Krka National Park, Croatia

One of the loveliest areas in Dalmatia is the Krka National Park which can be easily reached from either Split or Dubrovnik and all towns in between.  Named after the river of the same name, the Park covers an area of over 142 square km and includes two-thirds of the river itself and it lies about 10km from the pretty town of Sibenik.


Rushing Waters in the Krka Valley

© Mari Nicholson

Most people go there to see the magnificent waterfalls, but it deserves a visit for the feeling of peace and tranquility one finds walking through the exceptional wealth of flora and fauna – to date over 1020 plant species and subspecies have been recorded in the park area, including amphibians, reptiles and endemic fish species – listening to the birdsong and relishing the aromas from the pine trees, the wild herbs and the flowers (especially the lavender).  Due to the river’s exceptional importance for the spring and autumn bird migrations. this is also one of Europe’s foremost ornithological areas: 800 different species have been identified.


Carpet of wild cyclamen in Krka Valley

© Mari Nicholson

Without doubt however, the top attractions of the Park are the waterfalls, especially the famous Skradinski Buk Falls which are one of Croatia’s most famous sights. This is a collection of 17 waterfalls that range in height from over 45 metres.  The Roski Slap is another famous fall within the park, actually a series of 12 waterfalls in a space of just 450 metres.


Reflections in a Tranquil Pond on the Krka River

© Mari Nicholson

There is a boardwalk throughout the park which makes traversing the paths fairly easy and although it may pose a problem for those who find difficulty walking, or need help, there are always people around ready to lend a hand.  There are also railings to help guide those less nimble on their feet.


Fish enjoy the waters of the tranquil ponds in Krka River

© Mari Nicholson

There is a well laid out picnic area with seating, and surrounding this area are kiosks selling food and ice-cream, tea and coffee, and souvenirs.  From here you can take a boat excursion which affords an opportunity to relax and ‘listen to the silence’.  Some of the boats include stop-offs which give a chance to wander on footpaths along the water before hopping back on at the next stop.

Looking down on Town and Swimming area on the Krka River-

© Mari Nicholson

Best of all though, unlike the Plitvice Lakes National Park, swimming is allowed at Krka River in designated places (under the main falls and by the picnic area).  The stunning vista of the falls and the thunder of the water as it pours down drowns out the excited shouts of adults and children swimming in the lake formed beneath the waterfall and revelling in the unique experience of swimming in such a fantastic spot.


Swimming under the Waterfalls at Krka Valley Waterfalls.

© Mari Nicholson


Glorious Turquoise Waters of the Krka River

© Mari Nicholson

Getting to Krka National Park:

From Split Bus Station take one of the many daily buses to Sibenik (journey time about 1 hour 40 minutes), then from Sibenik  take a bus to Skradin, a town just outside the park.

If you’re travelling from elsewhere in Croatia, likewise make your way to Sibenik first and then travel on to Skradin and Krka National Park.  There are organised excursions to Krka from many towns in Dalmatia, details from a local travel agency.

You can also embark on an organised excursion to Krka from many towns in Dalmatia – enquire at a local travel agency for details.


Fish in the river Krka

© Mari Nicholson



Cliff Diving at Mostar, BosniaHerzeGovina

Thronging the Bridge to see the Cliff Dives – Mari Nicholson

I must confess that when I visited the world famous Mostar Bridge in Bosnia-Herzegovina a few weeks ago, my attention was easily diverted from the historical reasons for my visit.  Surrounded on all sides by the travelling fans, plus hundreds of local fans of the Red Bull Cliff  Divers, I jostled with everyone else fo a place from which to view the adrenalin fuelled dives of these young men and women.

Preparing to do a Back Somersault off the Platform – Mari Nicholson

I had been unaware of the event until I got there so had to do a quick check on who was in what position, something I found fairly easy as the Mostar locals are all big fans.  I was even informed that my own countryman, the young British diver Gary Hunt, was lying in fourth position at the time (he subsequently came in second in this trial).


Checking that all is well

You can read about the Stari Most Bridge (colloquially known as the Mostar Bridge) in my earlier post put up this afternoon so I need not go into its historical importance here, nor mention the terrible war in which it was destroyed.


Awaiting the “rescue” divers below.

The Iconic Stari Most bridge served as launch point for 22 male and female athletes during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series’ 7th stop on 24 September 2016 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Five-time champion Gary Hunt had missed out on a win in the previous two stops – in the past six seasons the brilliant Brit has never gone more than two stops without a win.


It may be a coach with the diver – Mari Nicholson.

I haven’t seen any of these Cliff Diving Championships before live, although I have watched some of them on media outlets but the stunning setting of Bosna-Herzegovina’s most renowned landmark, where diving has been a tradition dating back to the 17th century, has made me a total fan.  The city’s diving enthusiasts have warm-heartedly welcomed the 22 World Series athletes for many years now and introduced them to their preferred take-off point high above the Neretva River.


There are Vantage Points Everywhere – Mari Nicholson

“This town lives for diving and lives for this bridge,” my waiter told me as we gave our order in Restaurant Teatro, a balconied eatng place that offered a fantastic view of the bridge, the crowds, and the amazing turquoise river below with the colourful rescue canoes and the wet-suited divers.  He seemed to know everyone in the competition, from much respected Columbian Orlando Duque right down to the 25-year-old wildcard Australian female diver Rhiannon Iffland, here to battle it out with Canada’s Lysanne Richard.


The Diver Enters the Water and rescue is at hand should it be needed – Mari Nicholson

The first dives off the bridge date back more than 400 years, my waiter told me, but in the current competition, the men dive from a platform 28 metres high and the women from the bridge at 21 metres high.  Eternalized in the city’s flag and coat of arms, life in Mostar has been centred on the humpback bridge ever since its construction in the 16th century as the young men plunge into the Neretva River to prove their courage in a test of maturity.


The colour of the water looks inviting – but from 85 feet??  – Mari Nicholson

Competition cliff diving dates back to 1770, when King Kahekili, the last king of Maui (Hawaiian islands), leapt from Kaunolu, a 63-foot (19-meter) cliff and entered the water below without causing a splash.  Later, he made his warriors jump from cliffs to prove their courage and loyalty.  It is probably the easiest sport for the enthusiast to enter as there is no equipment to buy and no special clothing to wear.  All you need is nerve, a fit body, and the ability to sail through the air from a dizzy height and plunge into waters below, avoiding cliffs and jutting rocks as you descend.


Old Mostar and the bridge – Photo Pixabay

The teams tour the world as they compete in different countries each month in front of top judges from the sport.  More information and pictures can be seen here.   It really is thrilling.

See also:  Mostar, UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bosnia Herzegovina.