Located near the coastal city of Šibenik, Krka National Park is named for the river that runs through its lush forests and feeds its most famous site, Skradinski Buk—a huge, clear pool that starts and ends in waterfalls. The park is home to seven travertine waterfalls, all fringed by pristine woodlands that attract a variety of birds, both common and rare. Take a boat tour to Roski Slap waterfall, which features an old watermill complex that locals used for centuries, or visit the island of Visovac, located in the center of the Krka River. Visovac was first settled by Franciscan monks, who built a monastery on the island in 1445. The island’s current monastery, which dates back to the 18th century, features a small museum and lush gardens full of peacocks.
Skradinski Buk is the name given to the series of tiers of cascades and waterfalls located in Krka National Park. The water flows from the Krka River and the volume is so great that it literally thunders as it rages, full force, over the karst landscape and lush vegetation. Ponds occupy the flat parts of the tiers. We were there on a hot summer’s day, so being in the park was a great way to cool off, though I wished I had brought a swimsuit as swimming is allowed in certain areas. The water was crystal clear. We also happened upon a picnic area where there were many happy folks sitting under the shade of trees, eating, laughing and just having a good time. Note to self. On next trip, bring food! Size wise, Krka National Park compares to a US state park so a few hours is enough. In addition to Skradinksi Buk, there are paths that wind up through the woodland and you can catch glimpses of the cascades and waterfalls as you walk along. All in all, it’s a very pretty place and a nice change of pace from the Dalmatian Coast. The best way to get to Krka National Park is via boat and we made our way there from the dock in the town of Skradin. Boats run frequently and the ride takes about 30 minutes. Skradin itself is a charming little town so take time to enjoy a stroll through it as well.
Skradinski Buk is the name given to the series of tiers of cascades and waterfalls located in Krka National Park.
Waterfalls in Croatia
Gorgeous waterfalls that take your breath away. Take the time to get there right when it opens and do your swim before the crowds appear.
Hiking and swimming through Krka National Park
This national park in Croatia is the quainter cousin of Plitvice, but it’s no less stunning. The waterfalls are sonorously everywhere, dipping and dropping into pools, cascades, drips, and eddies -- all throughout lush parkland and along dirt pathways. The color of the Krka River is also a gem-like greenish blue, which is really rare (until you’ve seen the Adriatic, and after that, this makes more sense). The park is the result of the wide Krka River that deposits over limestone terrain, which is notably porous and malleable under passing water, hence the plethora of waterfalls that make up the park’s thousands. This national beauty is not too far of a drive from Split, and it’s a great place to spend the morning or afternoon hiking, watching wildlife (fish, frogs, and birds galore), and of course swimming at the very end, where the cascades reach the greatest in size and breadth. There are plenty of photo opportunities and outlooks, and a food court at the end of the park’s loop. It takes only about an hour or less to walk the main loop of the park, but it’s big enough to spend a few hours in. There is even an old monastery that you can tour, located on a lone island in the middle of the river, so there is history and architecture to see too when you visit Krka.
Swimming at Krka National Park
An alternative to Plitvice Lakes, Krka lets you follow winding paths through terraced, cascading waterfalls. Unlike Plitvice, there are places in Krka where members of the public are allowed swim and the Skradinski Buk waterfall (pictured above) has become one of Croatia’s most famous sights. Krka was very full when we were there, but swimming beneath the main waterfall was wonderful with deep, cool water and beautiful views. The rocks were a bit slippery so wear reef shoes. There is also the option of taking a boat excursion to Visovac Island in the middle of the river, and visit the Franciscan monastery there. We did a day trip to the Krka Falls from Zadar, which was very easy – there is a direct bus to Skrakin, and you can take a boat from there to Krka National Park.
Chasing Waterfalls in Croatia
Plitvice isn’t the only national park in Croatia, there are many others all worthy of a stop. Near Split is the popular Krka National Park, another park that features beautiful waterfalls, rivulets and an expansive forest that makes for a perfect pastoral retreat.