Plan for the day
Our plan for the day was to explore Krka National Park. We would enter the park at the Lozovac entrance where we would take a park-bus to the lake to explore the area around Skradinski Buk (Skradinski waterfalls) on foot. After that we would go back to Lozovac entrance, pick up our car and explore several other destinations in Krka National Park by car. Driving northward on the east side of the river then southward back to Lozovac on the west side. From Split to Lozovac entrance the distance was about 88 km and could be reached in slightly more than an hour.
By end of the day
We left Split at 8.30 am and reached Lozovac entrance at about 9.30. We had a great time exploring Krka National Park and visited several viewpoints with wonderful breathtaking scenery. These viewpoint were not marked on the map or on the Park brochure. Krka was a remarkable National Park, very different from Plitvice National Park and yet as stunning. By the 4.30 pm, after 7 hours we were tired and returned to Split for the night.
Krka National Park – Lozovac entrance
The journey to Lozovac entrance was smooth since we set out early. There was a huge car park at the entrance and after parking our car we walked to the ticketing booth to get our tickets. The prices of the tickets came in three tiers, 110 kuna (SGD$22 or €14.5) for all terrestrial locations, 60 kuna for for Roski Slap and 40 kuna for Kistanje, Burnum and Puljane. For excursion boat ride, tickets ranged from 50 kuna to 130 kuna depending on the duration of the ride.
We bought the 110 kuna “all terrestrial locations ticket” so paid 440 kuna for four of us, there was no University student or senior discount.
We showed our tickets to the bus attendant and boarded the park-bus which transferred us to the lake through a windy road down a slope, the drive was just a 5 minutes journey. This bus transfer was not available from November to March. During this period, visitors were allowed to drive their cars down to the lake level or they would have to hike down.
From the bus stop at the lake level, there were boardwalks that took us through a path that would make on big loop and also bringing us pass Skradinski Falls.
Krka National Park – Skradinski Falls
The boardwalk was built just above the water level and it was canopied by trees that provided cool shades from the morning sun. We reached a t-junction and decided to turn left and walked the loop in a clockwise manner while others took the anticlockwise loop.
Soon we saw a couple of two storey buildings, they were part of an ethnographic museum. In one of the rooms there were four stone mills, only one was set up to rotate, milling some yellow colored grains. On the ground level there was a fake donkey in a pen. The museum was not very interesting and also not our focus so we brisked through it.
As we walked forward the river became wider and the falls became larger. The water was very blue and clear and we could see massive amount of water falling over barriers that had this yellowish mud color. These barriers were travertine barriers. Travertine barriers began at the rapids and uneven place in the river bed. It was possible in waters that were over saturated in calcium carbonate, with low concentration of organic matter and PH greater than 8. As the water splashes, the chemical balance of water was disturbed and CO2 was released. Calcium carbonate precipitates out of the water depositing on submerged objects and together with the bacteria, algae and mosses gradually formed new “brick” in building these waterfall barriers.
Krka National Park was named after Krka River which it enclosed. After looking through the seven waterfalls in the park, we felt that the two most prominent waterfalls were Skradinski Buk and Roski Slap. Buk and Slap meant waterfalls in Croatian. Skradinski Buk was actually a series of falls and cascades covering an area of 400 m in length and 100 m in width with 17 falls at a height different of 47.7 m from the first falls to the last falls.
A network of wooden paths, stairs and bridges allowed us to explore Skradinski Buk from its left bank to the right bank, from water level viewing ground to high viewing ground. Apparently winter months had the highest volume of water about three times more than that of summer months, which had the lowest volume of water flowing through Krka River. Though the present season was not winter, the volume of water was still very impressive.
At the lowest part of Skradinski Buk was a long wooden bridge that spanned the entire river. Standing near the center of the bridge we could see the last fall of Skradinski Buk up close. Below the falls was a huge pool. It was probably too early or too cool as there were no swimmers in the pool and Krka National Park allowed swimmers in its river.
