Croatia Travel Guide To Krka National Park
Croatia – a country that is overflowing with natural beauty, has at least 8 stunning national parks to keep its visitors in awe.
Whether you are choosing which ones to visit or planning to see all of them, you should definitely take a look at this Krka National Park Guide.
Though Krka National Park is one of the less famous counterparts of Plitvice, you will not be disappointed by its majestic views, the breathtaking hills and cascading waterfalls, and naturally colorful pools.
Some even consider it as the most scenic view in Dalmatia and Croatians can proudly say that it is one of the most naturally beautiful places in all of Europe.
The mighty Krka river runs through it, feeding off fresh waters cascading from the falls as they go downstream and up again, completing a cycle of natural perfection, endlessly.
If you are looking to see the most spectacular waterfalls on Earth and say to yourself, you’ve been there, Krka National Park is definitely the place to be.
While some may not understand what’s so special about a collection of waterfalls, simply looking at its images will tell you why the place is so busy especially during summer, its peak season.
Seeing the seven waterfalls amidst the richest and lushest vegetation is an out of this world experience!
Location Of Krka National Park
Krka National Park is located about 10 kilometers inland from Sibenik down the Dalmatia area.
The park was named after the Krka River and spreads out wide, about 142sq kilometers or more. The river Krka is enclosed within the park, at least two-thirds of it.
You can include Krka National Park in your day tour of other cities although it is a lot more advisable to dedicate a full day for it, if you really want to get the best experience and make the most of your trip.
Another option is to spend a few nights within the area since there are plenty of accommodations available not too far from the park.
The Big Picture: Krka National Park
Of course, the top attraction in Krka National Park is its 7 waterfalls. 7 majestic cascades that are awe-inspiring and will stay in your memory for a very long time. But there are other things to see and plenty of activities to do inside the park!
Krka National Park has a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Experts have recorded over 800 species of plant life at the moment and they are still trying to discover more.
Animals thrive in and around the park and the river is home not only to various types of fish but also amphibians and reptiles. Bird species also abound so this place will be a bird paradise for the bird lovers out there.
The park encloses two-thirds of the Krka river and the porous rocks surrounding these deep green and azure waters make it easy for the river to flow through, carving numerous caverns and lakes along its way.
So, expect to stop by a number of these during your visit.
What to do in Krka National Park ?
Krka National Park attracts tens of thousands of guests each year.
The park is highly rated for its many attractions but it is truly the collection of waterfalls that will leave you breathless. It is a delightful experience and a great opportunity for you to really explore and learn about the gift of nature that is Croatia.
Other sights you will include the tiny island of Visovac in the middle of the Krka river which was home to Franciscan monks back in 1445.
You will still see a number of artifacts as well as a library on the site.
You can take a boat excursion to other interesting spots around the park where you can really enjoy the beauty of the park up close in a very relaxed manner and stop off, step down, and have a mini adventure along the way.
There are footpaths along the waters and a group of guides with impressive skills who will present you and educate you about the facts about the park and its habitat.
Its main difference from the top natural attraction in Croatia, Plitvice National Park, is that you can swim in its lakes and pools. Now, that’s a truly magical day in nature!
You can spend a few nights in the town to make your visit to the park more relaxed and the best area to stay is around Skradin since it is the most convenient location where you can get the fastest to the park.
The park itself offers several guided tour packages which would require an additional to your entrance fee.
The place is huge so it might be worth the pay since you will be guided on where to start and not miss the most important spots in this amazing natural attraction.
Krka National Park allows you to have a once in a lifetime chance to observe nature’s rich and diverse beauty.
Whether you are well-traveled or just taking your first trip abroad, this spot is quite unique from all the attractions across Europe.
It will leave you feeling enchanted and truly revitalized if you choose Croatia and this park for your vacation tour.
Visit The Waterfalls Of Krka River
For many of its visitors, it is really the waterfalls that have made their experience at Krka National Park an amazing experience.
There is the Skradisnski buk which features a series of 17 cascades across its area and at its foot, is a pool of fresh, cool water where you can take a swim. We will provide a more in-depth guide for these sites as well.
The Manojlovacki slap is the tallest waterfall in the park and it sits on one of the most picturesque location you will see in your lifetime. Then, there is the Roski slap which is a slightly smaller sight, but majestic nonetheless.
Swimming in the Lakes of Krka National Park
The main difference between Plitvice National Park and Krka National Park is you can swim in its waters.
Plitvice is a UNESCO protected site that is why authorities are trying their best to preserve it for the sake of its historical, cultural, and ecological value. But that doesn’t make Krka a lesser beauty.
