Plitvice is a hiker’s paradise, but even couch potatoes can see most of the park's features by combining some walking with rides on the Plitvice ferries and buses. Ulaz 2 is roughly in the middle of the park, so if you start there, you can easily get to Prošćansko, the highest and largest lake in the park, which is ringed by a hilly green landscape. (No waterfalls here, as you’re at the top of the cascade.) From Ulaz 2, it’s a quick downhill walk to a ferry which will take you toward paths flanked by waterfalls which you can almost reach out and touch. Tip: Don't try this: Swimming is forbidden, as is walking on the travertine.

You can also follow the signs here to the foot of Veliki Slap (Big Waterfall), where slender streams of water zoom off a vertical granite face into Korana Gorge. Veliki Slap is the most dramatic waterfall in the park and sometimes it seems that everyone is rushing to get there. However, there are falls in other parts of the park that are almost as impressive.

Waterfall Chemistry -- Visitors to Plitvice can't help wondering why the water is so clear, why each lake seems to have a different jewel-like color, and what the heck is travertine (park signs forbid visitors from stepping on the stuff). The official park map explains that over thousands of years, super-pure water pouring into Plitvice from the mountains eroded the surrounding limestone rocks. Moss and algae acted as catalysts to turn the dissolved rock (calcium carbonate) into the porous stone known as travertine, which then was deposited in the water. Nature is still "manufacturing" travertine at Plitvice, and the dissolve-and-deposit process is responsible for creating the park's waterfalls and for the lakes' vivid blue-green color. (As the travertine sinks to the lake floor, it coats vegetation and the lake's floor in white mineral "dust," which creates a bottom that reflects sunlight and sky—thus the brilliant colors.) As the travertine accumulates on the bottom, it also builds to the point that it creates barriers between the lakes. These barriers eventually get tall enough to create the waterfalls that are the essence of Plitvice's constantly shifting landscape. 

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