Rastoke, Croatia

Only half an hour from where the tourists gather at Plitvice Lakes National Park, is the little village of Rastoke. Peaceful, picturesque and nestled amongst the trees, you won’t find yourself tiptoeing around the crowds here.

Over thousands of years, cascades and waterfalls have been carved into the limestone landscape by the Sluničica River. As people settled in the area they built their grain-milling town using the water available around them. History is written on the walls here. Indeed, if you’re arriving from the coast or capital, you’ll likely drive through a number of abandoned villages and homes – all scarred by war, heartbreak and stillness.

Known for its authentic wood-shingled homes and cultural traditions, Rastoke is a place you come to relax after the bustle of Zagreb, the thrills of a Croatian coastal adventures, or the crowds that rightly flock to Split and Dubrovnik. You only need half a day here to soak it in and unwind – preferably in the afternoon so you can watch the town go about its day and settle in for a wonderful local dinner. Try the bread they still make with the local grains and river water – it’s been popular for over a hundred years.

These words and photographs are from Lis Dingjan, the founder of and photographer behind Nowhere & Everywhere, which merges travel and environmentalism. She has visited over 60 countries, actually likes green juices, jumps in every waterfall and thinks we could all spend a little more time on the open road.