Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

16 - 17 September 2017

We started our journey early today taking the 7.30am bus from Sarajevo to Bihac (KM 20 per person, KM 2 per luggage). From Bihac, we would be taking a bus or taxi to Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is a Unesco World Heritage site. At this point, we didn't know if there is any connecting buses going to the national park.

We left our apartment at 6.30am, planning to take the tram from Katedrala to the bus station. We waited until it was already 6.50am, there was still no tram no. 1, only tram no. 3 was passing by. So we decided to just walk, which would take us 30 minutes. It was a really good morning exercise! On hindsight, actually we could take the tram no. 3, then alight at Universitet A, then walk 10 minutes to the bus station. We did ask the newspaper kiosk which sells the tram ticket, the vendor did say we could take it, but wasn't sure where we should alight. We reached the bus station around 7.20am, and the bus arrived shortly after.

The journey from Sarajevo to Bihac is equally scenic as well, passing by rivers, valleys, and waterfalls. We agreed that we shall visit this country again to see the other cities such as Travnik, Jajce and Bihac itself, which we stopped by briefly for passengers to get on and off. Along the way we could see fortresses and camping sites by the river. The journey from Sarajevo to Bihac took about 6 hours.

Bosne river along the way


 at Jajce

Veliko Plivsko lake at Jajce

We arrived at Bihac bus station around 1.35pm. Then we went to the ticketing to ask if there is any buses going to Plitvice Lakes. Luckily for us, the there was indeed! And the next bus was scheduled at 2pm which was really good timing! We bought the ticket for KM4 per person. The journey from Bihac to Plitvice Lakes took about just 1 hour with border crossing between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia at Licko Petrovo Selo. We alighted at Entrance 1 of the Plitvice Lakes National Park as our guesthouse Marijan (EUR 50 per night, Booking.com) is located at Rastovaca which is near to Entrance 1. The bus just stopped by the roadside, then we walked to our guesthouse, about 10 minutes away. Rastovaca is a really nice cute little village with guesthouses catering to the hikers to Plitvice Lakes.

our Guesthouse Marijan

our simple room
our simple room

another cute house at Rastovaca

another house in Rastovaca

There was no shops around, so we had our late lunch / early dinner at the Licka Kuca National restaurant, near the Entrance no. 1. We had the grilled trout and vegetable rice which tasted really good.

inside Licka Kuca national restaurant

grilled trout

vegetable rice

After our meal, we went to check out the souvenir shop at Entrance no. 1 Since it was already 6pm, we would only be trekking at Plitvice tomorrow. The park opens at 7am so we planned for an early start tomorrow.

Entrance 1 ticket counter

souvenir shop at Entrance 1

traditional dance show going on at the entrance

Early rise for us today! It was raining this morning, and was still raining at 7am. Since we wanted the whole park to ourselves, rain or shine, we had to start early, before the busloads of tourists come flocking. We rang the bell of our hosts downstairs to deposit our backpacks, which we would collect back around 2pm later. We would be taking the 2.45pm bus to Zagreb today. We bought the tickets for HRK 110 per person, which includes the boat and bus ride in the park. We were perhaps the first visitor at Entrance 1 for today as it was raining quite heavily. We had our raincoats on. This was the first view that welcomed us as we entered. Amazing!

waterfalls of Plitvice

Some facts on Plitvice lakes taken from Wikipedia: The Plitvice Lakes / waterfalls are a result of century-old processes and the sedimentation of chalk, which is abundantly available in the waters of this karst area. The water masses reaching the lakes at the upper or lower part of the system are continuously changing the lakes and the surrounding landscape. They finally exit the lakes as river Korana. New waterfalls are being formed while others run dry. Currently, there are 16 lakes that are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers which are all interconnected.

We took the Route B program which would take about 3 to 4 hours, covering 4km of the park since we would be taking the 2.45pm bus to Zagreb. If we stayed longer, we would have taken the Route C, which would take about 4 to 6 hours, covering 8km of the park.

choose your route

Here are pictures of the Plitvice Lakes and waterfall.

Veliki slap / Big waterfall

Gavanovac lake

Milanovac lake

wooden walkway

boat ride through Kozjak lake

small waterfalls at Kozjak lake

waterfall everywhere

stream along the walkway
green lake Gavanovac and Milanovac

These pictures won't do enough justice to such breathtaking and amazing views of the lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice. You just have to come experience them yourself! With a heavy feeling, we had to bid goodbye to Plitvice and catch our bus to Zagreb. It is certainly not enough doing a half day trek of the park. Perhaps a full 2 days would be more satisfying, but we didn't have sufficient time for our 2 week Balkan trip. And maybe trek the park at each 4 seasons!

Before leaving for Zagreb, we had lunch at Licka Kuca National restaurant again. For our 2.45pm bus to Zagreb, we bought the ticket from the bus driver which cost HRK 85 per person. We just had to wait at the bus stop at Entrance 1.



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