When Scott and I were first planning our Croatia itinerary, we weren’t sure if there was much of a difference between Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Park.
We thought to ourselves: which one is most worth visiting?
As huge nature lovers, we decided to visit both… and now we’re here to tell you all about which is better: Plitvice or Krka.
Plitvice vs Krka: Which To Choose?
To help you decide between Plitvice Lakes or Krka National Park, we’ve divided this blog up into different sections to show you the difference between the two and which one is most worth visiting. We hope you find it helpful!
Lakes and Waterfalls
Let’s start with what you came here for, shall we? Here’s what we think about each park’s lakes and waterfalls.
With 16 lakes and over 90 waterfalls (versus just seven) to see, Plitvice Lakes might seem like the clear winner.
But there’s a little more to it than that. The vibe of each place is also COMPLETELY different!
Krka is more overgrown than Plitvice, so for some of the time, you’ll feel like you’re going for a casual woodland walk (albeit with views of pretty waterfalls along the way).
Aside from Skradinski Buk, which is Croatia’s widest waterfall, many of the other waterfalls you’ll see along Krka’s main walking trail are quite understated and small. Pretty? Yes. But small.
Whereas your breath will truly be taken away at Plitvice with every twist and turn. The lakes are brighter and bluer and most of the waterfalls are bigger and much more dramatic.
Take a look at a few of our photos to see what we mean…
Photos of Plitvice Lakes
Pictured below are three of the most popular waterfalls found at Plitvice Lakes.
And here are a few photos of some of the lakes at Plitvice, which as you can see, have out-of-this-world incredible colours!
Photos of Krka National Park
Skradinski Buk is the largest waterfall at Krka National Park and is the widest waterfall in all of Croatia.
You’ll also find other smaller waterfalls dotted around Krka National Park, as well as some lakes and the Krka River.
The wooden walkways within each national park are also a little different. While both allow you to see the beautiful lakes and waterfalls up close, the paths at Plitvice are much lower to the ground, so they offer better waterside views than the ones at Krka and have an even more special kind of vibe.
WINNER: Plitvice… it really is a breathtaking place!
Before we visited, we knew Plitvice was much bigger than Krka, but we didn’t realise by how much.
The circular walking trails at Krka range from 1.9km to 3.4km, so you’ll likely only need a couple of hours to walk the longest one.
As it was quiet when we arrived in the morning, we had walked the main loop twice by lunchtime. And this was at a gentle pace with regular photo stops and to gaze out from the various viewpoints.
Plitvice, on the other hand, has a “short” route of 3km, which takes roughly three hours without crowds. While its longest trail is a whopping 8-hour 18km trek!
If you love hiking and long walks then Plitvice will excite you a lot more than Krka.
WINNER: Plitvice… we prefer longer walks and we happily spent a full 4.5 hours hiking along Plitvice’s upper and lower lakes.
Plitvice Lakes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site so you can’t swim in the lakes or waterfalls at all. You could decades ago, but alas, no more; they are now just for admiring.
Now here’s where things get a little interesting.
2020 was the last year that you could swim near Skradinski Buk, Krka’s showstopper waterfall. I’m afraid there’s a ban coming into force. Our tour guide told us this was because people were jumping from the top of the waterfall and getting hurt.
Scott and I were fortunate to be able to swim here on our recent trip, and although it was a pleasant enough swim, it was more for the novelty factor than anything else. So don’t worry, you’re not missing out on too much really.
WINNER: This one’s a draw because you won’t be able to swim at Krka for much longer.
Aside from walking trails and admiring lakes and waterfalls, a few other surprises are waiting for you at each national park.
At Plitvice, your entry ticket includes a charming boat ride across Lake Kozjak, as well as train rides to take you to a few places around the park if you’re short on time.
You can also climb a gazillion steps inside Supljara Cave to an epic viewpoint across the lower lakes, or rent rowboats for a unique way to experience Lake Kozjak.
You might also be surprised to hear that the lakes at Plitvice make up only 1% of the entire national park. Woodland hikes also await if you have the time!
Your ticket for Krka National Park also includes a scenic boat ride; this time across the Krka River to and from the town of Skradin, which is also one of the park’s entrances.
You can also see the remains of a hydroelectric power plant at Krka (the second in the world), as well as watermills. Krka is also known for its exotic wildlife, so be on the lookout for 22 different kinds of reptiles!
If you have time to see more of Krka beyond the main walking trail, then you can also hop aboard a two-hour boat ride to Visovac Monastery and a couple more lesser-known waterfalls.
