Sunday, 2 August 2020

Paths Following Footsteps of Wolves, Lynxes and Bears Opened Near Plitvice

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 31st of July, 2020, many tourists visiting the much loved Plitvice area have a brand new, very interesting tourist attraction at their disposal - the ability to hike along trails that follow the footsteps of wolves, bears and lynxes.

This area is rich in both flora and fauna, and by tracing the footsteps of animals, visitors will be able to get a unique insight into the activities of Lika's large wild animals.

This is a protected area managed by the Barac Caves Public Institution, and in addition to adventurers and animal lovers, this offer will certainly be interesting to walkers, recreationists, nature lovers and Nordic walkers.

"Back when we initially came to this idea and began with the arrangement of the trails, we had the visitors to Barac's caves in mind, to whom we offer additional, very attractive things to do before or after the tour of the cave itself. Going deep into the forest and following in the footsteps of wild animals is something that you will definitely remember for the rest of your life and that will connect you with nature forever,'' says director Tihana Ostrina.

The trails close to Plitvice are circular in shape, with a total length spanning 11.5 kilometres, with markings in the shape of paws, they are additionally marked with signposts at important intersections, and the start and finish is at the Barac caves picnic area.

The wolf trail is the shortest and the tour takes only twenty minutes to walk, so it is also suitable for novice walkers. Wolves, as well as humans, like to move in their "pack", and to trace this path it was necessary to follow the wolves who live in the area very closely.

The lynx trail is three kilometres long and follows in the footsteps of the Eurasian lynx, which is an endangered mammal species in Croatia. Large areas are needed and used for lynxes, and in that sense it is one of the most demanding and challenging species for conservation, and its presence is a sign of excellent preservation of the ecosystem. The movement of lynxes was recorded in the area of ​​Barac's caves, and visitors to the new trail near Plitvice can discover the uniqueness of the forest ecosystem in which the lynx finds his occasional refuge.

The bear trail is designed for eager walkers who like a challenge and who have at least three hours at their disposal, as it is 7.5 kilometres long. The trail follows in the footsteps of the gorgeous brown bear, the giant of Croatia's mountain forests, the trail also hides some of the most beautiful lookouts and even naturally occurring refreshments from several forest springs and streams.

The new trails located close to the much loved Plitvice area of Lika pass through a larger complex of mixed forest that offers a home to a large number of plant and animal species. They also stretch over dry and semi-dry grasslands that represent important habitats for many rare and endangered plant and animal species. Due to the unfortunate abandonment of the traditional way of management, many mountain grasslands are disappearing due to the gradual overgrowing of woody and shrub species from nearby forests and are among the most endangered ecosystems in Croatia.

Visitors are invited to choose the trail according to their physical fitness level, to bring adequate footwear and clothing, and follow in the footsteps of some of Croatia's most majestic large animals.

For more, follow our travel page.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Plitvice Lakes National Park Changes Group Ticket Prices

May 29, 2020 - Many Croatians have been enjoying promotional prices at Plitvice Lakes National Parks this spring, with tickets costing as low at 50 kuna. And now, a UHPA initiative for national and nature parks is reducing ticket prices for group visits. 

Intending to launch a group market segment, and due to the new situation in the world tourism market caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the management of Plitvice Lakes National Park decided to change ticket prices for group visits to the park.

This is the result of UHPA's initiative towards national and nature parks to reduce ticket prices for group visits so that, following the easing of epidemiological measures and the opening of borders, we can still expect some tourist traffic this tourist season.

"By easing epidemiological measures and opening borders, we hope that we could still achieve some tourist traffic in this tourist season, but with the condition that all stakeholders in the tourism industry contribute through the correction of the prices of their services. This is the only way we can engage in competition with competitors for each guest," said Tomislav Fain, President of UHPA, when launching the initiative.

Corrected prices for groups from May 26 to June 18 are as follows:

Adult groups - 80.00 kn

Student groups - 50.00 kn

Children from 07 to 18 years in the group - 25.00 kn

Children up to 7 years and people with special needs with disabilities over 50% - Gratis

The reaction of other national parks and nature parks is also awaited.

Also, Plitvice Lakes National Park published a video about the safety and epidemiological measures they have taken in their accommodation facilities, which you can watch below in its entirety. 

