The waterfalls, lakes, rivers and pathways of Krka Park lure visitors from Croatia and beyond. We got up early to start our daytrip to Krka, hoping to avoid the crowds we’d heard could be a problem. The park lies an easy hour’s drive from Split. We drove the vast majority of the way on the excellent A1/E65 highway, then followed signs (and Google Maps) along the equally well-maintained E33 to the park’s main entrance at Lozovac. The enormous parking lot was mostly empty, but cars and tour buses were already beginning to arrive. We bought entrance tickets at the booth in the parking lot then realized we’d just missed the free shuttle bus that takes visitors into the park. [The free shuttle service runs from April to October.] Unwilling to wait for the bus to return, we opted to hike instead downhill through thick forests. The walk is pretty and not overly-difficult for the fit, but views of the lake below are blocked and we actually saw more of that particular vista by riding the bus back to the parking lot at the end of our visit. Our hike deposited us just up the road from the bus drop-off.
A few yards beyond a concession stand we stepped onto the raised wooden path that snakes its way through the myriad waterfalls, streams and lakes of Krka. In mere yards, we’d left the world of parking lots and buses behind to lose ourselves in a fairytale world of green. Water rushed and burbled all around us, even visible between the planks beneath our feet. Small fish darted about or clumped in schools swimming against the currents. Sunlight glinted off moving water and the air smelled deliciously of water, flowers, herbs, grass and trees.
We caught up to a tour group, but they branched back towards civilization and we soon had the park seemingly to ourselves. We came across other hikers from time to time, but mostly in twos and threes. Paths snake all through the area, sometimes as the raised wooden walkways over water, others as dirt footpaths through the trees. A group of mounted posters along the way describe local flora and fauna. We spent a couple hours exploring this area before we came to a footbridge over a large basin with multiple waterfalls spilling into it. The largest of these is Skradinski buk. Several buildings cluster around this spot, including a restored mill, souvenir shop and a historical display of weaving and traditional costumes. Things got crowded in this part of the park which is evidently easily accessible for tour groups not going as far into the park as we did.
Walking across the bridge and past the buildings brought us back to the concession stand and parking circle where the park shuttle bus picked us up. It is a full-sized bus, accommodating far more people than were waiting when we were there. The bus dropped us off at the big parking lot by the Lozovac entrance where we’d left our car.
Several small restaurants line one side of the parking lot. We chose one at random, Lapis Alba, and enjoyed a cheap late lunch of hot sandwiches and cold beer before heading back to Split.
There’s lots more to Krka than what we saw, but it would probably take at least two full days to see it all at leisure. Boat rides are available on the river between falls and going out to Vivosac Island, home to a small monastery. You can find out more at: http://www.npkrka.hr/stranice/krka-national-park/2/en.html