Last updated on August 31, 2023
Summer in Croatia is beautiful. It’s exactly the weather you wish for when planning a vacation. We had a rough travel day getting from to Skradin from Milna on Brac Island, a tiny town on an island off the coast of Split.
It involved confusion with the train, a packed bus ride, and we missed the final bus into town. It ended when we paid for a taxi to take us to our hotel, the very lovely Villa Marija.
Planning a Trip to Krka’s Waterfalls
After a good sleep, I was the first up and went for a run. I’m a “morning person,” as they say. My internal clock sets to sunrise. Here in Croatia, that’s 7:00 am on the dot.
In Nepal, I woke with the sun at 5:30am. It makes for a nice start to the day. I enjoy waking early while everyone dozes; I make tea, enjoy bread and cheese, and I don’t have to talk to a single soul.
On a round the world trip, sometimes it’s these quiet, alone hours that are cherished and lovely.
Plus, I had extra hours to plan our hike through Krka National Park. Puffy cotton-ball clouds filled the sky and the sun baked the landscape warm. In short, my Florida-girl self considered it the perfect hiking day.
By 8:30 am, my cousin and friend Jenn had started moving, so it was go-time to eat and leave for the hike. Jenn and I had hiked together for years while we lived in Los Angeles, and my cousin and I hiked together in Nepal’s Himalayas.
Having talked to other travelers in Italy, we had heard the hiking in Croatia is gorgeous. And in anticipation of our full day of hiking, we prepared packable snacks: bread, cheese, and tomato sandwiches, with an apple each. We also way overdid it on the footwear for our hike through Krka National Park—hiking boots are not required!
What footwear do you need for Krka National Park?
Sneakers or trainers are a good choice for general walking and sightseeing in Krka National Park. If you plan to visit the park’s waterfalls or swim in the river, bring water shoes. And if the weather is warm, you could even walk around the park in sporty sandals (not flip-flops, though).
Starting Our Hike in Krka National Park
The ferry from Skradin to the National Park entrance was included in our ticket price and was a lovely 20 minute ride upstream and across the Krka river.
The nature and wildlife started right when we left port; we passed a happy family of swans. Birds soared over head. Everyone was happy for the lovely weather.
As we entered the park and grabbed a map, we were all surprised to learn that it the entire circuit takes just two hours, and the park has installed wooden boardwalks along the route.
This is great for accessibility, but it’s not what we had anticipated after having chatted with others. We even asked at the information booth and thoroughly stumped the woman, who reiterated what the map indicated—the park has a lower boardwalk route around the falls and an upper track near the monastery.
Visitors are not allowed to veer off path from the boardwalks and actually hike through the national park.
That wasn’t the plan, and we were all disappointed to discover we had to stay on a set tourist course around the park that took in all sides of Skradinski Buk, the largest and famous falls.
That said, as we started out, we all lost ourselves in the sheer beauty. The boardwalk laces around seven stunning falls. The Krka River is powerful that starts in Slovenia and runs through Croatia, making falls at this part of Central Croatia.
Intriguingly, the waterfalls never look the same on any given day. The falls flow over calcium-carbonate rocks, which shift and change in color. Some days the water turns stunning shades of brilliant blue and turquoise.
Other days, like the day we were there, the waterfalls appear through patches of brilliant greens—every shade of green imaginable!
Because we had our launch and extra snacks packed, the three of us took our time walking around the park. Tour groups plodded past. Gaggles of teenagers on field trips skipped by quickly.
Yet the three of us fanned out to snap pictures of the metallic blue dragonflies. We found a riot of colors in the bugs, insects, and wildlife around the boardwalks. Anything interesting, we were game for photographing it.
As the day progressed, we lost the sunshine.
It rained a bit, and many people left Krka. But we are not easily deterred.
We stripped off our hiking boots—they were completely unnecessary footwear, we could have walked the park in flip-flops—and waded through the swimming area for more photos, this time of us in with the pretty waterfall.
And there is just nothing like a nice fellow traveler willing to commit to the shot. We met a fellow American who had stripped down to his trunks so he could capture great shots of his daughters near the falls.
