Before visiting Croatia, what came to mind was its beautiful coastlines dotted with enchanting old towns. What I found more unexpected after my recent trip was its jaw-droppingly stunning national parks, none more so than Krka National Park.
Situated around an hour and a half from Split, the park is perfect for a sunny day of hiking, swimming, exploring, and just enjoying nature.
Here’s everything you need to know to enjoy the perfect day out.
What to Do
Swim at Skradinski Buk
One of the two main networks of waterfalls in the park, Skradinski Buk is 800 metres long, features a number of falls and rapids. Taking a swim near the main waterfall was one of the most unforgettable experiences of our recent trip.
Between April and October, you can take a dip in the teal waters, within a roped off area near the waterfall. Just be careful, the current can get strong and the rocks can be sharp and quite slippery. It was well worth the experience, but I came away with a few cuts and bruises. During peak times, the area can get crowded, so I’d recommend swimming when you first arrive, before drying off and exploring.
Stop for a Picnic
While you are drying off from your swim, find a place to sit in the sunny clearing near the waterfalls and stop for some lunch. There’s plenty of food stalls nearby if you haven’t brought anything with you.
Hike the Trails
Across the bridge, the path leads up into the hills, circumnavigating Skradinski Buk, where you’ll encounter breathtaking views over the waterfalls.
High in the hills, crystal clear waters reveal schools of hundreds of fish, struggling against the current so they don’t get swept downstream. Nearby signs point out the types of turtles, snakes, and other creatures that call the park home, although they remained elusive to us on our walk.
Although the trails lead upwards, it’s an easy hike, with the paths well marked and boardwalked in most places.
Take a Boat Tour
In addition to the main park, you can also take boat tours of the island of Visovac, which includes a Franciscan monastery, church, and museum, and Roški slap waterfall. The park also offers several other excursions, all which can be found here.
How to Get There
You may find a tour from the place you’re staying to take you around the park, although we preferred to explore on our own. If that’s what you are looking to do, here’s how to get there:
Buses to Skradin, one of the park’s main entrances, leave regularly from the main bus station in Split.
It takes about an hour and a half to reach the little riverside town. From there, pop into the tourist office for tickets and around the corner to the docks, where a boat will take you down the river and to the park entrance near Skradinski Buk.
In peak season, there are direct buses to Krka, otherwise you can travel to Šibenik first, and then to the park’s second main entrance, Lozavac.
When to Visit
July and August are the peak times and the park can get crowded. During these months, the entrance fees are slightly higher.
April to June and September to October make up the shoulder season. We visited toward the end of September; there were still some crowds in the main area, but the trails were quiet. The water was on the cooler side, but there was still plenty of warm sunshine.
The off season runs from November to March. Expect smaller crowds but cool temperatures. You won’t be able to swim and getting there could be more of a challenge with more limited transportation running directly to the park. However, park prices will be at their lowest, and it’s perfect if you are looking for a quiet walk around.
What to Bring
- A bathing suit: A dip in Skradinski Buk is not to be missed if it’s the right time of year.
- Swimming shoes: They look a bit geeky, but it will make swimming around the rocks easier. We didn’t have these and were struggling a lot more than those who did.
- Good quality hiking boots: You’ll be doing a lot of walking.
- A camera: Sometimes even the latest smartphone can’t completely capture the beauty of this place.
- A waterproof phone case: We chose not to take any selfies while swimming, but a lot of other people did, and I saw more than one person drop their phone.
- A picnic (or some snacks): There are plenty of food stalls in the park itself, but it is a long day and prices within the park are higher than elsewhere. I wouldn’t pass up on buying some ice cream or dessert though!
- Plenty of water.
Krka National Park is certainly not to be missed if you are in Croatia. Have you visited here? What other places do you think should not be missed on a trip to this gorgeous country? Let me know in the comments.