Croatian road trip – Krka National Park and Zadar

On the way to Zadar we made a detour to Krka National Park. We were told to take the coast road rather than the freeway as it was more attractive…having started out following the his advice we soon discovered this was a massive detour adding over an hour to our journey and we had to cut back in to take a detour across country to save time. The drive takes you through wine country and we passed acre after acre of vineyard.DSC08181

Unfortunately, it took us a while to find the Lozovac entrance to Krka due to road works which blocked the existing road. After a few go’s back and forth we realised a signed must be saying diversion in Croatian and we headed down a tiny winding road to the parking lot. Entry was 110 kn but parking is free – the price goes up to 180 kn for July and August and drops to just 30 kn in the winter (full price list here).

Lozovac is the closest entrance for walking to Skradinski Buk to swim in the waterfall and much quicker  than taking the boat across the lake from Skradin.  You can either take the shuttle bus down to the start of the walkways or walk the 875m down the path.  We opted to walk rather than take the bus and it was a pleasant stroll, although it’s advisable to have sturdy shoes due to the loose stones under foot.

Fish in Krka National Park

Fish in Krka National Park

The boardwalks around Krka form a much smaller tour around than those in Plitvice, with the whole loop at just 2km. The major advantage of Krka is the ability to swim in the pool at the foot of the biggest waterfall, which ends a series of falls through the heart of the park.

Fish in Krka National Park, Croatia

Fish in Krka National Park

The water is the same beautiful emerald as in Plitvice which you can walk over on the boardwalks while watching the fish lingering in the crystal clear waters and hear hordes of frogs croaking.

Boardwalks through Krka National Park

Boardwalks through Krka National Park

It was a stunning and relaxing experience in spite of the crowds and tour groups of school trips.  Once wed walked the majority of the loop we arrive at the beautiful Skradinski Buk, where people were gingerly creeping down the rocks into the pool. We stopped at the cafe at the bottom to have something to eat…extremely average Ćevapčići (skinless Balkan sausages) and chips but you’re not exactly spoilt for choice in the park! There’s also a toilet but you have to pay…there’s a free one about 10 minutes further on).

DSC08187After lunch it was time to swim (not the conventional way around but we love a bit of danger!). There’s nowhere obvious to leave your things so bags are scattered about lodged in tree roots and on small mud bank islands as you wade out to the lake.  We stripped to our swimming stuff (apart from the pay toilets there’s no where to change so it pays to arrive ready), slathered in the sun scream and waded out bags out to a small island with a tree where we could leave our bags in sight and close wading distance of the pool.

It can be alternately rough and slippy underfoot and since it’s a natural pool it’s sometimes deep and sometimes full of huge rocks, so it pays to wear some kind of waterproof shoes and to be extremely careful where you tread. The water is freezing but the view is so stunning you won’t care. Truly an amazing experience, so much so it’s hard to take it all in.

Tiny waterfall in Krka National park

Tiny waterfall in Krka National park

Dragonfly in Krka National Park

Dragonfly in Krka National Park

The walk back to the bus stop (it was quite hot so we opted to take the bus back rather than walk) has some great viewing points for the falls as well as some souvenir shops and some old water Mills. We stopped for photos but didn’t linger much as we wanted to get on the road to Zadar in time for sunset.DSC08202

The drive was easy and uneventful with little in the way of dramatic scenery (we’d been spoilt so far!). We finally arrived in Zadar around 5pm where there’s free parking right on the harbour of the old town between the red and white and green and white lighthouses. We headed to our accommodation which was cheap, clean and spacious. Our hosts were endlessly helpful pointing out the main sights and helping to carry our bags.

Sunset in Zadar, Croatia

Sunset in Zadar

After finally showering the lake water off, we headed out to start ticking off Zadar’s churches. I had 10 on my list (here’s the Google map I’ve since constructed [pending!]) and we didn’t have too much time the next day, needing to get on the road to Plitvice.

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