It may not be officially protected but Croatians are proud of the beauty of their country so you can expect only the best from these sites.
The water is clean and cool, and it is safe even for kids. If you are visiting with your family, make sure to prepare your swimsuits because this will be a fun bonding opportunity.
Of if you’re on a lover’s trip with your spouse or significant other, it will truly be a uniquely romantic experience.
Exploring the National Park
So, let us take a VIP tour around Krka National Park. Here are the things you will see and the most important sights you have to prioritize but it is ultimately up to you which interests you and your group the most.
Visit Skradinski Buk
Among the seven magnificent waterfalls inside Krka National Park, Skradinski Buk is arguably the best, maybe followed by Roski Slap.
Both are composed of travertine walls and are, without a doubt, the most beautiful waterfalls in Eastern Europe.
You can enjoy a full view of the falls at Skradinski Buk from its many pathways, bridges, and trails that connect the waters to the small islands around the park. Watermills are spread across its banks.
This place is the only spot in Croatia where you will still see ethnological monuments that have been fully restored and still serving their original purposes.
Some of these old buildings have been transformed into souvenir shops without destroying their original style. So, if you want to take home a bit of the park and its beauty with you, you can stop by and grab some souvenirs.
Skradinski Buk is down the southernmost part of Krka National Park and its sceneries are the closest you can find to Plitvice.
Its sparkling turquoise waters are alive with fishes and mini waterfalls apart from the big ones. Its rapids run through the rocks and splash over the rich vegetation.
You will see dragonflies dancing around and over the water that will make you feel like you have been transported to a completely different world.
This is also the longest waterfall inside the park and along the entire length of the Krka River.
Its majestic image especially up close will really take your breath away.
All the paths and bridges lead to the falls which will make for a relaxing and soul-cleansing nature walk.
To get to this spot, you will have to take the Skradin entrance where you can take a boat ride to the waterfalls although there are plenty of walkways.
Slap means waterfalls in Croatian. It is the next most famous site in Krka National Park and is composed of 12 waterfalls across a wide range of 450 meters. The largest of these falls is at least about 22m in height and 60m in width.
A wooden bridge cuts across the water where you will also take in the sights of the greenery atop of it. Mini caverns can be spotted in the surrounding area which have their own smaller cascades.
Still, the easiest way to explore this spot is by a boat excursion. You can test the waters and swim if you please.
Manojlovački Slap – Manojlovac
The waterfalls in the Manojlovac Slap is a somehow hidden view inside Krka National Park. It is the third largest waterfall in the park and a lot of people think that it is the most picturesque.
The hight of the falls goes up to 59.6 meters and the canyon surrounding its lakes is also a majestic beauty to behold. Nature lovers will have a wonderful time exploring its overgrown vegetation and plenty of wildlife that has made it their home.
As you approach the spot, you can hear the roaring of the waterfalls before the scenery comes into view. And during high water, you will even spot a rainbow most of the time, decorating the skies to finish off a picture-perfect postcard image!
One of the first things you will see when you enter is Bilusica Buk which is the first waterfall in the park.
Exploring its canyon by foot is delightful and the area is quite easy to navigate. You will be guided by markings all throughout the hiking trails so you will know where to go, going around and back to waterfalls.
Along the river are two watermills that go back a long way in the town’s history. The falls here is not as huge as the others but is definitely not less majestic.
The four waterfalls mentioned above are the main ones inside Krka National Park but there are seven in total.
Even the smaller falls are not to miss especially those are the areas that are a lot less crowded and you can enjoy some quiet time around a beautiful scenery and take it all in before you continue with the rest of your Croatia trip.
In between your tour of the different falls, you should take a boat ride to Visovac Island in the middle of the Krka River. This place has an interesting history, being a former home to the Franciscan monks in 1445.
The monks built a monastery in the island which has been demolished then rebuilt again along with a church in 1576.
Inside the monastery, you will find a library and a museum that holds a collection of well-preserved artifacts. The monastery is known as the Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy and is a popular site for pilgrims of the Catholic church.
To get to the island, you have to take a boat ride from Skradinski Buk.
You can enjoy the sites from the lake along the way.
Monastery of the Holy Archangel
Another religious site to explore is the Krka Monastery or the Monastery of the Holy Archangel. Unlike the Franciscan monastery in Visovac, this one belongs to the Orthodox Catholic monks.
Beside it is a Byzantine church standing tall with the Roman catacombs at its foot. You can also visit and explore what’s inside the catacombs.
You will also have to take a boat ride to get to the monastery from Roski Slap. Or you can also drive toward the spot from Kistanje road.