He took this awesomely-framed shot of the three of us, which is one of the few that we have from our time traveling together! Both Jenn and my cousin were leaving my round the world trip, so I am happy to have this fun and beautiful reminder.
How to Visit Krka National Park
Below covers all about the practical aspects of planning your Krka National Park trip. I share direct insights and personal tips to ensure you’re well-prepared.
From logistics to off-the-beaten-path suggestions, consider this your pragmatic guide to navigating the park. Heres how to craft an enjoyable and adventurous day at Krka.
Most Popular Hiking Trails
In general, the trails at Krka National Park are well-marked and easy to follow. They range in difficulty from easy to moderate and are suitable for all fitness levels.
- Skradinski Buk: This is the most popular trail in the park, leading to the beautiful Skradinski Buk waterfall. The trail is 3 kilometers long and takes around 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your pace. The trail is relatively easy and suitable for all fitness levels.
- Roški Slap: This trail leads to the beautiful Roški Slap waterfall and is around 3 kilometers long. The trail is easy and takes around 1-2 hours to complete.
- Visovac Island: This trail leads to Visovac Island, a small island in the middle of Lake Visovac that is home to a Franciscan monastery. The trail is around 2 kilometers long and takes around 1 hour to complete.
- Krka Monastery: This trail leads to the Krka Monastery, a beautiful monastery located on the banks of the Krka River. The trail is around 4 kilometers long and takes around 2 hours to complete.
- Otocac Waterfall: This trail leads to the Otocac Waterfall, a beautiful waterfall located in the heart of the park. The trail is around 3 kilometers long and takes around 1-2 hours to complete.
Where to Stay Near Krka
You have three main types of accommodation when staying near the national park:
- Apartments and villas in the nearby town of Skradin, which is just a short drive from the park.
- Hotels and guesthouses in the town of Šibenik, which is about 20 minutes from the park by car.
- Campgrounds in and around the park, which offer the opportunity to pitch a tent or park a caravan.
As far as guesthouses go, I recommend Villa Marija—it’s well located to all the amenities in Skradin, the staff are lovely, and it an offers an easy walk into the park.
Things to Do That Aren’t Visiting Krka
There are several other fun things to do and see near Skradin, in addition to visiting Krka National Park:
- Explore the old town of Šibenik, which is a short drive from Skradin. Šibenik is a historic city with a charming old town, castle, and several churches and cathedrals.
- Visit the fortress of St. Nicholas, which is located on an island just off the coast of Skradin. The fortress dates back to the 16th century and offers beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea.
- Bike out to Bribirska Glavica, set of archeological ruins from 1st century AD perched on a 300 meter high plateau.
- Go boating or fishing in the river Krka or the Adriatic Sea. Skradin is a popular spot for both activities, and there are several companies that offer guided tours and rentals.
- Take a wine tour of the region. The Skradin area is known for its excellent wine, and there are several wineries in the surrounding area that offer tastings and tours.
- Head to the beach for some sun and relaxation. The coast near Skradin has several beaches to choose from, including sandy, pebble, and rocky options.
- Visit the Vransko Jezero nature reserve, which is home to a large saltwater lake and is a popular spot for birdwatching. The reserve is located just a short drive from Skradin.
The rain was light and passed quickly. We enjoyed snacks at the picnic tables and then ran to the entrance to catch the hourly ferry back to Skradin.
The day turned out differently than we had hoped, but visiting the gorgeous waterfalls at Krka National Park was a clear highlight no matter. And later, we would find a similar situation at the beautiful Plitvice Lakes.
Essential Travel Planning Resources
🛏️ Find great accommodation.
Booking.com is essentially the only hotel booking site that I use. It has a wide and affordable selection of traditional hotels, but also hostels and vacation rentals, too. Use these pro tips to find the best travel accommodation.
📍Navigate more effectively.
Rome2Rio is super handy to assess the full range of transport options between two cities—shows everything from flights to trains, buses, minibuses, and more. If you’re booking a rental car, I’ve always found the best deals on RentalCars.com.
A guide to everything I learned while backpacking Croatia. From planning time in Plitvice Lakes to sunning on beaches near Split—and a lot in between—here’s where to go, my favorite places, and everything you should know before you go.