So far I had spotted only two ducks, but that didn’t stop me from ducktailing all the way through the famous Krka National Park in Croatia. It wasn’t like I had a choice either. The park was packed. I didn’t know I had signed up for group tours but that was what I was stuck with. A sandwich between a school outing and a senior daytrip. And I was the soggy salad leaf. What a way to visit Krka National Park.
A Fresh Greeting with Lots of Skin
The photos looked promising. Krka National Park in Croatia is a stunner. Turquoise waterfalls cascading down green rimmed pools, framed by gently swaying trees in lush green. The season was just about right as well. May is supposedly the best month to visit Croatia. It’s shoulder season, which means it is not yet too crowded but already sunny and warm.
I had been lucky with the Plitvice Lakes National Park the day before. Although it was well visited and I had to segway my way through the dreaming couples and the ipad videographers, it was still fabulous. A new waterfall awaited around every corner. A multitude of shades of blue fell upon me as far as the eye could see. It was a picture perfect stencil of an earthly slice of heaven.
And Krka looked just as beautiful. That is, after I mentally photoshopped all the half naked people from my sight. Unlike with Plitvice, Krka offered the sunheated visitors a spot to dip into the cool freshness of the gentle waters. And not a few jumped at the offer and into the cold. It was still cold in the wet, I rather stayed out.
Expectation vs Reality
This was a classic case of getting hopes too high. I usually prefer to do as little research as possible and keep my mind open. No expectations, no disappointment. But I had planned to visit Krka national park lured by photos that had a touch of the supernatural to them. Colours popping. Crystal clear depths. Almost rainforest-like vegetation. I was sold. I wanted the photo. I wanted the real life fairy tale.
What I wanted to capture with my trusty camera was obvious. The sheer awesomeness of nature. Humans being lost in the magnitude of nature. The wild, the rough, the untouched. Instead, every second step I could feel a stranger brushing against my arm or bumping into me by blindly sidestepping. Needless to say, it didn’t quite match my expectations.
Once the crowds spilled out onto the national park after a 15 minute ferry ride, I jumped from gap to gap in the masses. On the educational trail I basically had to queue in order to take a step. I had a big debate with myself on whether I should step off the path at one point for a quick photo, taking care not to trample on anything. When I did, other people copied it. Instant regret because they didn’t take care where they tread.
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Visiting Krka National Park – Getting there and around
Since I wanted to find my little piece and quiet after all, I scanned the area for hiking trails. There were none in the first part. You can hike from the little town of Skradin towards the first ferry stop P1 or take the ferry. This one is included in the entry price.
If you wanted to head out further, you had to take another ferry to P2. This included a (only!) 30 minute stop on the picturesque island of Visovac and its old monastery. It costs extra though as does the third ferry ride to P3 and the famous Roški Slap cascades. To those, however, you can hike this time.
Since I had arrived in Šibenik from Split the same day and taken the next best bus to Skradin, the morning was already past. The return bus I wanted to take left at 5pm. So essentially, I didn’t have enough time to fully enjoy the park and see it in its completeness. That’s something for another (and hopefully less busy) time. To see what the rest of the park is like, hop over to the report from Kelly & Aaron from No Man Before did.
What I Loved about my Visit to Krka National Park
Of course, my visit to the famous Krka waterfalls wasn’t terrible. I was just utterly disappointed that even in shoulder season, the crowds had taken hold of the area. The historical buildings and workshops seemed more like tourist traps and souvenir retail areas. BUT Krka National Park still is a mostly unaltered and well preserved area of outstanding beauty.
The park is huge! It spans 109 km² and the Krka River alone stretches over 72.5 km, making it the 22nd longest river in Croatia. What’s more, if you come in June, you can enjoy the fabulous lavender. Krka National Park actually has the second highest concentration of lavender in Europe. (If you’re allergic to bees and wasps, be extra careful then!)
If you are into flora and fauna at all, hold onto your seat! There are a staggering 860 species and subspecies of plants around as well as 222 birds. (I really love that even number. Hehe.) The waterfalls are simply amazing and they change continuously. Well, it’s 1cm per year as they are made of limestone that turns into travertine. This travertine system is even larger than the one in Plitvice.
Would I recommend a Visiting Krka National Park?
Yes! Even though my experience was a tad sour, I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from visiting. You just have to smart about it and well prepared. Do your research in advance, especially if you want to book a local tour or start the day as early as possible. Bus times are relatively frequent but you wouldn’t wanna miss the last one.
Even if you have or will visit Plitvice, this national park is another kind of stunning and I’m sure you will not be bored. While at Plitvice you cannot actually swim, you can do that when you visit Krka National Park. Just be aware that the rocks can be slippery, so watch out.
Official Webpage | 360°Panoramic View | Current entrance fees | Park Maps