Many holidays to Croatia are based around the beautiful region of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, and this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site encompasses some of the most breath-taking scenery in the country. |
Midway between the coast and Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes is always high on the agenda for the many clients I've introduced to this wonderful country. It's for good reason, because not only can you stay in one of my top recommendations, the Hotel Degenija, there's just so much to do in this diverse 300-sq km national park (the country's largest). When you set it against the backdrop of 16 lakes, countless waterfalls and lush woodlands brimming with wildlife, you've got a recipe for one of the most memorable experiences of your life.
Get Into the Great Outdoors
One of the primary attractions of most holidays to Croatia is the myriad opportunities to get out into the 'great outdoors', and Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the very best places to do it. Hotel Degenija is just 4 kilometres from the north entrance to the park so everything is, quite literally, on your doorstep.
Heading out on horseback is a wonderful way to explore the region in and around the park. You'll cover more distance than you can under your own steam, and for anyone who's never tried it before, it's the perfect easy terrain for an introduction to horse riding. There are a number of excellent stables that offer half and full day guided tours and also lessons and full instruction for beginners.
Kayaking or Canoeing
It won't come as any surprise that getting out on the water in a canoe or kayak is the most popular activity around Plitvice Lakes. You'll cruise pass emerald waterfalls fed by the network of connecting lakes, traverse through narrow gorges and take in the stunning wooded hillsides that spill down to the water. A guided kayaking or canoeing tour can show you the very best of the national park and take you to places otherwise unreachable on foot.
Rent a Bike
Within the national park and around the Hotel Degenija in Rakovica is the perfect terrain for two wheels. You can rent bikes and make your own itinerary, but I highly recommend a guided tour so you can make the most of their local knowledge. There are countless designated cycling trails that provide challenges or relaxation, depending on what you're after. If you want to push yourself, take on some of the hilly paths, or if you just want to enjoy the scenery, explore the many trails that take you alongside the water and through the lower woods.
All holidays to Croatia should include the opportunity to 'up' the adventure quotient, so if you're looking for something a little different, book an ATV tour for a thrilling off-road quad ride through delightful valleys and forests of Rakovica and Brocanac. This is one of the best ways to cover a lot of ground and have a whole lot of fun at the same time! It's safe, you'll be accompanied by an experienced instructor/guide and all safety equipment is provided.
Private Sightseeing Tour
In my experience, the ultimate way to make the most of this lovely part of the country is on a private sightseeing tour. The beauty of these small group tours is the chance to speak at length with the experienced guide about not just the wonderful flora and fauna, but also the myths and legends that surround the lakes. With a combination of walking, boating and even some sightseeing on an electric train, you'll get up close and personal with every aspect of the park.
I've organised countless holidays in Croatia for clients who want to explore this spectacular area and, for so many of them, once is just not enough…
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury holidays to Croatia, Bermuda, Sicily and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.
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