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

Visiting Krka National Park, Croatia

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There is no doubt that the Adriatic Sea along Croatia’s coastline is a stunning stretch of water. 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 Croatia have a series of tumbling waterfalls that rival the splendor of the Adriatic Sea. The grandiose Croatia waterfalls are exactly what lured us to visit Krka National Park.

 

About Krka National Park, Croatia

Rainbow over 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. (That said, Krka NP is easy to get to from several Croatian cities. See our tips below!)

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 largest waterfall on the Krka River. 

 

Visiting Krka Waterfalls, Croatia

At the base of Skradinski buk in Kraka National Park

 

We opted to explore 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 pouring over the multi-leveled waterfalls. Under a cloudless sky, the rays of light magnified the mist that dampened our cheeks.

 

Krka National Park Walking Path

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. 

After climbing a short series of steps, we reached a Krka Waterfall 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.

 

Krka NP Historical Sights

Before we continued over the Krka 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 Krka Falls.

 

Crossing the Top of Krka Waterfalls Croatia

Water swiftly moves under the elevated boardwalk that have 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 flowing 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 Krka Valley. The scene looked like a painter’s masterpiece, but only blue, green and yellow were on the artist’s palette. On our descent, we took detours to the lookout points – again viewing the length of Skradinski buk. 

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!

 

Swimming At Krka National Park, Croatia

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

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.

Update: Swimming at Skradinski Buk will no longer be allowed after January 2021!

 

How To Visit 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}

Skradin, Croatia: Sightseeing before Catching the Krka Ferry by JetSettingFools.com

Pro 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. If you book a tour or private guide, the Krka waterfalls entrance fee may be included, so confirm before booking a tour. Check the 2021 pricelist of Krka National Park tickets

 

How To Get To The Krka Waterfalls

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 or Krka Tours

Visitors can visit the park on their own on a day trip; public transportation is available from nearby cities, making for an easy day trip from Zadar, Sibenik and Split. However, there are numerous organized tours that include a knowledgeable guide. Below we detail the options and information for DIY trips with public transport and top-rated tours from major cities in Croatia. 

 

Zadar, Croatia to Krka National Park

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.

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

{If you are staying in Zadar, be sure to read our Self-Guided Walking Tour of Zadar

Pro 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

{Before you visit Split, be sure to 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 from your Dubrovnik day trip

{Also check out 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. 

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

 

Sibenik to Krka National Park

Public Transport from Sibenik to Krka Waterfalls: Sibenik is the closest city to Krka; the Sibenik-Krka Bus is an easy way to get to the park. We recommend using the Skradin entrance. The Skradin-Sibenik bus routetakes just 10 minutes. Check timetables on BusCroatia.

Sibenik to Krka Day Tour: While it is easy to get to Krka from Sibenik, there are tours, too – like this one!

{Get top tips in our guide of Things To Do in Sibenik}

 

Before You Go To Krka Waterfalls NP

  • Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by ColumbiaSkechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
  • We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos (that can later be beautifully compiled into a travel photo book). We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight).
  • Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you will also want a great day bag to organize and secure all of your everyday travel items
  • We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.

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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12 thoughts on “Visiting Krka National Park, Croatia

  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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