Krka National Park is, besides Plitvice Lakes, probably the most famous natural sight in Croatia. You most likely have seen the pictures of emerald waterfalls, surrounded by lush forest, cascading to the small lake where you can swim – that’s Krka National Park!
It might not be as spectacular as the famous Plitvice Lakes but this wonder of nature should be definitely included in your Croatia itinerary. And today I’m going to tell you how to visit Krka National Park and all about the place.
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Where is Krka National Park?
Krka National Park is located in central Dalmatia, near the town of Sibenik (less than 15 km away). Other known Croatia cities are a bit further: Zadar is 80 km away, Split 90 km away, Zagreb 320 km away and Dubrovnik 280 km away.
Why visit Krka National Park
Krka National Park is a real wonder of nature. Lush forests, cascading waterfalls, fast-flowing creeks – you will be surrounded by all of these and more. This is such a perfect nature getaway from the busy and often claustrophobic Croatian towns and seaside resorts.
Between the 1st of June and the 30th of September, you can swim in the part of the river Krka in front of the Skradinski Buk waterfall. This must be such a fun and unique experience, especially on a warm and sunny day!
Unfortunately, 2020 is the last year when it’s possible to do it, starting from 2021 this activity will be forbidden. But don’t worry, there are many more things to do in Krka National Park!
What to see in Krka National Park
Depending on how much time you have in Krka National Park and how mobile you are, with your own vehicle or not, there are plenty of attractions you can enjoy in the area.
The center of the Krka National Park is Skradinski Buk waterfall and that’s where most likely you will start your journey. Around the waterfall, you can find numerous walking paths, some of them built just above fast-flowing creeks, inviting you to take a walk in the area.
Near Skradinski Buk you can also find Jaruga Hydroelectric Power Plant, built here at the end of the 19th century.
This part of visiting the park should take you around 2 hours more or less, more if you want to try swimming in the river below the waterfall.
If you have more time there are some hiking trails leading up to the upper parts of the park, from where you can enjoy spectacular views over the area.
Other places you might want to see include Roški Slap (another waterfall) and Visovac island with the monastery from the 15th century. Both places can be reached by boat or road (and then again boat to get to the island).
How to get to Krka National Park
While usually I recommend independent travels Krka NP is different. If you have your own car then it’s not a problem to visit Krka National Park however it’s much more of a challenge if you need to use public transport. That’s what I did and to be honest, I don’t really recommend it, especially if you visit Croatia offseason.
I based myself in nearby Sibenik – a town with the charming old town that stole my heart a bit. From there it is possible to go by bus to near the entrance of the park, either in Lozavac or Skradin. However, the buses are not very frequent and in the season there are only 7 departures per day, the earliest one at 9 am from Sibenik bus station (that’s the bus I took).
I went to Skradin, the further of two stops. There were two reasons behind it: not all the buses stop in Lozavac near the entrance to Krka NP and sometimes you need to walk around 1,5 km to get to the park itself. But also from Skradin, you arrive at the park by boat and I figured that can bee a nice addition to my visit to Krka National Park.
I visited the park in April. In the offseason, the boats from Skradin run every hour and I missed one by just a few minutes so I had some extra time to kill in the town. It turned out to be really nice, with winding lanes, colorful houses and a good viewpoint with some lovely views of the area.
Once it was time for the boat ride things were very easy – the ticket for the boat is included in the entrance fee to the park, the journey takes a few minutes and the views along the way are a great foretaste of what to expect in the park. You arrive very close to Skradinski Buk waterfall and can properly start your visit to the Krka NP.
The problems began when it was time to get back to Sibenik.
From near the waterfall, there is a shuttle bus to the gate in Lozovac, the main entrance to the park. Before I checked what time there was supposed to be a bus back to Sibenik and was on time on the stop but the bus never arrived – most likely it used the main road and passed by the park’s entrance.
There was no other option to get to Sibenik at that time (the next bus was supposed to be in 3 hours but no one knew if it will arrive or not), the only taxi number I found on the info board didn’t answer and when I asked in the tickets’ office they told me to keep calling it (and mentioned the price which was horrendously expensive for this short ride).
I started hitchhiking, most of the cars leaving the park actually have stopped but no one was going to Sibenik.
Eventually, after over an hour of trying to leave Krka National Park, another car pulled over, with the park’s worker who just finished his shift and was going back home to Sibenik. As we drove he gave me some really good tips about Sibenik, confirmed what I already knew, that visiting the park independently is a bit of the challenge and it gets only a bit easier in the season, and eventually dropped me off in the center.
So, to sum it up. Yes, visiting the park can be done independently but is a bit tricky and unpredictable with public transport. To be honest, I would recommend joining the organized tour that would take you to the park and back, it will save you so much hassle.
You can go for the tour to Krka National Park from Split, Zadar and some other places. In most cases, you can combine Krka NP with visiting Sibenik.
Krka National Park travel tips
- Krka National Park is open all year long.
- The entrance fee depends on the season and vary from 30 HRK in winter months to 200 HRK per person in the summertime.
- Between April and October you can take the boat from Skradin or shuttle bus from Lozovac – both will take you near Skradinski Buk waterfall. Both are included in the entrance fee to the park.
- Between June and September you can swim near Skradinski Buk waterfall
- You can go on a boat tour in the park, however, this is not included in the ticket.
- For more information on opening hours, prices, hiking trails, etc visit the official website of Krka National Park here.
Final thoughts on visiting Krka National Park
I visited Krka National Park in April when the weather wasn’t the best and I couldn’t see the place in its full glory. But even without it, I enjoyed the place and I think it lives up to the expectations.
In the offseason, the park wasn’t very crowded so walking around was very pleasant and the sound of the surrounding water flowing around was soothing.
I wholeheartedly can recommend visiting Krka National Park during your trip to Croatia. I wouldn’t mind returning there one day to see more sights within the park as I only had time for Skradinski Buk waterfall and surroundings. If only getting to Krka National Park was easier…
If you plan a trip to Croatia and the Balkans you might find these articles useful too:
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