KRKA NATIONAL PARK (map)
This National Park sets aside 109 square km along the Krka River as it drops to the west from the Dinaric Mountains to Adriatic Sea. Flowing through narrow, deep canyons over travertine barriers there are a total of 7 travertine waterfalls dropping 242 m. Skradinski Buk is particularly impressive, dropping 37.5 m. The last travertine barrier is the longest, and is one of the most famous natural beauties in Croatia - the A17 steps of Skradinski Buk. It spreads over a distance of 800 m, with a variable width of 200-400 m. The fall's overall drop is 45.7 m. You can swim in the pools under the smaller cascades.
But that is not all that is not all. After a 49 km journey, the Krka’s fresh water turns brackish for a further 23.5 km. This estuary region including Prokljansko Lake is ecologically exceptional, displaying tremendous biological vitality. The area is rich in shellfish, freshwater and saltwater fish. It supports 860 species and subspecies of plants, some of which are endemic to the Adriatic. Of 18 species of fish found in the river, 10 are considered endemic. The surrounding wetlands support 222 bird species. 18 species of bats which, as a group, are endangered or near extinction in the rest of Europe are also found here.
While here you may wish to visit the Krka Monastery dating back to 1402. The monastery, built in Byzantine style, houses a museum with some of its cultural and historic artifacts dating to the 14th c. Traces of ancient settlements are also found near the Krka. We think you will agree, that this is not a bad place to call home for a while.
When is an island not an island when it is Krk. Known as the golden island, Krk stopped being an island in the literal sense when the bridge joining it to Croatia proper was built. There is a spectacular view from the bridge of both the island and the winding road taking you away from the crowds. Once over the bridge, you can leave the bustle of the mainland behind and find a perfect spot for a holiday.
Krk is the largest island in the Adriatic, and has its own airport. Its northern coast is rocky and barren because of the cold winter winds, while the west and southwest shores are lush and green, with numerous bays and pebbled and sandy beaches. Base yourself in one of several picturesque villages and take the opportunity to explore. Buses run to a regular schedule and there are taxis to transport you inland or taxi boats to take you from seafront to seafront.
However, if you really want to get to know the island, we would recommend reserving a car when you book your holiday so that you can take your time, travel at your own pace and escape to visible places.
Where to stay:
Malinska is a picturesque harbor resort on the west coast of the island that became popular in the last century. It lies in the Bay of Malinska and is a place to go if you want to see life. The harbor is lively and you can watch the colorful fishing boats bob up and down as you take a leisurely drink at a café on the waterfront. It is busy, there are lots of restaurants and bars and there is at least one discotheque, although some way out of the village. The shops are reasonable too, catering for both tourists and locals.
Njivice is a couple of kilometers away from Malinska but a much quieter village. It has a beautiful sandy beach and a cove rich in fish for the snorkellers among you. In fact, the clear Adriatic Sea means you can snorkel anywhere along the coast of Croatia.
Krk is the capital and administrative centre of the island. It has Roman sites, the remains of the old town fortifications, as well as Benedictine abbeys, a Franciscan monastery and the still in use 12th century cathedral with its interior combination of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque styles. It also has a long sandy beach fringed by a pine wood.
Baska is a small town and harbor on the narrowest part of the island, with the oldest house dating back to 1525. It suffers from cold winds in winter because it is relatively unprotected but summer visitors will welcome the chance to (only slightly) cool off when a breeze takes the edge off the heat of the sun. The coves and beaches surrounding Baska are quite breathtaking.
Other top spots:
Vrbnik is a small town that lies on a steep hill on the north east coast of the island in the heart of the wine region. From the village you can look out across to the mainland or down the sheer vertical drop to the spectacular beach coves below. The village has what is reputedly the narrowest street in the world. Exploring the maze of cobbled streets should give you enough of an appetite to try out the restaurant Nada, one of the best restaurants on the island. If you just want to have a drink and some prsut (Croatia’s version of prosciutto) and sir (cheese), find a konoba. The dark, wooden interiors of these cellars will cool you down and transport you back to the old times.
Klimno’s bay lies on the north west of the island. The village has only 180 locals and the sleepy atmosphere still remains at the height of summer. This bay is popular with sailors and Croats and foreigners alike take their boats to moor at the restaurant Zal, one of the few places that remains open all the year round. Start with an early morning coffee, dive off the quay for a quick swim and then dry off in the shade of the bar’s umbrellas while cooling off with a quick drink. If you are on particular friendly terms with the waiter, you might even get served a glass on lager while you are still enjoying your dip. Otherwise, take a turn round the bay and then it’s time for lunch. Before you know it, you’ve managed to see the sun set and it’s time for dinner.
Just before Klimno is Soline, with beaches on which you can walk and walk before the sea reaches your knees. Soline’s mud is popularly known as cure for rheumatic or athritic problems. You liberally cover yourself from neck to toe with mud, leave it to dry for up to half an hour and then wash off like a wallowing hippo in the sea. If you enjoy it, repeat.
If you really want to get away from it all, park the car on the hilltop outside Stara Baska and walk down the steep cliffs to the deserted coves below where you can sunbathe in relative solitude and cool off in the sea. Remember to take your walking shoes, a picnic and deep breaths. It’s not for the unfit.
Dobrinj is the oldest village on the island. At the top of the village is the church and from there you can see the island for miles. Life in this village has changed little from how it was centuries ago. The old men still sit on the bench outside the village hall, the children run around kicking footballs while old and young join forces to play a game of chess. You cannot leave Drobrinj without going to Mala Konoba (little cellar) to see what Mirko and Svetlana have to offer. We went there for a drink once and ended up dining al fresco every night afterwards. It may not have been very adventurous but we knew a good thing when we saw it.
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