I’ve gazed in awe at Iguazu, I’ve tasted the mist at the edge of Niagara, and I haven’t been there (yet) but I’ve heard Victoria is something else. However, on my latest trip to Croatia, I found a cluster of waterfalls that it would be darn hard to beat on a prettiness scale: Skradinski buk, in the Krka National Park.
The park is fairly easy to access from the country’s Dalmatian Coast. If you’ve hired a car, it’s just an hour or two’s drive along a clearly marked route from places such as Split and Zadar.
A huge bridge rides across the estuary where the Krka River meets the sea, commanding stunning views. But the waterfalls themselves are hidden from this viewpoint.
To get closer, we drove down to the estuary-side village of Skradin – a simple, attractive spot that I could have easily spent a few days relaxing in. The small marina hosts the sailing flotillas that regularly pass through in the summer months and fish restaurants dot the quay. Swans and their cygnets glided around the inner waters, keeping beady black eyes on the children swimming off the sea wall. The surroundings here are lusher than on the rocky coast; thick green depths hug the steep hillsides and flowers blossom.
From Skradin, we bought entrance tickets to the park from the slick new visitor and kicked back in a bar with some Ožujsko until the boat was ready. The short journey – included in the price of our ticket – took us up the river to the start of the park. As we turned through a sharp meander, I expected to see the waterfalls reveal themselves in the distance, but I guess I’d been spoiled by Iguazu. I saw only a glimpse of white water before the boat anchored and we clambered off into the wooded park.
Walking through the trees, to the edge of the water was definitely a ‘wow’ moment. For although Skradinski buk is small, it is how a child would draw the perfect waterfall (if perhaps finished with a little more finesse). Fronted by a translucent turquoise lagoon open for swimming, and with snow white water casting down from the rocky overhang, it was a little piece of paradise.
After bathing and ‘showering’ under one of the rivulets, I walked a circuit around the falls. They are in fact, a series of falls that create steps in the landscape. Fish hung lazily in the waters, colourful dragonflies flittered about me and frogs could be heard – I sometimes spotted one in the undergrowth.
The funny thing is that actually, the waterfalls top of the unofficial ‘to do’ list in Croatia are those in Plitvice National Park. But I didn’t make it that far – that will have to be another trip, another time. Still, I definitely didn’t feel like I was missing out.