The Waterfalls of Krka National Park, Croatia

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Krka National Park

If you love waterfalls, Croatia is a fantastic country to visit. Thanks to a jagged coastline and mountains flush with rivers, waterfalls thrive in this beautiful nation.

Plitvice Lakes National Park in particular is world-famous for its waterfalls (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if 25% of the waterfall photos on Pinterest were from Plitvice alone!), and it is indisputably one of the top attractions in the country.

But that’s not the only option in Croatia — there’s also Krka National Park in Dalmatia. And in some cases, it might be even better than Plitvice.

Krka Waterfall

Plitvice vs. Krka

I visited the Plitvice Lakes two years ago (you can read about it here) and Krka a few weeks ago. I do think both national parks are worth visiting if you have the time. But chances are you’ll have time for only one, and if that’s the case, you should know what you’re getting.

Plitvice is an iconic destination within Croatia – there’s no doubt about that. This place is magnificent and I think Plitvice’s Lower Lakes are home to the most visually spectacular waterfalls in Croatia. This park also has UNESCO World Heritage designation, while Krka does not.

Some of my favorite shots from Plitvice:

plitivice-lakes-gallery Hello, PlitiviceLower Lakes of Plitivice

(Do note that comparing the two parks based on these photos is like comparing apples and oranges – my photography is SO much better today than it was two years ago! That and my day at Plitvice was rainy, while Krka was sunny. You can’t fairly compare their beauty based on these photos alone.)

That said, I think that Krka has a lot of advantages over Plitivice.

Krka National Park

For starters, it’s much more relaxed. At Plitvice, it’s very crowded (especially at the Lower Lakes), you see lots of large groups being led by guides, and you can feel a lot of pressure to photograph the waterfalls well; at Krka, it’s more about having fun and enjoying yourself a place that happens to be stunningly beautiful.

You might have better luck with the weather at Krka, too. There’s a range of mountains between the Dalmatian Coast and Plitivice, which plays a big role in how much sun you get. Croatia is a country with two climates — temperate and Mediterranean — and you notice the difference as soon as you cross that mountain range and land in pure sunshine along the coast.

Krka is in the Mediterranean region, while Plitvice is in the temperate region.

Krka National Park

The biggest advantage of Krka? Swimming! You can actually swim in the lakes at Krka, which is strictly forbidden at Plitvice. (Though they do keep you from swimming under the waterfalls themselves.)

Krka National Park

After you’ve spent time swimming and lying in the sun, take time to explore the trails. I love how you can get photos devoid of other people without having to show up at 6:00 AM. Good luck doing that at Plitvice!

Krka National ParkKrka National ParkKrka National Park

There’s a basic trail loop that takes you past the main swimming area and takes about 40 minutes if you walk at a decent pace; longer if you linger. If you’ve got more time, there are lots of different trails throughout the park.

I remarked in my Plitvice post that you need quality footwear for the slippery, uneven pathways; this happily isn’t the case in Krka, as the trails are wider and flatter. You’ll be fine in flip-flops.

Sibenik

Visiting Šibenik

Krka has a very convenient location, just off the Dalmatian Coast. Plitvice, by contrast, is fairly isolated, and I remember how much I struggled to find a decent restaurant in the area (and I’m not talking fancy – I’m talking decent). You could technically do a day trip to Plitvice from Zadar, but it’s much further away than Krka.

If you do go to Krka, and especially if you are road-tripping, take the time to check out the nearby city of Šibenik. I went in not expecting much, but this place was a surprisingly pleasant place to visit.

It’s not nearly as touristed as Zadar or especially Split — nor quite as pretty or dramatic as either city — but it has a gorgeous old town built on a hill, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral, and a nice seaside. Prices are lower, too.

SibenikSibenikSibenik

Šibenik is about a 20-minute drive from the town of Skradin, the gateway to Krka National Park.

Krka National Park

My Overall Recommendation

If you love beautiful waterfalls, you can’t go wrong with either Krka or Plitvice, and it’s not a waste of your time to go to both.

That said, if you’re based on the Dalmatian Coast and apprehensive about making the long trip to Plitvice (or unable to spare a full day) and wondering whether it would be a mistake to go to Krka instead, don’t worry — it’s not a mistake. It’s still a stunningly beautiful part of Croatia and you’ll have a wonderful day.


READ NEXT: 100 Travel Tips for Croatia


Essential Info: Admission to Krka National Park ranges from 30-110 kuna ($5-20 USD) for adults and 20-80 kuna ($3.50-14) for students and children. Prices are the highest from June through September.

