A two hour bus ride from Zagreb, the Plitvice National Park is the oldest National Park in Southeast Europe and the largest in Croatia. If you’ve ever seen a picture of these lakes and falls, you might guess they lay hidden in the turquoise waters of the Bahamas or Hawaii. The Park sees over a million visitors a year and it’s not very difficult to see why. Traveling to the Park in the off season had its benefits and downfalls. For one, we were two of maybe 30 total people we saw the entire day. On the other hand, the upper park was closed due to high water and extreme ice.
A light snowfall had dusted the frozen vegetation and freezing temperatures preserved scattered ice patches along the wooden path. The Ranger at the ticket office strictly warned us of ice on the pathways and to be cautious, but proceeded to smile and shuffle us in.
The pathways are inches above the falls and in some cases, the water was flowing over the paths and even destroying the wooden planks. The ice was sketchy and we were lucky to not slip or even fall into the frigid water, which I imagine happens quite frequently.
Pathway flooding and way too sketchy to go any further.
Water overflowing on the trail. The barricade was ready to burst!
The lower Park and upper Park are separated by a 30 minute ferry crossing which reminds you how massive this place really is.The upper Park was closed and the small town of boutique hotels was closed for the winter, so we decided to walk back towards the lower Park and explore the entrance to a frozen cave.
Buffet was closed and so was the town : (
Doing the ice dance, treacherous!
The sun was shining and trying to thaw the ice, but it wasn’t working as we saw a girl fall hard on her butt and proceed to turn around. We cautiously made our way across the falls and enjoyed a well deserved beer and pastry at the lodge restaurant. The buses run several times a day, but it seemed as if our entire morning group was just as frozen as us and we all boarded the same bus back to Zagreb.
Until next time…