What we most wanted to see in Croatia was the Plitvice Lakes National Park — a five-mile-long valley where a river becomes a series of sixteen lakes, one cascading into the next as the valley deepens into a gorge. All around are low mountains and deep forest that shelter all kinds of animals, some nearly impossible to find in the wild anywhere else in Europe. Click here for more information about the lakes, the park, and the history of both.

Coming by bus from Lovran was a day's easy journey. We stayed three nights so we’d have two full days to walk around and see as much as we wanted. Our guidebooks said vigorous hikers could see it all much faster, that one day or even half-day might be enough, but — as distinctly nonvigorous hikers — we knew we’d want more time.

One departure from the website's routine: we found many beautiful things to photograph, but few if any really needed captions. In the end, we decided to omit captions in the Plivice photo galleries and let the pictures speak for themselves.

The menu below lists the three days and nights of our journey to Plitvice and our stay there. To open an item, move the cursor onto it. (If it doesn’t open, move the cursor off and back on again.)

An Angular Course

Getting from Lovran to Plitvice was a kind of cushion shot: take a bus for Zagreb, get off at Karlovac, and take a bus from Zagreb. The journey, from midmorning to late afternoon, was far from uncomfortable, but it offered few opportunities for picturetaking. So there isn't a photo gallery for this day; just a few illustrations in the narrative.

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Narrative & Photos

Thursday: the Upper Lakes

We took not one but two walks this day, mainly because a wrong turn brought us back to the hotel early (and it happened to be lunch time.) So there's one photo gallery for each walk.

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Narrative          

Photos (a) Morning

Photos (b) Afternoon

Friday: The Lower Lakes

Down where the valley has become a gorge, we started on a high path, and finished on a low one. (But in spite of how it sounds, it wasn't a bit like a political campaign.)

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Narrative          Photos