You can drive to Krka on your own, but if you don’t have a vehicle, there are lots of tours available. This tour leaving from Zadar includes both Krka National Park and Šibenik.

Zadar is my favorite city in Croatia and I always recommend people use it as a base for exploring the region. Find the best deals on hotels in Zadar here. If you’d like to overnight in Šibenik, find the best deals on Šibenik hotels here.

Be sure to buy travel insurance before you travel to Croatia. Travel insurance could save your life or finances if you get sick or injured while traveling. I use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Croatia.

This campaign was created and sponsored by the Croatian National Tourist Board in partnership with iambassador. All opinions, as always, are my own.

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43 thoughts on “The Waterfalls of Krka National Park, Croatia”

  1. Please stop posting about Croatia, the travel envy is too much to handle! But in all seriousness, Croatia is without doubt on my to-do list next summer and I will have to remember to come back to this page for a cheeky reminder!

  2. I feel like I just keep hearing such great things about Croatia! And seeing stunning pictures… This sounds like a great day trip from the coast. Glad to hear it’s a little easier to get to than Plitvice too!

  3. Hi Kate.

    This is my first comment on your blog, but definitely isn’t the first read article. You have a lovely blog.
    I picked up the idea of Croatia a while ago, and must say your blog made me want to go even more and I did- mid may this year. I must say it was a lovely trip. We thouroughly enjoyed Plitvice- spent 2 days there although I agree getting to there was an adventure in public transport but was totally worth it. Krka was also on the list but was too much of a hassle practically so we gave up.

    Such a lovely country- Split, Korcula, Hvar, Dubrovnik, Plitvice to name a few.
    Would love to go back anyday..

  4. Would dearly love to visit Croatia one day, especially for these waterfalls. Thanks for the tips on Krka – that would be my first choice for sure.

  5. Wow! This post was quite a visual treat! I agree Croatia looks like a ‘waterfalls’ paradise. After reading your blogs on Croatia, it is on my radar now. I will definitely make it there whenever I travel to Europe.

  6. I think I would choose to go to Krka purely because you can swim there. I prefer a more interactive experience with waterfalls. It is the same reason why I enjoyed Maui’s waterfalls more than the Big Island. The Big Island waterfalls were more spectacular but most of the time were impossible to reach, only seeing them from afar, while in Maui you can swim in practically all of them

  7. Hello there!
    This is my first time commenting on your blog. Upon seeing this page, the title of this article really caught my eye.
    I like the article, as it was quite descriptive. Also, I agree that both are great (judging from both the photos and the descriptions).
    However, if I have to pick one, i’ll choose Krka. I agree with you that Plitvice is spectacular, but, I find it more appealing to visit places that are not too crowded.
    Great article!

  8. Absolutely gorgeous photos! I love the colors of the water, but especially all the verdant greenery too.

    I’m like a little kid where waterfalls are concerned, if there are ones to near where I am visiting, I always seek them out. Croatia looks like it has plenty of them!

  9. Amybeth Hurst, Portland Maine

    I’ve been enjoying reading your articles while staying occupied during down time at home. They’re always such great articles, and the photography is fun to look at. Thank you. Amybeth Hurst, Portland, ME

  10. I have been dying to go there! Your photos are gorgeous and I am so jealous. It doesn’t surprise me that a beautiful place like that is crowded. Wouldn’t it just be idyllic to enjoy a place like that alone and in silence? Oh well, it still looks great. Now I am sure that I want to go there one day.

  11. Great post, Kate. I agree with all your points. Krka Waterfalls Park definitely has its advantages. Trails are in a much better state, crowds are fewer, and swimming is great. I would also add that in Plitvice you’ll have difficulty finding a decent place to eat as all the restaurants seem catering solely to large bus groups (and food isn’t really exciting). On the other hand, in Krka, and particularly Skradin, there are so many lovely restaurants serving yummy dishes.

  12. Great post, Kate! I loved Plitvice Lakes when I visited earlier in the year, but because I was only in Croatia for about 72 hours, I didn’t get to fullly explore the country. I’d love to go back though, and see some of Croatia’s other sights – especially if they’re a little less crowded than Plitvice Lakes! (I guess being famous and beautiful comes with a price…)

  13. I’m heading to Croatia Friday and we planned Plitvice National Park and a road trip from Dubrovnik to Split to Zagreb. It’s going to be a whirlwind but I’m getting so excited looking at all of your Croatia posts. Thanks for the advice.

