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Plitvice Lakes

Explore the ever-changing waterfall paradise of croatia.
  Why visit just one lake when you can see 16, all interconnected by spectacular V waterfalls? As you wander across the wooden walkways that stretch across Croatia's Plitvice Lakes, you'll be surrounded by brilliant blue-green water that has been shaping the landscape for millennia. The lakes are actually part of one long river flowing between the Mala Kapela and Plješivica mountains, but over time it has been divided up thanks to a natural phenomenon known as a karst landscape.
  The minerals in the river basin that give the lakes their distinctive colour also react with organisms in the water to slowly wash up new layers of rock that act as natural dams. Some of these began forming over 200 million years ago but thanks to the cascading water have been constantly eroded and reformed to create an ever-changing system of waterfalls and lakes.
  It was this incredible geology that saw the Plitvice Lakes granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979, and they are still Croatia's most popular tourist attraction. It's not only these breathtaking water features that visitors can enjoy, though, as the lakes actually only take up around one per cent of the entire Plitvice Lakes National Park - 300 square kilometres (116 square miles) of luscious forest that is home to many endangered species of wildlife.
  The park is open all year round, and is well worth visiting no matter what the season. In summer you can marvel at the luscious greenery, in autumn enjoy the rich red and golden hues, and in winter see the waterfalls turn into beautiful ice sculptures as the landscape becomes a snowy wonderland.
  With so much to see, it will take around eight hours to explore all of the lakes on foot. Therefore you may want to prolong your visit by staying in one of the hotels next to the park, or pitching up in its campsite. This will allow you to explore at your own pace, and ensure you don't miss the chance to stand beneath the park's largest waterfall, the 78-metre-tall (256-feettall) Veliki Slap, and walk among the amazing rock formations of the beautiful Supljara cave.
  There are seven different routes of varying lengths that you can take around the lakes, as well as a few hiking trails that will take you deep into the surrounding forests and meadows. However, if you're not feeling too energetic, you can make use of the free electric-boat ride across the serene Lake Kozjak, the park's largest lake, enabling you to get a closer look at the wildlife swimming in the clear waters. You can also hop on the free shuttle bus that can take you up to the highest points of the park for some truly breathtaking panoramic views.
  Once you've seen the roaring waterfalls and peaceful lakes, there are plenty of restaurants and cafés where you can stop off to enjoy some delicious food and reflect on the majesty of this old and new natural wonder.