Archive for the ‘Plitvice Lakes’ Category
Still chilly Croatia may not be the first place you think of to spend Valentine’s day but rest assured that romance is in the air in these five special Valentine’s Day treats:
The rambling old streets of this fishing port catch the sea breezes and wind up to glorious old St Euphemia church. Gaze in tranquil wonder at the Adriatic coastline while sea gulls swoop overhead. Weather permitting, drink a glass of champagne at Valentino seaside cocktail bar or snuggle into cosy Veli Joze, a favorite fishermen’s bar. Stay at the Hotel Lone and indulge yourself in the luxurious spa.
This favorite watering hole of the Austrian aristocracy recently served as the movie set for ‘Diana’, a bio-pic about the late Princess of Wales. Protected by Mt Ucka, the climate is always mild enough for a romantic seaside stroll along the 12-km long Lungomare. Stay at the five-star classic Hotel Mozart, reserving a room with a beach view and balcony of course. For dinner, head to the neighbouring village of Volosko and dine at Plavi Podrum, one of Croatia’s finest restaurants.
What is more romantic than a sunset? Very little and, according to Alfred Hitchcock, Zadar’s sunsets rank among the world’s best. While admiring the celestial light show, tune your ears to Zadar’s unique sea organ that transforms the movement of the sea into a sort of music. Stay in the old town center at the Hotel Bastion to best appreciate Zadar’s unique blend of antiquity and cutting edge nightlife.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
This splendid national park is jammed with tourists from April to October but in February you’ll have it mostly to yourself. The winterscape is icily spectacular particularly after a snowfall or if the waterfalls freeze. Bundle up! After a bracing walk around all 16 lakes, warm up around the fireplace in Licka Kuca restaurant, making sure to sample the hearty specialty, lamb stewed under a bell.
The gorgeous architecture of Dubrovnik loses none of its luster under the winter sun and it’s the time of year when residents reclaim their city from visitors, crowding into the cafes and filling restaurants. The cultural life is in full swing as the Dubrovnik Orchestra tunes up and there are sure to be a full menu of art exhibitions. A stay at the fabulous five-star Villa Dubrovnik will set any romance on fire.
With such a bountiful natural heritage to choose from, where do Croatians go when they want to destress, wind down, relax? If it’s just for a short break, a recent survey showed that the number one choice of Croatians is the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park. With 16 lakes and myriad waterfalls, that can’t be a surprise. And Plitvice Lakes is stunning to visit any time of the year from the snows of winter to the greenery of summer. The second choice was the thermal spa resort of Sveti Martin in Medimuska County, not far from Zagreb. The third choice was Istria, another all-year destination. In the top eight measured, nowhere was Dubrovnik, the unquestioned first choice of foreign tourists. Why? I suspect price has something to do with it.
A little stroll along the walkways of Plitvice Lakes is not sporty enough for you? On June 5, you can test your running skills on what may be the world’s most beautiful marathon. The Plitvice Marathon is organised by the Plitvice Lakes National Park staff and includes a choice of three different levels, depending on your skills. There’s a 42km, 16km, and 5km course that will take you along the pathways of these 16 spectacular lakes. The top two levels are divided into age categories but runners of all levels get a ticket to the park, a triumphal pasta dinner and other goodies just for entering. Click here for more details and an application form.
If you haven’t yet visited Plitvice Lakes National Park, go soon because visitor numbers are rising every year. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most visited of all Croatia’s National Parks, receiving some 980,000 visitors in 2010, 5% more than in 2009. There’s no wrong season to visit the park; you’ll see snow in winter, thundering cascades in spring, luscious greenery in summer and a rainbow of colors in autumn.
Plitvice National Park’s 16 turquoise lakes are so clean and luminous that you want to jump right in. Alas. Swimming is forbidden in Plitvice Lakes National Park. As a tour guide once explained to me, “The lakes are also a resevoir for drinking water! We just can’t allow swimming”.
I assumed that the only alternative for swimming in a Croatian National Park was Krka Waterfalls where a swimming area is roped off right next to the crashing waterfalls. Now, The Guardian has set me straight. A reader’s suggestion yesterday pointed out that you can swim just a few kilometers north of the National Park. The Korana river flows into Plitvice Lakes National Park and is just as inviting on a hot day as Plitvice’s sparkling lakes. Just outside the village of Korana, villagers have even placed a small ladder next to a tree to make it easier to dive into crystal clear river.
Given the heat wave now sweeping Croatia, I can imagine that there will be quite a line leading up to that ladder!
See more about Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia’s wondrous national park, has made it into the semifinals of the New7Wonders competition. Run by the New7Wonders foundation, this competition has as its goal the following
“Through film, television, the Internet and books, people shall be sensitized to the beauty of the world’s heritage, both man-made and natural, and be alerted of its destruction and decay.”
What could be more worthy of inclusion than the stunning system of lakes and waterfalls that comprises Plitvice Lakes National Park?
It’s got my vote. Give it yours!