9 Interesting Facts About Plitvice National Park
You’ve probably heard of the Plitvice Lakes or the Plitvice National Park in Croatia.
They are nature’s version of the Mona Lisa; a magnum opus. There isn’t a single European who doesn’t know about them and adore them for their beauty. Over 10 000 visitors visit them every day to admire their charm and magnificence. But looks aren’t everything, and these places are just as well-known for their ‘personality’ as anything else. Many interesting facts make this place of wonder stick out, so we’ll name a few of them:
If you heard the name “Pltivice Lakes” without knowing anything about them from beforehand, you’d probably think that there’s two, three or even four lakes together, right? Well, no… There’s a whopping 16 of them! They are all arranged in a cascade of sorts. Starting with a mountain runoff before further delving one another via small rivers. They are separated by natural travertine banks, while still following the same water flow. The sound of water commotion, gurgling and splashing is a non-stop occurrence. You can definitely see the might of water here in all of its glory.
2. So many birds
Plitvice Lakes are home not only to their own natural beauty, but also that of many different bird species. How many? Over one hundred and twenty, that’s how many! These bird species rely on these waterfalls to survive, as their environment is an ideal atmosphere for them to live in. Just the right combination of humidity and moisture results in Plitvice National Park being the perfect home to such bird species as the Corncrake, Ural Owl, Tengmalm’s Owl, White-backed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Black Stork, Honey Buzzard, Montagu’s Harrier, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Hazel Grouse, and Capercailie.
3. And also mammals
So we’ve mentioned all the feathery critters that live there, but what about all the furry ones? Well, don’t worry, Plitvice Lakes is home to many bears, wolves, wildcats and lynx. Besides the carnivores, there are also many different omnivores and herbivores like deer and boars as well. You can very often see them roaming around freely here in this paradise of diverse life.
Located in the lower lakes are the most extreme and tall waterfalls. One which stands out is Milanovacki Slapovi, measuring about 20 meters. If height is what impresses you when it comes to waterfalls, then Milanovac Jezero is the one for you, as its width is over 15 meters.
5. Nature freezes over
Now, you might think that the tremendous power and flow of these waterfalls prevents them from freezing over, but you’d be wrong! Winter can get really harsh in these parts, reaching well below the water freezing temperature. That means that even these lakes and waterfalls completely freeze over and can remain in that state for over a month. When they do, the effects are quite breathtaking, and wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney film!
6. The biggest one
We’re talking about the biggest waterfall of them in all of Plitvice National Park. It’s the widest and the tallest of them all, and to many is the most impressive one. The name, however, is not. It’s simply called the Great Waterfall. It’s over 70 meters tall and you can spot its mist for miles around, even through the thick flora surrounding it. Now, of course the locals didn’t want this majesty to remain unnoticed. They built a staircase that leads upwards, and taking it will allow you to see a truly breathtaking view from the top.
7. The popularity
Saying Plitvice National Park is a popular place is a huge understatement. More than 1.2 million people visit every year. Don’t let that “every year” part fool you: it can often seem like they all come on the same day! Over ten thousand visitors a day during the on-season. Off-season days are a bit less crowded, but if you think you’re the first person who thought of going there to avoid the crowd, you’re not. There is really no “target audience” here. Take a trip there and you’ll see people of all ages, kids, high-schoolers, couples, the elderly – you name it. If you wanted to enjoy peace and quiet here, your best bet would be to either come very early or come very late.
8. Lore and history
Since Pltivice Lakes were formed before humankind was walking around, it’s natural to assume that the lakes followed the course of human history. Over time, myths and legends popped out and spiced these parts with a dose of mystery and wonder that wasn’t entirely “natural”. The most popular myth is probably that of the very origin of the lakes, a tale involving an ancient sorceress queen and her magic. On the darker side, there are also many stories with the theme of drowning, which is not surprising since we’re talking about 16 lakes here. Now, on the more realistic side of it’s history, there’s the part the lakes played in the Croatian War of Independence, in which the lakes were threatened by the presence of many landmines. Luckily, post-war efforts cleaned the national park and it was declared safe once more.
9. It is really that beautiful
These monuments to the wonders of nature have it all: an astonishing view, clean air, nature’s sounds and the sheer joy of just being somewhere so vast and diverse. Standing there, one can really say they have become one with nature. Plitvice National Park can rightfully be called the most magnificent place in all of Europe, perhaps even in all the world.