Visiting the Krka National Park is an easy day trip from Split. Although Krka is oftentimes overshadowed by its larger sister, the Plitviče Lakes National Park, the approximately 12-hour round trip tour to Plitviče from Split makes many shy away.
This post covers the best way to take a day trip to Krka from Split, places to see in Krka, and the differences between the high and low seasons.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we’ll make a small commission at no cost to you. This is how we continue expanding the content on A Piece of Travel, so we thank you for your support.
Where is Krka?
Krka is located about one hour northwest of Split, in the Krka National Park.
There are five different entrances to the park, the most popular being Skradinski Buk by means of Lozovac (coming by car or traveling during the low season) and Skradin (coming by boat during the high season).
High season vs. low season: How to enter Krka National Park
Lozovac is the main entrance to the Skradinski Buk area of Krka National Park. It’s used year-round for vehicles. Skradin is a town just outside the park and is a mini destination on its own (more on this soon).
Free parking is offered at Lozovac, if you drive on your own. This is also where you’ll likely enter if you travel with a tour agency. Should you travel during the low season, arriving through Lozovac is your best option since it’ll get you much closer to the park than Skradin.
During the months of April – October (high season), the National Park coordinates a free shuttle bus that runs from the Lozovac parking lot to the Krka National Park entrance gates. This bus is included with your entrance ticket.
From November – March (low season), buses don’t run this route. However, you’ll be allowed to drive up to the entrance of the park, skipping the need for this bus transfer.
Skradinski Buk, the most famous portion of the waterfall, is located about 875 meters, by foot, from the Lozovac entrance.
Skradin is the most popular way for visitors to get to Krka National Park during the high season. If traveling by bus, or if your tour agency includes the boat ride, you’ll be dropped off in the town of Skradin.
From Skradin, a boat organized by the national park will take you the approximately 25 minute ride along the river. The round trip boat is included with your Krka National Park entrance ticket.
Keep in mind that the boat only runs from April – October. Therefore, if you find yourself in Skradin outside of these months, you’ll need to walk the 3.5 kilometers to the park. It’s a pretty walk and I’ll talk about it later in this post.
Aside from a scenic ride, the advantage of arriving to Krka National Park by boat is that you’ll be dropped off near Skradinski Buk. This is Krka’s iconic waterfall viewing area.
Hours of Operation
From April 1st – October 15th, the Krka National Park is open starting at 8:00am at the Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap entrances. During the rest of the year, it opens at 9:00am. Closing time varies by month.
You can view the hours of operation on Krka National Park’s website. Keep in mind that opening times for other entrances to the park vary.
The park is closed on December 25th and 26th. Additionally, it’s only open until noon on December 24th and 31st. On January 1st, the only way to access the park is by means of the Lozovac entrance.
Boat schedule from Skradin
As mentioned earlier, the boat from Skradin only operates from April – October. However, within these months, the frequency of boat departures varies greatly.
Prices for Krka National Park vary depending on the time of year and hour that you’re entering. For example, prices in summer 2019 are 200 Kuna for an adult. However, if you enter after 4:00pm, the price drops to 150 Kuna per adult.
Children under 7 are free. Discounts apply for children 7 – 18 and students with an ID.
If you’d like to save some time and skip the ticket booth line at the park, you can purchase your Krka National Park tickets online.
If you purchase your tickets at the park, you can pay by cash (Kuna only) or credit card.
Best time of year to see the falls
When talking about waterfalls, the most important way to define the “best” time of year to visit is by water volume. The pictures you see online of bountiful water spilling over the falls was likely taken during, or shortly after, the rainy season.
The greatest amount of rain occurs in Croatia from October to April.
But let’s face it.
Traveling during the rainy season doesn’t entice the average traveler.
While you can expect the Krka falls to look fuller during the rainy season, the ideal time to travel is from May through mid-June. This way, you have a good chance of enjoying full, voluminous looking waterfalls without rain.
To give you an idea of the water level in my pictures, I traveled to Krka on June 8th.
How to get to Krka
There are three ways to get to the entrance to the Krka National Park from Split:
- A tour agency
- Public bus
Let’s take a closer look at these options.
Driving to Krka National Park is ideal to give you maximum flexibility. The route is straight forward, the road is well kept, and, of course, Croatia is very safe to wander around.
If you drive, take advantage of arriving to the park at opening time. Getting there before the crowds will no doubt give you a better Krka experience.
For a day trip to Krka from Split, your best option is to park in Lozovac so that you’re close to Skradinski Buk. Parking is free.
