What’s the first image that comes to your mind when someone mentions Croatia? Perhaps Dubrovnik-like beaches with turquoise water and medieval buildings along the coast.
Nature lovers would think of Croatia’s natural landscapes, after all the country has many of them and they are famous.
When it comes to beautiful natural landscapes, Croatia has it all – clear lakes, rivers, mountains, and spectacular waterfalls. The most famous waterfall in Croatia is located in Krka National Park – and you can swim in it.
Croatia and its neighbor Bosnia-Herzegovina have a lot of stunning waterfalls and I have seen many of them. Two of them are in Una National Park, one in Kravice Waterfalls, many of them in Plitvice Lakes National Park, a few close to Plitvice Lakes in a town called Slunj, and the most famous one is in Krka National Park.
Introducing Krka National Park (and Why you Should go there)
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Just 10 km away from the pretty riverside town of Sibenik, you will reach one of the most beautiful parts of Croatia, where the Krka and Čikola rivers meet and create an amazing natural karst phenomenon.
With its seven waterfalls, a large number of lakes, world-famous aromatic lavenders, bees, and of course, its surreal view, today, this area is known as the famous Krka National Park.
Named after the Krka river, this national park covers an area of 142 square km of magnificent scenery, including one of Croatia’s most famous sights, the Skradinski Buk waterfall. This waterfall is known as one of the most beautiful calcium carbonate waterfalls in the entire Europe.
Krka and Čikola Rivers
You must have read about Krka River’s starting point in our post about Una National Park in Bosnia-Herzegovina. While Bosnia’s Una National Park shows the magnificence of rivers Una and Krka, Croatia’s Krka National Park shows the magic of Krka and Čikola rivers.
The similarity between Krka National Park and Una National Park doesn’t end there. Guess what, both the national parks feature similar tufa formations that create spectacular cascades and waterfalls.
Even the nearby Plitvice Lakes National Park is famous for its tufa formations and features multiple waterfalls and cascades.
In Krka National Park, you can also visit beautiful monasteries, the gorgeous Roski Slap waterfall and its travertine islands, and of course, the best one should be a swimming session near the epic Skradinski Buk waterfall.
If that is not enough, the park also has an outlaid promenade walk with wooden paths, which offers a serene walking experience to its visitors.
The Krka National Park is a unique park that has an unaltered area of exceptional natural value, due to its preserved ecosystems.
That’s why in 1985, Krka National Park was proclaimed a national park, and today, it is the seventh national park in Croatia. The travertine waterfalls of the Krka River and its limestones are a fundamental phenomenon that should be visited once in a lifetime.
Where is Krka National Park?
Located within the territory of Šibenik-Knin county in southern Croatia, the Krka National Park stands along the Krka River.
The Krka River, which has shaped the outstanding Krka National Park, streams all the way through the north-central part of the Dalmatian region between the plateau of the Čikola River and the Dalmatian Zagora region.
The Krka River especially stands out with its constant process of travertine-building, which creates a beautiful karst phenomenon that attracts more than 700,000 visitors every year.
Krka National Park Guided Tours
I have shortlisted a few tours for you to consider booking. This way you can just not go through the hassle of research, trying to find the best spots, and the commute.
- Krka Waterfalls Trip with Boat Cruise and Swimming from Split: Makes perfect sense to book this tour if you want to do a day trip from Split.
- Krka Waterfalls, Food & Wine Tasting, & Old Town Tour from Zadar: Apart from the Skradinski Buk waterfalls, it also includes a side trip to a winery to sample the Dalmatian wine, olive oil, and cheese. This tour also includes the walking trails of Krka National Park, historic stone workshops, and watermills.
- Krka Waterfalls, Trogir Walking tour and panoramic boat cruise from Split: This tour starts at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic town of Trogir, then to Krka National Park’s Skradinski Buk Falls, and a cruise on the Krka River.
- Krka Waterfalls tour with Boat Ride and Swimming from Split: Visit to Skradinski Buk Falls of Krka on, a boat ride with a round-trip transport via an air-conditioned minivan.
The above tours are offered by GetYourGuide and Viator. I have personally used GetYourGuide a lot in Europe and have loved the experience. I understand that Viator is more popular for travelers from the USA and Canada.
How to Reach Krka National Park?
