country. It won’t be long before we are back to take a more in depth look at this little corner of the world.

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