Both Krka and Plitvice national parks and their lakes have their own beauty. They are quite different in terms of size and accessibility. Locals from both areas claim their waterfalls are more amazing than the other. We couldn’t decide which of these two waterfall-filled national parks to visit. So we decided to visit both.
Krka National Park
Krka National park is less touristic, smaller and has a shorter walking path around the main lower waterfalls. The lower area of Krka can be seen in a few hours, preferably in the morning when less cruise ship tours come through.
The national park ticket can be purchased before boarding the boat at the information center in the town of Skradin or after the boat ride at the actual entrance to the park.
If you are photographically inclined, I would suggest getting on the first boat in the morning. The swimming area at the base of the waterfalls quickly fills up with swimmers by midday.
We choose to rent a car to get us through these two parts of Croatia, it was cheaper and easier than trying to get a bus from Dubrovnik to both the waterfalls then our final destination of Zagreb.
The rental car allowed us to drive north up the Krka National park. Here we visited Roški Slap and the “necklaces”. Time would have allowed us to see more on the same day, however, the thunderstorm prevented us.
Here you can find more information about the seven waterfalls of Krka. The pricing is seasonal, and so are the crowds. The shoulder season is reasonably priced and the crowds fewer. We visited in mid-September and experienced warm weather perfect for swimming.
Plitvice National Park
Plitvice National park is rather different to Krka. The easily accessible area is huge with access by foot, boat and bus around the park. It is also far more crowded, tourists mainly travel for a day trip from Split or Zagreb.
As the tour groups are coming from over an hour away, they tend to arrive around 10am. The park opens at 7am, the park transport starts at 8.30 (usually).
Once again, get there early to avoid crowds. Tickets are available at either entrance.
Unlike Krka, you cannot swim in any part of the national park. Nor can you fly a drone.
Plitvice National Park has two entrances. Entrance 1 leads straight to the largest waterfall, Velski Slap. Entrance 2 is in the center offering two directions to choose from.
There are many paths to choose from, so depending on your walking ability, you can walk anywhere between an hour and 6 hours.
Arriving at the park at 7am allowed us to walk along the undisturbed lakes. It also allowed us to arrive before many other people, we were privileged to have most of the waterfalls to ourselves.
We started from Entrance 2 and walked North toward the largest waterfall. This path takes you right along the lakes and many other waterfalls.
From there we walked back, now on the west side of the park, to P3 station. Here there is a boat to take you to the beginning of the upper lakes. From the P2 station, you can walk anyway up toward Station 3 seeing yet more waterfalls. A bus takes you back to Entrance 2 from here.
All together we spent about 5 hours here. This particular route is ideal for early morning visitors, as you see the busiest part of the park first (before the crowds).