Krka Waterfalls from Split, Croatia: A Guide to Planning the Perfect Trip

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Croatia is a country famed for its stunning national parks. Instagram posts and postcards alike will entice you in with images of majestic waterfalls cascading into crystal clear cyan water. It’s guaranteed that these images are from one of Croatia’s key national parks: Plitvice Lakes National Park or Krka National Park. But are any these stunning national parks near to Croatia’s second largest city, Split? It’s a question I was certainly keen to find the answer to as I settled into my accommodation on the outskirts of Split. Why don’t we find out?

Are there waterfalls in Split, Croatia?

Split is the second largest Croatian city and although it has many popular tourist attractions like the historic Diocletian’s Palace and the majestic coastline, it does not have actual waterfalls.

Don’t despair though – you can reach waterfalls at the splendid Krka National Park as it’s just over 50 miles away! So it’s safe to say that Split can be a gateway to exploring the natural world of Croatia very easily.

There are also waterfalls further away at the Plitvice Lakes National Park, but it is over 160 miles each way and takes around three hours to get there. Therefore Krka National Park is by far your best option.

There are two main waterfalls in Krka National park: Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap.

Skradinski Buk Waterfall

Within the Krka National Park in the Dalmatia region of Croatia are many incredible waterfalls, but perhaps the most well-known is Skradinski Buk. The main reason for this is the sheer size of the waterfall. The Krka and Čikola rivers combine and merge here, cascading down over 17 steps in a waterfall that is almost a kilometre in length!

The size of the steps vary so that the cascade steps are anything between 200 and 400 meters, while the total height difference is measured at an impressive 46 meters. It’s the sheer scale of this waterfall that gives Skradinski Buk its eternal appeal, making it one of the most popular natural wonders in the whole of the Balkans.

Ella McKendrick at Krka National Park in Croatia by Waterfalls
Me standing in front of Skradinski Buk waterfall in Krka National Park

Roški Slap Waterfall

Also within the Krka National Park, but set some 30 kilometres away from Skradinski Buk, is the equally charming Roški Slap waterfall. It is located a little more remotely but is still very accessible and is geared for tourists wishing to experience different waterfalls.

Roški Slap is formed from a series of cascades between the river Krka and the unspoilt beauty of Lake Visovac. Shaped by canyons into water funnels, the ‘Necklaces’ of Roški Slap span around 650 metres in total with a total height difference of 25.5 metres. The spacing between the different cascades of the ‘Necklaces’ gives the waterfall an added charm and draws significant numbers of tourists.

About the Krka National Park

The Krka National Park has held national park status since 1985 and is one of the most popular and well known of Croatia’s many natural attractions. Being barely spoilt by humanity, this large expanse of 109 square kilometres is wild and attractive, boasting the highest density of wild lavender in Europe and sustains a variety of eco-systems.

Nearly 900 different plant species live within the park, as well as over 200 bird species and 18 different types of fish from trout to the Dalmatian Barbel Gudgeon. Ospreys, eagles, owls and falcons hunt naturally in the area, and it is impossible to visit without seeing birds of prey in action.

The Krka National Park levies a daily entry fee which entitles you to both enter and move around this natural wonder at your own pace.

The gorgeous Krka National Park

How far are the Krka waterfalls from Split?

The route from Split to the Krka National Park is on good roads and is a little under seventy miles to reach the first park entrance, which takes around ninety minutes by car heading northwest from Split. Bus journeys from Krka to Split take a similar duration.

Should you use a Tour Company or Visit Krka National Park Independently?

You don’t have to be an intrepid traveller to get from Split to Krka, but there are also plenty of tour guides available at reasonable prices who can remove all the stress by getting you to and from the national park. There is also a range of services available, from a simple visit to the waterfalls with a boat cruise and visits involving a swimming stop, through to combining the Krka waterfalls with a wine tasting tour lasting around ten hours.

One of the many cascades at Skradinski Buk waterfall

How to get to the Krka waterfalls from Split

The main southern entrance point to Krka National Park is at the village of Skradin, which a settlement pretty much entirely geared to supporting the park and eco-tourism. So, when heading to the park from Split, you need to make Skradin your primary destination to enter Krka.

Krka Waterfalls from Split By Car

There are two routes from Split to reach Skradin town, one of the key entrances to the park.

The most direct is to follow the D1 towards Sinj. When you get to Dugopolje, follow the signs marked Zagreb/Šibenik. This then connects you with the E65 toll highway, which only costs a couple of Euro. Leave the highway at Exit 21 marked for Skradin and then use D56 to reach the town.

An alternative is head along the coast road and take in the UNESCO world heritage sites of Trogir and Šibenik. Driving this way is about 30 minutes longer, plus stoppage time in these small but pretty towns. There is no toll this way and the correct roads are a combination of the E65 and E71 (they interchange). From Šibenik, you then take the D56 to reach Skradin.

There is plenty of parking in Skradin, but it comes with a small and variable charge based on duration, and is payable in native currency.

From Skradin you will take a boat into the heart of Krka National Park. We’ll talk more about the boat below in the ‘Krka Waterfalls from Split By Boat’ section.

Skradin Town – this gorgeous town is one of the key entrances to Krka National Park

Krka Waterfalls from Split By bus

There are up to ten buses a day from the bus station in Split to Skradin, taking between an hour and a quarter and an hour and a half to make the journey. The most frequent services are pretty much hourly between 9am and 12pm via the bigger and more direct toll road. Options include CroatiaBus or the 942b Flixbus. The price is around ten $10 USD and varies depending on which operator you choose, but in reality there is little between them, and the journey time is relatively short anyway.

