You REALLY need to see these two National Parks in Croatia
Croatia is catching fire....don't you want to see it before the rest of the world does?
Croatia is certainly off the beaten path for most Americans....for right now, at least. But this previously war-torn country is FULL of hidden gems, and we wanted to take a couple minutes here to detail some of the things we're looking forward to most next summer in Croatia.
And if you're an outdoorsman, nature lover, or simply love the 'hidden gems' in life, then this trip is 100% for you. Don't think for a second that Croatia is just 'another place to go to the beach.'
Our tour next July kicks off in Zagreb, Croatia, the capital city, and is full of everything from zip-lining, whitewater rafting, box drop-ins, city walks, seafood tasting, island hopping and more. But it's beyond Zagreb that's going to be the highlight of this trip. European cities are wonderful, and as glorious as they may be, it's the nature, the off the beaten path places that have consistently, 'wowed' people on all of our trips so far, and I really think we've got something special in store for those of you interested in our Croatia tour next summer.
Two highlights, actually....Plitvice National Park and Krka National Park. Let's dive in...
1. PLITVICE NATIONAL PARK
One of Croatia's biggest and most popular national parks has been drawing people here for over 200 years (as far as written history goes), but Plitvice rakes in over 1 million annual visitors and is home to 16 cascading lakes of constantly changing colors. From the bright blue hue to an orange marmalade, all four seasons in Croatia means a slight change and variation of temperature, and color in this amazing place.
Plitvice became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 and was actually home to a Serbian military quarter for several hundred years before it was finally open to the public in 1777. Kinda crazy to think George Washington was still alive when this National Park became PUBLIC!
As it is, Plitvice is about an hour and a half from Zagreb, the Bosnian border, Zadar and Split, and can be easily reached via public transportation as well from all of the above cities.
Anyway, more fun facts about the lake....it was a flashpoint for the '91 Croatian War for Independence and served as a stronghold for the Croatian League of Communists.
So, despite its beauty, it's got more lore than one might think. But visiting Plitvice is not just about the lakes and waterfalls. The national park is home to over 60 different types of orchid, and among the 100+ plant species here, there are ample brown bears, lynx, wolves, eagles, and wild cats spread over the park's 73,400 acres of land. Watch the video down below to get a feel for it even more.
Plus, the park boasts electric-powered boats throughout the 19 lakes and panoramic trains escort visitors around the waters with wooden walkways meandering through the alpine forests and streams. Whether you want to picnic, or just want to take in the breathtaking views, it's the kind of place that's going to leave a lasting imprint on you, no doubt.
2. Krka National Park
Nothing is more inviting than a public waterfall and swimming hole, right? Welcome to Croatia's famous 'Krka Waterfalls,' a world-renowned attraction and Croatian national park.
Krka is the second most-visited national parks, famed for its lagoon of 'Skradinski buk,' where you're able to swim year-round. The waterfalls and swimming hole has actually been SO popular in the past few years, that Croatia has actually put a cap on its admission numbers, limiting the overall foot traffic into the park in order to keep its beauty at peak levels.
Krka is not just famous for its waterfalls, the park is actually home to several monasteries of monks, who built their homes here over 500 years ago, and you're able to see and walk through many of the remnants of them, which overlook the falls and are connected via a series of wooden walking paths and more.
Today, the national park (which became one in 1985) attracts over 1 million tourists a year, making it the second busiest national park, after Plitvice, of course. It's been SO popular in fact, that the park has put a cap of 10,000 people to swim in the waters at one time. And with 17 different waterfall areas, that's a serious limit to the park. The river that feeds the waterfalls is nearly 45 miles long and is home to a wide network of boardwalks behind the falls themselves, ushering you into a deep, dark forest, home to several of the monk monasteries, wildlife, and more.
Either way, if you're going to Croatia, love nature, and want to see the highlights while still hitting the 'must-sees,' Krka better be on your list. Just make sure you eat at the cafe down below the waterfalls which has AMAZING seafood. Just one of my other favorite things about Croatia in general.....the food cannot be beat! Especially, if you're a health nut.
From the summer of 2017, Krka’s walkways have become one-way only. As well as a ticker board indicating exact numbers of entrants at any given time, the authorities have brought in online booking for specific admission times.
Croatia has a lot of things going for it. From the amazing food, super nice people, incredible seaside cities, islands, pristine beaches, hikes, CrossFit gyms, national parks and more. I seriously cannot even begin to detail ALL of my favorite things about it, but I highly recommend putting Croatia on your list before it becomes overrun with tourists. Being one of the countries that is full of European tourists, right now, it's only a matter of time before they put the gates up and 'limit' the number of travelers who have come to see their amazing gems. which have only come to light since the Bosnian War in the late 90's.
Get to Croatia before it's too late! Trust me, you won't regret it :)
Email me with questions and I'd be happy to hook you up with a discount to Croatia.