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?
The good news is that Krka National Park, home to 2 stunning waterfalls is close enough to Split for you to visit via a day trip.
In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about booking your day trip from Split to the Krka waterfalls.
In This Guide
- Are There Waterfalls in Split, Croatia?
- Split Waterfalls Map
- About the Krka National Park
- Skradinski Buk Waterfall
- Roški Slap Waterfall
- Planning Your Visit to Krka Waterfalls from Split
- How to Get to the Krka Waterfalls from Split
- Krka National Park Suggested Itineraries
- Swimming in the Krka Waterfalls
- Which is better, Krka or Plitvice?
- Final Thoughts
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.
Split Waterfalls Map
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 national park is also home to some of the most impressive waterfalls in the country.
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.
Fact! Krka National Park is home to not one but two stunning waterfalls, and the best news is that the park is only 1 hour away from Split.
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.
Skradinski Buk Waterfall Quick Facts
- Location: Krka National Park
- Distance from Split: A 1 hour drive
- Closest Park Entrance: Skradin town
- Accessibility: Easy. A boat from Skradin will drop you within a few minute’s walk from the falls
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.
Roški Slap Waterfall
Location: Krka National Park
Distance from Split: A 1 and a half hour drive
Closest Park Entrance: Roški slap/Laškovica
Accessibility: Moderate. These falls can be accessed either by a boat which connects these falls to Skradinski Buk, or you can drive to the Roški slap/Laškovica entrance to Krka National Park. Either way, these falls are more remote than Skradinski Buk.
Planning Your Visit to Krka Waterfalls from Split
With five official entrances to Krka National Park, planning your visit to Krka may not be quite as straightforward as you think.
Below I will tell you everything you need to know about planning a visit to Krka National Park.
How Far are the Krka Waterfalls from Split?
Krka National Park encompasses an area of 109 square kilometres and has five official entrances. Distances to the different entrances can vary quite drastically.
For example, the entrance at Skradin town is just over an 1 hour’s drive from Split whereas the entrance at Roški slap is roughly a 1 and a half hour drive from Split.
The Lozovac entrance to the park is in fact the closest entrance to Split both in physical distance and drive time, coming in at roughly 1 hour.
Bus journeys take a similar amount of time.
We’ll delve into more details on how to travel to the Krka waterfalls from Split later in the article.
Which Entrance is Best for the Krka Waterfalls?
Both the Skradin and Lozovac entrances to Krka are in close proximity to Krka’s most impressive set of waterfalls: Skradinski Buk. Although there’s a little more of a drive involved, the Skradin entrance is by far the most convenient entrance to the park, especially if you wish to visit Skradinski Buk.
The Skradin entrance is actually in a town called Skradin which is located on the banks of the Krka river, just below the national park. From here you will take a scenic boat ride to Skradinski Buk waterfall where you will depart and officially enter the park.
The Lozovac entrance is slightly further away from Skradinski Buk but is a great entrance if you wish to visit Visovac Island, a stunning island in the middle of the Krka river which houses a spectacular Franciscan monastery.
Krka National Park Tickets: Cost & Where to Buy Them
You buy your tickets for park entry from official vendors at each of the park’s five entrances including in Skradin town.
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 Opening Times
Between 1st April and 15th October Krka National Park is open from 8am to 6pm.
In June, July and August the park is open for an extra 30 minutes, closing at 6.30pm.
From 16th October to 31st March Krka National Park is open from 9am to 4pm. It is worth noting that parts of the park including the Monastery are closed at this time of year.
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, especially not after reading this guide will tell you everything you need to know about organising your own visit.
I visited Krka independently and the experience was smooth and straightforward. I would highly recommend you do the same, not just as it is the most cost-effective option but it gives you the freedom to stay and enjoy Krka for as long as you wish.
However, if you prefer to have the planning taken out of your vacation then a tour may be a preferable option for you. The good news is there is a whole host of tours 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.
How to Get to the Krka Waterfalls from Split
In this section I will talk in detail about the different options of reaching Krka National Park through the town of Skradin, which a settlement pretty much entirely geared to supporting the park and eco-tourism.
This entrance is the most accessible, closest to Krka’s key waterfall and you will find ample parking opportunities here.
The journey to Krka consists of two main parts: the car or bus journey to Skradin and then the boat ride from Skradin to the heart of Krka National Park.
