Situated roughly halfway between the capital city of Zagreb and the Croatian coastline, the Plitvice Lakes are surrounded by hills that enclose this magnificent national treasure, giving it an almost undiscovered air. The sixteen lakes are part of a beautiful national park covering 116 square miles (300 square kilometres). Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the lakes is that they are each interconnected by a series of waterfalls and cascades. There is a considerable height difference between the lakes - 2,953 feet (900 metres) separate the highest from the lowest, and the tallest waterfall, Veliki Slap, has a drop of 200 feet (61 metres).
Much of the surrounding landscape is attractive woodland, set out across the range of pretty, sloping hillsides. These are populated by a number of rare species including deer, boars, wolves and bears. Many very rare kinds of bird are also known to inhabit the woodland areas. In recognition of its notable ecological importance, the Plitvice Lakes National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 - one of the very first natural sites to be given the status. The park is a firm favourite with visitors and continues to attract thousands of tourists ever year.