Krka National Park (NP) Guide
Krka National Park is the second most visited national park in Croatia and it is entirely located in County of Šibenik-Knin. This beautiful area with stunning scenery encompasses 109 square kilometers along the Krka river.
Krka River springs at the foot of Dinara, but National Park begins just south, two kilometers downriver from Knin. On the way to the sea, the National Park encompasses seven waterfalls, scattered around different areas of the NP. The mouth of Krka River is particularly attractive, because this is a submerged river mouth - an estuary. Such a mixture of sea salt and fresh river water is called brackish water. Krka estuary is quite long, around 23,5 kilometers, and is rich in shellfish, freshwater- and marine fish species. It is interesting that the water from estuary reaches even Skradinski Buk, the most famous waterfall of Krka, which is quite far away from the sea.
Like all national parks, Krka is abundant with plant and animal species. There are 860 plant species, including several endemic species of this region, such as chimney bellflower and iris illyrica.
Krka is much more interesting because of animal species. Among 20 fish species present there, half are endemic, which makes Krka a natural landmark of the highest category. There are two endemic lizards - Dalmatian wall lizard and Blue-throated Keeled Lizard, and 221 species of birds. NP Krka is especially proud of 18 species of bats, mostly endangered or almost extinct in the other parts of Europe.
Krka waterfalls are not very high, only Roški Waterfall (22,5 m) and Manojlovac (32 m) being somewhat higher. Roški Waterfall, descending into the Visovac Lake from the height of 22,5 m is one of the liveliest areas of the Park. There is a complex of mills located there, ethnographic heritage complex valuable on the national level. Roški Waterfall has a small restaurant, where you can taste local dishes. Since it is an area famous for its world-class dry-cured ham (pršut), we would definitely recommend you to try that as well as local wine in order to experience the true flavors and aromas of the area.
From Roški Waterfall, Krka continues its way to the Adriatic sea. After few hundred meters, one notices a small island, oasis in the middle of the lake, called Visovac. Surrounding lake bears the same name - Visovac lake. The island is taken care of by Franciscans, a religious order that is the symbol of the local culture for centuries. They have cultivated beautiful gardens around the monastery with almost 200 plant species, while the monastery has a small, but interesting museum. Some exhibits date back to the Roman era, more precise from the 1st century. One can also see a rich collection of documents from the period of Ottoman occupation, including, for example, the firman of Sultan Mehmed IV from 1672, which guaranteed Franciscans possession and ownership of all property that they owned before the Candian war.
Once you leave Visovac and set sail further towards the coast, the next waterfall is Skradinski Buk. It is the most visited place in NP Krka and probably the most beautiful area of it. Skradinski Buk consists of 17 travertine stairs, that are altogether around 800 meters long. There is an ethnographic collection and old mills (water mills) there, as well as old washing tools (stupa) - devices that were used for washing floor mats, linen and clothing.
At the end of this brief overview of Krka, we'll write something about Skradin, a small town at the mouth of the river Krka, which is dominated by the bell tower of the Parish Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although it is not part of the National Park, it is well worth of a short visit.
Skradin is one of the oldest towns on the Croatian side of the Adriatic, with the monuments that date back to the 4th century BC. It is a town with true Dalmatian spirit, where you can taste local specialties in the taverns next to the market. There is an excellent marina, which is not surprising, considering that sailors love that part of Adriatic. Skradin represents an excellent base for exploring the area around the National Park, as it is located by the sea, yet it is close enough to Krka Waterfalls and the other tourist sites in the interior.