WINNER: We’ll call this one a draw as both parks offer more than just walks and waterfalls.
While Plitvice Lakes has a more expensive entrance fee than Krka, it’s actually not that much more expensive. There’s only a 50 kuna (roughly £6) difference in price during the peak summer months.
Given the HUGE difference in the size of the park and the lengths of the walking trails, we’d argue that Plitvice offers the best value for money.
However, if you’re heading to the parks as day trips from Split or Zadar, then you’ll also need to take into account the difference in tour prices or petrol money as Krka will probably end up being cheaper for you.
WINNER: Krka is cheaper to visit but Plitvice offers the most value for money because of its size. Maybe this one is another draw?
There’s no way around it: both parks get crowded during peak times.
Given the current situation, we saw the parks completely free from crowds. However, we’ve seen photos of the parks in normal times and the crowds do look pretty bad through the summer.
That said, because of how big Plitvice is in comparison to Krka, we’ve read that it’s a little easier to escape the crowds once you’re away from the entrances and most popular waterfalls.
WINNER: Probably another draw because both parks get very crowded in the summer months.
Day Trip Opportunities
If you’re staying in Split then Krka is a really easy day trip as it only takes around 60 to 90 minutes to get from Split to Krka National Park (for the Lozovac and Skradin entrances).
Plitvice is also possible to visit in just one day from Split (we did this ourselves). However, it takes around three hours to get from Split to Plitvice Lakes. The picturesque city of Zadar is a little closer and takes around 90 minutes to get to Plitvice from Zadar.
We should say that most people recommend staying at Plitvice Lakes and making it a two-day trip instead. Having been there ourselves, we’d have to agree… we would have loved to have spent even longer there!
WINNER: Both are possible as day trips from Split and Zadar, but Krka is much closer.
And The Winner Is…
But if you can only pick one on your next trip, then make it Plitvice Lakes.
It’s much bigger than Krka, and even if you spend just a few short hours there, you will be totally and utterly SPELLBOUND!
Plan Your Trip To Croatia’s Best Waterfalls
No matter whether you’re visiting Krka, Plitvice, or both, here are a few more of our top travel tips to help you plan your trip.
Where To Stay
If you can spend longer at Plitvice Lakes and stay in the park for a couple of days, then here are some places to stay that come highly recommended by other travellers on Booking.com, Hotels.com and Airbnb:
- : Beautiful air-conditioned rooms in Grabovac, just five miles from Entrance 1 at Plitvice Lakes | Check prices on Booking.com
- : Tranquil B&B just a five-minute walk from the highest waterfall at Plitvice Lakes | Check prices on Booking.com
- : Charming chalets, also just five miles from Plitvice Lakes in the village of Grabovac | Check prices on Booking.com | Check prices on Hotels.com
- : Simple B&B within a 30-minute walk of Plitvice Lakes | Check prices on Hotels.com
- : Charming guesthouse within a short drive of Plitvice Lakes | Check prices on Hotels.com
Also, for Airbnbs, take a look at this stunning apartment, which is just a quick ten-minute walk from the Plitvice Lakes entrance, or this studio apartment, which is just a 12-minute walk from Entrance 2.
We’ve also found this sweet apartment, which is around 5km from Plitvice Lakes and is super close to the River Korana, which you’re allowed to swim in.
Alternatively, we’d suggest staying in Split, so you can do both parks as separate day trips. You’ll also get the chance to see this popular city’s top sights and even do some island hopping as part of your Croatia itinerary.
During our trip, we stayed in this cute apartment, which was cheap, super central and had everything we needed for a few days in Split. There was even a little terrace outside as a bonus!
And here are a few other places with good ratings:
- : Charming apartments with unparalleled views across Split’s harbour and promenade | Check prices on Booking.com
- : Sweet little rooms within Split’s Old Town | Check prices on Booking.com
- : Stunning rooms right next to Diocletian’s Palace | Check prices on Booking.com | Check prices on Hotels.com
If you want to leave the driving up to someone else then you can visit both national parks as day tours from places like Split, Trogir and Zadar. While Plitvice Lakes is also around two hours from Croatia’s capital, Zagreb.
We always use Get Your Guide for our tours as their cancellation policy is the best we’ve seen and we’ve always had good experiences with them and their partners.
Both tours gave us five hours of free time at each park, and we could guide ourselves around, so we were free to walk at our own pace and have our picnic whenever and wherever we wanted to.
We hope you’ve found our comparison of Plitvice vs Krka National Park helpful! Is there anything else you wanna know or ask? Just let us know in the comments below…
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