DALMATIA: HOW TO EXPLORE MONUMENTAL SALONA LIKE A BOSS

There is a lot more in Croatia than just Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and Hvar!

Manastirine, Salona

Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and Hvar may be one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia, but they are also the most visited and crowded places in the country. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely should not skip these cities when you are in Croatia, but you should set some time aside to look for other beautiful locations in Dalmatia.

Details in Tusculum, Salona


Croatia has many hidden gems and places where perhaps, you will be delighted even more! One of the hidden gems of Central Dalmatia is Solin, a cute little city I will be telling you about in this post. The Roman Emperor Diocletian, whose palace still adorns the city of Split today, was supposedly born in this small town called Solin, that is situated right under the Kozjak mountain.

The map of Solin, near Split, from @GoogleMaps

From Roman ruins, amphitheater, churches, tombs over imposingly carved stone works of art, Salona is the jewel of Dalmatia and totally worth exploring. Relatively unvisited, wandering via this empire will take you on a journey to a Roman era of emperors and gladiators.


Although I was born in Split, Solin is my city because I grew up here and my roots are here. I also have to admit I am extremely sad that Solin is only in the shadow of Split, little known and even less visited. For this reason, with this article, I want to present to you only a part of the beauty you will find in Solin, in the time machine of antiquity and archeological artifacts of Salona. So welcome to the virtual tour of Salona guided by a local! 🙂

Details in stone in Salona, Croatia
Details in Salona

SALONA (SOLIN) – ANCIENT AND ROMAN CAPITAL OF DALMATIA

Salona is located at the estuary of the river Jadro of the present city Solin, a suburb of Split on the Adriatic coast in Croatia. Before the Romans came, Salona was a settlement of Illyrian people who lived on the shore of the Adriatic. Around 3rd century BCE, Greeks came and then later Romans. Back in the ancient times Salona was a large town and the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.


How one big city looked like back in the Roman times, you can learn if you visit Salona!


THE HISTORY OF SOLIN

The Croatian name Solin is formed from the Latinized name Salona, with its roots in the Illyrian language. This name is mentioned for the first time in 119. The remains of the ramparts, objects of Greek origin found in Salona and its surroundings, point to the Greeks as the founders of this city. So, in the beginning, Salona was a Greek-Illyrian settled.

The view on amphithere

During the history, Salona was one of the most important cities of this area. The city was ruined by Avars and the Slavs around 614. The surviving population that managed to escape, took refuge in the nearby area in and around Diocletian’s Palace as it was much safer place to live. This is how the city of Split originated. You probably didn’t know this, right? 🙂

WHERE ARE ANCIENT RUINS AND HOW TO FIND THEM?

These ancient remains you can find in a small town called Solin, located only 5 km from Split city center. The best way to get there is to rent a car or scooter, but you can also use public transport (bus number 1 is taking you directly in front of Salona, bus number 16 and 37, but you will have to walk around 10 to 15 minutes if you take one of the last two).


WHAT TO DO IN SALONA?



Many people will advise you to enjoy in picnic in Salona. However, if you just lay there, eat and enjoy in surroundings, you will miss some of the greatest works of stone art in Dalmatia. I advise you to bring a backpack with plenty of water, some food and just stroll around the ruins and try to explore every corner. You will find many details and trust me, you will be amazed!

WHY IS SALONA SO IMPORTANT?

Some compare Salona to Naples’s Pompeii due to its monumental ruins and great and representable importance of our history. The greatest importance of Salona is in the study of early Christian society and architecture.
Besides, Salona is the biggest archeological park in Croatia. Some ruins are excavated but many are not due to lack of investment and Croatian politics that is not so interested in this area in preserving this historical landmark.


If you stroll around, you will find many explanatory panels both in Croatian and in English so you don’t even need a tour guide. All the paths are well-marked and there are many stone benches as well as tables to take a break and enjoy the flowering shrubs.

Table with a reconstruction of amphitheatre

ROMAN AMPHITHEATER IN SALONA

This specific Roman building could accommodate almost 17 000 people. The arena of the amphitheater was a place to have fun, where people enjoyed in spectacular and bloody gladiator fights.


This place was a center of fun in Roman times both for rich and poor. The building is an ellipsoid with three floors on the south, two on the side.

Amphitheatre

Amphitheater was built in the 2nd century. Believe it or not, there was even a system to cover it all with canvas to protect against sun or huge rains. Unfortunately, The Venetians destroyed the amphitheater in the 17th century in a war against the Ottoman Turks.

MANASTIRINE

I advise you to start your Salona journey here at Manastirine, just before the entrance to the archaeological park. Here the martyr Bishop Domnius was buried and his cathedral with famous bell tower is located in the city center of Split.

My dear and the best TRIPOD that helped me made most of these photos

The best thing to do in Manastirine is to wander around and enjoy in artistic engravings on stones. If you are lucky, you will see many squirrels climbing up the trees.

Manastirine

TUSCULUM MUSEUM

Besides Roman ruins, you can enjoy in small museum and its souvenir shop. Construction of this small museum dates back to the 19th century and its construction was ordered by an important archaeologist of Croatia – Frane Bulić.


Here you can find some artifacts from Salona but the major and the most important archaeological finds, you will find in Split Archaeological Museum.


EPISCOPAL CENTRE

The episcopal center was built for religious purposes together with two basilicas dedicated to the early Christian martyrs. Here you an find Roman public baths, Caesar’s Gate, octagonal towers and the remains of an aqueduct. Caesar’s gate was the eastern exit of the old town.


KAPLJUČ

Kapljuc is another early Christian cemetery with many details.

WHAT TO WEAR WHEN YOU VISIT SALONA?

Good hiking shoes and a backpack are must.

