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Plitvice, a watery paradise in Croatia

Wherever you look, there's a scene worth capturing on film and framing; Plitvice, the best known of Croatia's national parks, is a paradise of lakes and waterfalls. With its range of habitats and microclimates, it is also a haven for wildlife.

In recent years, Croatia has changed from a relative unknown to one of the trendiest destinations in Europe. To a great extent this is due to the country's rocky littoral, which, washed by the Adriatic, is considered one of the most beautiful of the Mediterranean coastlines. Then there is the rich history and cultural heritage of medieval towns such as Dubrovnik, Split and Sibenik. But the well-deserved popularity also depends on the protected natural areas, which make up some ten per cent of the country's area. Eight areas enjoy national park status – a very high number for a relatively small country. Of these, Plitvice is the best known. It owes its fame to the 16 lakes of crystal clear water in all shades of green, grey and blue linked by nearly a hundred tumbling cascades, as well as to the dense forests of beech, fir and pines where bears and wolves roam, and which are home to a great variety of birds. Plitvice is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a network of trails allows visitors to roam freely and explore. If you're a lover of nature, take a look at our gallery and see if it appeals for your next getaway.

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Plitvice, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park is in the Lika region of Croatia and lies in a plateau surrounded by three mountains, not far from the border with Bosnia 

Plitvice, Croatia
The park is criss-crossed by a series of paths and trails that allow visitors to explore the area and observe the flora and fauna 

Plitvice, Croatia
Although the park is best known for its lakes and waterfalls, it is home to a wide range of birds and animals 

Plitvice, Croatia
Plitvice is the best known of the eight national parks of Croatia, a country where around ten per cent of the area enjoys some kind of protected status 

Plitvice, Croatia
The park is a watery paradise in all different shades of blue, green and grey; the light and shadow on the moving waters cause the colours to change constantly 

Plitvice, Croatia
Visitors explore the park on foot, following marked trails and wooden bridges 

Plitvice, Croatia
Some of the rivers in the park can also be travelled in boats 

Plitvice, Croatia
With its variation in altitude, climate and soil types, the park offers a wide range of habitats for different species of wildlife 

Plitvice, Croatia
There are 16 lakes in the Plitvice Park, linked together by rivers and around 100 waterfalls 

Plitvice, Croatia
The area where the park lies is karstic rock, mostly dolomite and limestone, and there are marvellous rock formations and caves