The Krka National Park is one of the most popular tourist sites in Croatia. A natural wonder that features awe-inspiring waterfalls and a huge range of natural flora and fauna, Krka is a stunning jewel in Croatia’s crown. If you want to find out more about this incredible part of the planet, read on for seven incredible facts about the Krka National Park…
The Krka National Park was the seventh national park in Croatia, and was granted official park status in 1985. The area was considered to be especially in need of protection due to the rich variety of the landscape and natural features.
The Krka River, the middle-lower course of which the park spreads from, was considered to be particularly in need of protection. Located in Dalmatia, this mighty river flows for 45 miles, and is beloved for its huge number of waterfalls.
Almost all of the Krka National Park is located on the Krka River, though the lowest part of the Cikola River is also found within its limits. Rather uniquely, many of the lakes and lagoons in the area are open to the public for swimming.
In total, 860 species and subspecies of plants have been found within the Krka National Park. Most prominent of all, however, is lavender.
The region surrounding the Krka waterfalls is populated with natural lavender. This beautiful purple flower is beloved of bees and other flying insects, which has led to the development of a vibrant ecosystem in the area in the region.
It’s not just the incredible plant diversity that makes the Krka National Park impressive, either. The region is also home to 18 different species of fish, and 222 different kinds of birds.
Unlike many rivers, the River Krka is a source of food for the local population, thanks to the diversity available at the river’s “ria”. A ria is the mouth of a river that flows into the sea; the Krka’s ria is 23 and a half kilometres long, which in and of itself is not unusual.
However, the reason the ria of the River Krka is especially well-regarded is due to the extremely low levels of pollution. This lack of pollution has lead to a huge range of biological vitality that is quite unmatched by other major rivers. Shellfish, freshwater fish, and saltwater fish are all available in abundance, and the ria is a popular fishing site for both tourists and local citizens.
Many national parks have to be satisfied with being home to a single set of waterfalls, but the Krka National Park has several areas that feature this stunning geological attraction:
Skradinski buk is considered to be the most beautiful set of calcium carbonate waterfalls in Europe thanks to the play of light on the whirlpools and variety of vegetation in the area. It is the lowest of the three waterfalls along the Krka river, and comprises of 17 different falls in total. The total area of the Skradinski buk is around 400 metres in length and 100 metres in width, and features waterfalls at one end of the region and cascades at the other. An average of 55 cubic metres per second flow down the Skradinski buk annually, making it the largest travertine (a form of limestone) cascade system in Europe.
Roski Slap (“slap” being the Croatian for “waterfall”) is one of the most popular areas of the park. The geological formation that marks the onset of the Roski Slap is known as the “silver necklace” by local people. As well as the waterfall itself, tourists can also explore the remaining watermill that operates in the area. The Roski Slap falls can be visited throughout the year, with the summer months usually proving to be the most popular.
Manojlovacki waterfalls are among the tallest in the park. The total drop of the cascades is 59.6 metres, with the main step featuring a drop of 32 metres.
Rosnjak is one of the smaller waterfalls at just 8.4 metres in height.
Miljacka waterfalls are 23.8 metres in height.
The total drop of the waterfalls and cascades of the entire Krka National Park area is 242 meters.
In 2016, over a million people chose to visit the Krka National Park, making it the second most popular national park in Croatia. However, the high visitor numbers have caused concern to the Croatian government. A ticket system has been introduced to control the number of visitors attending the park at particular times, with online booking and reservations available.
Island monasteries have long been the subject of much fascination, and the Krka National Park has its very own to delight and enthrall its visitors: Visovac. The monastery sits on Visovac Island in the middle of one of Krka National Park’s many lakes, and dates back to the 14th century. The monastery is particularly noteworthy in historical terms, as it is home to one of only three remaining first edition copies of the famous Aesop’s Fables. The monastery can be visited by boat, and proves a fascinating day out for thousands of tourists every year.
In fact, the Visovac monastery is not the only remnant of Krka National Park’s ancient past. There are several fortresses inside the park’s boundaries, some of which date back to the age of the Roman Empire. There are also numerous ruins of Croatian forts, as well as the ruins of the ancient Croatian city of Bogocingrad.
Without a doubt, Krka National Park is one of the most stunning hidden gems of Europe, and an absolute must-see for visitors to Croatia.