Details in Tusculum

For more information about Solin

Contact the tourist office.
(telephone +385 21-210 048) at Zvonimira 69. For information about the ruins, contact the museum office (telephone +385 21-213 358; info@armus.hr)



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Climbing on stairs above Cetina river to do Zipline

TOP 5 REASONS TO TRY ZIPLINE IN CROATIA!

The view on Cetina river and Zipline wire
The view on Cetina river, its canyon and Zipline

Both Zipline and Bungee Jumping helped me to overcome my fear of heights, although Zipline was much less scarier than MY BUNGEE EXPERIENCE, but still very thrilling.


I guess you already know how much I love to travel and try out different activities especially those that are pumped up with adrenaline.

There are few locations around Croatia where you can try this awesome activity (see the list of all the places HERE). However, if you try Zipline in Omiš, you will have an unique opportunity to see the Cetina river from bird’s perspective, so translucent and turquoise, totally surreal.

Turquoise river Cetina and surrounding nature looking from a beginning Zipline spot
Turquoise river Cetina and surrounding nature looking from a beginning Zipline spot


In this article, I will tell you a bit more about Zipline, city Omiš, Cetina river, my personal experience and top 5 reasons why you should try this awesome activity!

Are you ready to dive into my new story!? 🙂
Enjoy in reading!

Driving towards Cetina river and its canyon taking photos from the car
TRAVEL TIP: If it’s high season, take the left turn after Stobreč town to Poljica road and continue to Srinjine settlement. You won’t drive next to the Adriatic sea but mountains and villages yet you will save a lot of time as only and mostly locals know this road.


GENERAL INFO ABOUT OMIŠ & CETINA RIVER

Panorama view on Omis city, Adriatic sea and mountains


THE TOWN OF OMIŠ is located at the mouth of the river Cetina, somewhere around 20 km south from Split.

Its unique position on the Adriatic coast surrounded by mountains, canyons, old walls and fortresses, attracts many visitors especially during the summer. It’s a perfect getaway from hustle and bustle in Diocletian’s city. Back in the days, Omiš used to be a pirate city and Fortica fortress was a perfect defenders spot.

But besides architectural and historical attractions that this charming city can offer you, natural wonders are by far the best what you can explore in this area.

The view on canyon of the river Cetina  and some boats on Adriatic sea
Enter to the canyon of the river Cetina from Omiš town starts with tunnel.

Famous bridge in Omis over Cetina river and the view on mountains
Zipline agency is located immediately after the main bridge in Omiš, on the left (if you are coming from Split)


CETINA RIVER

Beautiful green landscape of Cetina river and mountains
Beautiful landscape of Cetina river.


Cetina is one of the most beautiful rivers in Croatia and the longest one in the whole Central Dalmatia. It starts under Dinara mountain near the border with Bosnia and continues its 100 km journey towards Adriatic sea. This water-rich river supplies several places along the way with fresh water.

TRAVEL TIP: If I were you, I would definitely visit THE SOURCE OF THE CETINA RIVER near the small village called Cetina. It’s a bit of a driving, but trust me, you will be amazed!

What’s also amazing about Cetina, is a diversity of the relief flowing through it and its subsurface. Many Dalmatian rivers are flowing between the canyons, inaccessible gorges being the true treasure of deep caves,
and Cetina is no exception too.

Luckily, smart people remembered to organize some activities in this lush greenery and karst area full of rapids and waterfalls. If you come here, you will feel a perfect blend of adventures, extreme and less extreme sport and the most important-fun. CANYONING, RAFTING, KAYAKING, ROCK CLIMBING, HIKING, ZIPLINE are only few of the activities in which you can enjoy in this spectacular area.

In the green and blue surreal nature of Cetina river
In the green and blue, surreal nature of Cetina river.



ZIPLINE ABOVE THE CANYON OF THE RIVER CETINA

Zipline stainless-steel cable from close up

First of all, you will have to set a aside at least five hours for this experience. I advise you to explore more around the area after you finish with Zipline.

The Zipline itself lasts around 3 hours or more, depending on the group and if it’s high season or not. But, don’t worry: this day will remain forever recorded in your memory so it will be totally worth it. If you are wondering what to do after, as I mentioned, Omiš is a great city to wander around, Cetina river or Adriatic sea to take a swim and Radman’s mills to take a bite of fresh and homemade food.

Eating fried frogs in Radman's mills
One of the specialities in Radman’s mills are fried frogs. They taste sweeter than chicken, but they won’t fill your stomach. You have to take another main dish if you choose to try them.

Another speciality of the house is eel and it doesn't tastes bad, but weird.
Another speciality of the house is eel and it doesn’t tastes bad, but weird.

BUT WAIT, HOW DOES ZIPLINE WORK?

The answer is-gravity! A zip line is made up of a pulley appended to a stainless-steel cable that extends between fixed points of different elevations. Zip wire then allows a person that is fastened to the moving pulley, to ‘zip’ from the top to the bottom of a cable, propelled by gravity. The zip line of course, must be inclined to a certain degree in order to allow person to move.

Zipline starting on a cable in Omis, Croatia
Approximately this is how you start your Zipline.

So, let’s continue to adrenaline polygon located in Omiš. Actually, the ZIPLINE is above the canyon of the River Cetina, and the agency itself is located in the old part of Omiš town. ( Poljička square)
If you decide to try this activity while in Croatia, you will have a transfer included from the agency to starting point of Zipline as well as all the equipment.

Sitting on a rock with Zipline equipment and helmet
This is how equipment looks like: harness, gloves, helmet, brake.

Be aware that in some points, you will have to hike so choose wisely the time of reservation. For example, we went around noon which was the worse time under the sun in the middle of July. Considering we got burnt badly few days ago in Catalonia, we were totally immune haha. Just joking of course, get some sun creme with at least 30 SPF, preferably 50 SPF.

