Plitvice Vs. Krka – Krka National Park Or Plitvice

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

I often get questions about picking between two of Croatia’s most amazing national parks: Plitvice Lakes and Krka. It’s a tough choice, as both are undeniably stunning examples of natural beauty, each offering its unique set of natural wonders.

If you’re trying to decide between the iconic turquoise lakes flowing below the wooden boardwalks of Plitvice or the accessible Krka waterfalls and Krka Monastery, you’re not alone. So, I’ve put together a guide that weighs up Krka vs Plitvice – to help you decide.

Are you in a rush and want to know how to choose between Plitvice Waterfalls or Krka National Park? Here is what we think you should know:

Plitvice Lakes Krka National Park
Ideal for a weekend Ideal for a day trip
UNESCO World Heritage Site Great park for families
Overnight stay options Easy walk
Longer hikes On the Dalmatian coast
Loads of photos ops Closer to major cities
Biggest Waterfalls Shortest Route

Spring is the best time to see all of Croatia’s eight stunning national parks. This means it’s the time of the year that one of the most common questions I’m always asked lands in my inbox – over and over again.

Which of the national parks to visit? Readers always ask me to help them choose between Plitvice Lakes National Park or Krka National Park.

Yikes, decisions, decisions!

The best answer to the Plitvice or Krka question is the following. If you have the time, you should visit them both because they are equally beautiful in different ways.

If you don’t have the right amount of time, however, and you have to choose between Krka or Plitvice, it all comes down to where you’ll be based, your interests, and how much time you actually have.

Plitvice Lakes National Park is bigger and has more to see, but it is further inland and takes longer to get to than Krka Lakes if you stay in Dubrovnik or Split.

On the other hand, Krka National Park is much more accessible from Zadar and Split but is smaller. So, if you’re short on time, that helps loads.

See what I mean? Choosing between Krka or Plitvice Lakes is already getting confusing. There are just so many factors. It all depends on your situation.

Keep reading below for our in-depth analysis on weighing up Plitvice Lakes vs. Krka National Park.

Let’s compare Krka National Park vs. Plitvice Lakes National Park, discuss their features, main attractions, and downsides, and see what decision you make at the end. We’ll start with the more famous national park: Plitvice Lakes.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

PLITVICE LAKES - Day Trips From Split

The Plitvice Lakes are around two hours from Zagreb and approximately 1.5 hours from Zadar by road.

You’ll find lots of tours and buses that head here. You can also get to Plitvice Lakes from the coast, but because it is further away from the coast, you’ll pay more for these than you would from Zagreb.

However, this shouldn’t put you off because it is not on the UNESCO World Heritage List status for nothing! Obviously, this will also depend on traffic, as, during the summer season, it seems like everyone is trying to get to this park!

Plitvice Lakes has a series of 16 interconnected lakes, which spans a much larger area than Krka does, at around 8km when the lakes run together, and 300 square kilometers in area.

It takes around 20 minutes to reach the parking lot’s park entrance, but the size is a blessing because it does get so crowded. If you have a weekend spare, you should definitely dedicate it to exploring Plitvice because a day, including the travel time, probably wouldn’t leave you with enough to explore.

Swimming And Walking

Plitvice or Krka or Plitvice Lakes

You can’t swim in the park; it’s prohibited. On the other hand, countless hiking trails around the park take you around the lakes and the natural landscape.

If you want to take a million stunning photos, Plitvice is the best bet, as some of the sights you’ll see are truly amazing. If you’re into wildlife spotting, you may also spot a wolf, brown bear, loads of birds, and all manner of other species of flora and fauna if you stay longer – and head off the main trail being pounded by the busloads.

Plitvice Lakes Entry Costs

Krka or Plitvice Lakes Or Krka

Entry into the park depends on the season and is subject to change, so please double-check before making your way there. Check the park website for the latest fees.

  • Adult Tickets – Entry fees 2024:
    • January, February, March, November, December: 10 euros
    • April, May, October: 23.5 euros
    • June, July, August, September (High Season): 40 euros
  • Children’s Tickets (Ages 7 to 18) – Entry fees:
    • January, February, March, November, December: 4.5 euros
    • April, May, October: 6.5 euros
    • June, July, August, September (High Season): 16 euros
  • Additional Information:
    • Free entry for children below the age of 7
    • Discounts available for 2-day tickets
    • Ticket prices include access to the park’s shuttle buses and ferry boat rides
    • Advisable to purchase tickets online in advance, especially during peak season

Reasons To Avoid Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is an enchanting destination during the spring season.

  • Suppose you have small children in a pram. This park is not pram-friendly. Even if you have a travel pram, with the number of people, narrow tracks, or no trails, you can not push a pram about the park.
  • If you require a wheelchair, sorry, but It would be tough to push a wheelchair around.
  • If you don’t like crowds, do not go to Plitvice in summer. Not even early can you escape the thousands of day-trippers. One summer I was there, it was wall-to-wall bodies; I could not even see the central falls without dozens of people pushing and bumping into me. Gross.
  • You want to swim. You can’t and will be fined a pretty penny if you even try.

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Krka National Park

KRKA - Day Trip From Split

When comparing Krka vs. Plitvice Lakes only in terms of size, Krka National Park loses. This is the smaller of the two parks, Krka, but it also comes with some advantages over its bigger neighbor. For starters, Krka might be smaller, at around 142 square kilometers, but it is closer to the main coastal resorts, just an hour from Zadar by road, in Sibenik-Knin County. As the biggest major town near Krka, Sibenik now offers travelers plentiful options for accommodation.

