With 16 linked lakes, dozens of waterfalls, brilliantly green forests and dark caves, the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is one of the most breathtaking destinations in the world. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, the park attracts naturalists and hikers from across the globe.
According to the park’s website, the lakes have been attracting people to their shores since prehistoric times. The land has been admired and built on by Romans, Turks, and eventually Croatian farmers. In 1949 the lakes were declared public property and opened to all citizens and tourists of Croatia, allowing visitors to bask in the pristine beauty and perhaps even view some of the native fauna, such as the brown bear, the eagle owl and the wolf, says UNESCO.