Dalmatia Travel: The Outstanding Beauty of the Krka National Park

On April 29, 2012 we started driving inland from Zadar into the coastal mountain range of Croatia to our first destination: the Krka National Park, one of Croatia’s most popular nature destinations.

By mid-morning we had arrived at the big bridge over the Krka River, parked our vehicle and started hiking along the valley towards the entrance of the National Park. The road we were walking on was located about half-way up the mountain, so we had many areas from which we could enjoy an elevated view of the turquoise-coloured river below.

Less than an hour later we arrived at the entrance gate to the Krka National Park and paid our 80 Kuna entrance fee or about C$14. With an area of 109 square kilometers (about 27,000 acres) it is one of Croatia’s largest protected nature areas and a very popular getaway destination for anyone visiting the Dalmatian coast.

Krka National Park

Krka National Park

We crossed the river on a stone bridge and saw the first of a series of cascading waterfalls. Next to the falls, local merchants were exhibiting their merchandise, which included figs, almonds, walnuts and olive oil in decorative bottles. On the other side of the river, an old mill has been turned into a learning centre and outdoor patios right next to the waterfalls allow visitors to sit down and enjoy some drinks and food in this picturesque environment.

From here on we walked on a series of planked wooden walkways over a variety of rivulets surrounded by shady trees while frogs were croaking at us from below. Various sizes of fish were sitting in the pools of the fresh water, enjoying the pristinely clear river. The Krka National Park is known for its wide variety of wildlife, from fish to amphibians to snakes and olms. Wolves, otters and wild cats make up some of the larger mammals living in this protected region.

Visitors have lots to see inside the Krka National Park: there are ruins of medieval fortresses, the remains of an early hydroelectric plant, various old water mills, a monastery and some churches. There are even archeological remains of a Roman-era military camp by the name of Burnum as well as traces of pre-historic settlements that date back thousands of years. Seven major waterfalls (and many smaller ones) and about 40 limestone caves are located within the boundary of the Krka National Park.

Krka National Park

Krka National Park

Ethnographic presentations provide an overview of the traditional lifestyles in this area and boat tours take visitors into various scenic corners of this waterway. The Krka National Park is just a place of astounding natural beauty and serenity and definitely worth a visit while in Croatia.

After our enjoyable round-trip hike through the waterfalls we arrived back at the visitor centre and restaurant area where a young woman had set up a stand and was now making delicious crepes. Obviously I just had to get one. I was now properly strengthened for our hike back along the Krka River. After we got back to our car we drove just a short distance to the nearby village of Skradin, another popular destinations for excursions.

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