The smallest city in the world
Plitvice Lakes is the oldest and largest national park in the Republic of Croatia.
The park is situated in the mountainous region of Croatia, between the Mala Kapela mountain range in the west and northwest, and the Lička Plješivica mountain range to the southeast.
With its exceptional natural beauty, this area has always attracted nature lovers, and already on 8 April 1949, it was proclaimed Croatia’s first national park. The process of tufa formation, which results in the building of the tufa, or travertine, barriers and resulted in the creation of the lakes, is the outstanding universal value, for which the Plitvice Lakes were internationally recognised on 26th October 1979 with their inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1997, the boundaries of the national park were expanded, and today it covers an area just under 300 km2.
The park is primarily covered in forest vegetation, with smaller areas under grasslands. The most attractive part of the park – the lakes – cover just under 1% of the total park area.
The lake system is comprised of 16 named and several smaller unnamed lakes, cascading one into the next. Due to the geological substrate and characteristic hydrogeological conditions, the lake system has been divided into the Upper and Lower lakes. The Plitvice Lakes National Park offers visitors seven different routes to tour the lake system, and four hiking trails. The park is open to visitors year round. All visitors are required to follow the instructions listed on the information panels, to keep on the marked trails, and to leave no traces of their visit, such as litter, or marking or devastating nature in any form.