National Park Plitvice Lakes Locate On Map
National Park Plitvice Lakes - Tourist InformationHighlights:
- 16 beautiful lakes
- Beech and Fir forest
- Plitvice creek
- Korana river spring
- 78 meters high Grand waterfall
- Supljara cave
- Travertine barriers
- Cascade waterfalls
Plitvice lakes National Park is located in the highland area of Croatia in Lika region on altitude that ranges from 480 – 1280 meters. The Park is part of the Mala Kapela mountain range, specifically its southern part.
There are 16 lakes in Plitvice lakes National park and they are divided into two groups: The upper lakes and lower lakes. Upper lakes are a system of 12 lakes that are separated by travertine barriers: Proscan lake, Ciginovac, Okrugljak, Batinovac, Great lake, Small lake, Vir, Galovac, Milino lake, Gradina lake, Great Burget and Kozjak lake. They are all located on top of the waterproof Dolomite substrate. The height difference between the highest and lowest lake is 100 meters. River Matica flows into the Proscan lake and that is the second largest lake in the system. The last and the largest lake in the system is Kozjak lake, it is 46 meters deep and Rjecica creek flows into this lake. Interesting thing about this lake is Stefani’s island located in the middle of the lake. Lower lakes is a system of 4 lakes that are formed in a canyon built from 40 meter high limestone cliffs. Their names are: Milanovac, Gavanovac, Kaluderovac and Novakovica Brod. They are located in a porous limestone canyon that originates from the Upper Cretaceous period. Some of the cliffs that create the canyon are over 40 meters high. 20-meter high cliffs surround Milanovac Lake. When you walk along the path by the lake you are as close to the lake as you can be. On the other rocky side of the canyon there are different paths high above with gazebos. Lake Milanovac eastern waterfalls are named Milka Trnina’s falls, in honor of Croatian opera diva Milka Trnina. Lake Galvanovac waters descent over travertine barriers into the Kaluderovac Lake, the barriers are named the Great Cascades. There the path splits into the Supljara cave where it is possible to climb the rock steps to reach the plateau and the upper path that follows the edge of the canyon. There is an opening here that was used as a boat path to each the Blue Cave. The main path follows the cascades and goes on along the west side of the canyon where it goes on to the end of the lower lakes. There is a path descending between lakes Novakovica Brod and Kaluderovac that goes from No.1 Entrance to the Great Fall. There is also another trail that splits of to Lake Kozjak in the upstream direction. There is a large group of waterfalls that cascades vertically into the Sastavci hollow at the far end of Lake Novakovica Brod. Plitvice stream waters along with the waters from Lake Novakovica brod merge and fall from a 78-meter cliff and form an amazing waterfall that creates a spring of river Korana at the foot of Sastavci.
Plitvica stream is 4 kilometers long and is one of steady water flows in the park. It is the third largest karst area source of Plitvice lakes national park. Its spring is at 640 meters above sea level and it has never dried out. Plitivca stream takes in water from Sartuk stream after approximately one and a half kilometers from the spring. Sartuk stream is made up from several different water springs. Near a place called Hajdukovica mill, the soil under the spring changes from low porous dolomite area to highly porous limestone. Because of this change the stream loses a certain amount of water that is also partly due to quite intensive tufa deposition. After the stream passes trough Plitvice village the stream comes to the canyon of the lower lakes and there its water drops down 78-meter high cliffs and forms the Great fall, the largest waterfall in Croatia.
Approximately 10 meters downstream from the Great Fall, the Plitivca stream waters break down into the waterfalls of Lake Novakovica Brod. This is the point where the source of river Korana is located, at 475 meters above sea level. Korana River lows further down the canyon, it falls over 4 vertical drops leading towards Golubinjaca cave. In dry periods all of the water that usually flows from the spring area disappears and the riverbed of Korana River dries out. Korana River is 143 kilometers long from its source in Plitvice national park to the mouth of Kupa River that is located near Karlovac town.
Water seeping trough the surface of the limestone causes it to dissolve and so creating the cracks and causing the underground channels to be made. Lover lakes canyon grooving and the expansion of underground cavities beneath a sinkhole at the very edge of the canyon created a instability that led to the sinkhole bottom, i.e. roof of the cave to break and reveal the hidden spaces and corridors now going to Lake Kaluderovac. The two cave galleries that are next to the passageway are simple with very little page decorations, while the galleries in the longest side channels have created decorations of the bulbous shape. Supljara is an underground cave that has a particular environment. Its temperature is constant at approximately 10.5 degrees Celsius while the air is very saturated with moisture. Because of its unfavorable conditions only specially adapted cave fauna lives in it. Even tough it is not large, Supljara cave full of cave fauna. Because of it abundant fauna this is the cave were some species were discovered and described for the first time by scientists. Scientific discoveries of different species began in 1895, from that date there were several endemic animals found in the cave because of which the cave was additionally protected as a geomorphological monument of nature.
The climate is moderately warm and damp with warm summers. The average rainfall is 1550 mm per year. There are several different kinds of vegetation in the Park that are currently in different stages of development, ranging from coppice to jungle. There are several forest areas in the Park and the most common is beech forest and beech – pine that create a permanent vegetation of the Park. We can also find several different kinds of trees inside these zones like Pillow, black alder, hornbeam, regular pine, spruce…
Forests play an important part in protecting the soil from erosion, effecting the climate and hydrological conditions as well as taking part in creation of oxygen and storage of carbon.
On the area of Plitvice lakes National Park there are 114 caves and pits. That number includes also caves and pits located on the edge part of the Park, most of those are pits, approximately 72%, and the remaining 28% are caves. In regards to their dimensions they are mostly small size category (shorter and shallower than 50 meters), 23 of them fall in the middle size category (depth or length that fall in the 50 – 500 meter range) and there aren’t any that fit into the large size category (depth or length in the 500 + meter range).
In the morphological sense the most significant is the Cudnika pit and Vrsic pit, Cudinka pit is interesting because it is just one vertical pit 203 meters deep and was considered to be the deepest one in Croatia for a long time. Besides the pits there are also caves that stand out with their size: Dark cave (160 meters), Golubnjaca (145 meters), Golubnjaca on Homoljac field (153 meters) and the cave of Jezerkinja fairy (104 m).
Plitvice lakes flora consists of 1267 herbal species that are arranged in 112 families, many od them are endemic, rare and endangered that makes it and very valuable floristic area. There are 72 endemic species and 22 protected species of which we can single out the Europe’s most beautiful orchid, the Ladies slipper. Especially interesting plants in the Park are the carnivorous plants like the common butterwort that is on the red list of sensitive plants and small bladderwort that is very rare water carnivorous plant.
Fauna of Plitvice lakes is usually associated with its trademark animal the brown bear, but its animal treasure is far greater then just its most famous representative. From the earliest times when the area of Plitvice lakes aroused interest there has been proved and documented presence of many animal species. Insects are most represented in the terrestrial habitats, there are 321 species of butterflies 76 of which are day butterflies and 245 are night butterflies. There are also 80 registered species of caddis flies. There are also several species of fish that live in the lakes along with 12 species of amphibians. There are relatively few species of reptiles because of long winters and thick layer of snow. There are 157 species of birds that habit the area of Plitvice National Park, rarest of them is blackbird that habits only clean watercourses. There have been spotted over 50 different kinds of mammals in the Park area that include: Shrews, voles, hedgehog, marten, dormice, wild boars, 20 different kinds of bats, wolves, deer, wild cat, lynx, otter and, of course, the brown bear.