Tip! If using a sat-nav for your journey, be sure to use ‘Skradin’ as your destination, not ‘Krka’.
Krka Waterfalls from Split By Car
There are two routes from Split to reach Skradin town.
Route 1: The Most Direct Route With Tolls
The most direct route 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.
Route 2: The Scenic Route Without Tolls
An alternative and my preferred route is to 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 you may wish to allow some stoppage time in some of the gorgeous towns that you pass through on the way. There’s a plethora to see and do in these towns. For example, take a look at these best things to do in Sibenik.
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.
Is There Parking in 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. There are several carparks to choose from.
Visiting Krka via Skradin is very popular and the carparks can get quite full, therefore it’s advisable to arrive as early as possible to ensure you get good parking.
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.
Tip! In order to get the best parking, aim to arrive in Skradin no later than 10am.
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.
Bus times usually take just over an hour although some buses can take up to 1 and a half hours.
Can You Reach Krka National Park by Ferry?
Although the Krka river on which the national park is located does feed into the ocean, there are no ferry options available.
Should you wish to, you can however take a private boat to Skradin town, journeying up the Krka river, and from there take the official boat from Skradin to Krka National Park. There is anchorage available just outside of Skradin town.
The Boat from Skradin to Krka National Park
When you are in Skradin the quickest and easiest way to reach Krka National Park is by 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. You can hire bikes within Skradin town.
Krka National Park Suggested Itineraries
There are different ways to experience the range of attractions in Krka National Park. Below I have created two potential itineraries: one for a half day visit and one for a full day visit.
There are places to eat throughout the main parts of the park, or you can bring your own food.
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 and arguably most spectacular falls of the Krka National Park.
Step 1: Arrive in Skradin Town
Set-off from Split between 8am and 9am in order to arrive in Skradin town no later than 10am.
Skradin is a peaceful little town with ample cafes where you can grab a bite to eat. If you haven’t eaten already, I’d recommend stopping off at one of the cafes for a late breakfast or snack before your trip to Krka National Park.
Step 2: The Boat from Skradin to Skradinski Buk
Once you have purchased your tickets from the ticket office in Skradin, take the next boat into Krka National Park. The 30 minute boat ride from Skradin will take you to Skradinski Buk waterfall.
Step 3: Walk the Skradinski Buk Circular Trail
Once at Skradinski Buk, enjoy the waterfall’s 17 cascades by taking the circular walk around the falls. The walk is 1.2 miles long and should take an hour or so depending on your walking speed.
The walk starts by crossing the great wooden bridge to the right of the falls. From there you will contend with a series of stone steps which will take you to the very top of the falls.
The walk can be quite tiresome at first as you ascend countless stone steps up quite a steep elevation. The steps are broken up by frequent views of Skradinski Buk’s many cascades and the mesmerising crystal clear pools beneath each fall.
Once at the top of the falls you will find yourself within a small, traditional village. Here you will find shops selling refreshments, souvenirs and even a museum.
The remainder of the walk follows a wooden walkway which meanders over the river and through swathes of peaceful forest. This was arguably my favourite part of the walk. I never got tired of watching the fish swim beneath the calm, clear waters of the river.
The walk loops back down to the lower cascades of the falls. Here you will find many vendors selling food and souveniers. You may wish to stop here for a bite to eat before taking the boat back to Skradin town.
Full Day Krka National Park Itinerary: Skradinski Buk & Roški Slap
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 the two waterfalls are connected by boat between April and October, making for a smooth and easy visit.
Step 1: Arrive in Skradin Town
For this itinerary you will want to set-off from Split as early as possible. The park opens at 8am so in order to get the most from your day you will want to start your journey from Split at 7am in order to reach Skradin town at 8am. You’ll want to arrive in Skradin no later than 9am.
Skradin is a peaceful little town with ample cafes where you can grab a bite to eat. If you haven’t eaten already, I’d recommend stopping off at one of the cafes for some breakfast.
Step 2: The Boat to Skradinski Buk and Walk the Skradinski Buk Circular Trail
Follow the same itinerary as detailed in the half day itinerary above, taking the 30 minute boat to Skradinski Buk and then enjoying the leisurely and stunning walk around the falls. The walk covers an area of 1.2 miles and should take 1 or 2 hour to complete.
Step 3: The Boat from Skradinski Buk to Roški Slap
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.
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.
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.
Have you been to Krka National Park before? Which was your favourite waterfall?