If you are planning to rent a car in Croatia, driving is generally easy. Croatia is an amazing country for a road trip because you can see a lot of different kinds of landscapes in a short time.
You can enjoy the smooth roads and even speed up to 130 km/h on highways. Check out our Croatia road trip itinerary for ideas and information.
When it comes to reaching the Krka National Park, there are several ways. Let’s talk about the entrances.
Krka National Park Entrances (which one to take)
First of all, you need to know the entrances of the national park. Krka National Park has five entrances:
- Skradin for Skradinski Buk,
- Roški slap / Laškovica,
- Burnum / Puljane, and
- Kistanje / Krka Monastery.
The most common are the entrances at Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap, but if you are planning to drive to the park, the most preferred entrance is the Lozovac, which offers free parking spaces.
From the Lozovac entrance, you can also go further to Skradinski Buk very easily by using the National Park Krka buses.
If you are planning to use the Skradin entrance, you have to enter the park by ferry boat. To do that, you need to visit the little town of Skradin, and then find a parking space.
After that, you can purchase ferry tickets at the Krka branch office. The tickets can also be purchased online. After having your tickets, you can board the ferry and enjoy the great view of Krka National Park.
If you are planning to use public transport, you have to buy tickets at the bus terminal. If you are in a hurry, you can also buy the tickets on the bus if they are still available. To enter the national park, you can use two entrances; Lozovac and the Skradin.
To reach the Lozovac entrance, you have to take a bus from Šibenik or another town in the area. The timetables can be found easily at every bus station.
If you travel from Šibenik, you have to make sure that the bus stops at the park entrance. Otherwise, you will be dropped on the main road, which means that you have to walk 1.5 kilometers to reach the entrance.
To enter the park through the Skradin entrance, you can take a bus from Šibenik, Zadar, Zagreb, or Plitvice Lakes National Park. The bus will leave you just 200 meters from the ferry stop at Skradin. From there you can use the ferry.
How Many Days Do You Need for Krka National Park?
In my post about Plitvice Lakes National Park, I recommend at least two to three days because there’s so much to see.
In comparison, Krka National Park has fewer things to see. If you have a packed itinerary for Croatia, then I’d say spending just one day is sufficient if you start early.
You can drive here early morning from Zadar, park the car near the ferry point in Skradin, get your tickets, hop on to the ferry from Skradin to Skradinski Buk, spend most of the day inside the National Park, and then spend the night in Skradin.
Ideally, you should stay for two nights near the park for a relaxed experience. This way you can sleep in Skradin (or any other nearby village) the night before your visit and also the night after your visit. This is how we did it. (We had no other choice because we were traveling with a baby)
Should You Make a Day Trip to Krka National Park?
If you’re visiting Croatia during peak travel months – especially August, then making a day trip to Krka National Park will be a stressful experience because of the crowds. It definitely won’t be easy because you will have to spend more time in the queues.
Entrance Tickets for Krka National Park
The entrance fee for Krka National Park is €20 (150 kunas) per person if you just want to visit the Skradinski Buk waterfall, and it includes the ferry ride from Skradin to the National Park.
If you want to visit the entire Krka National Park then the ticket prices are different. Below are the Krka National Park Entrance Ticket Prices for 2024.
|Adults – All Areas||EUR 7||EUR 20||EUR 40|
|Adults – Roški slap, Kistanje (Well|
of life, Krka monastery),
Manojlovac, Burnum, Krka
|EUR 7||EUR 12||EUR 20|
|Children (7-18 yrs) – All Areas||EUR 4||EUR 12||EUR 15|
|Children (7-18 yrs) – Roški slap, Kistanje (Well|
of life, Krka monastery),
Manojlovac, Burnum, Krka
|EUR 4||EUR 8||EUR 12|
Yes, it is much cheaper than the entry ticket for Plitvice Lakes National Park because you can just pay for a part of it instead of the entire national park. Consider booking a Krka National Park tour – it is a guided tour to see all the park’s attractions and the best trails.
Ferry Pier Skradin
Skradinski Buk waterfall can be visited by boat from Skradin from April to October. This amazing boat ride is definitely recommended if you want to sail to the national park while gazing through the amazing scenery. The price of the boat trip is also included in the price of the entrance tickets!