  14. Plitvice is great and if you do th full park can take 6- 7 hours of exploring. Krka near the beautiful city of Sibenik takes approx. 2.5 to 3hours. As far as rstaurants there is only a few in the park, but they are more fast food/café type places. On the road just outside Plitvice there are amazing restaurants thus if you have car make sure you stop here. The region near Plitvice is called Lika and is known for their amazing food. Try the traditional dish of divyak(amazing). There is also an amazing little town 40 mins from Plitvice on the Road D1. This place is ne of the most fairy-tale villages you ill ever see and better than any single waterfall you will see in Croatia. It is a village actually built on waterfalls and people actually live here- GOOGLE IT PLEASE you wont be disappointed and even use this as your base or have dinner here. It is amazingly beautifuland unique.
    Krka on the other hand is next to one of my most up and coming cities in Croatia in Sibenik. Because it is 1 hour north of Split rather than South it is not as well known. However this region is probably the nicest in Croatia. You have the Krka waterfalls and The Kornati Island archipelago making it the densest island region in all of Croatia. The city of Sibenik has four ancient forts including one in the middle of the ocean and one of the most beautiful views you could hope for from their beach at Banj Beach. Make sure you get lost in all its little windy streets. Kate is right it I nearer to urban croatia so only an hour from beautiful Zadar , but you also must visit the amazing island of Murter and the beautiful coastal village of Vodice, and Skradin(often named Microsoft’s Bill Gates favourite tourist spot). I’m an Australian and as you can no doubt tell I love Croatia.

    1. Dani,

      Do you remember what restaurant the traditional dish called Divyak was located at. Thats my last name and my family is originally from the Lika region. I’d be curious to know what type of dish it is.

      Thanks in advance,

      Terry

  15. Sorry the Name of the little town built on Waterfalls is called Rastoke- 40 mins from Plitvice. GOOGLE it as it will blow your mind

    1. Sorry mate your wrong. The waterfalls are called the Krka waterfalls and they are just outside the city of Sibenik.

  16. Hello Kate, I love your blog, and what you do in your life is amazing! Good Luck! I wanted to ask if there is a nice hotels beside the waterfall to stay or you advice to have only a day visit there?

    1. Yasmina,

      National Park Krka is gorgeous, really worth a visit , especially if you arrive early in the morning before the crowd hits.

      We have just come back from Croatia and on our risk we have chosen Šibenik as a main hub for traveling around Croatia. For only reason that it is situated right in the heart of Croatia and whenever you go it takes max 3 hours. which is perfect!

      How surprised we were to find this amazing hidden gem, old town of Šibenik. Its a unique town on Adriatic Coast, firstly because it is the first Croatian city, secondly it is surrounded by 4 ! castles. So beautiful ! Every day we wondered how it is possible that it has stayed undiscovered for so much time?!
      From Šibenik it takes 5 min to National Park Krka. Our kids enjoyed Krka very much, additionally to classical walk we took a boat and visited monastery on the island with a small botanic garden and zoo. It was unbelievable.
      During that week we have stayed in newly opened D-Resort Šibenik. Very much recommended. The staff was extra attentive, they loved speeding time with our kids and kids loved them. Rooms are huge, very comfortable and tastefully decorated. Breathtaking view over mega yacht marina and old town of Šibenik. Hotel has huge area, perfect for relaxing walking with kids. Excellent after a long day.
      We have also visited Plitvice, Zadar, Trogir, Dubrovnik and Split.

  17. I absolutely adore Krka National Park! I was there back in April and was completely blown away. I agree with you about the picture opportunities: it is certainly incredible how few people there are on the trails there! Did you have a chance to grab some lunch there? I ordered the trout and was presented with a full trout that had been thrown on a grill! It was delicious and quite the experience!

  18. Croatia is truly a beautiful country..just back from 7 weeks driving thru Istra, across to the island of Cres and Krk, then down to and thru Split to Korcula..and lastly to the jewel of the Adriatic..Dubrovnik. But, that said, tourism on a cruise ship scale has come to Dubrovnik with virtually thousands of people crowded into Old Town. Most have no idea what they are viewing as they place their Ipads in front of you to take pictures.

    Having been through Croatia and Bosnia many times, there are still many wonderful and historical things to experience. Bosnia remains maimed from the war and the political dynamics remains very challenged.
    It has been 21 years now since Dayton..and the memories of some 200,000 killed/murdered/missing remain a daily conversation in Mostar and Sarajevo.

    With that, happy travels..Dobro “Va pivo molim”..”Two beers, please!” RH

  19. Damn, you’ve given me some serious travel envy through my beautiful country, Croatia! I am so happy you enjoyed your time here and hope you return sometime soon. If you’re ever around in Zagreb, i’ll definitely love to show you around.

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