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Happening Hrvatska, Croatia – part 3 - Al Fresco Holidays

Part 3 of Nick Rigg’s visit to Croatia  in May where he explores one of  Croatia’s natural wonders…

image of a waterfall at Plitvice park
Spectacular waterfalls at Plitvice park

Plitvice National Park

I had decided to finally visit Plitvice Lakes this weekend as a counterpoint to all those islands  and olive groves. Plitvice is Croatia’s foremost national park and a UNESCO protected attraction around 3 hours drive from Pula and 2 from Zadar. 

Image of waterfalls at Plitvice in Croatia

Lakes and waterfalls at Plitvice National park

The unique combination of 9 lakes interacting with limestone bedrock has created a simply astonishing natural wonder of cascades, waterfalls and gorges. 
 
Fully exploring the main park on foot takes 7 hours and is jaw dropping.      
 
The riot of spring colours as well as wildlife is overwhelming – I kept mainly to the marked paths but saw lizards, snakes, foxes and many shoals of fish.

image of a green lizard

A Green lizard

 
 Brown bears roam freely in the park but weren’t for joining me on the day; I saw some in captivity the following day.
Image of a spotter salamander in Croatia

A spotted salamander

I stayed at a typical guest house in Korana, a village bordering the park.

For 12 pounds per night you get a studio apartment and an aperitif spot by the river which would be hard to beat anywhere.

Should anyone want a place to chill out in perfect simplicity try Korana 5 proposed by Zdravko Luketic, you won’t be disappointed.
 
 My final thoughts:

Croatia has only tourism to live off now after the decline of its various industries so they are keen to make it work; there is some wine production mainly in Istria (Malvasia and Teran are quite good) and the food is wonderful for either fish, meat or vegetables.

korana 5 riverside picnic spot

Korana 5 - a nice riverside picnic spot plus a nice price!

There is hope that after entering the EC in July prices will drop (!) but they won’t have the Euro until 2 years, if there still is such a thing.

Nevertheless I found prices 25-50% cheaper than mainland Europe.

English is very widely spoken even in rural areas; at the guest house the children spoke fluent English even if their parents didn’t.

Campsites are overtaking hotels in terms of investment opportunities and the one big difference to other beach-side parcs anywhere else in Europe is space.

One park I visited had 4km of uninterrupted coastline!

All combined, it lives up to its tag of “Europe as it used to be” but it’s worth also adding “and where you’ll want to be”.

Read part 1 and part 2 of Nick’s Croatian story.

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