Plitvice lakes national park, the absolute highlight of Croatia’s Adriatic hinterland
This glorious expanse of forested hills and turquoise lakes is excruciatingly scenic – so much so that in 1979 Unesco proclaimed it a World Heritage Site. The extraordinary natural beauty of the park merits a full day’s exploration, but you can still experience a lot on a half-day trip from Zadar or Zagreb.
While the park is beautiful year-round, spring and autumn are the best times to visit. In spring and early summer the falls are flush with water, while in autumn the changing leaves put on a colorful display. Winter is also spectacular, although snow can limit access and the free park transport doesn’t operate. Unquestionably, the worst time to visit is in the peak months of July and August, when the falls reduce to a trickle, parking is problematic and the sheer volume of visitors can turn the walking tracks into a conga line and cause lengthy waits for the buses and boats which ferry people around the park.