Just note that due to the overcrowded tourist population during summer, if you want to visit the park via boat with a large group of friends, you have to contact the Krka National Park in advance.
The tickets can be purchased through the Park branch office or online either with the printed ticket or the barcode on a smartphone.
Parking near the Ferry Pier
To take the boat from Skradin Ferry Pier, you have to park your car in Skradin, and then take the ferry to get into the park.
There will be a lot of parking lot owners outside of the Skradin city center that will try to “lure” you into their parking lots, but keep in mind that you can find a lot of parking lots very close to the center of town. And if the city center ones are full, you can always go back to those parking lots outside of the city center.
The parking near the Skradin Ferry Pier isn’t cheap and I do remember paying an hourly rate. Don’t get fooled by our picture here. This parking was completely full at the beginning of the day and we managed to find a parking spot at the end that thankfully had a tree for a shade.
This is how empty it got at the end of the day after we spent our evening in Skradin to eat some snacks. Looks like daylight? Yes, that’s a typical European summer evening.
Keep in mind that there are a few overpriced restaurants that offer free parking and they’re not so close to the ferry pier. We got burned on our first day here. We ate lunch in one such restaurant and ended up paying 200 Euros for 4 people – oops!
What to See inside Krka National Park?
You can start enjoying the Krka River’s wonderful waterfalls and the impressive landscape of its canyon with limestone hills. It is an outstanding view, but if it is not enough, here you can get to see a wide variety of both flora and fauna.
Located in the Southern European region, the Krka National Park is the home of over 800 species of plants, including several endemic Illyrian-Adriatic species, over 200 species of birds, and also home to different amphibian and reptile creatures!
You can also get to see 18 species of fish, including 10 endemic species, which makes the Krka a natural landmark of the highest category. If you are interested, here are some splendid activities to do in Krka!
Skradinski Buk and swimming in its emerald-green water
Out of the seven Krka waterfalls, there’s one that’s definitely worth a visit. The biggest and most popular activity to do here is definitely visiting the Skradinski Buk waterfall.
Being the highlight of Krka National Park, Skradinski Buk is the park’s largest waterfall surrounded by amazing greenery and full of endemic fishes!
The high season for the famous Skradinski Buk Falls is the school holiday time, which is July and August so if you are visiting that part of the year, then it is a good idea to start early.
The opening time for Skradinski Buk is 8 a.m., and the ticket office in Skradin opens 30 minutes before that. So the best time would be to arrive at the ticket office at 7:30 a.m. to beat the crowds. I couldn’t do that because I was here with my 8-month-old baby.
Skradinski Buk is the reason why 95% of the people visit the national park. They enter, swim in Skradinski Buk, relax around it, and then leave. Which isn’t a bad way to spend the holiday for family travelers. With its emerald-green water and amazing limestones, it is the perfect spot to swim.
As soon as you enter the Skradinski Buk entry point, you will hear the waterfall. There are small hills around and you can explore the area around to find different viewpoints. The wooden boardwalks will take you around this area.
Walk a little further, you will notice how big this waterfall is, and how small people look when they swim in it. See for yourself in the picture below.
There is a bridge that goes over the swimming area of the waterfall where you can stand and get an excellent picture. Across the bridge, you can also find a couple of historic cottages that are currently offering craft workshops and souvenirs.
Toilets, restaurants, drinking and eating places are on one side of the bridge. There are many different kinds of little shops that sell snacks, bakery items, drinks, and souvenirs and some also sell swimming gear. I find most of the souvenir shops at tourist attractions similar and I don’t buy anything.
The is a spot near Skradinski Buk where the cascades form a natural showering spot. The area is lovely and you should definitely experience it.
I visited Krka National Park in August, which is the peak season. I never found an empty spot in this showering area since many people hogged this place for a photo. Instead, I ended up clicking a picture of someone else who was enjoying a shower here.
The swimming area next to Skradinski Buk was too full for my liking but I did find a smaller swimming hole nearby where swimming was allowed. I will share more details in the swimming section of this post.
The entire area of Krka National Park that has Skradinski Buk has many other smaller waterfalls and cascades all around. You can spend all day here if you want and see everything possible.
In our case, we took the path that was supposed to be for strollers and wheelchairs but it took us to the end of the Skradinski Buk area. This way, we completely skipped the waterfall and started exploring from the back to the front. It was pretty funny because no one was walking in this direction.