Krka Waterfalls from Split By Boat

Skradin is inland so not accessible by ferry, but when you are in Skradin you must then take a river boat from the town to enter Krka National Park. The boat does not operate in the deep winter and has a schedule which begins at 9am in the Spring and Autumn, and 9am in the Summer. The frequency of the trips also increases in the summer. Depending on when you are going, it is a good idea to check out the boat schedule. The river journey to the park entrance proper is around twenty minutes.

The boat was in fact one of my favourite things about my visit Krka National Park. The boat ride consists of ample views of Krka’s forests and craggy cliffs. I was also mesmerised by how clear the waters below were and marvelled at the array of birdlife that we passed.

If you don’t fancy taking the boat then it is also possible to hike or cycle from Skradin to the park entrance, but this takes a lot longer and the route is not the easiest since it is a journey of almost four kilometres each way.

The river boat from Skradin town to Krka National Park

How much do Krka National Park Tickets Cost & How Can You Buy Them?

You buy your tickets for park entry from official vendors at the park entrance or in Skradin. From June to September the charge for a whole day is around 200 Croatian Kuna ($25 USD), and outside peak season it’s about half that price. Children under 7 go free, and you can buy packages of three-day visits which help reduce the cost further.

Krka National Park Suggested Itineraries

There are different ways to experience the range of attractions in Krka National Park.

There are places to eat throughout the main parts of the park, or you can bring your own food.

Full Day Krka National Park Itinerary

To experience both Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap will take a full day since they are some distance apart within the park. The good news is they are connected by boat between April and October so you factor that in to your journey time. Aim to get to the park entrance no later than 10am and then experience Skradinski Buk first before any hiking and further journeying. The charge for the boat between locations is around $18 USD per person and is in addition to the park entrance fee.

Stunning views on the boat ride into Krka National Park

At Skradinski Buk there are clearly marked hiking and walking trails which provide you with different vistas and experiences. You can easily spend most of your day here and sometimes people who intend to visit more of the park find themselves focused just on this part. You can spend anything from an hour to six hours very easily.

Once you have fully experienced Skradinski Buk and marvelled at the falls there, get your boat ticket and head out to Roški Slap. This part of the day should take around four hours including cruise time up the river and back. As well as seeing the falls at Roški Slap, if you are fit then you should also try and visit the Oziđana cave, though beware that there are over five hundred steps each way.

Most boat trips between the two waterfalls also make a half an hour or so stop at the Visovac monastery. This working monastery is owned by the Catholic Church and has been established for six hundred years and is a welcoming place to break your journey in the lake at the base of Roski Slap. It has a tranquil ambience that many find enchanting.

The clear waters in Krka National Park are some of the most spectacular I have seen

Half Day Krka National Park Itinerary

With half a day you will only really have time to explore Skradinski Buk but of course that will enable you to see the most famous falls of the Krka National Park. There is a looped walk around the falls which allows you take them in at close quarters, and the walk basically is an hour or as many hours as you choose to spend here.

The whole walk should take no more than an hour or two depending on your pace, and the full loop does not exceed two kilometres. Vendors and sellers at set points have refreshments, along with benches for seating, all of which are helpful if you find the walk in any way strenuous.

With half a day only, you will not have enough time to take in Roški Slap too since it is about twenty kilometres away and in another part of the park.

One of the many cascades at Skradinski Buk waterfall

Swimming in the Krka Waterfalls

Although it may look possible and appealing, there is a strict no swimming rule at the Krka waterfalls since 2021 on the grounds of safety and also to improve the ecosystem at the park. Although we don’t stop to think about it, swimming in natural havens such as Krka can have a negative impact on the nature. Suncreams can pollute the water and our feet can damage life on the riverbed floor.

Some people flout this rule, but don’t be tempted to follow them! There are plenty of other swimming spots within the national park.

Which is better, Krka or Plitvice?

The two most popular national parks of Croatia are both distinct and come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Though Plitvice is a bigger park, and has very picturesque waterfalls too, it is about twice the distance from Split as is Krka. Also, most tourism businesses in Split are geared more to day trips to Krka rather than Plitvice. It really comes down to which part of the Dalmatian coast you are in, and how much time you want to spend travelling to the parks. Whichever option you choose, you’ll still have the opportunity to experience first hand the unique and enchanting natural landscape of beautiful Croatia.

Final Thoughts

Visiting Krka National Park was undoubtably one of the highlights of my trip to Croatia. From enjoying breakfast in Skradin town to taking the boat up-river and finally walking around the majestic Skradinski Buk, my day trip to Krka was memorable in many ways.

Organising a day trip to Krka is easy to do on your own and has the benefit that it comes with complete flexibility for you to customise your trip. However, there are many tours available, which may be a preferred option as all planning is taken care of for you. View a full list of Krka National Park tours here.

2 thoughts on “Krka Waterfalls from Split, Croatia: A Guide to Planning the Perfect Trip”

  1. Thanks this is the best guide I’ve found! I’m currently planning my trip to the Krka waterfalls. Sorry if I’ve missed this but could you recommend the best times of year to visit?

    1. Thank you! I have no doubts that you’ll love Krka waterfalls – it was certainly a highlight of my Croatia trip. The weather is best between April and October. As this is peak season it will be busy so I’d recommend (if you can) skirting the summer holidays and visiting in September or May in order to have the falls more to yourself. I hope this helps!

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