Visovac was an island in the middle of the Krka river and on the island stood a beautiful Monastery. There were two options to view Visovac, one was by excursion boat sailing upstream and the other was by car and foot along the hill overlooking Visovac. I had seen very lovely picture of Visovac viewed from a high view point on land but there was no information as to the location of this view point. Should we be viewing Visovac from the east bank or from the west bank?
I had “guess-timate” the co-ordinates of a possible good viewpoint on google map located on the east bank of the river. Unfortunately the google map of Croatia was very limited in details, there was no street view so I had no idea if there was a road to the location that I had picked out. Though we were unsure we were going to try our luck and drove toward our destination. The road was very quiet and our car was the only vehicle on the road, when we were near our destination we saw a tourist bus in front probably going to the same place as us. At our destination was a car park and a proper viewing platform. There was also a statue of a King at the platform.
The statue was the monument of King Petar Snačić. He was a feudal lord and his seat power was based in Knin located near the source of Krka River.
In 1903, Petar was elected king by the Croatian Feudal lords after the passing of King Stjepan II who died without a heir. Petar was born in Kamičak (above river Krka canyon), and died in 1097 and was the last native king of Croatia (reigned 1093–1097).
Considering Petrar’s history it seemed most appropriate to seat his statute here, overlooking Visovac one of the most beautiful and romantic places at Krka National Park.
On the island of Visovac sat a monastery, “The Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy and the Church of Our Lady of Visovac” also called Visovac Monastery in short.
The monastery was built in 1445 and for many centuries it was a place for the worship of the Mother of God so this island was also call “Our Lady’s Island“. Under the clear day, Visovac stood out beautifully. It was definitely the right decision to view Visovac at this high view point. If we had took the excursion boat we would only be viewing Visovac at the water level and the view would not be as “unique” as seeing it from above. This view reminded us of Bled Island in Bled lake on Day 4 of this trip, this time we were lucky as we did not have to trek for hours to get to a high viewing platform!
The bus that brought the tourists to the viewing platform drove off but we decided to drive down to the water level, since there was a road going down to lake. The zigzag road led us to a pier which looked newly built. There was no boat at the pier, standing at the pier we could see Visovoc island and its monastery. At this level, it was difficult to tell that the monastery was on an island, it just looked like a monastery on the other side of the river. This view was certainly less impressive that the view at the high viewing platform.
National Park – Roski Slap
Our next destination was Roski Slap another beautiful waterfalls. This waterfalls spanned the entire river and covered a wide area and again would be best when viewed from the top. Now the issue would be where from the top should we go to view this slap.
There were three options, first was from the bridge/road that crossed the river downstream (south) of Roski Slap. 2nd was from the east side of the river which would mean we might have to park our car at a Parking Lot we saw in google map. Based on google street view, it looked like there was a dirt path from the carpark to the somewhere nearer to the river. The 3rd option would be somewhere over the west side of the river which we would have to drive along and explore for a suitable viewpoint.
For our first try we planned to drive to the Parking Lot on the east side of the river. If we did not get the desired high view point we would try going on the bridge and if still no high view point we would have to explore the west side of the river. Hopefully we needed not do too much climbing and trekking.
We reached the carpark on the east side. After the carpark was a dirt road. The dirt road was narrow but it looked like our car could pass through. So we drove on for another 500 to 600 m before we felt that the road looked unpassable. We parked our car and walked down a gentle slope and saw a viewing deck.
We were definitely at the right view point. It was a top view over the Roski Slap. The scene was unbelievable. The “slap” was a series of cascades one after another, each cascade distinguished by the white water that fell over its edge. We had never seen falls that looked like like this.
From the viewing platform we saw that there were steps going further down, so we went down. After about 100 steps we came to Pecina Cave. I knew that there was a prehistoric cave in Krka National Park, but I thought it was quite out of the way so I did not bother to research on it or planned to visit it. Since it was just nearby we would “pop” in to take a look so we walked in the direction indicated by the signage.