Hiking with a group toward the Zipline starting point
Hiking with a group toward the Zipline starting point


ZIPLINE consists of eight steel cables with total length of the cables 2100 m. (the longest is 700 m and is 150 m above ground level). All you have to do is to sit in a “belt” and descend down the canyon. Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, like with everything, it’s always easier to say than to do.

Climbing on the stairs to the Zipline starting point
There will be some climbing too!



But during the entire polygon you and your group are followed by two guides that are helping you all the time with tips and encouraging words. Of course that before the actual start, there is a training session with two short cables on which the guides are showing you how to behave, what to do and not to do while on the ZIPLINE.

Zipline always starts with a training.
Yep, I was a bit afraid lol.


Furthermore, at each cable, one guide demonstrates the descent and the second one stays to attach the participants onto the cable with full instructions provided.

First, the longest (700m) and the scariest wire 150 m above the ground above Cetina river
First, the longest (700m) and the scariest wire 150 m above the ground.

To see more about Zipline in Omiš, check their OFFICIAL PAGE.

Waiting in line to do a Zipline looking towards the Cetina river and mountains
Of course I decided to be the last to go on a wire lol.
Mountains on a sunny day above Cetina river
Beautiful nature around Cetina river on a nice sunny day.
Green scenery above the canyon of the river Cetina
Yes the views are spectacular. And yes, half of the way agency is driving you here, half of the way you hike to get here.


TOP 3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TRY ZIPLINE!

 

1. IT’S A PERFECT WAY TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND TO TRY SOMETHING NEW!

 

Doing tandem with my boyfriend on Zipline in Omis, Croatia
In one place, you are allowed to go in tandem and one can even hold a phone or camera (GoPro the best) a make a video! For example, Bungee Jumping tandems are very dangerous, but Zipline tandems are totally safe.

2. IT’S FULL OF FUN AND ADRENALINE!

 

Zipline above the road and green, blue Cetina river
The last wire is above the road! Look at that colour of Cetina river!

3. YOUR EYES WILL BE PLEASED WITH ALL THOSE PANORAMIC VIEWS!

 

Waiting to do Zipline in Omis with the group

4. IT WILL HELP YOU TO TRY OVERCOME YOUR FEAR OF HEIGHTS!

 

Hiking towards first Zipline point

 

5. YOU WILL HAVE ONE MORE AWESOME STORY TO TELL TO YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND MAYBE TO YOUR CHILDREN TOO!

Swimming in Cetina river
Don’t forget to take a swim in crystal clear Cetina, but be careful, it’s super cold even in the middle of the summer! I couldn’t do it and my boyfriend did for a few seconds haha.

Boyfriend and I on a Cetina river beach

Besides, there are plenty shallow cute beaches to explore while you’re in Radman’s mills. Go wander around a bit!

In the final analysis, as you seen, this area is gorgeous aso mark the Zipline here or elsewhere in the world, high on your bucket list!

I hope you enjoyed my article!

I’m curious to know other places around Europe that are offering Zipline. If you know any or even better, if you’ve tried Zipline somewhere else, please write me in the comments below.

If you want to see more of extreme sports that I’ve done, click HERE to see my vlog and two of my Bungee Jumping videos on my YouTube channel.

Here below there’s a short video so you can sneak peak how Zipline looks like. 🙂



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Bungee Jumping in Croatia, over Maslenica bridge and blue Adriatic sea

HOW TO DEFEAT YOUR FEAR OF HEIGHTS!?

Imagine if you could face your fear of heights or even better, to defeat it!


What if there is someone who already defeated the same fear that you have and wants to share their story to help you!?


You’d probably love to read how!


Luckily for you, I decided to share my story to help all of you who are feeling exactly how I used to feel.


So, let’s start with my view of fear in general.

Fear is, a kind of a blocking feeling that stops individual from taking certain actions in life.

It takes a lot of courage to face the deepest fears.

However, the outcome of defeating them, brings profound self rewarding feeling, but also freedom, joy, excitement, serenity, confidence…

In my previous blog post I was writing lot more about fear in general so feel free to read that one too! 🙂
You see, I was once a totally different person. I had numerous fears and some of them were:

  • fear of heights
  • fear of bugs
  • fear of people
  • fear of public speaking
  • fear of dark

Fortunately, I was always aware of disabilities that my fears are causing me so I never stopped confronting them; furthermore I was always a dreamer too. In my biggest dreams, I was Sky Diving and Bungee Jumping.

For the whole life, I was waiting for a moment to do both. Finally, the day came and I checked off at least Bungee from my bucket list. A day after, I did even Zipline. (Top 5 Reasons to Try Zipline in Croatia)

Those two activities that I’ve done in only 2 days, were the key factors that created a new person that I am today. In this article I will tell you more about Bungee Jumping and how exactly it helped me feel fearless as well the place where I’ve done it.

BUNGEE JUMPING

Bungee Jumping is one of the highest adrenaline pumped activities that someone can experience. It’s a way of free falling where a person jumps from something tall (usually a building, tower or a bridge) and then vertically falls down.

Immediately after the jump, a person is pulled back with elastic bungee rope. The rope is designed to stretch (never to brake) and to bounce the person back up for a few times before it finally stops swinging.

A girl doing Bungee Jumping from Maslenica bridge in Croatia surrounded with Adriatic
Bungee Jumping

Nowadays, Bungee Jumping is lot more popular than ever before. Many tourist destinations are offering bungee as a fun activity while travelling. It is important to always choose the right, secure company that has many years of experience in that field.

I did my first, unforgettable Bungee Jump in Croatia over Maslenica bridge with a help of guys from Izazov Tours.

