As we’ve been planning our trips this year, we did some general googling for travel inspiration. A similar picture to the one above popped up — people relaxing in a serene pool of blue green water, surrounded by trees and amazing waterfalls. “Let’s go there!!!” was my immediate reaction. And so we did. We booked our trip to Croatia to swim in the crystal clear pools fed by the Skradinski buk waterfalls in Krka National Park, traipse along the wooden plank trails of Plitvice Lakes National Park, bask in the glow of the most beautiful sunsets in Zadar, and enjoy the sea, sand and sun along the Dalmatian coast.
Krka National Park has three main areas you can visit that are all linked by the Krka River: Skradinski buk, Visovac and Roški Slap.
We arrived at the Skradin entrance and caught the first boat into Skradinski buk (included in the entry price) the morning we visited Krka National Park. With our eyes on the prize, we headed straight to the river. Dipping into the cool water with the sun warming my back was one of those moments I dreamed of, but reality was better. The water couldn’t be clearer, and you can explore the travertine formations in the middle of the pool while the waterfalls pound away as your backdrop. The park is signposted with interesting educational information, including an explanation of how the limestone is continually building the waterfalls.
We were lucky enough to enjoy the pools to ourselves for almost an hour. (Well, I was, because our mini man was having a nice, long morning nap thanks to the white noise courtesy of these amazing falls.) We took the path up and around the falls, to see all seventeen from different angles. We headed back to the main pool for Aaron and Hudson to take a dip. By this time, there were plenty of others enjoying the water and this part of the park was feeling pretty packed. After our final swim, we headed back on the boat to drive from Skradin to Roški Slap, with a stop at Visovac island.
If you want to be super prepared, water shoes are a good idea as the limestone rock can be sharp and slippery, but we managed just fine without.
While you can take a four hour boat excursion from Skradinski buk up to Visovac and Roški slap, we decided to drive so we would have more time to explore each area. By taking the boat, you’ll have about 30 minutes to explore the tiny island of Visovac, including the monastery founded by Franciscan monks in 1445. Since we were driving, we could only see it from the water’s edge.
If you’re looking for a decent hike, there’s an 8 km trail that starts at Stinice, near Visovac, that leads to Roški slap. See details here.
After our quick stop, we continued on to Roški slap (slap means waterfall in Croatian). The entire drive between Skradin and Roški slap took about 40 minutes.
Roški slap was a peaceful place to retreat after what was turning into an overcrowded afternoon at Skradinski buk. The waterfalls are a bit further away here, and there was a no swimming sign, but that didn’t stop someone from jumping into the water for a quick refreshing dip. There is shaded grass area on the water’s edge, which from here looks like a large, calm lake. There’s a few smaller waterfalls landing in a stream nearby, and a restaurant a bit up from the water where you can enjoy these beautiful views. This part of Krka was practically empty, and we relaxed under the shade of the trees (and by that I mean constantly got up to stop our mini man from eating duck feathers, sticks, or trying to crawl directly into the water).
After all three of us were fully exhausted from all this relaxation, we headed up the river to explore the “necklaces” and the cave, Oziđana Pećina.
The necklaces are a series of banded rapids, which we thought would look best if viewed from above. In order to get the better view, we headed up the nearby wooden staircase that leads up to the cave. After 517 steps, we arrive to find the gate to the cave locked. A sign at the bottom noting that the cave was closed would’ve been nice, but the stellar views from the top were worth it.