While I usually avoid tour agencies, there are, undoubtedly, benefits compared to taking the bus. Most importantly, you have guaranteed transportation back to Split.
Tour companies vary in their offerings, but generally speaking, you can expect prices starting in the 20-something Euro range. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of the entrance ticket, which many (but not all) agencies require you to pay for upon arrival to the park.
Some tour agencies offer a guided tour while others offer a shuttle service with about four hours of independent exploration. If I were to do the trip again, I would go with one of the tours.
First, I only saved about 5 Euro by taking the bus.
Secondly, since I didn’t purchase my return ticket online, it was stressful not knowing if there was going to be availability on a bus back to Split.
Taking the bus to Krka from Split
If you want to take the bus despite what I’ve said here, I get it. I’m a public bus kind of traveler, too. So, I’ll share some tips to help you navigate your bus experience.
The Split bus station is conveniently located beside downtown Split, wedged between the cruise and train stations.
Your bus experience will vary, depending on what time of year you travel. Let’s take a look at the differences.
Getting to Krka from Split by bus during the high season vs. low season
Traveling to Krka is unique in that the bus route changes significantly between the high season and low season. Let’s define these two seasons:
High Season: April to October
Low Season: November to March
During the high season, you can travel to Skradin or Šibenik. Skradin is the favored route, since you’ll get to take an approximately 25 minute boat ride to travel from Skradin to the falls. That said, both Skradin and Šibenik are nice towns to spend time exploring.
The boat ride is included in your Krka entrance ticket. So, even if you travel through Šibenik, you’ll be paying the same 200 Kuna entrance fee.
During the low season, the boat from Skradin doesn’t run. Therefore, you’d need to take a bus from Split to Šibenik, which is the largest town boarding the park.
Upon your arrival to Šibenik, you can take a bus to either Lozovac or Skradin. If you take the bus from Šibenik to Skradin during the low season, you will need to walk about an hour to get to the park, since the boat from Skradin doesn’t run.
For this reason, I recommend entering through Lozovac during the low season. This is especially helpful if you’ll be taking a day trip to Krka from Split since it’ll save you time by taking you right up to the park entrance.
Warning about purchasing bus tickets
Since I traveled during the high season, I bought my bus ticket to Skradin. Oddly enough, if you buy your ticket at the Split bus station, you can only purchase it one way. They’ll tell you that you can buy your ticket back to Split when you arrive in Skradin.
The only issue?
Everyone I asked in Skradin, including two travel agencies, said that I had to purchase my ticket back to Split on the bus. Since every seat on the bus I took from Split to Skradin was sold out, spending the night in Skradin seemed like a real possibility.
When I asked about how frequently seats on the buses from Skradin to Split sell out, I got three answers: “They don’t,” “It’s too hard to say,” and “Probably not.”
Moral of the story?
Buy your tickets in advance on Bus Croatia’s website.
Travel Tip: If you’re traveling during the summer, buy your bus tickets a couple of days in advance. This advice was given to me by two different locals in Split, further supporting the theory that buses sell out.
Skradin bus details (High season travel only)
The one-way ticket to Skradin that I purchased at the Split bus station cost 74 Kuna. My ticket with the bus driver on the way back to Split cost 70 Kuna (Spoiler: I caught a bus back to Split!).
The bus is comfortable, has air conditioning, and Skradin is the first stop when traveling from Split. The drive takes just over an hour and both sides of the bus offer pretty countryside views.
Skradin is small, so you’ll be dropped off at a bus stop on the side of the road. From there, walk in the same direction that the bus was heading. Once you get to Studenac Market (a grocery store), turn right and you’ll arrive at a road with some tourist stands and the port.
You’ll need to purchase your entrance ticket at the Krka National Park branch office building. You can’t miss it; it’s a modern glass building beside the port. Make sure to hold onto your ticket, since you’ll need it to take the boat back to Skradin after visiting the park.
Things to do in Skradin
Since everything I read before my trip to Krka focused on how beautiful the city of Šibenik is, I had no expectations for Skradin. However, it’s a gem of a village and worth dedicating 30 minutes, or so, of your time.
When walking towards the port, on the right-hand side, there are a couple of entrances to Skradin’s old town that you can choose from. From there, enjoy roaming the streets of the quaint, and mostly desolate town.
If you have time, before or after taking the boat, take a walk up to the fortress. It’s small, free to visit, and offers nice views of the town. The entire round trip excursion will only take you around 20 minutes.
There are some restaurants and ice cream shops in the old town, along with small boutique beds and breakfasts. I was so charmed by Skradin that the possibility of spending the night there, if the buses were full, didn’t seem so bad.