Maslenica bridge in Croatia with Adriatic sea around, cliffs and pine trees
Maslenica bridge in Croatia
Extraordinary view over Adriatic sea and mountains in Croatia from Maslenica bridge and Bungee Jumping platform
Extraordinary view from Maslenica bridge and Bungee Jumping platform

MY BUNGEE EXPERIENCE

Everyone, especially if it’s their first time, gets that slight hesitation before the jump and that is totally normal.

But after looking up to those incredible views of the Adriatic with cliffs emerging from the crystal clear sea and mountains that feel pretty surreal, you imagine yourself as a bird that is fully ready to dive into the beautiful scene that seems painted.

The view opposite from Bungee Jumping platform looking on crystal clear Adriatic sea
The view opposite from Bungee Jumping platform looking on crystal clear Adriatic sea

When I finally jumped (and I did it faster than I expected I would), my body turned fully into exhilarating feeling and nothing else than that.

It was a feeling of full weightlessness and freedom, euphoria, pride and awe with zillion other feelings and sensations.

I believe that even if I write all the possible feelings, I could never be able to describe it well.

An extreme activity such as Bungee is a must do action that can only be well experienced, not well described.

Bungee is unlike other sports because there’s no need to take certain classes and lessons before the real action. All you have to do is to carefully follow all the necessary instructions provided by your instructor. I have to say that instructor I was given was very professional and experienced man who was also extremely funny and that gave me more courage too.

What can ease the fear more than a humor in scary situations?

I’ve seen there is another Bungee location in Croatia over Sibenik bridge too and that one is only 10 meters smaller than Maslenica.

Nevertheless, I advise you to choose guys from Izazov Tours because I already tested their service and I was more than happy with what I got. It is important to mention that you can only pay with cash, no cards.

PRICE: 500,00 HRK per person which is around € 65,00

Maslenica bridge in the distance from where I was doing Bungee Jumping
Maslenica bridge in the distance from where I was doing Bungee Jumping

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

Bungee Jumping is all about confronting the fears, testing your bravery and love for extreme sports, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about lowering the risks and negative effects that can affect on your well-being.

You shouldn’t do Bungee if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Heavy psychological problems
  • Epilepsy
  • Pregnancy
  • Neurological issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Any heart diseases
  • Orthopedic problems
  • If you are a drug or alcohol addict and if you were taking any of those before planning to do Bungee

As long as you don’t have any of the above-mentioned facts, you are perfectly fine to go for a Bungee.

A girl preparing to bungee jump from Maslenica bridge in Croatia on a beautiful sunny day
Right before THE jump 🙂

 

HOW TO DO A BUNGEE AND HOW NOT TO? LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES…

There is one simple rule when it comes to Bungee Jumping: CAREFULLY AND STRICTLY FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED BY THE BUNGEE INSTRUCTOR.

Perhaps you were watching tons of Bungee accidents but the main characteristic to all of them is: not following the instructions and jumping with bad companies together with their not enough tested equipment.

I did listen to my instructor, but somehow during the jump, I forgot about half of what has been said. When you jump, you should jump as far as you can (pretty same like the cliff jumping into the sea) and you should keep your hands spread all the time without touching anything in any single point.

I wasn’t following any of those instructions fully, so after jumping head down, the rope pulled me back up into itself and scratch me on the second fall.

Of course, I got even more scared in already exciting and thrilling action like that so I started using my hands trying to somehow hold myself or who knows what my plan was but not following instructions, led me to a pretty solid bruise which frankly, could be even deadly if I was less lucky.

Red bruise on biceps from bungee jumping rope
A large bruise from bungee jumping

As has been noted, I was still enjoying fully my bungee experience and I would definitely do it again.

All things considered, pluck up your courage, follow the instructions and have the best experience of your lifetime doing Bungee Jumping!

Small boat on Adriatic sea still tied with a bungee rope
After you jump from Maslenica bridge, the guy from a Bungee Jumping company picks you up in a small boat, untie all and tells you to remain calm and to lay for few minutes. Did I mention that you have to climb all the way back up on foot? (56m)
But trust me, after doing Bungee, it’s a piece of cake!

CONCLUSION

I believe that confronting any kind of fear is the best way to overcome it. Actually, you should get more familiar with your fears and eventually with yourself.

On the contrary, fear is good to a certain point, but if it starts stopping you from life experiences and chances, you definitely should consider working on it on a slightly extremer way.

See it like this: imagine it’s apocalypse and somehow you ended up on a high cliff. The only way to save yourself is to move slowly along the edge of the cliff to the end point. If you are much afraid of heights, you’d probably stay there and die, poop yourself in your pants or start having panic attack that will lead you falling in a pit down the cliff.

Maybe my imagination is huge, but I rather choose to be a brave person in this life, than to be a coward. I am not saying that you should check every edge of this world and put yourself in extremely dangerous situations, but you definitely should free yourself while you are still here.

A freeing feeling that extreme experiences are providing, usually take you to a level of great confidence where you start to feel like nothing is impossible. It’s not far from the truth, I must say.

Bungee Jumping convinced me that only sky is the limit and only feelings are real. Moments too!

Because, no one ever thought of that pink dress or shiny suit that he bought in their thirties.

Statistically, most of the people in their time of dying, regret of not living fully. Don’t be one of them.

 

‟You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”

Aristotle

 

Bungee Jumping diploma from Maslenica bridge in Croatia
With Izazov Tours, you even get a proper Bungee Jumping diploma.

If you are adrenaline lover or if you liked this post, make sure to follow my blog because in the next article I will write more about another extreme activity: Zipline in Croatia.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see a new video of my Bungee Jumping that is coming soon together with some more tips.:)

Stay safe and productive,

Lots of love,

Valentina.

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THE BEST OF CROATIA: PLITVICE LAKES

Veliki Slap or the Great Waterfall - the highest waterfall in the Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatian: Nacionalni park Plitvička jezera or shorter Plitvice) is the oldest and largest national park in Croatia.

