Best National Parks in Croatia with Waterfalls

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If you’re looking for a National park in Croatia with waterfalls, look no further than Krka National Park and Plitvice Lakes. These fantastic places offer a feast for the eyes with their serene emerald pools, wooden pathways, and mesmerizing waterfalls bursting out of craggy rocks. And let me tell you, the water is so crystal clear that you can even spot fish swimming through it!a

Visiting these parks will be like a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of busy cities like Zagreb and Dubrovnik. Both Krka and Plitvice are known for their jaw-dropping beauty and stunning backdrops showcasing the spectacular Croatian waterfalls. But don’t let that fool you – there are some significant differences between the two, like where you can swim, which you should consider if you only have time for one park during your Croatia trip.

Best National Parks in Croatia

Quick Overview of Krka National Park

When it comes to comparing Krka and Plitvice Lakes solely in terms of size, Krka National Park is the smaller of the two. However, it has some distinct advantages over its larger neighbor. First and foremost, Krka is conveniently located closer to the main coastal resorts, just an hour away from Zadar by road in Sibenik-Knin County. Sibenik, being the biggest town near Krka, offers plenty of accommodation options for travelers. Of course, depending on traffic, particularly during the summer season, the exact travel times may vary. You’ll also find no shortage of day trips available at excursion offices.

Krka boasts the largest portion of the Krka River and is home to 12 breathtaking waterfalls, including the magnificent Skradinski Buk waterfall. The smaller park size makes it an ideal choice for families seeking a nature-filled day out without the need to travel too far or exert themselves too much.

Krka National Park

However, Krka National Park is not solely focused on nature; it also pays homage to history within its borders. The small village within the park houses a working loom and blacksmith, giving visitors a glimpse into life before the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, while Plitvice may be the perfect choice for a nature-filled weekend, Krka is undoubtedly the top pick for those with an extra day to spare.

Quick Overview Plitvice Lakes National Park

The Plitvice Lakes are located about two hours away from Zagreb and approximately 1.5 hours from Zadar by road. You’ll find plenty of tours and buses that head there. You can also reach Plitvice Lakes from the coast, but keep in mind that it may cost more compared to traveling from Zagreb. However, don’t let that discourage you because Plitvice Lakes’ UNESCO World Heritage status is well-deserved! Of course, the traffic during the summer season can be quite hectic as everyone tries to visit this park.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes boasts a remarkable series of 16 interconnected lakes that cover a much larger area than Krka, spanning around 8km when the lakes merge, and encompassing 300 square kilometers of land.

It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the park entrance from the parking lot, but the park’s size is actually a benefit since it can get quite crowded. If you have a spare weekend, it is definitely worthwhile to dedicate it to exploring Plitvice as a single day, including travel time, might not leave you enough time to fully experience everything.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Which Croatian National Park Should You Choose?

So, we’ve talked about checking out Krka and Plitvice National Parks. Did you manage to pick the best one for your visit? Well, let us tell you, both of these parks are absolutely breathtaking, and if you can swing it, we highly recommend visiting both. The deciding factor might be your time availability.

Now, if you’re up for spending a couple of days really exploring Plitvice, that’s the way to go. But hey, if you prefer a quicker version, you can opt for a tour. There are some tours from Split that’ll take you on a day trip to Plitvice. So, if time is limited but you still want to experience both parks, this might be the right choice for you. Plus, you won’t have to worry about driving because transportation is included. Pretty convenient, huh?

Travel Tips

#1 Use a VPN

A VPN is needed both for your protection while traveling and for the free use of the Internet. If you install a private VPN no logs, no one will know exactly what you download on the Internet and will not be able to steal your data. You will protect yourself from annoying marketing surveillance, activity monitoring from the ISP, and the gaze of unscrupulous Wi-Fi network owners. Another interesting use of a VPN is to bypass price discrimination. Sites change the price according to the region and user interest. A VPN allows you to hide this information from websites, including your location, and get a discount.

#2 Features of Exploring Parks with Kids

Find an information center where you’ll spot a board featuring a comprehensive map of the national park. This handy guide will assist you in navigating your way and discovering various points of interest. This information will help you find the route that is suitable for both the youngest traveler in your group and a teenager.

Moreover, in many parks, the entire path is suitable for all-terrain strollers with designated alternative routes available for staircases. What is the most important thing when traveling to the park with children? Stop near toilets. Every time you see a toilet, you should encourage your children to go there. Also, keep in mind that souvenir shops and food stalls will attract children. If this is undesirable, take food with you and avoid souvenir shops.

#3 Learn Common Phrases in Croatian

When you visit a new place, familiarity with the local language can make your experience much smoother. But don’t worry, you don’t need to dedicate weeks to learning a whole new language. Just set aside a few hours each week before your trip to pick up some common phrases. Trust me, it’ll come in handy during your adventures in that foreign land, including Croatia.

#4 Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is just as crucial as your passport when you’re heading abroad. Make sure it provides coverage for your destinations, activities, and even any existing medical conditions you may have. For expert advice on finding the right insurance for you, check out the CHOICE travel insurance buying guide. Safe travels!


We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know all the ins and outs of these two incredible Croatian National Parks. There are so many factors to consider when deciding where to go, but if time isn’t an issue for you, rest assured that both are absolutely worth visiting in your lifetime! Now, if you’re seeking a thrill-packed adventure with lots of adrenaline pumping, Krka is the way to go, while if you’re after a more serene and relaxing vibe, Plitvice Lakes National Park is the perfect choice.


Murad Ali Khan is a researcher, writer & editor, who believes in generating quality content. He leads an awesome team of high school students, teachers & IT graduates who helps him in creating & maintaining educational Websites & Apps.
When not tinkering on the web, Murad enjoys going on hikes, read Latest Science News, plays tennis & hangs out with his friends.

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