Last autumn, my family and I travelled to Europe, as the kids had a school exchange in Italy (more on that in a future post). After spending a few days in South Africa, we spent 5 days travelling around Slovenia and Croatia before settling down in Italy for a few weeks. Today I will share with you my Plitvice Lakes – Croatia Guide.
After leaving the Croatian city of Pula, we made our way towards Plitvice Lakes. We chose to follow the beautiful Croatian coast up till Senj and then we drove through the countryside all the way to the lakes area.
The first stop of the day was at Opatija. This town looks like a little Montecarlo or Nice. It is a summer and winter resort, very famous in the area.
There are lots of cafes and a nice beach area.
And a lovely promenade.
Make sure to visit the beautiful Church of St. James. It is located on the site of the Benedictine Abbey which gave its name to Opatija – which in fact means “abbey”.
We were very lucky as the weather was stunning that day and the sea looked beautiful.
We briefly stopped in Crikvenica to have lunch. We found a local bakery called Medulin where we enjoyed the best burek ever.
And spinach and cheese burek.
Highly recommended! See the map for the details!
After living the coast, the road passes through the countryside. There is a huge difference. While the coast looks more modern and richer, the countryside looks a bit more run down.
The closer you get to the lakes area and the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina, the more evident the signs of the civil war that devastated this area in the 90’s. There are still many ruins and buildings with mortar holes. Many houses are abandoned and I can’t help wondering what happened to the people who used to live there.
It’s been almost 30 years, but it feels like yesterday. I used to live in Italy at that time, and the war was literally a few kilometres away, so it felt really close and we used to follow it attentively.
This part of the country is also breathtakingly beautiful, especially on a sunny day!
We arrive at our accommodation in Jelov Klanac in the late afternoon. See below for the details and review.
The following day, we wake up early and at 7 AM we are at the entrance of the lakes. You will want to start as early as possible, especially during high-season. It was not high-season when we visited, however from around 10 AM, the big busses started to come in and the crowds were a bit intense.
Also, remember to purchase your ticket in advance on the official site!
There are different trails you can take to explore the park. The one we chose (H) was about 6 hours long, but it’s all easy walking (plus a boat ride). The kids could do it easily as well.
There are also plenty of benches and picnic spots.
In the park, you will see lots of beautiful waterfalls.
And the colour of the lakes is simply breathtaking.
And look at the reflection!
Absolutely worth visiting!
At about 2 PM, we left Plitvice Lakes and drove to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
We had dinner at the Plitvice Holiday Resort’s restaurant. The food was really tasty and the place was rustic and hearty! I personally loved it. They also had live music and dancing… what more can you ask for?
I had a delicious steak with braised potatoes.
My husband had chicken filled with ham and cheese and potato croquettes.
And the kids had a huge portion on homemade nuggets.
We stayed in a pretty wooden chalet at Jelov Klanac Ranch. This place is gem.
The owner is a really nice lady. Very friendly and very helpful.
The apartment has a living/kitchen area with 2 extra beds, 1 bedroom, and 1 bathroom. There was also a wood stove, which was essential, as it became very cold at night!
In summer, you could have a barbecue outside, as they have all the stuff needed. Besides, they even have horses!
It is very clean and the place itself is beautiful and well kept. Highly recommended!
This is a really beautiful area of Europe. Opatija and the Croatian coast are breathtaking, in any season.
Plitvice Lakes are an absolute must-visit.
Highly recommended! If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will be happy to help out!
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