It’s perhaps the most beautiful place you will see in Croatia. I left a piece of my heart in Plitvice. Somehow, it always seems different there and much more gorgeous than the previous time.

But why is that?

In this article, I will explain you why and how Plitvice Lakes are changing and how come they are so delightful to many people as well as some practical information about location, working hours and all the useful tips that can make your visit much better and easier. Hopefully, I will inspire you to visit Plitvice as soon as possible or to remind you of their uniqueness to visit them again.

 

Visitors walking along the boardwalk next to waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice are collection of turquoise-coloured lakes

 

 

WHY SHOULD ONE VISIT PLITVICE LAKES?

I assume we all love places that look like fairy tales. Well, Plitvice Lakes are exactly one of those spots where you have to pinch yourself to make sure everything around you is actually true and not a dream.

 

Vibrant blue and green contrast in the lakes of Plitvice

This national park is a blend of the unspoiled nature and harmony of wildlife where you can rest all of your senses. Both flora and fauna are very rich and diverse yet still not fully discovered so you might even end up declared as one of the discoverers of something new. Besides, all the lakes are clear as glass and unreal turquoise color.

 

Plitvice are known for being composed of karst – limestone rocks called Dinarides

The best of all: incredible vibrant array of colors are constantly changing due to the slant of the sunlight alters and amount of minerals or organisms. Then, the nature goes from green to blue-grey again.

 

Exceptional biological diversity and turquoise colour in one of the lakes with ducks and fish


Do you believe me now that Plitvice are without a doubt one of the nicest places you will see in Croatia?

If you still don’t believe me, check out what some of the world famous magazines and sites wrote about this natural beauty:

 

The Plitvice Lakes National Park lies at the south end of the slopes of Mala Kapela chain at the height between 369 and 1279 a.s.l.


WHERE EXACTLY?

Plitvice are located halfway between capital city Zagreb (140km – around 2h and 15 min ) and Zadar on the coast (135km – around 1h and 45min). Of course you can reach them from other bigger Croatian cities, but you will need much more time.

For example, from Split, you will need to drive 260 km for cca 3h. They are situated in the mountainous region of Croatia, between the Mala Kapela mountain range and the Lička Plješivica mountain range. The air is extremely clean to breathe.

 

Plitvice are located halfway between capital city Zagreb and Adriatic city Zadar which is shown in a Google Maps photo screenshot of Croatia

 

The Great waterfall or Croatian: Veliki slap and Dinarides karst landscape

 

HOW TO GET THERE?

The best and the easiest option is to rent a car. Beware that in the summer time, rental prices can go very high plus you have to book your car in advance.

 

One of the Plitvice lakes shown from a Upper lakes hiking trails

You can easily reach Plitvice from Zagreb, Split and Zadar as well as from other surrounding places. If you travel from Zagreb to the Adriatic coast, you can do a nice stopover in this best beauty of Croatia.

There are organised day tours and you can book one of those if you don’t like to explore them by yourself or you can take a bus. There are no trains or flights to get you to Plitvice.  The only public transport from any of the cities from Croatia to Plitvice is – a bus.

 

Bordwalk in Plitvice with small waterfalls and tufa formations together with moss and other organisms


WHEN TO VISIT?

The national park is open all year-round, literally 365 days. Nonetheless, be cautious that the working hours of the park vary depending on the season. 

You can check out the national park’s hours of operation by season on the following LINK.

This time we visited Plitvice in July, in the middle of the summer season. And even though in high season Plitvice are much more crowded than spring or autumn for example, we really enjoyed our time there.

 

Beautiful waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes

Equally important is to mention that water level during the summer tend to be lower so the waterfalls might not be as huge as they are during the rest of the year. However, we are talking in slight differences here: don’t worry, they are majestic always. And if there’s some rain few days before your visit, waterfalls will be even more majestic!

 

One of the many caves in Plitvice Lakes



On the other hand, winters are offering you icy wonderland and maybe even layers of snow! Please be aware of possibly icy and slippery trail conditions and do keep in mind that there are much less amenities during the winter.

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park when they change their colour into green

With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to check the website before you go, to get updates on the latest weather conditions and all the other necessary informations.

A boardwalk and small waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes Croatia

 

THE INCREDIBLE SCIENCE BEHIND PLITVICE LAKES

1. KARST LANDSCAPE

Plitvice Lakes are a series of 16 lakes, little rivers and waterfalls that run over a few levels. The first recording lake dates back even to 1777 but it is believed it exists already from ice age!

 

Few amazing waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes from the Lower Lakes

The natural phenomena that created all those lakes and pools involves a lot of slow shifting and dissolving of rock, resulting in what is known as ”karst topography”. This region is called Dinarides and it is one of the most impressive karst landscapes in the world, marked by specific geological, geomorphological and hydrological properties.

 

Amazing colours of incredible Plitvice Lakes National park
Me walking towards one of the caves of Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

This kind of relief is primarily tied to carbonate rock (limestone and dolomite rock) due to its strong sensitivity to chemical and mechanical wear, and the influence of tectonics. The whole area is dominated by limestone rock of Mesozoic age, with inserts of dolomite rock, and areas of pure dolomite rock which means they are heaven for every geologist in this world.

 

One of the caves in Plitvice Lakes together with the rest of the visitors and tourists

Today, 114 speleological structures have been recorded in the park. In terms of structure, pits are more common than caves.

One of the caves from Plitvice Lakes National Park as best of Croatia
The view from a cave in Plitvice Lakes
An amazing organisms inside of the cave of Plitvice Lakes
Inside of one cave in Plitvice Lakes National Park

2. TUFA

Tufa is a hollow, porous rock created from the deposition of dissolved calcium carbonate in the water by plants, algae and mosses.”

