A Day in the Krka National Park ending with a UNESCO Old Town visit
During my tour of Dalmatia, I couldn’t resist to visit on of the best preserved National Parks of the area; time was short so I decided to book a guided tour of the Krka Waterfall for 20 Euros per person, just one hour away by bus or car from Split, and combine it with a quick visit to Sibenik, an elegant seaside historic town enlisted in the UNESCO heritage for very good reasons.
Meeting point at the Golden gate, after approximately 1 hour driving we reached the Skradin entry (one of many on this park) and our journey started with a 30 minutes canyon cruise along the homonym river to reach the heart of the park and Krka waterfalls.
Krka National Park has an extension of about 109 square Kilometres and was proclaimed a National Park in 1985: with its 17 steps and 400 meters of width, Skradinski buk is the largest waterfall system in Europe.
This park is one of the most famous in the country, second only to Plivtice Lakes one which is around 3 hours away by car. Krka park extends over the course of the homonym river and is the only one in the country allowing visitors to bathe in its waters during summer time!
Once arrived at the park we had 5 free hours to explore the highlights of this natural reserve following wooden walkways, visiting the old watermill, or the first hydroelectric power station in Europe. Take the time to breathe some fresh air, do a picnic on a panoramic spot overlooking the cascades or swim in the turquoise and refreshing waters of the river.
This trip is the quickest way to enjoy some of the best natural spots of the country and have a taste of the Croatian best protected ecosystems of the country.
The best way to visit the area is probably hiring a car and staying the night in the park to try out the best hikes in the area and take the time to visit the islet inside the lake, and take the time to visit the less touristic parts of the park at your speed. If time is short, then I advise to book on the organised tours as I did combining five free hours at the park and a quick tour of the nearby Sibenik town.
Sibenik, the UNESCO Site under Venetian influence
Originally founded by Croats, Sibenik has been claimed and invaded repetitively by The Republic of Venice, Hungary and Byzantium between the 11th and 12th centuries, Šibenik is also called the Kresimir town, since its name was mentioned for the first time in 1066 on Christmas day in a document issued by the King Petar Krešimir IV. It was founded by Croats over a thousand years ago, making it the oldest native Croatian town on the Adriatic.
Today Šibenik, with only 46,332 inhabitants , is the administrative, political and economic centre of the County. It is renowned for its Mediterranean climate and the three winds blowing by this region according to the season: the bora, the sirocco and the mistral.
The town is now an interesting seaside resort attracting visitors for its Venetian architecture, the beauty of its beaches and the presence of more than 242 little islands and two National Parks nearby: Krka and Kornati.
Šibenik area is a perfect long week-end destination which boasts historical and architecture attractions, two UNESCO sites, and world-renowned natural reserves offering breath-taking green landscapes.
Let’s see together in this map the highlights of the city centre:
We only had the time to make a stroll around the city centre and quickly visit St. James Cathedral. If you pop by this area, take the time to visit the three fortress of the city famous for their panoramic views:
- St. Micheal’s Fortress
- St. John’s Fortress
- Barone’s Fortress
St. James’s Cathedral
Included on the UNESCO Cultural World Heritage List in 2000, this stunning piece of history was entirely built in stone between the 15th and 16th century. The Cathedral was first built in Gothic, and completed in Renaissance style.
The main authors of the Cathedral were Georgius Mathei Dalmaticus who decorated the shrine with 71 head statues and Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino who took particular attention at decorating the Renaissance details of the dome which are now considered as one of the iconic images of the city.