If you saw my post on Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia you know that I exclaimed it as one of the most beautiful places we had been on our travels, well, then I must give Krka National Parks a tied rating. Krka is much larger than Plitvice, doesn’t have the UNESCO rating and is maybe a little more laid back with more open spaces. It also has the bonus of being able to swim below the largest falls in the summertime when its warmer and the water levels are lower. The drawback is it gets inundated with people in the months of July and August, we visited late April and although you couldn’t swim it was a leisurely time to visit with only the occasional tour group to dodge (the German’s were invading).
Below is a video of our trip to Krka, this stunning park, untouched-in real life!
Krka is formed by the same biodynamic processes as Plitvice, Porous travertine bedrock and calcium carbonate in the water that form sills and barriers building up spectacular waterfalls. Krka’s water volumes are much higher than Plitvice so it also has some larger, more dramatic falls. If you only have time for one of the parks and have to choose you can’t go wrong with either but my preference would be Plitvice as it’s a bit easier to navigate and one fee gets you full access. Krka since its so much bigger has multiple entrances, different park sections and added fees for additional tours or access.
Krka has multiple entrances into the park and numerous ways to tackle it’s sites (see the parks official website) and it can be a bit daunting on how to navigate. I would suggest either of these two most popular entrances for a first-time visit. We had originally planned on entering the park in the town at Skradin but ended up driving on to the Lozovac Entrance, you reach it by driving through Skradin and up along the ridge outside of town about 7 more kilometers (GPS- Lozovac, it is well signed). The locals told us Lozovac was a better entrance and more scenic although I believe you end up walking the same route through the park either way. There is plenty of free parking, purchase your entrance ticket at the Reception Desk and line up for the buses which leave every 15 minutes to take you into the park.
The second option is the Skradin entrance which is reached at the back of the town, you can drive past the pushy parking lot attendants trying to wave you in as you enter the town and park closer to the entrance. You will have to pay for parking in the lot just off to the right towards the back of the town. After parking you will leave the lot and walk to the left into the towns harbor where you will see a silver, windowed, modular building (pic above/left) which is where you buy your tickets and obtain maps and info for the park. This entrance ferries you into the park by boat on a 20-minute trip up the Krka river, you will board at the towns harbor and return the same way.
So, one entrance gets you in by bus and the other by boat which are included in the cost of your tickets and you can decide which option you’d prefer (pros and cons to either). This gives you full walking access to the park with the option for extra excursions at additional cost. Adult entry to the park is about $25 CDN per adult, the circular route past the Stradinski Buk falls (the large, famed and most photographed falls) takes about an hour and a half to walk plus any stops along the way. If you walk in the opposite direction of the circular path, up past the ethno center and mill you can reach the falls in 10 minutes, this is technically the finish of the circular route. In the summer, you can swim below the falls so make sure to pack your towel and swimsuit. It would be an amazing experience to swim here but expect huge crowds in the summer months!
We had planned on a full day at the park and since we couldn’t swim we decided to take an additional boat tour to Visovac, the island that is home to a Franciscan Monastery. You purchase additional tickets in the park at the kiosk across from the bus stop. It is advertised as a 2-hour tour although we were back in about an hour and a half, we were okay with it as it was plenty of time to see everything. In retrospect, we wouldn’t have bothered with this tour, there wasn’t much of anything to see on the generic boat trip and the monastery didn’t leave much of an impression on us. The additional cost was about $20 CDN each which amounted to a significant $95 for the day, the main park is all you need to see. But if you think you want to see it go and book your tickets upon arrival into the park at the kiosk just across from the bus stop. There was only one sailing on the day we arrived and that depended on if they got enough bookings, if we had waited until after touring the main park we would have missed it.
You have another option when booking the Visovac tour, for a few dollars more you can take a 4 hour trip that includes Roski Slap, another series of cascading falls. We felt we didn’t have time on top of the main park and just more falls that we’d have already gotten our fill off. After Visovac we were glad we skipped it but if you have the time (arrive at opening) and don’t care about the cost then go for it. Another option if you want to see Roski Slap is you can drive to it and save the extra cost of the boat.
There are more sites within the boundaries of this huge park, Stradinski Buk is the main attraction but if you come back additional days there’s more to see and the option of a 2-3-day pass. Have a look at their interactive map.
Inside the park there are plenty of facilities: restaurants, souvenirs and washrooms can be found at the entrances, in the main park and at a large picnic area by the falls. You can sit on a patio beside the falls while enjoying a nice cold beer, everything you need to make for an exceptional day!
Hope this helps if you get the chance to plan your own trip. Send us your questions on the blog and we’ll try to reply with an answer! Here is a link to the photo gallery if you’d like to see more pics of Krka. Hvala!