 

The process of tufa formation, which in turn forms tufa barriers and creates the lakes in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Already on 8 April 1949, Plitvice were proclaimed Croatia’s first national park. Thanks to the process of tufa formation, which resulted in the creation of the lakes, Plitvice are part of the outstanding universal value for which they were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.

An impressive tufa formation as outstanding universal value of Plitvice Lakes

The 16 larger named lakes, and many other smaller unnamed lakes are separated by these tufa barriers, but are connected in this unique water system via a series of waterfalls between the lakes. They are cascading lakes and they vary in size. As the tufa barriers grow, the water levels rise, increasing the volume of water in the lakes.

Very important to this specific and complex process of forming tufa are the blue-green algae, the diatomaceous algae, various bacteria, multicellular microscopic organisms etc. and of course they are not visible.

 

Beautiful waterfall and amazing long roots of flora in Plitvice Lakes area

Even today, the tufa barriers are actively growing, and this bio dynamic structure is constantly changing the appearance of the whole national park, its lakes and the waterfalls.

 

Amazing waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes National Park together with moss and other organisms and plants
Impressive waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes

 

FAUNA

The biological diversity of fauna has not been fully researched in Plitvice. There are many species of animals who share Plitvice Lakes National Park as their home and I will number out only few:

  • 321 species of butterflies
  • Two out of three Croatian venomous snake species
  • 50 species of mammals
  • 22 species of bats
  • 14 species of reptiles
  • More than 800 species of fungi
  • 168 species of birds with 37 endangered species of nesting birds

 

Damselfly with impressive colours in Plitvice Lakes National Park
The grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) the species of fish with the largest reported production in aquaculture globally

If you are lucky, you can see even The Eurasian lynx, brown bear Ursus arctos or grey wolf Canis lupus.

 

Underwater life of diverse fish in turquoise lakes of Plitvice
Fish inside of one of the lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park

 

Beautiful fish in Plitvice Lakes
Beautiful ducks in Plitvice Lakes National Park
The common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) is a common and widespread small passerine bird found in Plitvice Lakes
Metallic blue-green damselfly found in Plitvice Lakes National Park
Many fish swimming in the clear waters of Plitvice
Polyporus fomentarius a kind of mushroom that grows on a tree and it's not edible but medicinal - cures even cancer!
Ducks and fish in beautiful turquoise lake of Plitvice
Mother duck and little duck in the shallow waters of Plitvice Lakes

FLORA

So far, studies have confirmed more than 1,400 plants (species and subspecies) in the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Believe it or not, that’s even 30% of the entire Croatian flora!

 

Chimney bellflower growing in Plitvice Lakes and National Park Krka too

Plitvice have a relatively low number of endemic species (approx. 1.7%), but a large number of endangered subspecies (4.64%)

 

Named after the Macedonian King of Thrace, Lysimacha punctata (Yellow Loosestrife) is a perennial plant with great ornamental value

For al the flower lovers, the park’s flora is characterized by more than 60 species of orchids.

 

Some of 1,400 plant species and subspecies in Plitvice Lakes
Flora of Plitvice Lakes and its vibrant green color as the best of Croatia
Large roots in Plitvice Lakes forest in the Republic of Croatia

So far, several forest communities have been described within the Park boundaries.

 

The view from frogs perspective in Plitvice Lakes forest in the Republic of Croatia


GENERAL INFORMATION

Today, national parks covers an area just under 300 km2, primarily covered in forest vegetation and grasslands. Lakes are covering just under 1% of the total park area.

 

Stunning view on Sastavci waterfalls and the Great Waterfall (Veliki slap) in Croatia

The lake system, as already mentioned, is comprised of 16 named and several smaller unnamed lakes, cascading one into the next. The lake system has been divided into the 12 Upper and 4 Lower lakes. The upper lakes were formed on impermeable dolomite rock, and are larger, with more indented and gentler shores than the Lower Lakes.

The two largest lakes in the Plitvice system are Prošćansko and Kozjak. The highest waterfall in Croatia can be found in the Lower Lakes area: The Great Waterfall (Veliki Slap).

 

The view from different angle on Great Waterfall (Veliki slap) in Plitvice Lakes National Park

The Lower Lakes were formed in permeable limestone substrate, cut into a deep canyon with steep cliffs. The lakes end in the impressive waterfalls Sastavci, with the Korana River springing under the base of the falls.

 

The view on amazing waterfalls from one of the boardwalk in Plitvice Lakes


HIKING TRAILS

The Plitvice Lakes National Park offers visitors seven different routes to tour the lake system, and four hiking trails. There are so many because they all depend on your energy level, starting point and the amount of the time you have. That’s why it is recommended to come as early as possible to see as much as possible and both Upper and Lower lakes.

For more information about hiking trails, their duration etc. check here.

 

Thew view along boardwalk in Plitvice Lakes National Park
Amazing greenish colour in one of the lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park
Wonderful and vibrant view on the waterfall and a turquoise lake in Plitvice

FACILITIES

With the presented purchased & valid ticket, you can ride on the electric boats (Kozjak Lake) and the visitor trains too. Make sure to not miss it!

 

The view on shallow lake waters in Plitvice and boat facility transport


You can buy and check ticket prices HERE.

 

Electric boat ride in Kozjak Lake in Plitvice

TIP:
If you decide to spend a longer stay in one of hotels in Plitvice (Bellevue, Jezero, Plitvice, Grabovac), one-day tickets may be extended at the hotel reception desk for even more days!

