The Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia's most touted natural wonder: Its majestic waterfalls, lakes, and forests have earned it a place on the UNESCO register of world natural heritage sites and made it Croatia's second biggest tourist attraction after the Adriatic coast and islands. The park's most compelling features are the waterfalls that interconnect its 16 turquoise lakes, which are set in dense forests of beech, fir, spruce, and soaring rock formations. The park's 4,856-hectares (12,000 acres) include 3,642 hectares (9,000 acres) of forest, 1,133 hectares (2,800 acres) of grassy areas and villages, and 36 hectares (88 acres) of water. Everywhere the water is crystal-clear thanks to deposits of travertine (powdery white limestone rock) under the water. The constant distribution of travertine creates the underwater mounds responsible for the waterfalls. The park is also rich with caves, springs, flowering meadows, the source of the River Korana (a gorge that looks like a green branch of the Grand Canyon), and several animal species including deer, wolves, wild boar, and the increasingly rare brown bear (though these animals rarely make an appearance during the hours when the park is open to visitors). … Back to Article
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