Caverns and Archeological Sites
Aside from the majestic waterfalls and crisp green lakes, there are so much more to explore inside Krka National Park. The waters are surrounded by cavernous systems and on the green lands are a number of archeological sites.
Ozidana pecina is easily accessible from the Roski Slap spot.
After marveling at the magnificence of the cascading waters, take a walk to the site which has a great cultural and historical significance. Learn how these caves were used by early humans as a shelter going back to 5,000 BC.
Educational tours are being offered to guide you through the caves which ends with a visit to the situ museum where you will find a massive collection of tools that these early settlers used.
But to really learn and discover more of Croatia’s rich history, you should not leave Krka National Park without taking a tour of the Roman military camp at Barnum.
It offers visitors a unique view of Croatia through the ages.
Here, you will learn how Krka has been of great importance to the Roman Empire during its reign, convincing them to establish the military camp on the site back in the 1st Century AD.
You cannot take a boat ride to the camp but you can reach it by car in only a few minutes from any of the main spots inside the park and from Ivosevci Village.
To this day, you will still see command building walls along with an impressive military amphitheater which is second only to the largest in the country. There is also a museum on site where you can take a look at artifacts dug up from the area.
Entrances to Krka national park
Krka National Park is a huge attraction and there are many ways to explore it coming from its different entrances. Before heading to the park, try to decide which places you want to see first because that would determine the best entrance and route for you to take.
Unlike Plitvice where you can get by just by walking and a few boat rides, it is likely that you would need a car to really explore Krka National Park and make the most of your time.
You can rent a car from whichever city you are coming from for your day tour. You can also register your group or family for a guided tour if that will be more cost-efficient.
There are 5 official entrances to Krka National Park. Two of the main ones are located in Skradin and Lozovac.
This is the main entrance to Krka National Park and the one closest to the Skradinski Buk waterfalls.
You can take the road from either Sibenik to Tromilja to Lozovac or from Knin to Drnis then head just the same to Tromilja and Lozovac. From this entrance, you can go right ahead to the ethno village within the park.
If you want to head first to Visovac Island, this is also the closest entrance to get there.
Coming from the ethno village, you can follow the wooden path and explore the sites around the spot where you will have a great view of the lower and middle part of Krka National Park.
It takes about 2 to 3 hours to take a full walk of this area depending on your walking speed.
Of course, you don’t have to explore every bit of it if you want to save on time and make sure you see everything that the park has to offer.
When you visit between July and August, you will be transported to the Skradinski Buk site by bus from the parking lot. The bus ride will be included in your entrance fee during these months.
The second entrance that is nearest to the Skradinski Buk falls is the Skradin Entrance.
From here, you can take a boat ride straight to the waterfalls spot from March to October and there is no extra fee for the boat ride. Outside these months, you will have to pay a fee to ride the boat.
If you don’t want to pay, you can also take a walk which many prefer since you are able to enjoy the sights and the greenery along the paths.
Aside from the walking paths, there is a hiking trail that stretches 3.4 kilometers from the Skradin Bridge that also heads to the falls.
Just be aware that there is more limited parking space in this entrance so you may want to take this route only when it is not the peak season.
If you are driving or renting a car, it is possible that you will have to park in an unofficial parking spot but they are not so bad and quite near the entrance.
Take note that there are parking fees for these areas so make sure to check the price per hour.
You can reach this entrance by taking the road from Sibenik to Tromjila to Skradin or from Knin to Drnis then head just the same to Tromjila and Skradin.
The boats from the entrance leave every hour that it’s filled and return to the entrance every half hour. The last boat leaves at 5:30pm during the summer.
The boat ride lasts about 25 minutes from the entrance to the falls. After that, it will be a 5-minute walk to the foot of the waterfalls.
An alternative way to get to Skradin entrance is by riding a boat from Sibenik harbor, which is convenient if you are staying near that area.
The sail lasts about an hour and a half and will take you through the St. Joseph channel to the lake in Skradin. The fee for the boat rides usually includes the entrance fee for Krka National Park.
Burnum and Puljane Entrance
This spot is one of the less popular in Krka National Park. But if you want to reach the Roman ruins of Burnum first, this is the most efficient one to take.
Kistanje and Krka Monastery Entrance
Finally, there is the entrance that leads straight to the Krka Monastery or the Monastery of the Holy Archangel that we’ve featured above.
You can access this entrance by boat but you can also drive. The site has its own car park.
Wildlife at Krka National Park
So, we’ve laid out the various sights that you can explore within Krka National Park and which entrances are best for you to take depending on what you want to see first.
But when you get inside, what will surprise you is the richness of the wildlife and the animals and plants you will spot along the way that you probably would not expect.
