Krka National Park A Day Trip from Zadar, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com

Krka National Park: A day trip from Zadar

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There is no doubt that the Adriatic Sea along Croatia’s coastline is a stunning stretch of water. Throughout the day, the crystal clear seawater ranges in color from cobalt blue to turquoise, varying in intensity depending on sunlight and depth.  But Croatia’s appealing aqueous beauty isn’t exclusive to the shore. Flowing rivers and teal lakes in the interior of the country have a series of tumbling waterfalls that rival the splendor of the sea…and are what lured us to Krka National Park.

 

Krka National Park

The Krka waterfalls, created by the phenomenon of naturally-made travertine barriers, are a mesmerizing sight. Krka National Park, however, often takes a backseat to the more famous Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. We visited Plitvice Lakes in winter – and on our return trip to Croatia in the autumn, visiting Krka National Park was at the top of our list of things to see while we were in staying Zadar.

Krka National Park – rated one of the best national parks in Croatia – encompasses 42 square miles around the Krka River. In addition to the waterfalls, the park features archaeological ruins, churches, islands and caves, all reachable by organized Krka tours. The main attraction at the park is Skradinski buk, the longest waterfall on the Krka River. 

The area around the Krka River is protected as part of the Krka National Park

 

Our Krka Waterfalls Tour

We opted to explore the park on our own self-guided Krka National Park tour. Our discovery of the park began the moment we stepped through the Krka main gate – as we could hear the rush of water before we came face-to-face with Skradinski buk. Thanks to the previous days’ rain, thundering water was gushing over the multi-leveled waterfalls. Under a cloudless sky, the rays of light magnified the mist that dampened our cheeks.

The bottom of Skradinski buk at the entrance to Krka National Park

A path – part wooden plank, part concrete, part dirt trail – loops around and over the water, allowing us to see the river from nearly every angle. We started our tour of the Krka NP by crossing the bridge on the right. Once across, we better understood the heavy flow of water as it bubbled over the railing and we were enthralled by the sheer force of power we were witnessing.

After climbing a short series of steps, we reached a viewing platform that provided a new perspective. The quick moving water created rapids of white and a rainbow appeared in the billowing mist. Water, the color of sage, flowed over smooth rocks and, caught in the sunlight, it was a stream of glittering seafoam green as it spilled over a rocky ledge.

 

 

Before we continued over the falls on the wooden footpath, we did a quick tour of the area. A small church remains from long before the area was designated a national park. Museums highlight the culture of the civilizations that once occupied the area, including displays of traditional clothing and tools. A restaurant with a riverside location looked inviting, but we passed by and began our walk over the falls.

 

Water swiftly moved under the elevated boardwalk that had no railing. We meandered through trees and past small patches land, completely enveloped in lush vegetation. The water clarity was impeccable; we could see rocks and roots in the shallow pools, long reeds being pulled by the flow and playful fish. The constant movement of water was our soundtrack as it poured down smaller falls toward Skradinski buk.

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We could see water in every direction we looked and felt as if we’ve entered a magical water world. People pushed past us, but we kept our slow, steady pace, soaking it all in. Through breaks in the trees, we could see across the valley. The scene looked like a painter’s masterpiece, but only blue, green and yellow were on the artist’s palette.

We started the descent and took the detours to the lookout points – viewing the length of Skradinski buk, but from the other side. Again, we’re astounded by the swollen and gushing river that resembled something only Hollywood could create. We actually wondered if the joke was on us: Would someone simply turn off the tap once the park closed? Was it all staged? It seemed too unbelievable to be real.

 

When we completed the last section of the loop back to the bottom of Skradinski buk, we entered what felt like an enchanted forest. Water cascaded over rocks and momentarily collected into pools before spilling over into yet another pool. The scene was so surreal, we almost expected to see glowing fairies zip through the air.

 

We completed the rest of the trail, but weren’t quite ready to leave. Instead, we found a rock in the sun at the edge of the water. Swimming is allowed at the base of Skradinski buk, but the cooler temperatures and swift water kept most people on dry land. Only a few brave souls ventured in for a dip, but none lasted in the water for long.

It was mid-afternoon, but already there were fewer tour groups entering the park. The sun was angling toward the horizon and, in the time that we sat, long shadows spread over the falls. Even though we saw only one small part of the park, we were awestruck by it.

An afternoon sun highlights the gushing Skradinski buk waterfall at Krka National Park

 

Visiting Krka National Park

Visiting Krka National Park can be organized with a tour group, private guide or on your own. 

Krka National Park has five separate entrances, two of which put Skradinski buk in easy reach: Skradin and Lozovac.

If accessing the park via Skradin (where there is a bus stop and parking lot), visitors will need to take a Skradin to Krka ferry to the Krka National Park main entrance. There is an official Krka National Park ticket office next to the ferry. The ferry departs hourly and is included with the price of admission.

{Read our tips for Things To Do in Skradin while waiting for the ferry}

Tip: Try to get a seat with a view! During the 30 minute ride, we stood at the side of the boat with the wind on our faces, delighting in nature under the golden autumn sun. Swans glided at the edge of the rolling green hills and we caught sight of a few fishermen tucked between the reeds.

