What’s the first image that comes to your mind when someone mentions Croatia? Perhaps Dubrovnik like beaches or gorgeous natural landscapes. After all, Croatia has its fair share of clear lakes, rivers and spectacular waterfalls. Guess what, the most famous waterfall of Croatia is located in Krka National Park – and you can swim in it.
The area that comprises of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina has many spectacular 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 last in Krka National Park.
Introducing Krka National Park (and Why you Should go there)
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, with its surreal view, today, this area is known as the famous Krka National Park.
- Introducing Krka National Park (and Why you Should go there)
- Where is Krka National Park?
- How to Reach Krka National Park?
- How Many Days Do You Need for Krka National Park?
- Should You Make a Day Trip to Krka National Park?
- Entrance Tickets for Krka National Park
- What to See inside Krka National Park?
- Krka National Park Swimming
- Eating or Drinking Inside Krka National Park
- What to Carry to Krka National Park
- Where to Stay near 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 entire Europe.
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 park feature similar tufa formations that create spectacular cascades and waterfalls. Even the nearby Plitvice Lakes National Park is famous for the tufa formations and feature 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 which 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.
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 kind 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. 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 Roski 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 €20 (150 kunas) per person and it includes the ferry ride from Skradin to the National Park. Yes, it is much cheaper than the entry ticket for Plitvice Lakes National Park. Consider booking a Krka National Park 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 ride 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 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 in the begening 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 Rivers 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 on 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
There are several must-do activities in here, and the biggest of them all is definitely visiting the Skradinski Buk waterfall. Being the highlight of Krka National Park, Skradinski Buk is the park’s largest waterfall surrounded with amazing greenery and full of endemic fishes!
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 spots 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. 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, souvenirs and some also sell swimming gear.
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 in 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 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 boats from Skradinski Buk waterfall, since it is complicated to find the entrance with a car.
Krka Monastery – the spiritual centre of the Orthodox faith
Being the most important Serbian Orthodox monastery in Croatia, the Krka Monastery is one of the monasteries that features the unique combination of Byzantine and Mediterranean architecture. It lies on Visovac 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 till 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 main 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.
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, or 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 freshwater 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 swim suit), 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 all around 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 of 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 in here!
The delicious meals are served by the family as well. The essentials for campers like wash machine, showers, toilets, warm water, even an internet connection is provided by the camp. If you want to stay in a room or in an apartment, you can also get to cook your own food and even grill.
Did follow our travel recommendations for Krka National Park?
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