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Plitvice lakes national park, the green heart of Croatia

Forget the alluring coasts. The green inland of Croatia is if possible even more beautiful. With as summum the lakes of Plitvice, one of the most impressive natural phenomena in Europe.

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The city of Karlovac, just south of the capital Zagreb, is the gateway to the groe-ne inland of Croatia. The ecotourism in this region is slowly on the corridor, such as along the river Mrenica, with countless small waterfalls. But in the southern region of Lika you will find the most unspoiled nature.

The Gacka river is a stick-old but very brave woman out of her wooden house and shows us the starting point for our canoe trip on this stream, one of the purest of Europe, with crystal clear water and well known for the many trouts, which you can spot. The tour goes through a landscape where time has hundreds of seems to stand still. Cows graze along the shore, and chickens run free in the yard of a farm. It was used to house a lot of water mills. Some have been restored and show how the grain in the traditional way is ground.

Watervallenpark

The biggest and not to be missed attraction of the Croatian inland, the Plitvice lakes national park is also in Lika. The nature reserve has 16 lakes at different altitudes. They are connected to one another by spectacular waterfalls, huge gorges in the rocks have beaten. One million visitors to this world heritage site every year all over the floor, but you notice that if you are on the trails around the lakes or on the wooden wandelbruggetjes of this vast national park.

There are also beautiful cycling routes, but we are vessels for a boat ride on the largest and highest situated lake. The calm water is beautiful turquoise and is surrounded by beech and spruce forests. We are located just 15 km from the Bosnian border. “The park continued during the war five years closed, which is not a bad thing for the fauna and flora,” says our guide. “Because here, bears, wolves, wild cats and many rare bird species.” Around the park are numerous small hotels, pensions and chalets located and you can also horses for rent to explore the region.

On the way back to Zagreb, there is time for trout to taste, a specialty of the region. We do that in Rastoke, a small idyllic village with water-mills on the blue river Slunjèica. The 30 families living here also rent out rooms to tourists. Rastoke seems to be a pocketversie of what this area has to offer: meandering rivers in a relaxing oasis of green.

(Filip Godelaine in Plus Magazine)

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