Croatia gems: Krka National Park

If you are travelling to the southern part of the Croatian Riviera, you shouldn’t miss Krka national park (http://www.npkrka.hr) – an impressive sequence of gorges, lakes and waterfalls laid out on Krka river as it makes its progress to the sea. Krka is located close (23 km) to the town of Šibenik, which is almost in the mid of Zadar-Split road. From Plitvice lakes Krka park is a ~2 hour drive.

Krka park encompasses an area of 142 km2 and extends along a 2 km part of the river Krka, between the towns of Knin and Skradin. It’s a slightly less popular attraction than Plitvice (read my review of Plitvice lakes) – gets 750 thousands visitors/year compared to 1 million for Plitvice – but is an awesome place to go, especially in the heat. Reason: in one of the park waterfalls you can actually swim!

My reason 2 is: that’s my place for miracles, as my beloved camera got lost there and then quickly returned from Poland!

The park area is pretty large, with two key waterfall areas – Skradinski buk and Roški slap. Unless you depart very early in the morning, it’s somehow difficult to cover both waterfall areas in one day. There is a boat travelling from one area to the other, but it’s a few hours travel. So, better check out one of the waterfalls the first day, then visit the other one on the next day. With only a day available, we checked out the more popular/easier to visit Skradinski buk. Roški slap area, with its 12 waterfalls over mere 650 meters is also a must-see though.

Skradinski buk waterfalls is a sequence of 17 cascades

To visit Skradinski buk, start from the small city of Skradin. There you park the car, get your entrance tickets and onboard the boat shuttle for the 20-min travel to Skradinski buk starting point.

Skradinski buk is a 500 meter sequence of 17 small mini-cascades passing over barriers of travertine.

Skradinski buk waterfall cascades and pools

The barriers shape amazing pools, the biggest of which is just above the shuttle stop. This is the only pool in which you are allowed to swim (but, well, people were bathing in others too).

People swimming in one of the biggest water pools on Skradinski buk waterfalls, water temp was OK even in September

Climbing up to the upper part of the cascades (via a paved road, pretty crowded even in Sept) it was interesting to find that here was built the world’s second hydroelectric power station – Jaruga. It opened in 1895, just 3 days after the world’s first power plant on the Niagara falls (but the Niagara one started sending electricity almost a year after being built, so it seems Jaruga was the first).  It was designed to power the street lights in Šibenik, making it the third city in the world with street lights powered by alternating current.

It’s clear why the power plant was built here..the water falls at huge speed!

There were barriers alongside the speedy waters… not really safe to swim here 🙂

Interesting fact: Both Jaruga and Niagara power plants were built during the War of Currents between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, who were competing on whether alternating current (AC) or direct current electric power would prevail. The successful operation of the first AC hydroelectric plants led to adoption of alternating current worldwide.

The waterfalls with part of the power plant building on the right

You can also enjoy the magnificent view to the waterfalls from a specially designed terrace – erected for the Austrian-Hungarian emperor Franc Josef II while he was touring Dalmatia with his wife.

View from the terrace

Krka, just like Plitvice, has very well-marked paths, with wooden bridges going over the lakes here and there and relax areas. As you get off the initial staired path, the crowds are much less and you can walk peacefully around the lakes, some of which are well hidden behind the trees. Plan at least 3-4 hours for this part of the park, and make sure to dip into the waterfalls of course!

Accommodation tip: When visiting Krka we stayed in the nearby town of Šibenik. Šibenik has an amazing old city, with an impressive cathedral and cute little Old City streets. To find accommodation near the Old City, just ask the local people in the houses around about rooms for rent (most speak decent english), booking.com also lists good apartments.

6 Responses to Croatia gems: Krka National Park

  1. Samantha says:

    Croatia is quickly becoming my favourite place in Europe. I sailed around its islands in 2012 and was shocked at its beauty. I hope to return in the not so distant future and now I have added this to my list! Thank you 🙂

    • travelabouts says:

      Awesome you sailed in Croatia Samantha, planning to do that myself. Looks good for kayaking too, some of the islands are pretty close to each other. Agree – such a beautiful country!

  2. Jon Dunn says:

    I’ve just returned from that part of Croatia. Brilliant.
    In the park brochure they say the trail is a pleasant one hour walk – I was there for at least three! Amazing to learn from all the information boards how many endemic species of plants, fish, birds and animals live within the park boundaries.

    I was intrigued by all the working mills, weaving looms and blacksmiths forge in the well maintained outbuildings. Lovely boat trip from Skradin, too. Top day out for people of all ages.

  3. Loky says:

    Croatia is just stunning. We were there for 10 days last year. Nature is spectacular. Went sailing in Kornati national park, I’ve never seen such clear blue waters. Krka and Plitvice are just breathtaking. Also I suggest Paklenica national park for hiking. You have 7 incredible national parks in just a few hundred kilometers distance.

  4. Awesome post! I love your pictures. They are really awesome. Keep up the good work!

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