Krka is the second most-visited of Croatia’s national parks. Famed for its lagoon of Skradinski buk, where swimming is allowed, Krka has become so popular that it has recently had to place a cap on admission numbers. Its renowned beauty is not only a modern-day phenomenon – medieval monks built monasteries here more than 500 years ago.
Following on from the success of nearby Plitvice as a national park and tourist attraction, the dramatic cascades, crashing waterfalls, natural pools and unique wildlife of Krka near Šibenik became the focus of attention from the 1960s onwards.
In the end, it took more than a decade from the original initiative of 1971 for this outstanding beauty spot to be declared a national park in 1985.
Today, Krka attracts nearly 1 million tourists a year, making it the second busiest national park in Croatia – after Plitvice, of course.
In fact, so popular are its 17 stepped waterfalls that in 2017, the authorities put a cap of 10,000 on the number of visitors allowed to frolic in its waters at any one time. Unlike Plitvice, here you may plunge into the waters.
A parliamentary decision in 1997, before the huge boom in Croatian tourism, moved the park’s southern border all the way upstream to the Skradin Bridge. This created a bottleneck close to Skradinski buk, the photogenic lagoon with an irresistible attraction to visitors.
Krka excursion boats also leave from Skradin, where a visitor centre has opened and the main entrance now stands.
Following the river Krka for two-thirds of its 73-kilometre (45-mile) journey, the national park is also accessible by a network of boardwalks, allowing views of Roški slap waterfall, plentiful birdlife including ospreys, peregrine falcons and golden eagles, and the island monastery of Visovac. The monastery is one of two within the park grounds. Both Visovac and the Eastern Orthodox Monastery date back to the Middle Ages.
From the summer of 2017, Krka’s walkways have become one-way only. As well as a tickerboard indicating exact numbers of entrants at any given time, the authorities have brought in online booking for specific admission times.