We got up early again this morning and had yet another breakfast at yet another hotel. It was, once again, a pretty good spread. We had packed all our bags prior to eating breakfast, because checkout was at 10 am. That’s a bit early, but we left our van in the parking lot and put our bags in the van. Then we walked a couple minutes through town to the boat dock where we caught our ride into Krka National Park.
The river below the park and into town is extremely calm with beautiful green water. There seem to be swans everywhere, which is pretty cool. There were even a few swans hanging out near the dock, hissing at dogs that got too close. I wouldn’t want to swim anywhere near those huge birds with their long necks and black eyes. They could bite and peck you a hundred times all while staying far enough away that you would never reach them. No thank you.
We were on the 8:00 boat ride. It took about 30 minutes to go up the river dock to dock from Skradin to Krka, but any regular boat could have made the trip in 10 minutes or less. So it was a very gentle, relaxing ride up to the park. Our boat was the first boat of the day and it was nearly empty. That was excellent news, because it meant we would have free reign of the entire park to take pictures without having a bunch of tourists getting in the way, clogging up the works, etc.
When you arrive by boat, the first set of waterfalls you see are the big ones at the bottom of the park. They are really spectacular. We took a few pictures, but we just couldn’t capture the magic with our phone cameras. From there we hiked up right next to the edge of those falls, then continued up to other falls. Some areas were just crazy with water flowing almost every direction while you walk on the boardwalk above, beside, and below it all.
It doesn’t take long to walk through most of the park, enjoy reading some interesting facts, and taking a bunch of pictures. We had our return boat trip scheduled for 9:30 am, giving us just one hour to walk the whole park. Even with virtually nobody else in the park, that wasn’t quite enough time. I think you really need about 90 minutes inside the park when it’s empty and probably a whole lot more when it’s not. We had to rush a few of the viewpoints on the second half, but it was still really cool.
First Operating Hydroelectric Dam
Back in 1895 they built the world’s first operating hydro-electric dam here. Nikola Tesla built one at Niagara Falls that same year, but he wasn’t able to operate his generators until 1896 because he needed things like distribution lines, etc. Fun fact: Tesla was born in what is now Croatia. So there were a few really smart Croatians working on electricity in those days. Jim and I sort of snuck into the old power plant and it was pretty fascinating. It was pretty obvious we were not supposed to be back there, so we didn’t stay long.
At the end, we had to run a little to catch our boat back to town. The boat was packed to the gills with passengers trying to unload into the park. That gave us just the extra amount of time we needed to get aboard before they pushed off. On our slow ride back to town we saw 2 other boats heading up to the park. Each one was at maximum capacity. As we pulled into the dock back in Skradin, there was a huge line of people waiting to get on our boat and one other. We really got lucky by being in that first group in the park. Wow.
We walked back to the hotel, piled into our van, and drove about an hour down the coast to Split, the second largest city in Croatia.