Today’s adventure took us from Zagreb to Split, with a few-hour detour in Plitvice Lakes for some light hiking and waterfall viewing.

The drive was really cool and I’m glad we rented a car instead of trying to take public transportation (which would have also been easy) or going with an organized tour bus (which sounds like hell).

The Croatian countryside is nuts – you’ve got everything from rolling hills and corn fields that reminds me of Ohio, to craggy mountains that look almost like the moon if not for the crazy little scrub trees (maybe cedar?) clinging on for dear life, to the clearest bluest water you’ve ever seen, to lush vineyards and olive orchards(?). The scenery truly runs the gamut.

If you ever have the chance to come to this part of the world, rent a car and take the old highways. You’ll see more in the next travel day post, but daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn it’s pretty. All of it.

Today’s travel was mostly on the luxurious new highway – but it’s not always clear when you’re on that (the old highway is freaking nice as well), and it’s pretty too – just with more overtly convenient to an American potty options.

Plitvice 

This is one of those must-see spots in Croatia, and there’s hot debate as to which National Park is better – Plitivce or Krka. Krka you can swim in, but I’d heard the waterfall viewing was even better in Plitvice – and we were driving right past it (turns out we drove past both).

So, Plitvice it was.

We sailed past Entrance 1 and my pre-planned route, and ended up at Entrance 2. Which turned out really cool because we got to take a short boat ride + a longer tram/bus thing ride at the end that looped us almost right back to the parking lot.

Pro tip: when you enter the park, there will more than likely be a hella long line of people waiting to get in. Don’t be one of those people – either hop out of that line and find the money changing/ticket counter, or – better yet – pay at the trailheads further on down. Much shorter line. Like an hour shorter.

On to the pretty:

A second perspective: the landscape photographer in his element, but tortured by people and a lack of tripod.

And that was Plitvice. We could have spent hours more there happily (especially in a lower season that wasn’t so crowded), but this trip gave us a feel for what we would like to come back to see – definitely low season, and a longer hike. This was a great starting point trek and there were spots when the crowds thinned a bit, so we could take more time in (moderate) silence to shoot what we wanted to shoot without getting jostled on the wooden walkways or crowded around if it was a particularly Insta-friendly vista.

Split took another hour or two to get to, and then we were rewarded with this seafront:

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Croatia Part 1 – Zagreb

Stay tuned for our exploration of Split + then some!