One of the biggest draws to visiting Croatia is water. The coast is gorgeous and there’s waterfalls everywhere, too. There is something just so calming, relaxing and beautiful about seeing water rush down mountains and it really makes me want to buy some kind of fountain for my living room.Visiting waterfalls was the only thing I wanted to do while we were in Croatia and our visit was one of the best things we’ve done while living in Europe.
Two of best places to see waterfalls in Croatia are: Plitvice Park and Krka National Park. Plitvice is the larger of the two, with 16 terraced lakes and hiking trails and is about a 2 hour drive from Zagreb, the country’s capital. It is forbidden to swim in any water in this park, which is a bummer, especially in the summer months when it is so incredibly hot. Krka National Park is smaller, allows swimming and an hour drive from Split. Since we were staying in Split ( < guide to Split here) we chose to visit Krka and it was absolutely amazing. Find out why below.
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My sister booked us a tour through the concierge at the her hotel and it turned out to be the best thing. We drove to the park and stopped in Sibenik, a small town with lots of great history, for lunch and then had a mini tour of that town. We chose a private tour because we were traveling with our dog, Copley, and wanted to have the ability to choose how long we stayed at the park. Our guide stayed with us the entire time giving us lots of details about the park that we would not have known otherwise, like how there are poisonous snakes around!
We left the hotel at 8 AM and arrived at the park shortly after 9. Krka opens at 8 AM in the summer and I highly recommend arriving right at opening time. The park was flooded with visitors around 11, especially the Skradinski buk, so it’s best to get a head start before the crowds.
The park is 42 square miles of mountain and river with wood walking trails along the way. There is wildlife, many different types of fauna and even an area dedicated to showing how the people of Croatia lived hundreds of years ago when the park was still just a small town. There are many entrances and starting points depending on your interests but the main draw of the park is the Skrandinski buk which is at the Lozovak entrance.
This is where we started our tour. The area is one big circle and we made our way through the trail stopping to take a few pictures along the way. I lost count of all the waterfalls because there is one everywhere you turn. The trails are very nice with wood beams showing you where to go. When traveling down, there are steps or inclines if you are visiting in a wheelchair or with a stroller. There are several look out points along the way, as well, so you can easily stop and get wonderful vantage points and photos.
If you are bringing your dog with you, make sure you come prepared for them, too. We brought her portable water bowl (similar here), treats and pick up bags with us. The water bowl is essential, obviously, because it is so hot. It was 90 degrees the day we visited. Dogs must remain on their leash the entire time and must wear a muzzle if you take a bus or boat to any location. We chose to walk everywhere because the views are just stunning and experiencing the almost rain-forest-like park is a once in a lifetime moment, plus we don’t own a muzzle.
Once we climbed down some dusty, sandy stairs, we heard the sounds of water crashing and found the Skradinski buk waterfall. Seeing these waterfalls is awe inspiring, to quote Lisa Rinna during the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills trip to Hong Kong. There is a bridge over the river and is the perfect location for Instagram-worthy photos. We did this first before going in for a dip so we’d look somewhat presentable in the pictures.
Swimming is allowed in the waterfalls. I repeat, you can swim in the waterfalls! You can’t go under them and there is a buoy line showing you where you can’t go passed. We threw out our beach towels on the very sandy area right before the cliffs where you can enter the water. There are rocks everywhere and it is extremely slippery. If you have water shoes, I would wear them. If you don’t, wear flip flips like I did.
It takes quite a bit of time to get from the rocks to the water and the water can be a little chilly, but it is so worth it. The water is so clear and seeing the waterfalls from the bottom is truly amazing. We had a little photo shoot in the water so we could remember this incredible moment.
Poor Copley even got in on the action.
I’m taking these pictures from the bridge, screaming at Vinn to pick her up! “She doesn’t like it!!!” Such a helicopter dog mom.
Once we were dried off and changed clothes, we finished walking the loop of the Skradinski buk. There is an area toward the end of the loop where the park has used old buildings to showcase how the Croatian people lived in the park before it was a national park. There was a horseshoe maker, the bath, laundry room and with displays of the clothes. It was very, very interesting.
Visiting Krka National Park was the highlight for me during our trip to Croatia. It is an incredible sight and absolutely worth a visit. If you love waterfalls, this is the place to go. In case you do, here’s what you should bring with you! I wish I had some of these things with us.
I hope this helps you decide to visit Krka National Park and help prepare for your visit. If you do visit or have visited before, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.
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