Last year, still with all four feet firmly standing on Mexican soil, we already started to daydream about places we would explore once we arrived in Croatia. We had a wedding in front of us and our photo package included engagement photo shoot as well. Having those photos taken in Plitvice Lakes seemed like a brilliant idea and a perfect destination for our first day trip in Croatia.
Story about love
It was early October and weather was perfect – partly sunny, not too cold and not too hot. Two hours ride from Zagreb were quite pleasant, only if we remembered to compile some nice music CD because radio signal was nonexistent in some parts of the road and iPod was left at home. We parked at entrance 1, got the tickets (110 kunas for grown-ups in October, during high summer season they are much more expensive) and walked our way to lakes.
There is small, but very useful map printed out on tickets. If you check it out, you will find out there are plenty of walking trails all around the lakes. You can choose from the ones 2 hours long up to 10 hours in the park. Some routes consist of walking only, but some are a mix of walking, boat and train ride, which are included in entrance fee as well. We chose exactly that kind of route, 3 to 4 hours long. This is what is so great about Plitvice – it is suitable for everyone, no matter what your age or physical condition are.
Next four hours we spent exploring one of the busiest and the most stunning routes around the upper lakes. The magical combination of perfectly turquoise water, wooden paths and unique vegetation, made a perfect setting for our pre-wedding photos. We used every opportunity to hug, squeeze and take amazing photos within such a beautiful scenery. Since we were there with a photographer, we were kind of attraction ourselves and some Asian groups even wanted to take photos with us!
Put Plitvice on your *must see* list because…
Plitvice lakes are true must see location when you are in Croatia. They are indeed a unique combination of water and karst forms incorporated into the wild forest. When numerous visitors and scientists realized nothing similar exists anywhere else in the world, UNESCO declared lakes to be part of their World heritage list in 1949. This 16 fairy green lakes are the result of a game of water, permeable and impermeable rocks and living creatures and they are the second most known destination in Croatia, after Dubrovnik.
If you explore the area carefully enough, you will be able to discover different sorts of living animals, a real jungle, the biggest waterfall in Croatia and your inner peace. We sure did.
Story about marathon
This spring we came back. Jaime started to run more seriously and he applied for Plitvice marathon. Yes, he chose one of the hardest trails in this area to be his first full marathon. I did understand him; it was a challenge and it was the unbelievable attractive challenge he just could not resist to. It was the first weekend in June and we reached Plitvice shortly after 6 am. Jaime, dad, Lota the dog and me. We were chilling until 9 am when the race started and Jaime began his 42 km long adventure. Luckily, it was nor hot or cold and you could feel rain in the air. Everybody who was running said they would rather choose rain than hotness, so I dare to say weather conditions were perfect for a long race.
While he was running, three of us explored Plitvice. I must mention Plitvice are pet-friendly and dogs are more than welcome, of course, if they are well-behaved and on a leash. Lota enjoyed the long walk and she seemed quite interested in different waterfalls and butterflies flying around. During 3.5 hours she did not show any sign of tiredness or that she had difficulties with overcoming paths (of course we did not walk all the time, she had plenty of water, we took rest and rode the boat).
This time, we started from entrance 2 and chose the completely different area to explore. We needed to be back in finish line in four hours so three hours long trail was perfect for us. Again there was the combination of walking around two smaller lakes, seeing some incredible scenery and taking a boat and train in the end.
Apply for Plitvice marathon because…
Two hours and 15 minutes later, Jaime sent me a message he just completed first 21 kilometers. That was more 20 minutes slower than his usual time and I knew the race was hard. I just hoped he would finish it without getting injured or lost. And he did! Also, during the whole morning I was observing how everything was organized and I did not find even one fault, as a visitor. Later Jaime agreed that everything was organized perfectly, the only omission was a car that strayed on a racetrack somewhere at the west side of Plitvice. He was noticed early enough so everything went well.
Anyhow, we came back to finish line maybe half an hour before he came. The rain was slowly starting when we saw him in the distance. Thank god, he was ok! He ran next to me without even noticing me and continued to finish line. He did it, he finished his first 42 km! I was so proud he made it. As we entered the changing tent, the downpour started. What a perfect timing, ha? 🙂 We are coming back next year, that’s all I need to say.
See more of Plitvice Lakes in our Facebook album HERE, it is marvelous!
If you decided to visit Plitvice, check out our list of dreamy accommodation around the Lakes.
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