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Cheap Plitvice Lakes Won't Last Long, Ticket Prices to Jump Up Soon

May 24, 2020 - The director of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Tomislav Kovacevic, said during HRT's 'Theme of the Day' show that, naturally, they have to raise ticket prices in the season, given that they have almost 700 employees.

Index.hr reports that Plitvice Lakes National Park had lowered ticket prices - and currently, you can enjoy Plitvice for 50 kuna. However, prices will soon rise to 90 and return to 200 kuna. Kovacevic stated that this year, they introduced two promotional weeks, primarily for the local population, so that they could afford a visit.

"The Croatian public is perhaps less familiar with the fact that from November 1 until March 1, the price is very affordable. It was 60 kuna for years, this year it will be 80 kuna, so acceptable again. Anyone who has seen Plitvice under the snow, will certainly return," Kovacevic said.

He added that they started well at the beginning this year, but there was a break due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, he is pleased with the trend after May 11.

"I can almost say that the season has started at Plitvice Lakes, regardless of the fact that we have a promotional spring. Every day we have 5,000 or more visitors, which is a limited number, 50 percent of what we normally receive," Kovacevic said.

He stated that due to the protection of Plitvice, one-way traffic was introduced and there are no more long-distance boat rides, and train rides are also excluded.

The director of the Kornati National Park, Sime Jezina, said that in the last two months, they had estimated that there would be no season at all, and now they have come to the conclusion that they will do well this season, and maybe have an extraordinary post-season.

Jezina points out that they earn most of their income in June, July, August and even September. 

"So far, these two months have not had an excessive effect on our revenue side," says Jezina, adding that he does not dare to say that the figures will be like last year's or the year before that, but that he is still optimistic.

Jezina states that the Kornati Islands are a huge territory, so even in August, there are places to sail, and he hopes that this year nautical tourism will be an absolute hit.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Plitvice Lakes Filled With Rare Guests: Croatians

May 16, 2020 — Plitvice Lakes National Park bet deep discounts would lure local tourists and help jumpstart its summer season. The gambit paid off. Croatians flooded the tourist magnet as soon as it opened.

About 5,000 guests visited Plitvice since the park opened on Monday, creating epidemiologically-sound lines. The initial weekend back sold out quickly, a 15,000-guest tally for the first week of life under the new coronavirus regime which limits visitors. Tickets for next weekend are about to sell out as well.

Call it a confluence of life in the coronavirus era: a full stop on international travel, study and work from home rules combined with low prices and isolation fatigue to create an unexpected boom in thousands of locals, many who never visited the park before.

The number of visitors falls short of normal traffic but exceeded expectations. By mid-May, Plitvice is on its way to its annual haul of over 1 million guests.

Croatia’s epidemiological measures prevent the sardine-like experience which became a hallmark of visiting Plitvice. It can only allow in 600 people an hour across two entrances.

The park’s employees report the dearth of human visitors over the last two months allowed other, hairier guests to arrive. Security footage reportedly showed wild animals descending into Plitvice during the shutdown.

The park is reportedly filled with Croatians from all around the country, especially families with children. It’s a rare departure from the mass tourism era, as most accommodations still shake off the cobwebs of a months-long closure. 

Croatians haven’t made up a majority of guests at Plitvice Lakes in decades. The tour guides chattering away in foreign tongues to zombified self-stick operators are replaced by the chatter of Croatian kids ogling at the turquoise waters and fish.

One guest, Goran, told Jutarnji List he was visiting for the first time with his wife Slavica and children Eva and Marta. Their trip to the national park was sparked by a “combination of price, the fact that there are no foreign guests, no crowds and nice weather,” he said. The family even went for the full vacation experience and rented a house in Slunj.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Plitvice Lakes Ticket Prices to Rise to 300 Kuna in Season

It goes without saying that most won't be happy about the increase for Plitvice Lakes ticket prices, but the park's administration have offered an explanation...

The gorgeous Plitvice Lakes National Park is and always has been one of the main draws of continental Croatia for foreign visitors who are otherwise traditionally inclined only to the glorious Adriatic sea. This truly stunning national park, has, however, always found itself the subject of a certain level of controversy when it comes to ticket prices.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of March, 2020, Plitvice Lakes ticket prices for an adult at the peak of the 2018 summer season was 180 kuna. Last year, the price of that same ticket jumped to 250, and this summer, Plitvice Lake ticket prices are to increase significantly - to 300 kuna. Tickets for children aged between 7 to 18 cost 120 kuna during the busiest months, according to Dnevnik.hr

A family of four who wishes to go on a trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park this summer will need to pay 840 kuna to enter.

