Krka National Park is accessible by bus, car or boat and we chose the boat trip which departs from Skradin, a downstream port on the Krka River. Krka is a karst travertine river system whose waterfalls rival those of the Plitvice Lakes for beauty, with the added benefit of far less visitors.
We caught the first boat of the day at 8 a.m., arriving at the park about half an hour later.The glitzy looking park office in Skradin doesn’t open until 9 a.m. so tickets are purchased at the park on arrival. Yes you enjoy the boat ride without outlaying any cash!
Arriving on the first boat in the morning the river is reflective and peaceful.
I was overjoyed to see the reeds densely crowding the river banks at the National Park as well as downstream near Skradin. Reeds are important breeding zones and I can only imagine the fish and frog parties that rage within. The Ria (mouth of the river) from ocean to waterfall extends 23.5 km with waters that are considered pristine. Certainly from our boat the water was clear and rubbish free.
First in at the park office.
The park was deserted, but prepared for crowds, as were the patrolling swans.
Skradinski Buk Waterfall
Clearing the cafe perimeter steer right to the foot-bridge overlooking Skradinski Buk waterfall and swimming area. Take early photos here and enjoy the vista minus the crowds. This and the view from on high, toward the end of the trail, were my favourites. Swimming is allowed inside the area marked by the floating line – i.e. not in the deep pool at the base of the waterfall.
Back-track and take the left path walking in a clockwise direction concluding at this waterfall. See below.
Passing dried up travertine walls is a reminder that kartst country is forever changing. New flows emerge and old ones cease to exist. The process was more noticeable here than at Plitvice Lakes.
A still pool.
There are 34 Species of dragon fly within the park. The blue (male) demoiselle dragon fly is easiest to spot.
There are 18 fish species in the river and I’m calling these Brown Trout. If I were a fish I would like to call Krka home!
There is a viewpoint that looks down on the Skradinski buk waterfall from this side of the river which is considered the money shot, but lush springtime growth had other ideas. This shot does however show the falls from above, the foot bridge and the bus parking area on the far side. One of the pathways was closed which may also have given a clearer view.
Looking across to the Mill Buildings.
The Fulling Mill on the far bank is where wool was made into cloth and washed in the river.
Stone ground flour.
Rinse Cycle for material and clothes.
Viewpoints near the Mill
Leaving the mill and cafe buildings behind the path leads to a park with a balcony viewpoint.
Stalls selling spring time cherries and more.
The circle walk finishes back at Skradinski buk. From the footbridge we could see a few brave souls taking a dip.
Back on the boat – the cost of the boat from Skradin to the park is included in the Entrance Fee.
There are two huge bridges downstream from Skradin, that dwarf this blue bridge on the upstream side. You can just see the closest of the huge bridges in the background.
Budget Travel Talk
Entrance Fees Krka.
110 kuna to enter the park for the bottom section (circle trail).
We hoped to do a second boat ride (3.5 hours) within the park, which departs from the top of the travertines after the first circular walk. 130 kuna. See information board photo above (i).
This cruise stops at Visovac Island for 1.5 hours (monastery) and the Roški Slap waterfall (walk) 1 hour. The park office at Skradin could not tell us what time this trip would depart telling us to ask at the departure point on the day.
With the first section completed by 10 a.m. we asked at the departure point, to find the only departure would be at Noon. As the water temperature was too cool for us to swim we reluctantly called it a day.
Click here for the official price list for Krka.
Entrance Fees Plitvice
Plitvice Lakes 110 kuna in April, May, June – for the whole park.
Krka Cafe Food. There are two cafes with the same menu, one at the entrance point and the other half way around the circle trail. The one on the trail is more atmospheric. I ordered fresh fruit salad at the entrance cafe and disappointingly it came straight from a can (at fresh prices). I ordered it as I was interested to see what a Croatian fruit salad might look like. Hmmm.
On the other hand the individual kiosks near the entrance looked interesting and I would try them next time.
Krka Amenities. The toilets at the entrance charge. The ones further on do not.
Skradin. Read more about Skradin HERE.
Getting There. The nearest airport is to the south at Split. Travelling by bus from Split takes approx 4 hours, catching two buses, the first Split/Sibenik and the second Sibenik/Skradin, then boat Skradin/Krka National Park. Hiring a vehicle is a better option. We arrived in a rental car from the capital of Zagreb to the north-west, via Plitvice Lakes, Zadar and Trogir on our Ten Weeks in Europe 2015 trip.
Krka Versus Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia
While it is difficult to compare Plitvice Lakes N.P. and Krka N.P. especially as we did not get to see the top half of Krka which includes Roški Slap and Visovac Island, I’ll tell you the facts as I see them.
Plitvice Lakes Pros.
Plitvice Lakes are a polished act, with grand views of large lakes, joined by waterfalls. We love everything about Plitvice Lakes. They are stunningly beautiful and the park system works well.
Plitvice Lakes Cons.
The only con is a big one. If an early arrival isn’t possible, the walkways and viewpoints would be crowded and devalue the experience.
Krka has a similar karst landscape, fewer people, more space, less stress and includes a boat ride.
In early June the National Park office at Skradin was unable to give departure times for the boat trip for the top half Krka. This made it impossible to plan the day effectively. After making our way upstream on the paths, we had to find out when the boat was leaving to see the top half of the park. It seemed to be dependent on numbers and in our case it wasn’t leaving for hours. Keep in mind that the boat for the second half costs an extra 130 kuna.
While the bottom half of Krka N.P. contains the most famous waterfall, the river there doesn’t expand to lake size. Instead the river contains a large number of travertine waterfalls that can be viewed up close or from above.
The best solution is to visit both.
If not, either would be a wonderful experience by itself. I was happy we visited both, but sorry that we did not get to see the upper portion of Krka.
Value for money – Plitvice Lakes trumps Krka.
FOMO – Plitvice Lakes have such a glittering reputation it is difficult to resist seeing them.
Beauty – I feel Plitvice is a little more beautiful than Krka – but all opinions are subjective.
Have you been to one or both? Let me know in the comments.
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