Things to do at the Krka Waterfalls
If you arrive in Krka National Park via boat from Skradin, the first attraction you’ll arrive at will be the famous Skradinski Buk Waterfall. If you arrive via Lozovac, you’ll be in the upper part of the park by the watermill. Let’s take a look at some of the things to do with your day trip to Krka from Split.
1. Walk the Skradinski Buk circuit
Regardless of whether you enter through Skradin or Lozovac, you’ll want to follow the signs that read “Smjer Obilaska,” meaning “Walk this way.” These signs will take you through the most iconic views of the park, much of which is along a low-lying wooden boardwalk. It was so neat being just inches above fish swimming in crystal clear water!
The Krka National Park is well designed and the signs are easy to follow. The “Walk this way” sign is white, compared to the others which are blue, so it’s extra easy to spot.
The wooden boardwalk doesn’t have railings in most areas. Therefore, you’re only allowed to walk clockwise around the circuit to avoid the extra high possibility of someone falling in the water.
And by extra high possibility, I mean that it’s still easy for someone to fall in if they’re not paying attention. In fact, I saw a baby almost get thrown into the water when someone accidentally bumped into their stroller.
This is not the place to bring your babies and young children, folks.
That being said, the water beneath the boardwalk is only a few feet deep, at most. There are also railings in areas where the water is deeper and/or the current is stronger.
The Skradinski Buk boardwalk is a circle. It took me about 1.5 hours to complete the circuit. This included lots of times for pictures at various lookout points, exploring the museum and windmill area, and stopping for some fig snacks at one of many snack stands around. However, the circuit can easily take much longer, if you go later in the day during the high season when crowds build up.
There’s a designated swimming area at Skradinski Buk. It’s located on the left-hand side when looking at the falls from the viewing deck.
The water is crystal clear and a welcome break from the heat, if you’re traveling during summer. However, make sure you’re comfortable with showing off your swimsuit in lots of strangers’ photos…you’ll be the foreground for the beautiful waterfall background!
Swimming is only allowed from June 1st to September 30th. During all other times of the year, the current is too dangerous.
Speaking of dangerous, this isn’t a white sand beach type of swimming experience. Rocks are everywhere, making for a slippery, and possibly painful, experience. It’s best to wear water shoes.
3. Take a boat ride to Visovac Island
Visovac Island is located north of Skradinski Buk by boat. A boat tour from Skradinski Buk takes about two hours round trip, including a 30 minute stop on the island where you’ll get to tour the Franciscan Monastery.
You can sign up for the tour directly in the park. Look for park signs that point you in the direction of the embarkation area.
With a day trip to Krka from Split, you can easily do the boardwalk circuit and take the boat ride to Visovac Island.
4. Walk to Skradin
Or, walk from Skradin to the falls. Either way, the quiet, dirt road follows the river and is a 3.5 km journey (about an hour walk).
The section from Skradin until about halfway to the falls offers the best views of the river. Most of the walk is along a road dug into the side of a mountain. Therefore, you’ll have panoramic views in areas where the trees are cleared.
I took the boat to Krka and then walked from the falls back to Skradin. It was a great way to have a view of the river without pushing my way through the crowded outdoor deck of the boat. I highly recommend this walk for the outdoorsy type.
Other points of interest in Krka National Park
Since Krka National Park covers about 142 square kilometers, it’s impossible to see all its attractions with a day trip from Split. So, if you decide to stay longer, make sure to put the Roški Slap waterfall, the Krka Monastery, and Burnum on your list.
General notes about Krka
- There are a few restrooms around the park. The cost is 5 Kuna, which is a bit off-putting, considering the rather costly entrance fee.
- Snack stands are scattered about the park. You can buy anything from candied nuts and seasonal fruit to hot dogs and ice cream.
- More restaurants and snack stands are located at Skradinski Buk.
- There’s a tourist information center at Skradinski Buk, when heading towards the port.
- The terrain in the park is uneven in areas and involves some stairs.
- It gets very crowded in the summer. Aim to get there as early as possible.
A day trip to Krka National Park from Split is an excellent option for nature lovers. Have you been to Krka or are you planning on visiting? Share your experience/questions in the comments section!
P.S.- Are you thinking about visiting the waterfalls at Plitvice as well? If so, head over to my post on Plitvice Lakes National Park: The Ultimate Guide. Can’t decide which you’d rather go to? I break down the comparisons in my post Krka or Plitvice: The Best Croatian Waterfall Experience.