Roški Slap and its travertine islands
Roški Slap, which is also known as the vast waterfall, offers you a magical scenery with its countless backwaters, cascades, and travertine islands. There are also lots of other things to see here.
If you check out the left bank of the waterfall, you can visit the original water mills, which are the prized ethnographic monuments in Dalmatia and Croatia, that were used to grind wheat. And over the waterfall, there is a wooden road that dates back to Roman times!
To reach here, you have to take the boat from Skradinski Buk waterfall since it is complicated to find the entrance with a car.
Krka Monastery – the spiritual center of the Orthodox faith
Being the most important Serbian Orthodox monastery in Croatia, the Krka Monastery is one of the monasteries that features a unique combination of Byzantine and Mediterranean architecture. It lies on Visovac Island. It is a tiny island.
Located above the Krka River, this monastery is the spiritual center of the Orthodox faith. Also known as the Holy Archangel, the Krka Monastery was first mentioned in the written records in 1402, as the endowment of Jelena Šubić.
You can also check out the ancient Roman catacombs, which are below the monastery. To visit the Krka Monastery, you can book an organized boat excursion, which lasts 2.5 hours from April to October, or by driving from the cute village called Kistanje.
Krka National Park Swimming
If you are interested in swimming at Skradinski Buk, depending on the weather and the level of water, the waterfall is open for swimming between the 1st of June and the 30th of September!
The water is really refreshing, and swimming near a waterfall is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. Unfortunately, you can’t swim under the waterfalls, but you can swim at the base of the Krka Skradinski Buk. Just keep in mind to go there early – due to the crowd – and be careful walking on the slippery limestones.
If you’re like us and enjoy quieter surroundings, then you will be pleased to know we discovered a little quieter spot to take a dip. The Skradinski Buk waterfall’s main swimming area gets crowded and that’s the only one where you’re allowed to swim. However, there is a smaller swimming hole in this area, you just have to go a little up and you will find it.
Just walk up the little hill but not out of the Skradinski Buk waterfall area. There’s a small pool with cascades that’s almost hidden and you’re allowed to swim there. That’s where we spent all our afternoon to cool off.
Hiking and Biking in Krka National Park
Are you into hiking? I am too when I’m not traveling with my child. Krka National Park has 47 kilometers of hiking trails. It also has 388 Kilometers of biking path, so if you are in Croatia with your mountain bike, you should take your time to explore the natural beauty of this national park.
Exploring Krka National Park on Bike
The bike routes inside Krka National Park have been formed strategically in a circle so that the cyclists can return to their starting point without going over the same route.
There are 12 cycling routes which can be divided into:
- 3 mountain bike routes,
- 3 road routes, and
- 6 track routes for fun family bike trips.
There are three start and end points for all the cycling routes:
- the Krka National Park Office in Skradin,
- the Visitor Centre at Laškovica, and
- the Krka Eco Campus at Puljane.
Yes, it is possible to rent bicycles and also E-Bikes. For that, you can find more information here.