The park is home to some really fascinating wildlife. There has been a number of snakes recorded on the site including the Balkan whip snake as well as the venomous nose-horned viper.
But don’t worry because they are unlikely to bite or attacked unless provoked so just be careful because their venoms are quite deadly. It is also a rare sight since the snakes are very shy.
Other animals that you are likely to see are wolves, terrapins, and the European otter which is sadly now considered endangered. In the crisp green and blue waters, there are at least 20 species of fish.
As you walk in the middle of the trees, you may spot several of the birds that belong to 211 species that make this a great spot for bird watching for bird lovers.
Among these birds, the most famous ones are the golden eagle, peregrine falcon, and Bonelli’s eagle.
Excursions inside Krka national park
Here are the guided boat excursions that you can take with your group when you visit Krka National Park. These guided tours are considered as additional to your entrance tickets.
Skradinski Buk – Visovac – Skradinski Buk
It is no argument that the falls in the Skradinski Buk spot are the most wonderful and majestic inside Krka National Park.
You can take this cruise which heads first to the waterfalls which lasts 2 hours including the stops and the chance to walk on the footpaths.
Next, the boat will head to Visovac Island where the boat sails along the upper part of the Krka River. It will stop on the island so you can go inside the Franciscan monastery as well as the Byzantine church and museum.
The tour ends right back to the waterfalls.
The additional fee to the entrance to take this boat excursion is 100kn for adults and 70kn for children from 4 to 14 years old.
Skradinski Buk – Visovac – Roski Slap – Skradinski Buk
A more extended version of the boat excursion is the one that also heads to the Roski Slap. Taking a boat ride to Roski Slap is the best way to enjoy the sites leading to it.
These excursions are being managed by the National Park Krka.
If you don’t wish to take the guided excursion, you can also access Roski Slap by driving through a public road.
This boat excursion lasts up to 4 hours which includes sailing to the upper Krka River.
It would stop at Visovac Island for the participants to explore the monastery, then the tour continuous on to Roski Slap. It ends with a trip back to the Skradinski Buk.
The boat excursion costs an additional 130kn for adults and 90kn for children aged 4 to 14 years old on top of the entrance fee to Krka National Park.
Roski Slap – Krka Monastery – Trosenj and Necven Fortress
If you don’t want to start at the usual spot, you can head first to the Roski Slap and see its rumbling waterfalls. This boat excursion only lasts two and a half hours.
Instead of Visovac island, the boat will stop at Krka Monastery or the Monastery of the Holy Archangel then continues on to two other sites.
Additional fee for the boat excursion is 100kn for adults and 70kn for kids from 4 to 14 years old on top of the entrance fee to the park.
How to Get to Krka National Park
Above, we have provided the details to the different entrances you can take to access the park. Here is how you can get to Krka National Park from nearby cities.
If you are traveling from Split, the closest areas for you to pass through would be Lozovac and Skradin. Head to the A1 motorway and simply follow the signs that lead to the park.
As you exit the motorway, it is up to you which entrance to take to Krka National Park.
If you have scheduled a trip of Dubrovnik first, it is not difficult to reach Krka National Park from that city.
It is about a 3-hour drive and about 6 hours by bus if you want to commute. This will be quite a long ride and could be a bit tiring so another option is for you to take a private transfer from Dubrovnik to Krka.
From Split to Krka
A drive from Split to Krka National Park takes about an hour and a half which will be quite a pleasant and scenic journey.
If you don’t want to drive or rent a car, you also have the option to take the bus from the Split Terminal but it would take longer than driving there yourself. You will also have to rely on the bus schedule.
From Zadar to Krka National Park
Zadar would be the shortest trip going to Krka National Park among the other cities. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to get to the park by car.
You can also take the bus from the Zadar main station but trips to the park are quite limited.
Entrance Fees to Krka National Park
Tickets to enter Krka National Park depend on the season and the number of attractions you want to visit. You can now purchase tickets online in advance or buy on the site.
From July to August
A full entrance ticket to Krka National Park which gives you access to all areas inside the park costs 200kn for adults and 120kn for kids aged 7 to 18 years old from July to August.
After 4pm, tickets for adults are reduced to 145kn and 90kn for children.
From April to June
Entrance to Krka National Park from April to June is 110kn for adults and 80kn for children.
From November to March
Starting fall to early spring which is between November to March, full entrance tickets to Krka National Park cost only 30kn for adults and 20kn for children.
Kids below 7 years old are always free to enter the park. All tickets include boat rides from Skradin to Skradinski Buk as well as from Lozovac to Skradinski Buk.
Best Time to Visit:
May to June and September to October.