I was a little bit nervous when we drove up to the entrance to Plitvice Lakes National Park. In fact, I felt a bit like Bridget Jones when she headed off on her skiing mini-break, despite having never skied in her life.
If you haven’t realised this already, I am not a sporty person. I am a lazy girl at heart. I’ve always much rathered cocktails, pho and city-hopping over greenery, protein bars and hiking. In fact, I’ve never really understood hiking at all. I mean, why would one do such a thing? You just get all sweaty and tired and there are no proper toilets. I have massive respect for people who do things like trekking through the Himalayas or along the Camino de Santiago, but I have zero desire to ever do such a thing on holiday.
With all that in mind, I must have had a mini freak out when getting dressed that morning for Plitvice Lakes and for some reason, I decided that Havaianas were the most appropriate footwear for a day of hiking.
And I’m paid to give travel advice to people.
As it turned out, my questionable footwear turned out to be total genius on my part. It had rained a lot in northern Croatia in April – hell, it had snowed heavily only two weeks before our visit – and as such it seemed as if half the park was under water. Bridges were often completely submerged and we could only assume the location of some paths.
I’d wanted to see Plitvice Lakes ever since I’d first seen an aerial photo of the park. Interestingly enough, that was only a year or so ago. Think ‘Croatia’ and you normally picture islands and the ridiculously blue water of Dalmatia. You don’t necessarily think of the country’s hilly northern region, wedged between Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia. But this area has its own charms, with less crowds and a more temperate climate.
Having seen only a handful of pictures of Plitvice Lakes, I didn’t really know what to expect. (Hence the worry over all that hiking.) I wasn’t let down. Not in the slightest.
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe Plitvice Lakes National Park adequately. Essentially it is an area in which sixteen different lakes are clustered, all at different levels and with waterfalls connecting them. Each lake has a different mineral content, meaning that each appears a different colour. In short, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Plus, perhaps most importantly, I am happy to report that the park is totally safe for lazy people. Yes, you will be walking for a few hours – three would be the absolute minimum – but the tracks are mainly flat (apart from an uphill climb at the end) and there’s even a couple of lovely little boat rides chucked in for good measure. I had an absolute ball and never felt tired.
As I am a lazy girl, and I’m not particularly good at describing nature without sounding like a wanky guidebook, I’m going to let my pictures do the talking. Enjoy.
I got a bit of a taste of how other travellers do things that day at Plitvice Lakes. I suppose nature can be quite lovely, really. There weren’t any cocktails and it wasn’t exactly Mount Everest, but Plitvice was just right for someone who wanted to just dip her toes into all that hiking stuff. Quite literally, as it turned out.
And don’t even think about getting me on a skiing mini-break.