Krka National Park(which lies about 10 km inland from Sibenik) is a vast, relatively untouched,naturally magnificent area of Croatia which has gradually become one of Europe’s preferred holiday destinations in recent years. The park located along the middle-lower course of the Krka river in central Dalmatia (Sibenik-Knin county). The Krka river springs in the foothills of the Dinara mountain range and is 72.5km long,making it the twenty-second longest river in Croatia. The need to protect the river and its exceptional natural values led to the parliament of the Socialist Republic of Croatia proclaiming the area covering 142km2 from the early Croatian fortresses of Trosents and Necven to the Sibenik Bridge,including 3.5km of the course of the Cikola River a national park, back in the year 1985, becoming Croatia’s seventh national park.
The Krka National Park todays stands as the perfect tourist destination; a majestic, largely unchanged area of lush scenery and natural beauty which contains preserved eco systems,and is intended for scientific, cultural, educational, recreational and tourist activities (the park is visited by over 1 million people annually) So aptly named after the river which it encloses, the Krka National Park boasts a variety of activities and interests for the whole family which include sightseeing, tours, presentations, boat trips, souvenir shops, a museum, andrestaurants. There are also several archaeological remains of unpreserved fortresses dating back to Roman times.
The main attractions of the park are the breath-taking waterfalls, which includes the Skradinski Buk,one of Croatia’s most famous tourist attractions – It is an enormous natural pool with high waterfalls at one end and cascades at the other. Skrandinski Buk is largely considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Europe, spanning an area of 400m in length and 100m in width this naturalmarvel is made up of seventeen waterfalls up to 47.7m tall. Skrandinski Buk is regarded as one of the most beautiful Calcium Carbonate waterfalls in Europe because of the various effects caused by the play of light on the whirlpools,vegetation and geomorphological forms.
SEE MORE: Šibenik – Croatian Hidden Gem
The best way of sightseeing in the park is by taking a boat trip (the cost is included in your admission ticket) which leaves from Skardin. It is possible to swim to some of the locations in Krka National Park, as long as you remember to bring along your swimming costume, but the boat trips include a chance to stop and wander on footpaths along the water, watch presentations, see other items of interest and visit the Roski Slap (Croatian translation of the English Waterfall)
Roski Slap is the second most popular attraction of the park in terms of visitors to the location and is surrounded by refreshing walking and hiking trails. There are twelve waterfalls in the space of 450m, the largest standing at just over 22m in height and 60m in width. The Krka waterfalls area has the second highest density of Lavender in Europe, hence the high frequency of wasps and bees in the park.
One of the stops along the way is the island of Visovac, home of the Catholic Visovac Monastery which was founded by the Franciscans as part of the Franciscan Province of the Most Holy Redeemer, and the island is also referred to as the Mother of God island because of the centuries-long devotion to the Mother of God. The island was first settled by Augustine monks, who established a small monastery and church dedicated to the Apostle Paul in the 14th Century. In 1445 the building was enlarged and adapted by the Franciscans who settled there after withdrawing from parts of then Bosnia. The monastery was demolished and rebuilt in the 18th Century, and contains a number of well-preserved artefacts, clothes and a rich library with several historical manuscripts and rare books. The location can also be accessed by means of a public road and lies within a ten-minute drive from Skradin.
The park is also home to the Serbian Eastern Orthodox Monastery Krka which is located near the Krka river, only 3km away from Kistanje. The monastery was dedicated to the Archangel Michael and is the most well-known Serbian Orthodox Monastery in all of Croatia. The oldest part of the monastery was built in 1345, while the current church of Saint Archangel was erected in 1422 on the location of an earlier gothic structure. Besides being a wonderful holiday destination, the Krka National park, as you may have already noticed, hosts a wealth of historical and religious knowledge for the curious individual.
Within the park, Visovac Lake was used for one of the first Hydro Power Plants in the world, Jaruga, which was built in 1895 to provide electricity for the city of Sibenik. The lake, whichis approximately 2000 square meters, was also used to power mills for makingbread by means of water flow energy. The first mills were built in the 12thCentury and have not been used in the last 50 years.
Fauna and Flora
Eighteen different species of fish, including Brown Trout and Dalmatian Barbelgudgeon, inhabit the Krka river. Patches of reeds and swamped meadows are where birds and amphibians thrive, while thickets and stone quarries are the preferred resting place for those in the reptile family. There is also much to attract the bird watchers of the world with over 200 species of bird life found in the park – Griffon Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, Golden Eagle, Eurasian Eagle-owl and the Short-toed Eagle to name a few. The endangered Long-fingered Bat and the Daubentons Bat are among the mammals and just two of the 18 different species if bat residing in the park.
The park belongs to the Southern European region and is characterized by exceptionally rich, varied Flora and Fauna. Eight hundred and sixty species and sub-species of plant life have been identified in the park, including several Illyrian-Adriatic species.
Visiting the park – Tips & Rules
The Krka National Park can be visited all year round, and if you are planning a visit it is extremely important to make bookings beforehand in order to avoid standing in line on the day for an extended period of time. Even though the park has five different entrances (Lozovac, Skradin, Roski Slap, Kistanje, Krka monastery) it does get extremely busy at certain times during the year, especially in the summer months (July/August). The park has a promenade walk with wooden planks, and visitors can also enjoy sunbathing or swimming in any one of the beautiful lakes. The most common entrances are Skradinski Buk and Roski Slap because of the attractions, while the best place to arrive whether you are travelling by coach or car is Lozovac which offers free parking. You can tour by boat, on foot, or by car in certain sections of the park, the only condition being that you abide by the environment protection rules:
Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles are not allowed in the park
Visitors are not permitted to bathe outside of clearly marked bathing area
recreationally fish without a permit is not allowed
Visitors are no allowed to hunt, catch, frighten or disturb wild game or other animal species, dispose of waste and pollute springs and watercourses, or light fires out of clearly marked areas.
Motor vehicles are not allowed on roads on which travel is forbidden or limited without approval.
Swimming in the lakes is allowed but just not under the waterfalls for safety reasons.
Taking of personal photographs is not allowed without approval.
Alongside protecting the environment and wellbeing of all who live and visit the park, the Public Institute of the Krka National Park is also determined to educate the young about the importance of environmental protection. This is done via educational programmes which include numerous lectures, ecological workshops, field courses and sports activities tailored to suit the needs of children of all ages. The educational programme is carried out by the staff of the park ho are being aided by teachers and professors and are held all year round.
At this time of the year (November/December period) entrance to all regions of the park is charged at 30 Kunas for adults, and 20 Kunas for children aged 7 to 18 years. Children under 7 enter free all year round. During the summer months the entrance fee is substantially higher for all terrestrial locations at 200 Kunas per adult (145 kn after 4pm) and 120 kn per child (120 kn after 4pm)
How to get to National Park Krka
Travelling to the park is relatively easy due to its popularity; there are guided tours from Split,Omis and Markaska; you can also get to the park using public transport buses from Split, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, and Sibenik which is the closest largetown in proximity to the park. Tickets can be purchased via bus terminalsbecause there are routes that go between Zagreb and Split that go direct andstop in Skradin. The other option would be to rent a car and drive yourself.
As far as a holiday destination goes, few can rival the awe-inspiring beauty of the Krka National Park with its lush greenery, majestic waterfalls and rich history. It is definitely worth a visit on your next trip abroad!