These prices have been allocated for the period between the 1st of June to the 30th of September, 2020. However, these Plitvice Lakes ticket prices do drop slightly if you're visiting in the afternoon. For adults, it drops down to 200 kuna and for children to 70 kuna.

The park has explained that their goal is to increase the number of visitors throughout the year, adding that their prices are lower in the post-season and pre-season. For example, from the beginning of the year to the end of March, the price of an adult ticket is 80 kuna, and jumps up to 180 kuna in April and May.

"We'd also like to remind people that children under the age of seven and persons with special needs with disabilities (of more than 50 percent) are entitled to free entry throughout the year," explained Plitvice Lakes spokesman Ognjen Borcic.

He noted that 2018 was a record year for visitors, as the park counted a massive 1.8 million of them. With the increase in Plitvice Lakes ticket prices, that number dropped slightly last year, but, according to the spokesman, visitors were more ''spread out'' over the course of the year.

"That's why several years ago we introduced online maps to limit the number of visitors per day," Borcic added.

When asked if 300 kuna is too much for the average Croatian tourist, he replied: ''Personally, this would be a problem for me as well, but I recommend that they come in spring and winter when it's at its most beautiful. In the summer, nature is already at its most vulnerable due to high temperatures and low water levels,'' Borcic said, adding that these new prices will remain as they are now for some time.

Make sure to follow our travel page for much more.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Major Tourism Analysis for Lika in 2019: A Boom without Much Promotion

February 12, 2020 - The development of continental tourism is a mantra that keeps getting repeated, but not many people realise how thoughtfully and thoroughly tourism is being developed in one region of Croatia - Lika.

The Lika Club website published their yearly tourism analysis for the region, which includes tourist workers from Karlovac County (Aquatika aquarium from Karlovac, Baraćeve Špilje and Ivana's House of Secrets from Ogulin) and Lika-Senj County (two national parks: Plitvice Lakes and Northern Velebit, the Museum of Gacka in Otočac, the Museum of Lika in Gospić, the Nikola Tesla Museum in Smiljan, Grabovača cave park in Perušić and the largest surprise of this survey, the Church of Croatian Martyrs in Udbina (Crkva hrvatskih mučenika u Udbini).

 

lika turizam 2019.jpg

(Screenshot from likaclub.eu; columns mean the institution, the number of visitors in 2018, number of visitors in 2019, and the relative change in the number of visitors)

The biggest tourist spot in Lika is, of course, Plitvice Lakes National Park, which has had a one and a half percent reduction in the number of visitors in 2019, compared to 2018. Ognjen Borčić, Plitvice's PR representative says that it's their intention to turn towards quality instead of the number of tourists. That way, the natural beauty will be preserved, the tourists would enjoy their stay more and that would lead to them staying longer. They are very satisfied with the introduction of the online system for ticket purchases which was introduced in May of last year, which helped reduce the crowds. Margarita Markušić Kulaš, the director of Karlovac's Aquatika aquarium says that they are extremely satisfied with the growth in the number of visitors, and in 2020, their focus is on numerous events which are to be held in the aquarium.

The Museum of Lika in Gospić and the Nikola Tesla Museum in Smiljan are a couple of kilometres away from one another and have the same management. Their manager, Tatjana Kolak, explained that, while the Museum of Lika had a large reduction of the number of visitors in 2019, their overall numbers have improved. For the first time ever, they have crossed the number of 50 thousand visitors, and they're very proud of that record.

The neighbouring museum with similar characteristics, the Museum of Gacka in Otočac, saw growth in their numbers of around 10 percent. They're getting ready for the new year, they printed a promotional brochure with neighbouring sites to visit and they have an audio guide which they plan to translate into English, to make it more accessible to foreign visitors. Baraćeve špilje (caves) has maintained the same number of visitors, but soon they'll start building their visitor's centre dedicated to the underground heritage SPELEON, financed by the EU. The only cave park in Croatia, Grabovača in Perušić saw the biggest relative growth of over 30 percent. Jelena Milković, the manager, talks about their plans to expand their promotional activities, and open a garden with edible herbs. They also plan to invest more in educational activities and determine exactly how many visitors can come into the Samograd cave without devastation to life within the cave.

