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I know all of the early 90’s kids can relate to why TLC was in my head as we drove from Dubrovnik (at the southern tip of Croatia) to Krka National Park, a landscape defined by cascading waterfalls. So we’re driving… and I’m singing… “Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to“. This was the first time I put any thought into the lyrics of a TLC’s song (I’m sure it was also the last). What horrible advice! Why wouldn’t you want to chase waterfalls, be it metaphorically or literally? “Screw you, TLC!” I thought to myself as we set out to (literally) chase waterfalls.
I had my first vision of swimming in Croatian waterfalls four years ago, as we made our way to Plitvice Lakes National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most impressive landscapes I’ve seen in my life; however, in order to preserve the beauty of Plitvice, swimming in (or even touching!) the water is strictly forbidden. After this visit I began researching alternate spots in Croatia, a country famous for waterfalls, to see which areas are open for a swim.
The waterfalls of Krka National Park are a phenomenon that took millions of years to create. The strong current of the river (which cuts through the park) slowly carved through the limestone hills, creating a canyon 200m deep. Moss and algae then retained the limestone’s calcium carbonate, forming barriers and creating magical waterfalls that gracefully tip-toe their way deeper and deeper through the canyon.
What’s even more fantastic about this waterfall-wonderland, is that you are actually allowed to swim in designated pools below one of the most spectacular falls!
I don’t want to get your hopes as high as mine were (and always are) – you cannot swim through or jump off of the waterfalls. You may find a few insane souls who break the rules, swim past the barriers, climb the rocks and jump into the shallow pools below, but I don’t recommend it (and that’s saying a lot coming from me).
There are two main entrances to this part of the park, Lozovak and Skradin. Lozovac is easily reached by car and was our first choice for entering the park. Skradin provides entrance to the park by boat. Both entrances offer access to the only area that allows swimming in any close proximity to waterfalls. The Lozovak entrance takes you down a rocky path, until you reach wooden walkways that wind through a series of smaller waterfalls, lush vegetation, and scenic views of the river.
The views and surroundings are beautiful, but we were expecting a ‘hiking’ experience. We almost felt silly for bringing along a pack filled with water, food and other supplies – this was not necessary (there was a snack bar at the end). What we experienced was a walk in the park, quite literally.
In fact, we spent the rest of our weekend at Krka searching for proper hiking, with none to be found. We explored the park in full, heading to the far north of the park, at the Roski Slap entrance, and enjoyed a relaxing walk by the river.
We also discovered cute restaurants that serve guests directly in the rushing water, where you can dip your feet while you eat.
Lesson Learned: Krka National Park is a tourist site, with man-made (mostly wooden) paths that lead you to some spectacular views, but there is no true hiking in the park. Krka is not a backpackers paradise.
We enjoyed settling in for the weekend, right by the river and the Skradin yacht marina, at Villa Barbara.
Our apartment was clean and comfortable, with a Jacuzzi right outside our door. As part of our stay, we also received a 10% discount at the Skala Restaurant, just a short walk down the road. Skala ended up being our favorite spot to dine in the area!
We highly recommend a trip to Krka, and with properly set expectations you’re sure to enjoy a laid-back experience in beautiful surroundings.
If you’re only interested in swimming in waterfalls, a day in the park should be plenty, but there are other trails, views, and waterfalls to enjoy as well, making Krka a perfect escape for those looking for a relaxing weekend.
Go with the flow. Roar with excitement. Let your cares fall away. Create your own music. Immerse yourself in nature. Stay active. Make a splash!
– Advice from a waterfall 🙂