Natural beauty, stunning waterfalls, and you can swim there too – Find out all you need to know about travelling from Split to Krka National Park in Croatia.
Here I was with a BIG dilemma. I only had one day free in Croatia, and couldn’t decide whether to book a tour from Split to Krka National Park or Plitvice Lakes? They both looked like incredible places – but I only had time for one…
In the end, I went for the Split to Krka tour. I’ll admit it was partly because the journey time was shorter! The tour would take me to see the famous waterfalls, the amazing panoramic view of Visovac Monastery, and then stop in the city of Šibenik to see the UNESCO Cathedral. Plus, it included a lunch of some delicious, local Dalmatian food.
Leaving Split at around 8am, it takes a few hours to drive to the entrance to Krka National Park. However, with a chatty tour guide outlining the history of Croatia, and telling anecdotes about everything from wine production to his wife being a beautician, the time flew by!
The views from the window of the coach were mind-blowing. Towns of red-roofed houses perched above the Adriatic Sea. Early morning swimmers taking a refreshing dip, while luxury yachts manoeuvred the coastline.
As we reached the national park we saw huge sweeping canyons, topped with thick green forests. At the bottom was mysteriously calm water. As we followed the River Krka, the water changed from a dark shade of blue to a vivid green. I’d never seen anything like it.
Once at the waterfalls (also known as Skradinski buk), I walked a full loop of the area. Towards the start were stallholders selling local delicacies – dried fruits, nuts and more.
My ears pricked at the sound of rushing water, and suddenly I was faced with the incredible waterfalls. They are high at one end and turn into cascades at the other.
They were bright green in places (caused by foliage and the high levels of calcium carbonate), with gushing, frothy water dropping weightily from step to step. The swimming area was exactly like the photos I’d seen. I had always assumed they had been enhanced, but no – it really was as perfect in reality!
As I walked, there were surprises around every corner. Small toads hopped on the banks of some of the smaller pools, birds flapped from tree to tree and little gaps in the foliage revealed overhead views of the waterfalls.
The water was so clear – I could see hundreds of fish swimming by. It was a swelteringly hot day, and there were a lot of other tourists around, but thankfully at the end of the loop was a cafe selling ice cream!
The next stop on our Split to Krka National Park tour was the viewpoint overlooking Visovac Monastery. The monastery itself dates back to the 14th Century, and sits on its own island in the middle of Visovac Lake.
A beautiful bell tower is protected by a circle of cypress trees that stand bolt upright. The island was used as a hermitage in the 15th century, until Franciscan monks built a church there in 1576.
It was an incredible sight… and just from looking, I couldn’t help but feel a fraction of the tranquillity and peace that must be part of daily life on the island.
We gathered for lunch at a traditional Dalmatian mill-turned-restaurant, where we sampled delicious local cheeses, hams, salad, olives and breads. We washed it down with locally-produced wines and a shot of grappa! After lunch there was a chance to relax by another lake or take a swim.
The final stop on our tour took us to the historic city of Šibenik. Between the 11th and 12th centuries, Šibenik was conquered by the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary.
Sadly, in more recent times, the city made the headlines for being heavily attacked during the Croatian War of Independence (1991–1995). The bombings damaged numerous buildings and monuments, including the dome of the UNESCO listed Cathedral of St. James. The city was a pretty one to walk through, although there was still evidence of the tragedies of the 90s – with bullet holes visible on some of the buildings.
With tired legs, and a camera full of photos, it was time to return to Split. The day trip to Krka waterfalls from Split was one of the highlights of my two weeks in Croatia. Next time, maybe I’ll take the trip to Plitvice to see how it compares, but I left knowing that I had made a great choice!
Find out more about tours from Split to Krka National Park here.
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