Croatia’s National Parks

Croatia’s National Parks

After parting ways with our friends Eric and Lishan and beautiful Dubrovnik, we spent the good part of the next day making our way north to Zadar. We decided to stay in Zadar for 3 nights to explore the city and the two nearby national parks, Krka and Plitvice Lakes. We wasted no time getting out of town to Krka in the morning to check out the waterfalls and wildlife. We had two big observations of our visit there:

  1. Spring is just about to hit. It’s definitely warmer than when we arrived in Europe a month ago. We can see buds on all the trees, and some of them are starting to sprout leaves.
  2. There’s not much wildlife around. Maybe this is because we haven’t gotten off the beaten path much, or animals are still hibernating. I guess we’re spoiled from Australia, especially Tasmania, where wildlife is hard to avoid. Supposedly there are deer, wild boar, wolves, jackals, and bears in these parts.

We walked about 5 km in Krka around the waterfalls. Parts of the foot bridge were closed for maintenance so we couldn’t do the full loop, but we were still able to get all the good views.

Humans love falling water
Takes her breath away
Classic Shawn
Didn’t really see the point of this with the nice view behind, but still couldn’t resist
Takes his breath away
Some wildlife, the processional caterpillar, which is supposedly destroying the forests around southern Europe

After taking in the main sites, we drove about 40 min farther to Puljani, another area of Krka with more falling water, a cave, and cool foot bridges. Sadly, the cave was still closed for winter, but we still enjoyed the area.

Lots of water
Dock selfie

The next day we walked around Zadar’s old town, checking out the main sites, like the Sea Organ, Greeting to the Sun, Kopnena vrata city gate, and a nearby park.

Old church
Old church and young wife
Old city gate
Pretty flowers in the park
City view from the park

We saved Plitvice Lakes National Park for the last day, since it was on our way north to Istria from Zadar. This place is one of the main attractions for any visitor to Croatia. I hadn’t read up about Plitvice much (don’t judge – there’s a lot to read and see when traveling for 9 months), so didn’t really know what to expect. When we arrived, the sign said that both the upper and lower lakes were closed, which we’re pretty sure was wrong because we walked all over the lower lakes. The lady who sold us our tickets reassured us the lower lakes were open, but didn’t otherwise want much to do with us and rushed us through. Overall, we felt like Plitvice was beautiful but poorly signed and way overrun with tourists (even though it was only March, with relatively few visitors around). To me, even the pathways, walls, and structures felt overly developed. They also used this weird lettering system on all the route signs, which didn’t tell us distances, or where the path actually led. Anyway, we took lots of pretty pictures, and spent about 2.5 hours exploring.

Water selfie
Rushing snow melt
View from the cave
View from the upper pathway back to the parking lot

After Plitvice (and a close call with low fuel in the rental car), we made our way north to Istria and the city of Rovinj. Amanda will be discussing that here on the blog soon.

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