Near the entrance of the cave were two National Park staff, they checked that we had the right tickets before letting us into the cave. The cave was lighted up and was pretty orderly. A wooden walking platform stretched from the front to the end of the cave. The cave was not very deep and after about 100 meters we reached the end.
Apparently there were records of continuous human presence in the cave from 5000 to 1500 B.C. Unfortunately there was only a couple of artifacts on display so after about 10 minutes we were ready to go out as there was nothing much to see. We exited the cave and went back to the stairs.
Since we still had plentiful of time we decided to go further down the stair instead of going up back to our car. It would take about 500 steps to reach the bottom of the stair which would be the lake level. We were definitely not going down all the way as we could not imagine going up 600 steps when we returned to our car.
Midway we came upon another view platform. Wow!!! From this platform the view of Roski Slap was even more outstanding. There was less obstruction and we could see the whole “slap”. It was so stunningly breathtaking! If I had not seen this view with my own eyes I would not have believe such view existed!
Krka National Park – Manojlovac Waterfalls
From Roski Slap we drove northward until we reached road 59. Along the way there were just a couple of houses, at times it was like we were driving in the outback. At the junction to road 59 we turned left and after a short distance we saw the white stone arches of Burnum.
Burnum was an archaeological site, it was a Roman Legion camp and town. The remains at this site included a praetorium, the foundations of several rooms, the amphitheatre and the aqueduct. We only looked at Burnum from the road which was just the two arches out of the original five.
After Burnum, still along road 59 about 350 m later we came to a left turn onto a dirt road. That could be the turnoff to Manojlovac waterfalls. We drove onto the dirt road until we came to a large patch of land which seemed like a good “car park”. From the car park we followed a path until we came to a “viewing deck”.
There were seven waterfalls in Krka National Parks, this was the third one we were viewing and also the last one. As for the rest of the waterfalls we were going to give them a miss as they were less outstanding.
Manojlovac waterfalls was the tallest of the seven falls. The waterfall consisted of a series of travertine barriers, with a total height of 59.6 m. The largest barrier was 32.2 m high. The canyon around the falls was full of trees and vegetation.
From Lozovac entrance to Manojlovac Waterfalls we had been driving on the east side of Krka River, and Manojlovac Waterfalls was the north most destination on the river. From there the river curve east into the Knin country stretching all the way to near the border between Croatia and Bosnia & Hezergovina where Dinara Mountain stood. It was at the foot of Dinara Mountain where the source of Krka River started.
Krka National Park – Krka Monastery
Krka Monastery was on the west side of the river which was a convenient stop on our drive back to Lozovac entrance (south). We did not stay long at the monastery, just took a couple of photos and left. By the time we left the monastery it was close to 4.30 pm, we were tired and did not want to explore Krka National Park anymore. We still needed another hour of drive before we could reach Split.
Split in the Evening
Back at the apartment we were treated with a beautiful sunset view over the Split old town. From the window in our apartment we saw the rays of the setting sun lighting up the white buildings at the harbour front, it was a lovely sight.
We had another simple inexpensive home cooked meals and after some rest we decided that we must walked down to the old town again. The atmosphere of Split Riva was just too romantic and we must not waste it by staying in. It was cool and relaxing to stroll along the Riva and even before the sky turned dark we could already see the shining full moon.
We walk to a jetty that jugged out into the water directly opposite to Riva. From there we had a good view of the Riva across the water. This jetty seemed very popular with locals and tourists. Everywhere along the jetty there were groups of people sitting around on the floor, chatting, drinking and merry making. The breeze was good and the sights of the lighted Riva was awesome.
Tonight the moon was full and low. I did not remember seeing the moon the night before. It could have been hidden behind the clouds. This evening the sky was clear and the moon was especially bright and Split looked even more lovelier than last night.