Plitvice Lakes national park
Croatia’s first National park established in 1949 covers 296.85 km2 of breathtaking natural splendor becoming with it the largest among the eight national parks of the country. Ranging in altitude from 367 m (Koranski most) to 1279 m (Seliški vrh) above sea level. The park was inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979, in recognition of its “outstanding natural beauty and undisturbed production of travertine (tufa) through chemical and biological action”. The park represents a phenomenon of karst hydrography.
The park harbours a grand collection of waterfalls, gallery of lakes, forest and diversity of animal life. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight. The sixteen lakes which are formed by natural dams of travertine are separated into upper and lower lakes. About eight km of pathways and wooden walking trails around lakes are accessible to visitors. Trails are descending from an altitude of 636m to 503m above sea level.
Plitvice lakes are recognized as an astonishing natural monument for the benefit and enjoyment of the people now and for the generations to come.
Plitvice Park continues to provide inspiration for visitors becoming nowadays one of Croatia’s biggest attractions. Thousands of people from all over the world visit the Park during summer. They come to find peace and relaxation just to experience something different as a getaway from the city.
Hiking is a common activity with organized programs for park visitors, other possible activities include: electric boat and train ride, cycling, skiing and rowing.
Plitvice lakes national park is much bigger then people think or they may explore. The paths and bridges where visitors may walk leading them through the area where it is safe and atractive. However, you may find many beauties of nature in the whole area if you find the way
Our country is a speleological El Dorado. Not many countries in the world have so much surface covered in karst. Over fifty per cent of Croatian territory, even seventy per cent if we include the undersea surface area, is made of limestone. Limestone easily dissolves in water. Interaction of water and limestone creates a unique and specific relief with a large number of karst forms. In our country, karst stretches from Istria, over Croatian Littoral, Gorski Kotar, Kordun, Lika and Dalmatia including islands, all through the border with Monte Negro. It is part of Dinaric Kras, called after the representative mountain of the area, the impressive Dinara Mountain, located at the border of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, a typical, limestone dominated mountain. Dinaric Kras extends from Soča, along the Adriatic Sea, all through Albania.
Caves of Barać are located some six kilometres to the east of Rakovica (highway Zagreb-Split), just over half a kilometre to the west from the centre of the village of Nova Kršlja. Entrances to all three caves from the north are called Baraćeve Brine. At the bottom of Brine, between the entrances to the caves, is Baraćevac spring, which, together with two smaller springs (without name) form Kršlja stream that merges with the Suvaja stream some twenty meters downstream. Kršlja flows several kilometres through the field, and at its eastern part, through a series of pits, enters the Varićak Cave, where it accounts for the greatest amount of water mass in its channels. Caves of Barać were once known as Radaković Caves. The last name Barać no longer exists in this region – this is a toponym from the times before or during Turkish invasions. According to the local legend, the caves were named after someone named Barać who defeated the furious Turkish giant in the battlefield and earned himself such honour. We know that there are three caves. Some call them Large and Small, Upper and Lower, and the third one simply – the Third, which allegedly has nothing to do with the two former ones. After rediscovering the entrance and position, along with some new channels, we called the third one – the New Barać Cave.
RASTOKE – SLUNJ
Rastoke is the historic center of the Croatian municipality of Slunj. This old part of Slunj is known for its well-preserved mills and the picturesque little waterfalls along the Slunjčica river, which flows into the river Korana at this place. The Korana river originates at Plitvice Lakes National Park.
At Rastoke, similar natural phenomena are occurring as at the Plitvice Lakes. This location is therefore often being referred to as “the Small Lakes of Plitvice”. Both locations are interconnected by the Korana river. Rastoke is a place of autochthonous ecologic and ethnographic significance due to its symbiosis of natural and civilizational features.
The town of Slunj emerged around Rastoke and the branching of the Slunjčica and Korana rivers. The watermills erected at this place largely contributed to the economic development of Slunj as the center of the region of Kordun.
The source of the river Korana actually is a spectacular finish of Plitvice lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice, which are connected in a valley called Sastavci. Its length is 134.2 km, and it flows into the river Kupa at Karlovac. It belongs to the Black Sea basin and is not navigable. In many parts of Korana flows through picturesque, limestone canyons high hundred meters or more. These canyons are covered with beech trees or pitted. In its upper reaches are picturesque caves.
No one knows where comes its name. According to many, “Korana” is derived from the word “Kora” (plants), and according to some, “Korana” or “Gorana” means water flowing from the mountain (Croatian – “gora”). Korana is one of the most beautiful and cleanest Croatian mountain rivers. In its upper part is within the boundaries of the National Park.
That part is the most beutiful and unspoiled, partly hidden and out of the tourist map. It is on you to discover it and enjoy perfectly clean and fresh water.
WINTER HOLDAYS AT PLITVICE LAKES
Winter on Plitvice Lakes whole nature gives a different dimension. Despite low temperatures you have a chance to see the magic of frozen waterfalls and lakes, skiing and sledging at Mukinje winter centre. Winters can be very cold in this part of Croatia with lot of snow, but riding horses in the snow may be unforgetable experience for you. You will enjoy local food specialties in the cozy accommodation of our house.