Walk on Winnetous tracks
At the sight of the National Park Plitvice Lakes in Croatia with the rugged mountains, deep gorges and rushing waterfalls comes automatically Wildwestromantik on. Like going to a Western station. Our photo show offers views of the Wild West scenery.
Appearance is not deceptive. Finally, the park served as a backdrop for the legendary Karl May films. The adventures of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand remain unforgotten until today. The treasure of the Silver Lake was sunk in one of the Plitvice Lakes. Those who want to revive the beautiful memories, can walk in the footsteps of his film heroes.
16 lakes and the largest waterfall in Croatia
The Plitvice Lakes cover an area of almost 300 square kilometers. The park covers the headwaters of the Korana River and is surrounded by dense beech, spruce and fir forests. The main attraction is the 16 small lakes, which are connected by waterfalls. An absolute must is the “Veliki slap” (large waterfall), which is located near the park entrance and falls from 78 meters into the depths. This makes it the highest waterfall in Croatia.
In addition to the lakes, limestone and travertine caves can also be explored. The nature reserve offers rare animals a home. So here is next to wolves and lynxes and the brown bear native. But do not worry, an encounter is rather unlikely, as the animal inhabitants are very shy and civilized bipeds prefer to avoid.
A park, many paths
There are many ways to explore the park. Most of the time you have to plan for the long walk that passes by all the lakes. This tour takes six to eight hours. For leisurely hikers, the shortest route, which takes three to four hours, is more suitable. However, one does not enjoy the benefit of some “Upper Lakes” in this case.
An exploration by boat or tourist train is also possible. Even if the clear, turquoise water on hot days tempts you to dare a dip in the cool water, you should do this as possible, as in the entire National Park absolute bathing prohibition applies. Even cars were banished; only tourist buses operate on prescribed routes.
Wild nature paradise
The Plitvice Lakes were designated as National Park in 1949. Thirty years later, UNESCO’s affirmation came and the natural beauty was included in the World Heritage List. Every year, up to 800,000 visitors are counted. The uniqueness of the park lies in the fact that humans intervene as little as possible. The landscape alone determines the power of nature.
Experts demand to limit the flow of visitors
It is the fear for the fascinating nature that drives experts to demand that the number of visitors be regulated. “More than 90 percent of our visitors have no idea what nature and hiking mean,” says Helena Petrovic. The 58-year-old has been guiding tourists through the National Park for decades. Almost all guests are day trippers who want to see the highlights in a few hours.
On some August days, more than 13,000 people push their way along the plank paths between lakes and waterfalls. “I think you have to limit the number of visitors,” says Petrovic. “A maximum per hour would be useful.” But it is just the big tour groups in the summer, which also bring the big money. And the Lika, an almost deserted and poor region of Croatia, needs this money: “The National Park feeds 1200 people.”