Croatia is absolutely gorgeous; locals have known it forever and travellers the world over are coming to realise. In fact, I don’t think I know one single person that’s not sung Croatia’s praises!
So many people though, stick to the coastline whilst exploring this beautiful country, neglecting the national parks and gorgeous little villages. Looking back on our time in Croatia over the summer, it was actually these areas that stick in my mind the most. The national parks are strikingly beautiful – crystal clear water, vivid streaks of greenery and well equipped for visitors, these parks should be included as a part of every Croatian trip!
When planning our visit to Croatia, we knew we wanted to visit both the Plitvice Lakes National Park (for its out-of-this-world beauty) and also Krka – the photos of people swimming in amongst the waterfalls sealed the deal for us and so the planning begun.
You are able to visit both parks independently and though this was easily done with Plitvice (you can even store your bags there in between bus rides – check our post for details) it is not so straightforward at Krka. The park itself is fairly spread out and we knew we wanted to see a reasonable amount of it, so a tour was the logical choice.
Pro Tip: If you do decide to visit Krka independently, we recommend spending time in Skradin. It’s a beautiful little town and well worth a visit.
On the day of our tour, we met our guide, Irena, by the bridge the links the Zadar’s Old Town with the rest of Zadar. Then we set off through the Dalmatians for the national park (which was approximately an hour away).
Upon arriving, we were dished out the most delicious breakfast – fresh ham and cheese rolls, doughnuts (known as Krafne) and bottles of water. Any tour that feeds you well is a good tour in my books, and based on breakfast, we were off to a good start!
From the most fabulous viewpoint we wandered down to the main attraction, the crystal clear waterfall of Skradinski Buk, primed for swimming. Near the water there were plenty of options for food (should you wish to travel independently or enjoy a coffee) and stalls selling souvenirs and water shoes. If you’re not there to swim there’s an option to go for a walk up to another viewpoint… but seriously, who wouldn’t want to swim here!?
The entrance to the pool is fairly rocky so we would advise using water shoes. If you’ve got some, fantastic but if not, don’t race out to buy them – sellers have countless pairs available for purchase and they’re only 75 kunas (€10).
Due to an incident earlier in the season, visitors can’t swim right up to the falls but you’re able to get close enough for it to be a memorable experience whilst ensuring everyone’s safety. Though the water was a little chilly, it was definitely worth jumping in – swimming there was easily the highlight of the day!
From Skradinski Buk we boarded a boat and headed to Skradin before again boarding our mini-van.
After a tasty lunch in a local restaurant, we headed to our final destination of the day – the area surrounding Roški Slap – where we viewed another of the park’s famous waterfalls (though I must admit, it wasn’t as impressive as the others) and were given time to explore the area.
We decided to climb the 600 odd steps to Oziđana Pećina, a cave system atop the national park. Though the walking track seemed to keep stretching up to the sky, we were eventually rewarded with spectacular views of the park and its waterways, making the hike more than worth it. At this stage the weather started to turn a little but even in light rain, we enjoyed the walk back down to the village where we rewarded ourselves with ice creams – a fantastic way to wrap up an awesome day out with new friends.
Throughout the tour, Irena managed to find the perfect balance between sharing information with us and letting us explore at our own pace. She was knowledgeable, friendly and laid back; everything we look for in a guide.
As we started the tour in Zadar (but needed to head through to Split that same evening) we brought our bags aboard in the hopes of leaving the tour early to catch a bus onwards, which would save the time spent doubling back on the same road. Initially it didn’t look like we’d be able to make it work but the tour team worked their magic, going out of their way to help us out. They swung by a little bus station on the way home, ensured the scheduled bus would indeed stop to pick us up and then went on their way, but not before Irena gave us her number, promising to come and collect us personally should the bus not arrive.
Neither of us could believe the personal service and kindness that was demonstrated through these actions – we were absolutely prepared to head back to Zadar and catch a bus onwards from there, but Irena wasn’t having a bar of it and was determined to help us.
We were so pleased we made the decision to join the tour – it made life so much easier, was great value, we learnt lots about the area and enjoyed delicious food and even better views. If you’re in Croatia, be sure to visit both Krka and Plitvice for unparalleled beauty.
To book a spot to explore Krka National Park in Croatia, check out Viator online here!
Thank you to Viator for allowing us to join this guided tour for the purpose of a review – we had a fantastic time and, as always, all thoughts are our own. To see what other activities they have on offer in Zadar, check out their tours online.