 

Kozjak Lake and electric boats in Plitvice Lakes National Park

WORKING HOURS

WINTER: (from last Sunday in October)
8.00 – 16.00 h (entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 14.00 h)

SPRING: summer time calculation (from last Sunday in March) – 31.05.
8.00 – 19.00 h (entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 17.00 h)

SUMMER: 01.06. – 20.08. (until last Saturday in March)
7.00 – 20.00 h (entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 18.00 h)

AUTUMN: 21.08. – 30.09.: 7.00 – 19.00 h (until last Saturday in October)(entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 17.00 h)

01.10. – winter time calculation: 8.00 – 18.00 h (entering park / ticket purchase / exchanging vouchers for tickets – until 16.00 h)

Make sure to always double check out the national park’s hours of operation by season on the following LINK.

 

Small waterfalls and green flora in Plitvice Lakes

 

Amazing green colour of the lakes in Plitvice Lakes National Park
Moss and waterfalls in Plitvice

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

You 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.

 

Lively green and blue colour of lake in Plitvice Lakes National Park


The following is strictly prohibited in the National Park:

  • Collection of plant materials, or taking any “souvenirs” of natural origin
  • Feeding the animals
  • Swimming in the lakes
  • Disposal of litter along the trails or elsewhere, except in the garbage bins installed throughout the park
  • Straying off the marked trails
Captivating green nature in Plitvice Lakes
One of the boardwalks and reflection in the lake of Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

MY 10 RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Bring adequate rain and sun protection (umbrella, raincoat; sunglasses, hat, sunscreen – depending on the season)

2. Wear the appropriate clothing and footwear

3. Check the weather forecast before coming to the park as well as the official website

4. Bring some food with you and plenty of water

5. Get to Plitvice at the opening time so you can enjoy the whole day there

6. Start at the beginning (at the Entrance 1)

7. You can stay in one of the nearest accommodations so you can explore Plitvice in peace for two or more days (check on Booking.com)

8. Take it easy. Be patient along boardwalks especially if it’s crowded. Take some photos and let others take photos.

9. Safety first. Don’t try to do some crazy and dangerous stuff just to make the best selfie. There were people who died because of those kind of situations.

10. Check THIS awesome blog for great recommendations about hiking trails and much more details

 

One of the boardwalks in greenery of Plitvice Lakes
One of the waterfalls which is being poured in one of the lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park
Flora and fauna in one photo of Plitvice Lakes
Smaller waterfalls and turquoise lake in Plitvice Lakes National Park

 

If you have already visited Plitvice Lakes National Park, let me know how did your experience went. 🙂

If you are yet planning to visit Plitvice and you still have some questions, you can feel free to comment below!

And if you want to offer any suggestion, advice, you are more than welcome to let me know in the comments below too! 🙂

Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia, from a local point of view by @kookylovestotravel

Kooky and the Great Waterfall (Veliki Slap) in Plitvice Lakes National Park of Croatia

 

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The view on Hvar town and Pakleni islands in Adriatic Sea, Croatia

6 REMARKABLE PLACES YOU HAVE TO VISIT IN CROATIA

Croatian-flag
A Croatian flag

INTRODUCING YOU WITH THE 6 BEST PLACES TO EXPLORE IN CROATIA!

Croatia is a magical, sunny country with over one thousand two hundred islands. The country has an enormous wealth in natural and cultural heritage with centuries-old tradition.

To be frank, I am more than proud to be Croatian and call this country my first home. And although growing here wasn’t that easy, I must say I had the best childhood ever running along all those natural beauties that Croatia has to offer.
So, here’s an epic list of 6 best places to visit with the short descriptions about each location and of course all followed by my own photos.

Enjoy!

 

ABOUT CROATIA

When I mention Croatia to someone today, people usually start to scream: football or Dubrovnik. And trust me, I’m so happy about that, because few years ago while I was working in a restaurant, I met a group of Chinese people that went totally confused about my origin. After a while, they started to imitate shooting guns.

Nope folks, Yugoslavia is dead long time ago. Today, it’s Republic of Croatia.

It’s location is in Southeastern Europe and as a Mediterranean country it boasts the highest cultural and historical heritage under UNESCO protection (with Spain being the first).

Croatia proudly has the highest number of intangible protected assets from all of all European countries: 10 percent of the whole country is protected: 11 nature parks, 8 national parks and 2 strict reserves. Believe it or not, even the Klapa singing is protected by UNESCO and characterizes Dalmatia.

1. PLITVICE LAKES

Plitvice-Lakes-from-above

If you’re a nature lover, Plitvice are definitely a must place to see and not only for nature lovers, but for anyone. Seriously, the views here are outstanding and vegetation so alive – you’ll totally rest your mind and soul.

Plitvice are the largest and the oldest national park in Croatia already from 1949.
On the other hand, they were part of UNESCO World Heritage List from 1979.

Huge-roots-of-the-tree-in-Plitvice-Lakes

The lake system is comprised of 16 named and several smaller unnamed lakes, cascading one into the next which are making stunning scenes for observation.

I’ve been here three times and I always like to come back. This national park is situated in the mountain range and you can hike up and down for the whole day around.

Waterfalls-in-Plitvice-Lakes

It is highly recommended to go there as early as possible and to have some comfortable clothes on. However, you don’t have to hike all the time. There’s a boat and a bus transfer inside the area which are making your exploring lot easier and faster. Plus, there’s a place to eat too and to buy all from souvenirs to drinks. Unfortunately, vegetarians and vegans, you won’t find much to eat here so prepare in advance!

You’ll definitely need one whole day for Plitvice Lakes.

UNESCO World Heritage List Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

2. DUBROVNIK

Lokrum-island-in-Dubrovnik

Believe it or not, I’ve been fist time to this extraordinary city when I was 25 years old. Okay, I still have that much.
Pretty late, don’t you think?
Well, it’s never too late for anything!

As soon as I entered Dubrovnik, I fell in love with it. Honestly, now it’s my favorite city in Croatia.

Dubrovnik Old Town is known as one of the world’s finest and most perfectly preserved medieval cities. ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ is truly enriching destination.