Northern Velebit National Park is very satisfied with their growth of around 10 percent, and especially proud of how many people want to visit their House of the Velebit. They are investing a lot in promotion, and they have plans to expand that promotion to foreign markets.

The biggest tourist growth happened in the Udbina Municipality, in a large white stone building, the Church of Croatian Martyrs. Josip Šimatović, a priest from the church says that they're not supported by the Tourist Board or the municipality, but they're attracting more and more visitors, pilgrims, associations, hikers, school groups, etc.
 
The church is very active on social networks and most people go there as they've heard it be recommended. Although they weren't able to produce the exact numbers, Josip says that they saw around 40 thousand visitors in 2019. One of the problems he highlights is the lack of capacity for visitors to stay overnight in or around Udbina, and it's even difficult to find a restaurant for a couple of hundred people to have lunch! There's a lot of history to be discovered in Udbina, and many people visit because of the history and nature. Maybe just translating their website to English might help with their promotional activities.
Friday, 1 November 2019

Plitvice Lakes National Park Busy in Offseason with Successful Promo Week

November 1, 2019 - Plitvice Lakes National Park successfully cruises through the offseason.

Judging by all the indicators so far, Plitvice Lakes National Park is nearing another record year, which is contrary to the pessimistic announcements made before that the number of visitors would be halved if online ticket sales were introduced.

However, Novi List reports that the recently held Promo Week confirmed otherwise

To mark 70 years since it was proclaimed the first national park in Croatia, and 40 years since it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list,Plitvice Lakes gave back to its visitors with a ‘Promo Week’ that ran from October 21-27 with discounted ticket prices. 

Namely, during Promo Week, tickets purchased online were only 50 kuna for adults, while students paid 30 kuna and kids aged 7-18 paid 20. Children under seven and people with disabilities entered for free.

Plitvice Lakes National Park spokesman Ognjen Borcic highlighted the many benefits and above all the excellent organization stemming from online ticket sales.

"Finally, an order was introduced in this regard, without long waits, nervousness, and all the negative things that used to happen at our park entrances. We have talked about it many times. Promo Week confirmed this to us. The opportunity to visit the national park for an unprecedented price proved to be excellent, and the last weekend of Promo Week was a sign of great attendance.

Thus, on weekends alone, we recorded almost 16,000 visitors. This was also helped by the great weather, the quiet and warm autumn. We have an extended weekend ahead for All Saints Day.

According to the current announcements, this will be another reason to be proud of the business success of Plitvice Lakes National Park because the bookings are excellent, and the reports of arrivals literally come from all sides,” emphasizes spokesman Ognjen Borcic.

Plitvice Lakes National Park's diverse offer was further enhanced this year by a weekly culinary event, a multitude of other events, presentations and scientific meetings, all in celebration of the unique park and its tradition.

The image of Croatia’s most famous national park is currently enveloped by the calming of colors of autumn, with increasingly pronounced yellow hues. It is all part of the annual changes that make Plitvice Lakes so unique.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 6 September 2019

New Plitvice Film Festival Focues on Valuing and Conserving Nature

September 6, 2019 - To celebrate 70 years since Plitvice Lakes was declared a national park and the 40th anniversary of its entry into the UNESCO World Heritage List, a new film festival has been created. Thus, the Plitvice Film Festival will be held at the Korana Camp, from September 19 to 22, with a program that focuses on nature and its conservation.

T.portal announces that the Plitvice Film Festival strives to engage children and young people in the process of raising awareness of the importance of nature and its preservation for generations to come, and its educational film program is aligned with this idea. The works of already established directors, as well as new talents, will be shown - and part of the program brings films made by children that were elected for a short film competition of up to five minutes on the topic of nature conservation

Twelve selected films will be available for viewing on the last day of the festival, when the winner will be announced, which will be decided by the viewers. Details are available on the Plitvice Lakes National Park website.

The program also includes a film by nature documentary pioneer Sir David Attenborough, who has announced his arrival in Plitvice Lakes to film a new BBC project that could coincide with the festival's dates. There are also films by Oscar-winning directors or nominees, such as Wim Wenders, Louie Psihoyos, Luc Jaquet, Frédéric Backo, and even ‘Ice on Fire’ by Leila Conners, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and starring Croatian scientist Stasa Puškarić.

