This natural phenomenon was proclaimed a national park in 1949. The Plitvice lakes are situated between two forest covered mountain ranges - Mala Kapela above Pljesivica, covering an area of 240 square km. They represent one of the largest national parks in Croatia, and according to many characteristics and scientific value, they are one of the most notable reserves in all of Europe. The Plitvice Lakes consist of a system of lakes comprised of 16 large and many small lakes in a series of stages. The rivulets Crna and Bijela Rijeka converge in Plitvicki Ljeskovac, creating a current called Matica 1 km long that merges into the uppermost, Proscansko lake lying at 636 m above sea level.
The water flows from the Proscansko lake through the series of lakes to the Korana river, cascading over numerous varied sedimentary limestone barriers in the form of a multitude of waterfalls and streams of enchanting beauty and unique hues, ranging from emerald green to turquoise blue.Sastavci is the place where the Korana river has its origin. The Plitvice waterfall is located in its upper part. It is 72 metres tall. Galovacki Buk is the most beautiful and notable waterfall in the Upper Lakes system. Numerous caves and precipices are also a unique characteristic of the Plitvice national park. In 1979, it was added to the UNESCO List of World Heritage.
The Plitvice Lakes national park is heavily forested, mainly with beech, spruce, and fir trees, and features a mixture of Alpine and Mediterranean vegetation. It has a notably wide variety of plant communities, due to its range of microclimates, differing soils and varying levels of altitude. The exceptional natural beauty of the lakes, waterfalls, the rich flora and fauna, forests and mountain air, strolls on forest paths, rowing, comfortable hotels and restaurants with a domestic atmosphere, as well as numerous other contents provide a pleasant stay and attract almost a million visitors each year.