When planning our summer trip to Croatia, one of our goals was to visit the National Parks. I had seen pictures of the parks’ nature and it always seemed too beautiful to be true. I wanted to see with my own eyes such beautiful nature with amazing waterfalls and turquoise water.
The first National Park that we visited in Croatia was Plitvice National Park (Plitvicka Jezera) which is also the largest in Croatia. There are 16 lakes on the premises. They are separated by natural dams. There are also big and smaller waterfalls which make the whole area so majestic. Plitvice National Park has also been added to the UNESCO World Heritage register.
Getting to the park
When we arrived at the park we were actually quite confused. We knew that from this year (2019) they have changed the ticket system. So that you must buy tickets online in order to get to the park. When buying the tickets you must choose the time when will you arrive and from where (entrance I or II). Then you can get to the park in the time range of half an hour before and an hour after your chosen time. This way they want to limit how many people are visiting the park for one day. On the Internet, it said this is the only way to buy the tickets. So we had bought our tickets beforehand and needed to get there on time.
There are two entrances to the park, we went to the second entrance. We followed the signs to the entrance of the park but it was so confusing. We had to walk downhill in some forest for some time. Then we just followed other people and a few signs that we saw. Finally, we arrived at a place where there seemed to be a lot of people including the Park’s workers. We asked one of the employees where should we go to get our tickets validated. She gave us three options to explore the park. We chose the one where we could start with the train ride and also get a boat ride during our hike. Then she showed us where to wait for the train.
The amazing Plitvice Park
We got in line and waited with other people. The train took us to one side of the park from where we started the hike. The nature around us was so beautiful. The trees were green and the water so clear and blue. We were walking on a boardwalk while surrounded by this amazing nature. It seemed like a paradise. At one tiny little waterfall above the water, we saw a little snake fighting with the water rushing on its head. I don’t know how it was possible but he was right inside the tiny waterfall.
Our path led us to the boat bridge. Then we waited for a while until our boat picked us up and got us to the other side. The boat ride was about 20 minutes, I think. When we got out of the boat we saw two eating places and decided to eat something before continuing the last part of the hike. Near to the end of our hike there were two directions to choose from. One led to the big waterfalls and the other back to the trains. Although we were very tired from our hike we wanted to see the big waterfall. Luckily, it wasn’t very far. The entire hike took us about 5 hours but the views were so amazing that it was definitely worth every minute of it.
The Krka National Park
A few days later, we had planned to visit the Krka National Park. Unfortunately, I had got a sunstroke and felt pretty awful the night before and the entire morning. So, one moment when we were walking on the streets of Šibenik to get to the bus to Krka National Park, I had to slow down, take the plastic bag that we had brought just in case, and throw up on the side of the old town city walls. It was so embarrassing to run inside the oldtown walls away from the people to throw up and then come back as everything was normal. I felt better though.
I still didn’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the Krka National Park. Years ago, I had admired the pictures of it and imagined if I could go there someday. Also, I didn’t want to let down the people I had taken on the trip with me. So we went to the bus and soon arrived at the park. This park was so different from the other park. We got to swim in the waterfalls area. Although, it was at our own risk since the water level was higher than usual.
There were so many rocks at the bottom. It was almost impossible to swim there. Some rocks were so big we had to climb on them to get past them. But since they were halfway or entirely under the water, it was quite hard to get past. They were just so slippery. I’m glad we didn’t injure ourselves. Also, there was quite strong stream at some point, so we had to hold on to the rocks. When I was in the water I felt pretty good, forgot totally that I had ever felt sick.
The rest of the day
After getting out and changing clothes I felt the sickness again. We walked on the bridge to the other side and started climbing up the hill. I had to take a few breaks during the walk and rest. When we got up and started to enjoy the views, I felt terrible already. I drank a lot of water but didn’t feel any better. We knew we had to leave quite soon. Before leaving, we decided to get something to eat. Later, we tried to find a bus stop. Different people guided us to the side of the road under the trees. There was no sign at all.
So we just stood there hoping the right bus would show up and take us back to Šibenik. Luckily, the bus came and took us back to where we were supposed to go. The other part of the day I just slept in my bed while the others went to eat in the old town and swim at the beach. The next day, I felt so much better though.