The-view-from-Dubrovnik-walls-over-Adriatic-coast
Lovrijenac-Fortress-Dubrovnik
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The historic centre is enclosed by huge sturdy and stone walls from 11th and 17th century. It’s possible to walk along those walls and to enjoy the striking, panoramic views of the surrounding charming green islands.

It’s truly unbelievable how all of history remained unchanged for centuries:
plenty of churches, palaces, paved squares, steep cobbled streets, monasteries, fountains & facades all in Baroque and Renaissance.

Charming-red-roofs-of-old-town-houses-in-Dubrovnik

Ooh, don’t forget: Game of Thrones was filmed here!

Beware that you need to pay the entrance to walk along the historical walls plus prepare to dedicate the whole day just for it at least one whole (extremely active) morning!

And don’t miss the sunset – it’s one of the nicest I have seen in my life!

City-walls-in-Dubrovnik

3. SPLIT

Grgur Ninski Statue, Split
The view from Vidilica, Marjan park/forest/hill

Split is the second largest city in Croatia located in the Central Dalmatia. It’s my hometown too!
It has charming vibe and its streets are very lively, something very different and so contagious to dive into!

The development of the city was slow, around 17 centuries ago and it started when the Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to build his Palace right on the peninsula near the Salona – Roman city, where he wanted to spend the last years of his life.

Today, Diocletian Palace and the whole historical core of Split are on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1979.

Bell-tower-Split-Croatia

Extraordinary preservation of the palace and full life inside the walls, are making Split interesting to explore. You will be amazed with all those stone walls, narrow streets, charming stores and cafes inside of the palace.

Diocletian's-palace-Split

Don’t miss to walk over the Riva (promenade) and to climb the Marjan hill (park/forest). Climbing on the St. Domnius bell tower is also a must because the views are unforgettable. And the Cathedral as well. Be prepare to pay a fee for the last two!

For exploring all, you’ll need a day. Maybe two if you are in bad condition.

The-view-from-bell-tower-in-Split-to-prominade-and-Adriatic-sea
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4. SALONA

Salona-Manastirine-ancient-ruins-Solin-Croatia

Ancient Salona is the largest archaeological park in Croatia and the former capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.

When you walk across all of the remains, you’ll immediately feel like you were set in a time machine. According to legend, the birthplace of Emperor Diocletian, who built the already mentioned palace from which the city of Split developed.

The-view-from-Salona-to-Mosor-mountain

If you love historical sites and architecture, definitely don’t miss Solin and Split ( they’re just 5 km away from each other).

In Salona you can visit the imposing walls with towers and numerous gates, a forum with temples, the remains of an amphitheater and cemeteries with martyrs of Solin.

Salona is located in Solin, the city where I grew up. It is the cradle of ancient Croatian history, situated on the river Jadro. It’s the youngest town in the Republic of Croatia and has a great cultural and natural heritage, which makes it an extremely interesting destination to explore.

Tusculum-museum-Salona-Solin-Croatia

Admittedly, there are not even half visitors as in Split, which makes it an ideal destination for all those who prefer quieter places.

Here, you’ll definitely need two days if you really want to explore all the historical locations.

Two-angels-a-piece-of-ancient-art-in-Salona-Croatia

5. ISLAND OF HVAR

The-view-on-Hvar-town-and-Pakleni-islands-and-Adriatic-sea

Hvar is the longest island in Croatia and one of the sunniest places in the country. I was actually blessed to live here for few months and I was totally enjoying its vibe. Islands are without a doubt my favorite spot to enjoy in Croatia.

Hvar-prominade-and-harbour

The remnants of material culture found in the islands caves speak of settlements in the Prehistoric period. For many, one of the most beautiful Dalmatian island, known since ancient times for its important strategic and nautical position, richness of mentioned historical periods, cultural and natural monuments.

Streets-in-Hvar-town-Kiva-bar

No matter what you are looking for on your vacation – you will find in Hvar; rich nightlife and architecture of the old town, daily boat trips to Pakleni islands, sandy beaches, pine forests, exotics of the southern slopes, village and gastronomic ambience, driving through the lavender fields, quiet hidden coves…

To explore this island, I recommend at least five days. If you are short with time, then enjoy only in Hvar town and Pakleni Islands – the rest – next time. Watch my travel vlog about Hvar island on YouTube.

Hvarska-Pjaca-Square of St. Stephen

 

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6. OMIŠ

Omis-Riviera-Croatia-and-view-on-the-mountains-and-canyons

Omiš is a small town and port 26 km southeast of Split. It lays on the Cetina river and its canyon with bustling stunning views.

The air in Omiš is different: clear and fresh. If you’re adrenaline enthusiast, you can enjoy in one of many activities in this area like: rafting, zipline, canyoning, paragliding etc. I’ve tried Zipline above the river Cetina canyon and you can read it, see some photos and a video if you click➙ Top 5 Reasons to Try Zipline in Croatia

In the 13th and 14th century Omiš was home of pirates.

Omis-Croatia-Adriatic-coast-Dalmatia

A short climb up to the Fortica fortress is something you shouldn’t miss. Once you get there, you’ll be much rewarded for your efforts with one of the most magnificent views in the whole Dalmatia.

To get up to Fortica, you have to start from the city center and follow the well-marked path. In less than 45 minutes, you’ll be on the top.

There’s one more fortress too as well as church and few smaller historical monuments. And the whole nature side….oooh my! Prepare to dedicate one day in Omiš and if you want to enjoy one of the areas activities – definitely two or three!

Biokovo planina i Jadransko more

However, there are many more amazing places to see in Croatia, but I’m keeping them for some future posts. These are my top 6 which you shouldn’t miss! Besides, I will write more in future about each place in particular so don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

Thank you. 🙂

What are your favorite places in Croatia: Dubrovnik, Split, Salona, Hvar, Plitvice or Omis?

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