Another local scientist, biologist Goran Šafarek will present the movie ‘THE Green Bloodstream of Croatia'. The festival will hold the Croatian premiere of 'Honeyland’ by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has won three awards.

The German documentary film 'Intelligent Trees' has also been announced, inspired by Peter Wohlleben's bestseller ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’, and as the only feature film, the masterpiece ‘Walkabout’ from 1971, by the recently deceased British director Nicolas Roeg.

PFF_WEB-1024x721.png

"As never before, when the red alarm went off to preserve our only planet, there was no need to re-emphasize the richness and beauty of nature and warn of the importance of preserving it. We hope that with this festival we will stimulate ecological awareness and actions and thus help Plitvice Lakes, in its beauty, celebrate many more. anniversaries like this,” the organizers point out.

The film screenings each night will be accompanied by a music program by bands committed to nature conservation - Kazan, Cinkushi, Picksiebneri, and J.R. August.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Number of Visitors to Plitvice Lakes at Same Level as 2018

If you're heading to continental Croatia, making your way from the coast to Zagreb... Why not stop off at the incredible Plitvice Lakes while it isn't too crowded?

It seems as if everyone is talking about the rather strange and slow tourist season of 2019. While Croatia is usually sizzling under the beating sun and the streets are completely thronged with foreign tourists, this year appears a little different indeed.

It seems, at least according to some sources, that it isn't just Croatia that is suffering a considerable drop on tourists and likely tourism revenue this summer, and that thanks to the return of Mediterranean rivals such as Turkey and even Egypt, even the likes of Greece and Spain have recorded a drop in figures.

One of Croatia's top continental attractions is the absolutely stunning Plitvice Lakes, and according to Poslovni Dnevnik/Radmila Kovacevic/VL on the 17th of July, 2019, there appears to be no overcrowding in Croatia's most famous national park this year. A somewhat unusual situation for this time of year.

During the first half of this year, Plitvice Lakes sold 625,000 tickets, and difference this year is that tickets are sold in advance, and can be purchased online. Those aforementioned 625,000 tickets which have been sold are at the same level as they were last year. As stated, the only real difference is that you can now purchase them online, and the tickts state the exact time that the guest intends to enter the national park. All of that is an attempt to avoid crowds and long waiting times.

The director of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Tomislav Kovačević, has stated that waiting times at the park have been drastically cut when compared to how things used to be. He stated that now a wait is about 15 to 20 minutes, and that is when waiting to board a boat.

He also says that without pre-purchased tickets from online, it's best to avoid the period between 09:00 and 13:00, because at those times things are usually closed for guests who come without having purchased online tickets beforehand.

During the most frequented days at NP Plitvice Lakes, there can be as many as 14,300 visitors. The same as last year, when the number of daily visitors exceeded 14,000 in one week.

Follow our dedicated travel page for much more.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Rakovica in Plitvice Valleys Presents Promotional Video

Hundreds of thousands of visitors will not want to miss the wonder that is the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Lika this year. Many of them will enter the park itself through Rakovica, which is the northern entrance, mostly unaware that they are in the centre of what's called the Plitvice Valleys, an amazing destination in and of itself, worth exploring for its beauty alone and the potential for a "green vacation".

That's why the Tourist Board of Rakovica Municipality decided to create a lively promo video which shows the visitors from all over the world how beautiful the Plitvice Valleys are. Their goal is to make the visitors to Plitvice Lakes (which remains the biggest attraction in the region and one of the most significant tourist attractions in Croatia) stay at least one day longer and get to know the region better, not just the National Park.

In Rakovica and smaller places in Plitvice Valleys you can ride horses or bicycles (one of those activities requires you have carrots, the other one doesn't - make sure you come prepared!), investigate the underground world of caves, hang out with deer, enjoy adrenaline sports and home-made food, visit numerous historic attractions and the beautiful Korana River. You can do all that while staying at one of many amazing accommodations that have been built in Plitvice Valleys over the past several years.

Mira Špoljarić, Rakovica Tourist board director said that the promotional video was the final product of their promotional activities, and that now they're working hard at branding Plitvice Valleys as a place you should not just go through on your way to the Lakes, rather stay for a couple of days. The visitors seem to recognize those efforts, and for many years Rakovica has been the most popular tourist destination in Karlovac county, all thanks to the hard work on the quality and activities, which is what the video shows too.

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