 

Krka National Park Entrance Fee

The Krka waterfalls price depends on season, time of day, section of park and visitor’s age. The cost of the Krka National Park entry fee varies greatly by season. In 2018, high season, adult tickets cost 200 kuna ($33 USD). However, Krka waterfalls price droops in the low season when adult tickets only cost 30 kuna ($5 USD). If you book a tour or private guide, the Krka waterfalls entrance fee may be included, so confirm before booking a tour. 

Here is the current pricelist of Krka National Park tickets. 

 

How to get to Krka National Park

The Krka National Park is centrally located on the Dalmatian Coast, making it within easy reach from many cities in Croatia. Although there are multiple entrances to Krka National Park, we recommend arriving via Skradin so that you can take the (free) boat ride to the park entrance. 

Krka National Park can be accessed by tour group, private guide, personal car and public bus.

 

Driving to Krka National Park

Self-driving to Krka National Park allows for the most freedom in planning your day trip to Krka Waterfalls. Get driving directions on Google Maps to the Skradin entrance. If you need to hire a car, search for deals on car rentals

 

Public Transportation and Krka Tours

When we decided to travel from Zadar to Krka waterfalls, we debated between taking the Zadar-Krka bus or joining a tour from Zadar to Krka National Park. While a Krka tour from Zadar would have been the easiest option, it didn’t fit into our budget. Planning our own day trip from Zadar to Krka, however, was slightly trying as we struggled to find accurate information.

To get from Zadar to Krka, we took a bus directly to Skradin for 90 kuna ($13 USD) each. Our online research indicated that the route wouldn’t be possible during our mid-October visit – instead we would have to go to Sibenik and then catch a different bus to Skradin or Lozovar. However, when we inquired at the bus station, we were able to buy direct tickets to Skradin.

 

Note: By taking the bus from Zadar to Krka, we felt our time was a bit limited and spent nearly all of of our day at Skradinski buk.

 

Zadar to Krka National Park

Public Transport from Zadar to Krka Waterfalls: Check Zadar-Krka bus timetables on BusCroatia, but we recommend double-checking route times at the bus station. 

Zadar to Krka National Park Tour: A highly-rated Zadar to Krka tour can be booked in advance

{Read our Self-Guided Walking Tour of Zadar

Tip: If you like visiting parks, there is another national park near Zadar: Kornati Islands

 

Split to Krka National Park

Public Transport from Split to Krak: Plan your own Split to Krka day trip via public transportation. Check Split-Krka bus timetables on BusCroatia, but we recommend double-checking route times at the bus station. 

Krka Tour from Split: There are several options for a Krka National Park tour from Split. A popular (and highly-rated) tour that includes both the waterfalls and a visit to the historic city of Sibenik can be booked in advance

{Read our Split Sightseeing Guide and 3-Day Split Itinerary}

 

Dubrovnik to Krka National Park

There is no direct public transportation option between Dubrovnik and Krka Waterfalls. 

Dubrovnik to Krka NP Private Guide: It is best to book a private guide for the trip from Dubrovnik to Krka if not self-driving. It will take about 3.5 hours each way. Communicate in advance with the tour guide so that you can set your expectations of the day. 

{Read our guide to Dubrovnik Sights}

 

Zagreb to Krka National Park

Public Transport from Zagreb to Krka Waterfalls: There is limited public transport from Zagreb to Krka – and the ride will take more than 4 hours each way. Check timetables on BusCroatia.

Zagreb to Krka Day Tour: If attempting to visit Krka National Park on a day trip from Zagreb, it is best to hire a private guide to make the trip. 

{Read our list of 22 Terrific Things To Do in Zagreb

 

Start planning your trip to Croatia! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

 

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We want to know: Have you been to Krka National Park in Croatia? Give us your best tips and advice for visiting Kkra waterfalls in the comments below!) 

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12 thoughts on “Krka National Park: A day trip from Zadar

  1. Pingback: Split, Croatia Guide (with day trips)

  2. cromercanary

    I did very similar to you, but caught a bus to Skradin from Šibenik, leave at 0900, return at 1730 – perfect for a day trip. I was there in May and above the thundering waterfalls, I could hear the croaking of numerous frogs. There were incredible damselflies and butterflies everywhere and I was totally blown away by the whole experience!
    I enjoyed looking around the blacksmith’s forge, loom weaving demonstration etc as well.
    And with every step you take, the whole way round, a new photo opportunity presents itself!
    One of my favourite ever days in beautiful Croatia

  3. So how did it compare in your minds to Plitvice? We considered going to both but in the end ended up only seeing Plitvice.
    The photos are great, looks beautiful with the fall colours.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • It is really difficult for us to compare the two – as we thought they were totally different….and mostly different because of the time of year we visited each place. We visited Plitvice in late winter when there was still snow on the ground. The park was not lush with green like the pictures we had seen. The upper lakes were closed. BUT – we had the park almost completely to ourselves. We spent two entire days walking around and just enjoying it. Our visit to Krka was in the fall. There were still many tourists cluttering the walkways, but it wasn’t as crowded as we heard it gets in the summer. The sun was shining, but the previous days’ rain had the falls exploding with water. Again, it wasn’t the tranquil falls we had seen in pictures. All the same, it was magnificent! We only spent a total of 5 hours at Krka, but after we walked around, we still had time to get a beer and drink it at the base of the biggest waterfall. We think each place has its own merit and choosing to visit one over the other comes down to time and itinerary.

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