Hiking Trails inside Krka National Park
To make it easy for you, I have created a simple table for you to understand Krka National Park’s hiking trails:
|Trail (Start Point – End Point)||Length||Start Point|
|Skradin Bridge – Skradinski Buk||3400 meters||Skradin|
|Lozovac – Skradinski Buk||875 meters||Lozovac|
|Skradinski Buk Trail (Wooden Bridge around the waterfall)||1900 meters||Lozovac|
|Goriš – Torak trail (Karst spring in the confluence)||2950 meters||Goriš|
|Brnjica (along the Čikola River, Gluvo’s trail to the narrow strait)||1450 meters||Brnjica|
|Kljucica trail (Walled town of Ključ over the narrow Čikola Canyon)||1600 meters||Ključ|
|Bačići Trail (white cliffs of Visovac)||1800 meters||Bačići|
|Vukovića podi (Viewpoint)||350 meters||Dubravice|
|Rogovo Trail (Rogovo viewpoint from the tip of the Rogovo horn over the strait)||2300 meters||Vidikovac Rogovo|
|Stinice – Roški slap – Oziđana Pećina Cave (Forest hike to a cave)||8500 meters||Stinice, Brištane Gornje, Roški slap, Oziđana pećina|
|Roški slap trail (Circular trail over the Ogrlice or Necklaces cascades over Roški slap waterfall)||1360 meters||Ogrlice|
|Niz Ploču (down the cliff through the Roški ravines to the watermills and the river)||1500 meters||Bogatić Miljevački|
|Laškovica – Žižići – Roški slap (view of the Roški slap waterfall from up above)||3300 meters||Laškovica|
|Krka Monastery Trail (Aranđelovac)||2100 meters||Kistanje|
|Pištavac Trail (narrow trail through the canyon)||850 meters||Krka monastery reception|
|Trošenj – Pištavac Trail (viewpoint over the Trošenj fortress)||5700 meters||Kistanje|
|Perice Trail (trail with a steep descend to the Krka River)||1800 meters||Nečven|
|Manojlovac Trail (Imperial Viewpoint with Manojlovac fall – tallest Krka waterfall)||360 meters||Ivoševci|
|Roman Path Trail (Imperial viewpoint, Manojlovac waterfall, hidden preindustrial watermills)||630 meters||Ivoševci|
|Staza Brljan – Manojlovac trail (Brljan waterfall, prehistoric hillfort of Puljane, Brljan Lake)||910 meters||Oklaj – Kistanje|
|Bilušića buk Trail (Bilušića buk is the first waterfall on the Krka river and Sedrena cave)||300 meters||Burze|
|Marasovine Trail (Brljan waterfall, Brljan Lake, Bobodolsko Lake, Bilušića buk, Topoljski waterfall)||2700 meters||Marasovine|
In order to reach the starting points for almost all of the hiking trails, a car or a bike is needed, except for the main Skradinski Buk from Skradin. If you haven’t noticed already, the Croatian words “Slap” or Buk” are for waterfalls.
Eating or Drinking Inside Krka National Park
Finding food in the Krka National Park is no problem, however, if you are looking for a fancy meal, you won’t find it in the borders of the park. There are several small restaurants with buffets and snack bars with some sandwiches and drinks in the parking area. But if you want to pack your own sandwich, you can also enjoy it in many picnic areas in the park.
If you are looking for a full Krka National Park experience, you can go to Roški Slap Waterfall Tavern which is called Alte Mühle Kristijan, also known as Christians Place, and enjoy your food with your feet in the water! You can also find several water fountains to get some fresh water in the park. For fancier lunch and dinner options, check out the harbor where lots of restaurants and stores are lined.
What to Carry to Krka National Park
I should not have to mention this, but I can’t help saying it – make sure you carry your swimming gear. Carry a small and compact backpack with your swimsuit, towel, extra pair of underwear (just in case you’re unable to dry your swimsuit), sunglasses, water, and something to eat. We also carried a picnic mat.
Where to Stay near Krka National Park?
When you keep in mind the natural beauty of Krka National Park, a lot of campers would love to camp in the national park. Although camping is not permitted in the national park, there are several campsites in the direct area of the park.
If you want to stay in a hotel or book an Airbnb, you have to check out the town of Skradin, which is very close to the national park. This cute riverside town with brightly painted stone houses and a ruined fortress will mesmerize you. You can stay in famous hotels like Hotel Skradinski Buk or find a few private accommodations as well.
Park Camp Marina
Just 5 km away from the Skradin, Camp Marina is another beautiful camping area near the National Park Krka. This is where we stayed for two nights and loved it. The area looks like a desert and it is unbelievable that there’s a river with many spectacular waterfalls nearby.
Surrounded by Mediterranean pines, olives, and grape wine, this massive camping park offers a great location and serene time. If camping is not your thing but still want to be in nature, you can also rent one of their rooms and enjoy the meals from its restaurant.
If you like being surrounded by pine trees, you can pack your bags and stay in many tents at Camp Krka. This family camp is only 2.5 km away from the Lozovac entrance and was established by a local family called Family Skocic.
Camp Krka doesn’t just only offer tents, but also rooms and apartments suitable for couples and groups with a large group of members. You can also get to taste much local food like milk, cheese, wine, prosciutto, and olive oil here!
The delicious meals are served by the family as well. The essentials for campers like a washing machine, showers, toilets, warm water, and even an internet connection are provided by the camp. If you want to stay in a room or in an apartment, you can also cook your own food and even grill.
Did follow our travel recommendations for Krka National Park?
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