Part Three! I decided to give Plitvice (PLEET-veetsa) its own post in this Central European saga because it is too beautiful not to stand out. Croatia, as I mentioned last week, is still getting used to a tourism boom and in some ways doesn’t seem quite prepared for the onslaught of foreign people it receives, and will continue to receive, throughout the year. Plitvice is kind of a prime example of this. It’s Croatia’s biggest national park and receives thousands and thousands of visitors each year, but you could easily pass it on the mountain highway and never know. While here in Utah we are used to giant ecstatic signs welcoming us to national parks and pointing us in the right direction, in Croatia there aren’t even specific buses going to Plitvice and you have to ask the bus driver to stop at the park. My travel buddy and I arrived after a late heavy snowfall so 3/4 of the park ended up being closed due to flooding. But even though I talked to the tourist information lady for 10 minutes and wandered around the front gates for awhile, we were not informed of this until we hiked down to the bottom of the lower lakes and ran into all the trail closed signs.
It might seem like I’m complaining a bit, but really, Plitvice was one of my favorite days in Croatia. Once you figure things out and do some research (which we did not. Next time, stop by the Plitvice info station in Zagreb), seeing any bit of the park is absolutely worth the confusion of getting there. Especially in the off season, we were kind of expecting things to be a bit harder to figure out. Plitvička Jezera is a must see for anyone travelling to the area and I plan to visit again when the park is not under water.