Krka vs Plitvice Lakes: which National Park in Croatia is the best?

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Not sure whether you should visit Krka National Park or Plitvice Lakes on your trip to Croatia? In this post about Krka vs Plitvice Lakes, I will tell you about the main differences between these two amazing National Parks, which will hopefully help you choose one if you absolutely can’t visit both of them. Or, perhaps, you want to find out if it’s worth visiting Plitvice Lakes or Krka National Park at all?

I went to both of these National parks in August (the busiest and most expensive month of the year) and this article will be mainly based on visiting these parks during the busy summer months. Visiting Krka NP and Plitvice Lakes in winter is a completely different experience! 

Without further ado, let’s get started comparing Plitvice Lakes vs Krka National Park!

Visiting Krka National Park: is it worth it?

Where is Krka NP and how much does it cost to visit it? How to get to Krka National Park

Krka National Park is one of the largest and also one of most visited National Parks in Croatia. It’s very popular because of its strategic location very close to the coast and some of the most popular tourist resorts in the country (e.g. Split, Zadar and all the towns between them). Krka National Park is very easy to visit in just half of the day. 

As with many landmarks and National Parks in Croatia, Krka entrance fees are dynamic and depend on the season. Naturally, the highest prices are during the high season (July and August) and it’s the cheapest from November to March! It can be as cheap as just 6.5 Eur per person during the low season.

If you have a car, you can check the prices and book tickets online here.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a car, book this tour that will bring you to Krka National Park from Split. Check the availability of this tour here >

Can you swim in Krka National Park?

Krka National Park used to be open for swimmers – you could swim in its picture-perfect waterfall, Skradinski Buk. However, 2020 was the last year when you could swim in the national park, since 2021, swimming is prohibited in order to preserve the eco-sphere and restore the wildlife in the park. 

So no, unfortunately you can’t swim in Krka National Park until further notice! It’s hard to predict how long the swimming ban will stay for at Krka national park, it may be a couple of years or even a decade.

What is there to see in Krka National Park? 

Besides the gorgeous waterfall, Skradinski Buk, there are plenty of other lovely smaller waterfalls, lakes full of fish and beautiful paths all around the National Park. There is also a small museum and a few gorgeous buildings. If you’re planning to spend in Krka pretty much all day, you can either arrive early and take a boat tour that would take you to the area you can’t visit by food. The boat tour takes a while (it’s a long journey) and I can’t tell you whether it’s worth it or not as we haven’t taken it unfortunately due to the timing that didn’t work for us. 

Is Krka National Park worth visiting? 

Overall, I think Krka National Park is amazing! The walkable part is quite small and you’ll be able to complete it in just over an hour. You will also need comfortable shoes as there is a bit of hiking involved (unless you wait for the bus). Krka was really full when we visited it in August, so taking a nice photo there was almost impossible. Also, there are always large queues at all the panoramic spots, which ruined the experience a little bit. 

However, if you’re visiting in October or even end of September, I’m sure you’ll have a completely different experience!

Visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park: is it worth it?

Where is Plitvice Lakes National Park, how much does it cost to visit it and how to get there?

Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in the central part of the country, in the region of Lika, circa 130 km (80 miles) south of Zagreb. We visited Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb, however, it’s possible to get there from Split or Zadar as well (2.5 hours of driving from Split and just under 2 hours from Zadar). There are shuttle buses that go to Plitvice lakes from Zagreb a couple of times per day. You can check the prices and times here.

It’s not easy to find a shuttle that goes to Plitvice Lakes from Zadar or Split, so it is easier to book a tour. Here’s a tour from Split and here’s a tour from Zadar.

The cost of visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park varies depending on the season. During the high season (July and August), tickets are more expensive than during the low season (April to June and September to October). As of March 2023, the ticket prices range from around 8 euros to 34 euros, depending on the time of year and the type of ticket (adult, student, child, or group).

Can you swim in Plitvice Lakes?

Swimming is not allowed in Plitvice Lakes – the lakes and waterfalls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are protected by strict conservation regulations. Swimming, diving, or any other water activities are strictly prohibited to ensure the protection and preservation of the park’s unique ecosystem.

What is there to do in Plitvice Lakes?

Plitvice Lakes is a large National Park with a lot of different walking trails ranging from short (under 1 hour) to long (taking 5-6 hours to complete) – the main activity, of course, is walking and enjoying the scenery. There are some panoramic viewpoints which you can visit to take some breathtaking shots of the National Park as well. You can also take scenic boat rides in some lakes and one lake is even offering kayaking! 

Are Plitvice Lakes worth visiting? 

We thought that after visiting Krka National Park, we wouldn’t be impressed, but we were. Plitvice Lakes are stunning and I liked the fact that you can spend longer there, taking boat rides that are included in the price to get to the other side of the lakes and just exploring more in general. Plitvice Lakes are really as gorgeous as they look in the photos! 

Krka vs Plitvice Lakes: Which one is better?

Right, now the most difficult question – which one is better, Krka vs Plitvice Lakes. I actually recommend visiting both of them because Krka National Park and Plitvice Lakes are very different. However, if you can only visit one of them, it really depends on what you’re expecting to see!

If you’re holidaying in Split and Zadar and you just want a short tour to change scenery and see some pretty waterfalls, then Krka is a better option, as it’s much closer to Zadar and Split. If you’re in Zagreb, then Plitvice Lakes is easier to visit for you.

Genuinely, I would say that Plitvice Lakes is a bit more impressive than Krka National Park -so if you have an opportunity, even if you’re based in Split or Zadar and being 2.5 hours in a bus each direction doesn’t bother you too much, I would recommend visiting the Plitvice Lakes! 

If you have little kids, I would probably say that Krka is a better option, as you don’t need to walk much there and it’s easier to walk there as well (if you take a shuttle bus). 

Summary of Plitvice Lakes vs Krka: which National Park to visit in Croatia

I hope that you enjoyed this article about Plitvice Lakes vs Krka National park and it helped you to make your mind. As I mentioned previously, I recommend visiting both – they are both amazing, however, ultimately, it’s down to what you want to see and what is more convenient for you. If you have little kids, then visiting Krka will be easier. If you want to see a bucket-list destination no matter the time and cost, then Plitvice Lakes would be the one for you!

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