The exact times depend upon traffic, especially during the summer season. You won’t struggle to find day trips being sold from excursion offices either.

Krka Falls encompasses the biggest section of the Krka River and is home to 12 stunning waterfalls, including the largest one, the Skradinski Buk waterfall. The smaller park size also means it is ideal for families who want a day out in nature but who don’t want to travel too far and don’t want to exert themselves too much.

However, Krka National Park isn’t all about nature, as there are a few nods to history within its borders, too. There is a working loom and blacksmith within the small village, and you can see how life used to be before the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

So, while Plitvice might be ideal for a weekend in nature, Krka is undoubtedly the best bet for those with an extra day.

Swimming & Walking

Krka_How to get from Split to Krka

We mentioned that you couldn’t swim in the lakes of Plitvice, and as of 2021, a swimming ban was also placed at Krka. You used to be able to swim in front of the biggest waterfall, Skradinski Buk, but now you’ll have to hope to catch some spray as you pass to cool off. 

The downside is that there is only one walking trail, compared to the many you’ll find at Plitvice. However, you won’t miss out on nature as this trail has some beautiful scenery to pass through; plus, when the trees bloom, you’ll notice a pleasant scent in the air during the summer months.

Krka National Park Entrance Fee

There are five entrances to the park, with most people catching the boat ride from Skradin or using the Lozovac entrance. If traveling by car, there is free parking at the Lozovac entrance. You can also enter at Visovac, Slapove Krka, and Burnum

Entry costs depend upon the season, and there are discounted entries for children.

  • individual Adults – All Accessible Land Sites:
    • January, February, March, November, December: 7.00 euros
    • April, May, October: 20.00 euros
    • June, July, August, September: 40.00 euros
  • Individual Adults – Specific Sites (Roški Slap, Kistanje, Manojlovac, Burnum, Krka Eco Campus):
    • January, February, March, November, December: 7.00 euros
    • April, May, October: 12.00 euros
    • June, July, August, September: 20.00 euros
  • Individual Children/Students/Hiking Society Members – All Accessible Land Sites:
    • January, February, March, November, December: 4.00 euros
    • April, May, October: 12.00 euros
    • June, July, August, September: 15.00 euros
  • Individual Children/Students/Hiking Society Members – Specific Sites:
    • January, February, March, November, December: 4.00 euros
    • April, May, October: 8.00 euros
    • June, July, August, September: 12.00 euros
  • Groups of Adults – All Accessible Land Sites:
    • January, February, March, November, December: 5.00 euros
    • April, May, October: 16.00 euros
    • June, July, August, September: 30.00 euros
  • Groups of Adults – Specific Sites:
    • January, February, March, November, December: 5.00 euros
    • April, May, October: 10.00 euros
    • June, July, August, September: 15.00 euros
  • Groups of Children/Students – All Accessible Land Sites:
    • January, February, March, November, December: 4.00 Euros
    • April, May, October: 10.00 Euros
    • June, July, August, September: 15.00 Euros
  • Groups of Children/Students – Specific Sites:
    • January, February, March, November, December: 4.00 euros
    • April, May, October: 7.00 euros
    • June, July, August, September: 10.00 euros

Find the price list here.

Reasons to Avoid Krka National Park

  • You want to hike for days. Krka is a day-trippers paradise. If you’re going to get lost in the woods, it is not for you
  • You have small kids who need to be in a travel stroller – this is impossible (trust me, we had to carry ours)

Don’t Take Just My Word For It

I asked the Plitvice vs. Krka question on my Facebook page a few years ago – and you can see just what everyone had to say – and read the comments to see why.

So, Which Should You Visit? Plitvice Or Krka?

Croatia Travel Blog_Plitvice Lakes Or Krka National Park_Which To Choose

The best answer I can give to picking between Krka National Park or Plitvice Lakes National Park is simple. Don’t.

I urge you to try to find the time and go to both. Okay, I know most of you are short on time, so here goes; if you’re mostly staying on the coast, head to Krka Waterfalls. If you land in Zagreb, go to Plitvice on the way to the coast.

Both parks are genuinely stunning, and while Plitvice is much larger and some say more beautiful, that is not the only factor.

So, tell us, which of these beautiful places is worth visiting for you? Will it be Krka or Plitvice Lakes?

Comments (8)

  1. We just got back from Croatia and spent a day at both KRKA and Plitvice. I’d give KRKA a 3/10 and Plitvice a 10/10. Plitvice had free bathrooms, better signage, more waterfalls close to the parking, was about 1/3 as crowded, better walking paths, better food, free parking, free boat ride and shuttle. I couldn’t believe I spent $30 a person at KRKA and then had to pay to use the bathroom. If would have only done Plitvice if I had known how much better it is.

    1. How much should I expect to pay to visit this area? I’m wondering if it’s crazy high on my cruise ship?

  2. The information on this website is so helpful; you made our trip planning easier.

  3. I really enjoyed Krka and without having seen Plitvicka yet, would prefer to take my relatives to Krka, but as we arrive via Zagreb and won’t be visiting the south, we will try Plitvicka.

    What impressed me most about Krka were the numerous pools of water that hosted fish and frogs. Lots of frogs just doing their thing and not bothered by you at all. Plus it has a very nice rustic restaurant area at the finish of the walk.

    I’m apprehensive that Plitvicka will just be waterfalls, and not as connected with fish, frogs, dragonflies and other fauna that Krka has. Will see soon I guess.

    1. Both Plitvice Lakes National Park and Krka National Park offer incredible opportunities for photography, and the choice between the two depends on your preferences and the type of photos you want to capture. I’d say Plitvice has more choice and variation.

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