The rumors regarding Plitvice Lakes National Park match the velocity of its waterfalls. Guidebooks and even on-site hotel staff are full of misinformation. Even the park Web site is secretive, encouraging potential guests to refrain from contacting hotels directly. During a recent expedition within the park grounds, we were able to make some eye-opening discoveries. Živjeli!
Rumor 1: Nacionalni Park Plitvi?ka Jezera is Difficult to Reach. False. A main highway runs right through the park with bus stops near both entrances.
Rumor 2: The Hotels in the Park are Hidden Away. False. One guidebook implies the nearest bus stop is 6 km away from the main entrance as well as the three park hotels. The Hotel Bellevue is 300 meters away from a bus stop near the Second Entrance and the other two hotels, Hotel Plitvice and Hotel Jezero, are a five-minute walk from the Bellevue.
Rumor 3: Hotel Bellevue is Dreary. False. Brand new 1970s retro furnishings are not the point; the lush window views are. The outside of the hotel is freshly painted, to boot.
Rumor 4: Maps are Readily Available. False. When we visited, maps could only be purchased for a few kuna inside the Hotel Jezero gift shop. We overheard one Bellevue staff member advising a guest that maps are unimportant. Signs point in confusing directions. Signage graphics are misleading at their best and illegible at their worst.
Rumor 5: Start a Waterfall Tour at Station 1. Not really false, but a bad idea. A start at Station 4 allows for easy downhill walking. Also, the approach to the Big Waterfall at Station 1 is more dramatic.
Rumor 6: The Park is Not Handicapped Accessible. True. Venice, Italy is easier to traverse.
Rumor 7: The Waterfalls are Spectacular. True. All the confusion is well worth the trip.
Note that Plitvice hotels don’t have Web sites. You can contact the general Plitvice sales department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wandering Cheapo Kari Hoerchler is a blogger, budget traveller and science fiction novelist stationed on Planet Earth. She has recently been spotted on small stages of New York coffeehouses telling tall tales of a tropical island—and future vacation hot spot—in the Bermuda Triangle. Book ahead.