Travelling to Croatia? You need to see the waterfalls at Plitvice and Krka!
Updated: Jun 6
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Plitvice and Krka are Croatia's two famous waterfalls (with many more less famous ones!) but what makes them different and if you only have time for one, which one should you visit?
Plitvice's famous boardwalk and clear water from above.
For starters, Plitvička Jezera National Park is actually a series of waterfalls connecting 16 lakes, most with their own names and often just called Plitvice for short. When people talk about Krka they are usually referring to the final waterfall, Skradinski Buk, located close to the village of Skradin. Krka National Park actually covers a much larger area.
Can you swim at Plitvice or Krka waterfalls?
Swimming was banned in the whole Plitvička Jezera National Park in 2006 and banned at Skradinski Buk in Krka National Park in 2021. There are however other parts in Krka National Park where swimming is still allowed.
Skradinski Buk in Krka National Park pre-2021.
Although it might be disappointing that you can't get in the water in these picturesque spots, its not hard to understand why it's been banned. Tens of thousands of people in the water every day is going to take a toll on these fragile ecosystems. But they are still incredible to experience regardless of this.
How busy does it get at Plitvice and Krka?
In summer both are going to be busy but Plitvice takes the cake. Bottlenecks form on parts of the boardwalk which can slow things down and kill the mood a little. The good news is that the high trails don't get nearly as much traffic and offer the best views.
One of the major bottlenecks in Plitvice.
Krka gets a lot of people too but not nearly as many as Plitvice. Most hang around the bridge at Skradinski Buk and that's the only area that gets a bit crowded.
The bridge at Skradinski Buk wasn't too busy today!
How many days should I spend at Plitvice and Krka?
Plitvička Jezera National Park covers 296 square kilometres with a heap of trails. Two days will give you enough time to take it slow and find all the best view points of the upper and lower falls. Longer if you want to explore the extensive trails up in the hills. Although I wouldn't recommend it, it is possible to see a fair bit in one day but you will need to rush and the bottlenecks will get extra frustrating.
The high trails have the best views and the least amount of people.
Krka National Park, although smaller is still 109 square kilometres in size. A day is fine if you just want to wander around Skradinski Buk but there are more waterfalls and historic sites in the north of the park that you will need a car to get to.
Some of the smaller falls above Skradinski Buk.
Can you stay close to Plitvice and Krka National Parks?
At Plitvice there are a few hotels near the park entrance plus several small villages nearby with B&Bs you can walk to the park from. We stayed in Mukinje which had a restaurant, a supermarket and was only a short walk to the upper falls.
Self contained property in Mukinje, a short walk from Plitvice National Park.
The ferry to Krka departs from the village of Skradin which is super pretty and rarely visited. A great place to spend a couple nights. We had some of our most memorable meals around the area of Skradin.
Krka National Park is only a short ferry ride away from Skradin.
Should I visit Plitvice or Krka?
Ideally I'd recommend to make time for both! But if I must pick a favourite, Plitvice gets it with the awe factor. Although Krka has the benefit of being near a variety of things to do, see and taste plus it doesn't get as busy.
What time of year should I visit Croatia?
Croatia is a European summer hotspot and its only getting more popular. If you want to go in summer, try going in June before all of Europe is on holidays. The earlier in June the less crowds there will be. Otherwise shoulder months like May and September will see a significant drop in tourists and the weather will be a bit cooler.
Have you been to Plitvice and Krka? Which did you like best?
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