Wednesday, July 2, 2014

CROATIA: INLAND

Our residence during our visit to Krka National Park 
Our apartment opened onto the pool
Krka National Park 
Croatia has 8 national parks - quite a lot for a country slightly smaller than West Virginia. We visited two of them.  The first, Krka National Park, runs along the Krka River and is home to the largest travertine cascade system in Europe.  A boardwalk winds around some of the 17 waterfalls and pools. After walking that, we took a boat ride to another waterfall farther up the river.  It also 
Krka National Park

stopped at an island in the middle of the river that has been the site of a Franciscan monastery since 1445. 

Our residence was a short drive from the entrance to the park in the midst of olive trees and vineyards.  It seemed more more like a country estate than a commercial property.  
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park

Continuing eastward, we came to Croatia's most famous national park, Plitvice Lakes.  No easy boat ride here.  Over the course of 2 days we walked many miles up, down and around 16 green and turquoise lakes linked by countless waterfalls. 114 square miles in size and considered one of the most beautiful natural sites in Europe, Plitvice is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 


Plitvice Lakes National Park
Our final stop in Croatia was Krapinske Toplice, a small town in an area known for green rolling hills, medieval castles and thermal springs.  We had a package deal here that included 5 relaxing days in a spacious apartment, use of the hotel’s spa facilities, massages and superb 5 course dinners. 
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park

For a small nation, Croatia seems to have it all.  Majestic mountains, historic cities, charming villages, about 1,200 islands and 1,100 miles of coastline. The people are very kind and most helpful.  Yet, like most of Europe, the country faces economic problems. Taxes are high and the birth rate is well below replacement level.  The median age of the population is 41.4.  

After 39 days and 11 stops, we say farewell to Croatia and head into Slovenia and then Austria.
Krapinske Toplice one evening
                                                               
Now that we know how beautiful this country is and how many nice places there are to stay, we hope to return. We certainly wish Croatia and its people well as we had a wonderful experience here.


Farewell to Croatia