If you’re looking for travel inspiration for a European road trip, the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia needs to be on your to-do list. The lakes area contains 16 lakes which flow into one another through a giant canyon, creating hundreds of natural waterfalls. It’s simply stunning.
However, if you’re looking for places to see on the road less travelled, then consider stopping by in the little Croatian village of Rastoke, about a 45 minute drive north on the highway 1 from the main lakes area. Still technically within the national park, you’ll find waterfalls, canyons and awesome vistas in every direction, but without the crowds of the Plitvice Lakes.
You’ll need a car, for sure. But the drive up to Rastoke is worth it. The road winds around the rolling green hills like spaghetti clinging to a wall, and it’s dotted with waterfalls and traditional Croatian huts (just keep your eyes on the road!). Here is my guide to things to do in Rastoke.
See the wonderful waterfalls (and water mill)
These are dotted about everywhere so a walk around the town will show you a multitude of pretty natural waterfalls. make sure you remember your camera and leave plenty of time for taking pictures! A visit to the mill is pretty cutesy too. For the equivalent of a couple of quid you can enter the mill area and see the water rushing through it to power the town.
Climb down into the canyon
Take the steps down into the canyon to see from a different perspective (careful, they’re slippery!)
Eat fresh fish in Petro’s
By far the best restaurant in town, Petro’s has a fresh trout pen in the centre of the outside dining area and fish directly from there (fish are gathered from the river). The trout was the best I’ve tasted and the beer wasn’t bad either…. not to mention the views!
Raft the waters
There’s a local company which organises whitewater rafting through the Korana river, which I was gutted we couldn’t partake in, as we visited in October. I hear on good authority that it’s brilliant fun, but is only available in the summer months, so time your visit accordingly if you can.
Go back in time
Within the watermill area, there is a pretty freaky museum, made up to look like the olden days. It reminded me of visiting an old Tudor town in Amberley (south England) when I was a kid. This is a pretty rubbish thing to do, admittedly. But it’s good for some creepy photos….