Day trips from Split, Croatia: Krka National Park

Krka National Park, home of clear gushing waterfalls, makes a perfect day trip destination from the Dalmatian coastal city of Split, 80km south.

waterfalls at Krka National Park, Croatia

gushing waterfalls by the bucketload

Whilst Krka’s no stranger to tour groups; it’s also easy to plan your own day trip from Split, using public transport.

What to expect in Krka National Park

The main attraction of Krka is the myriad of crystalline waterfalls. These adorn the whole limestone valley, which is cut through by the Krka river.

Krka National Park, near Split

water, water, everywhere!

To get to the first and most popular set of waterfalls, you board a boat in Skradin, the village nearest the park entrance. Your Krka National Park entrance ticket includes a free return boat trip. It’s 4km each way.

Skradin, Krka National Park

the harbour at Skradin

The boats depart every hour (on the hour going, on the half hour returning); and the journey takes about 20 minutes.

If you don’t fancy the boat, you can also rent bikes to ride the track that runs aside the valley above the Krka river. There are bike racks close to the boat arrival point.

Of course, you can also walk; the track is well-maintained and isn’t a public road. The only vehicles using it are service vehicles for the park. There are views to the river, some birdlife, and plenty of verdant trees.

Once you’ve arrived at the waterfalls, there are boardwalk trails to help you get closer to the action. If you fancy a full-on immersion, you can even go for a swim.

boardwalk trails in Krka National Park, near Split

boardwalk trails … in this case through a carpet of purple flowers

The park also features a few minor side-attractions: an old watermill, an ethnography museum and an ever-popular souvenir shop.

With your own wheels, you could visit some of the lesser-trodden waterfalls in the upper reaches of the park.

For more information, visit the Krka National Park website (in Croatian and English).

When to visit Krka National Park

I visited in early October. The leaves were not quite ready to turn into gorgeous autumn hues of reds, golds and ambers. I half wish I’d been there a week or two later to capture the full magnificence of colour!

Krka National Park, near Split

verdant greens in Krka … a week or two later this scene would be full of autumn colours

Even in October, Krka was pretty busy with tour groups – although independent travellers seemed few on the ground.

Having said that, if you fancy a swim you might want slightly warmer weather!

The [amazon text=Lonely Planet Guide to Croatia&asin=1786574187] is a great trip resource. Help the site by buying the guide through this link, at no extra cost to you.

How to get to Krka National Park from Split

The journey from Split to Skradin, the village adjacent to Krka, takes between an hour and an hour and a half by bus.

The bus station in Split is conveniently located next to the train station and ferry terminals; around 10 minutes walk from the old town.

English-speaking staff can give you a printout of the bus timetable for services between Split and Skradin. Buses are infrequent but seemingly reliable and punctual, with four departures each day each way during the summer.

The most useful bus to get to the park is the 08:00 from Split.* It takes just over an hour to reach Skradin. From the stop it’s a two-minute walk to the Park Information Centre, where you can buy your entrance ticket.

Returning, the 14:00 bus I caught from Skradin to Split was the inter-city Zadar – SplitDubrovnik bus, so it’s also possible to visit Krka en-route from one of these destinations.*

Outside the main summer season, the direct buses stop and you’ll need to change in Šibenik. Croatia Bus can fill you in on the details and exact dates of the timetable switchover.

*Bus info correct in October 2015.

Costs for visiting Krka National Park

In 2015, costs were:

Bus: 80 kuna each way (£7.80/€11.90/$10.50) from Split. The price seems steep, but it’s a coach-style direct bus using toll roads; which makes it a pretty comfortable journey.

Krka National Park entrance fee (including free boat ride): Mar-May, Oct: 90 kuna (£8.80/€11.80/$13.40); June-Sept: 110 kuna (£10.70/€14.40/$16.40).

Bike hire: 50 kuna all day (£4.90/€6.60/$7.40) – not necessary, but an alternative choice to the free boat ride.

Tour group cost for comparison: in the region of 200 kuna (£19.50/€26.20/$29.80), plus 90-110 kuna Krka National Park entrance fee. You only save around 40 kuna by going independently. The advantage of a tour is the opportunity to meet up with other visitors; the disadvantage is being on someone else’s schedule, not your own.

There are plenty of refreshment options in Skradin, with both restaurants and coffee shops. Prices are reasonable, at 9 kuna (£0.90/€1.20/$1.30) for a coffee.

Exchange rates correct as at 10 October 2015 and rounded up/down to the nearest 10p/10c.

Have you been to Krka National Park? Or Croatia’s other famed waterfalls at Plitivice? What was your experience?

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