So it turned out those weather forecasters weren’t kidding: Split was just an hour or two in our rearview mirror before snow started falling on our little rental car, not to mention the crazy winds knocking us around our lane. Looking anxiously at the street signs warning us to put on tire chains, we simply couldn’t believe it: Was it not late April? Had we not, just days earlier, been sunning ourselves at a beach bar? What was the deal?
Gui used his Canadian prowess to navigate the snowy mountain roads and, before long, we were pulling into the nearly empty parking lot outside Plitvice Lakes National Park and piling on practically every item of clothing we had packed. For me, that meant a tank top (aka vest my British/Irish friends — I’ve been studying), two long-sleeve button-ups, a sweatshirt and the raincoat I found at Split’s mall the day before. Still shivering, I bought an extra sweatshirt from the park gift shop to add one final layer and actually felt much better afterward. We weren’t going to let a little snow stop us from seeing the waterfalls that I had been eagerly anticipating for months!
We spent the next 4.5 hours hiking through the park with the other crazy tourists who refused to be dissuaded by the weather. It was cold — my fingers instantly became bright red swollen sausages every time I took my hands out of my pockets to take a photo — and the path was quite slippery, making me concerned for the older women carefully tip-toeing down the steps at the end of the trail. Even so, it was totally worth it.
The park is stunning, from the seemingly endless supply of waterfalls, to the turquoise-blue water, to the rustic wooden walkway that winds its way through it all. And the light tourist traffic meant we did not have to wait to board the ferries that whisk you across the lake to hike other sections of the park, so that was a bit of a silver lining. So yes, even in the snow, I’d say Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must-see. Check out the photos and see if you agree.