This particular day has for main destination and attraction the National Park Plitvice, which is the most important attraction of Croatia, along with Dubrovnik. The question was which route we would follow to get there.
After we enjoyed our breakfast, buying twisted pies from a local bakery and Mimis made the coffee, we discussed the alternative routes. Initially, we thought we would follow a section of the highway up to the height of Zadar and then drove along the coast for some miles and then moving east we would arrive at the park. Mileage was much and that's why we consider the highway, despite its monotony and tolls.
Looking at the map, George proposed to move off the coastline, through the mainland and especially to the route Drnis - Knin- Gracac - Bruvno - Korenica. The truth is that we had no information about the quality of this route although some parts appeared to be interesting at the map. Moreover, it was quite shorter, approximately 200km.
Without second thought, "the die is cast" and we started with the new plan. The weather was cloudy, but seem not menacing. At most of the daytime the weather was good but in general was cloudy. The road was in good condition and engraving although relatively narrow. However, the drive was comfortable and enjoyable and this contributed to the fact that traffic was reduced. Our guide was the signs for N.P.Plitvice Jezero, which began almost from Sibenik.
Generally the Croatian province was pretty nice and interesting, without having any particular attraction... The villages were neat and graphical, without garish. In most of them there were ruins of crumbling stone houses, but also many renovated. All had tiled roofs, and small gardens. The vegetation was relatively low, while the section Drnis - Otric, had more interesting with more vegetation and places with nice views.
In the small town Gracac, we decided to find a gas station, as from Sibenik we did not find any! Unfortunately, we did not find either in Gracac. Nevertheless we were able to make a stop for coffee at a cozy cafe, next to a river bridge. We left Gracac and drove to the village of Korenica, where we met a gas station. We refueled and continued for the national park which was about 15-20km. from there. As the road began to enter into the area of the park, the vegetation increased significantly and soon we were moving to an area with tall trees. At the same time a touristic development of the area was everywhere, consisting of several accommodations and restaurants. Of course, it was organized, labeled and without tacky buildings.
We arrived at the village Rastovaca, where essentially are the two entrances to the park. Crowds of people were moving there. We thought it would be better to go first to the accommodation we find from the internet and after we left our baggage, then we will visit the park. The apartment we rented was in the village Rakovica, who abstained 11km. of the entrances.
We were greeted by the owner of Apartaments Plavic (58€/4persons), a nice lady with a lot of mood for conversation. Rooms quite good, although as it turned out later, had some shortcomings. But in general for the money we paid, it was okay. She gave us important information for our visit to the park and it was then that we realized that unfortunately the time we had wasn’t enough to visit the entire park.
Briefly the situation is as follows: the park remains open until the sunset, but the boats and buses which are involved in various transport of visitors stop running at 7pm. This means that you should have arrived at certain points of the park by this time, or else you risk to being left there and go back either walking or even swimming!
The park has two main sections and for this reason there are 2 inputs. They are linked by boat. The section from entrance 1 has more 'static' lakes, while the other has waterfalls, which makes it more impressive. We had about 2-3 hours, so it was practically impossible to visit the entire park, which generally takes 4-6 hours, depending on the walking tempo of the visitor. The truth is that the landscape was so fascinate that you don’t realize how time passes!
We chose to input 2 (entry:110 kuna) which led to the part of the park with waterfalls. The lakes formed, are at different levels and interconnected by waterfalls and small rivers. Divided in 12 upper lakes where the water level of the highest is 636,6m and 4 lower lakes with the lowest in 503m. These lakes are the result of the contribution of many small rivers flowing in the region. The Black River is the largest of all, while the lakes are also fed from underground streams and springs. The surface covering all together is about 2 square kilometers, and from the lower lake starts the river Korana - in which end up all the water of the lakes. The highest point of the park is 1.280m. and the lowest in the 380m. The elevation difference between the lakes is about 135m.The largest waterfall is Veliki Slap and has a height of 70m.
We walked for about 5km. in the park with cameras not stop working! Anywhere you looked was a painting! Water and vegetation create a stunning effect! Following the marking «C», after 3 hours we reached the point where we received a bus and returned to input 2, from which we had entered.
The owner had given us information about a restaurant named «Marko», which was 2-3km. after our room. The food was delicious and relatively economical. Moreover, from the kitchen of Croatia, we did not have great expectations...
We returned to the room at 9pm. The cold was like in winter. We sat and talked about everything we had seen that day and admittedly, we were all impressed! Although the ticket price was a little stung, however worthwhile to visit it, provided that you allocate enough time to look calmly and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of it...