RV Roadtrip Croatia – Krka National Park
Our next destination on the RV roadtrip in Croatia was Pag island to check out some of the camping options there. Or at least that’s what we thought when we pulled out of Camping Bor. As it turned out, there had been a good storm the night before and that coupled with high winds had convinced the highway authorities to close some of the roads.
The severity of any of this was unbeknownst to us and we kept hitting detour after detour taking us further afield on skinny roads rather than the lovely toll roads we were expecting. As a result we made an in route itinerary switch up, checked to see that there might be camping still open (we weren’t entirely sure but headed that direction anyway) and headed to Krka National Park.
Leaving Krk island we could see the mountains off in the distance with what looked like a fresh coating of snow. A bit nervous that our route was headed in that direction, we soldiered on. We do not have snow chains for the rig and I was hoping that that would not be an oversight we would live to regret. I tried to ignore the road signs about chains being required as we continued our route up into the mountains. We did not know there was going to be snow in Croatia on the coast!
Our naiveté proved to be just that. Our route was making its way into the mountains in the heart of the country and the temperature was getting very cold, hovering around freezing and sometimes dipping below for stretches at a time. Freezing temperatures and camping cars (at least their water systems) don’t jive and there is at least a safety system built into ours that will start to dump the water if there are prolonged temps below freezing. In order to avoid that scenario we set the onboard heating that runs on the LPG to it’s lowest setting and crossed our fingers as the temps kept dropping and our altitude and the snow on the side of the road kept increasing.
Eventually we hit the summit of the mountain pass and started the decent, water systems all protected and intact! Eventually we were out of the snow and we were both quite relieved. I have to give the Croatian road workers credit, there wasn’t any snow or ice on the roads for our entire transit. Pft…chains, who needs ‘em!
After a very long and stressful drive full of detours and road closures we were excited to finally get to the camping at Kamp odmorište Skradinske delicije near Krka National Park. According to the information we had been able to gather the site was still open for a few more days before shuttering for the season. It was nearly dark when we rolled up and our hearts sunk as we gazed across the empty site, no lights on and a barrier across the entrance. We pulled into the empty lot adjacent and started to ponder our options.
Shani got out of the rig and went to have a look at the closed reception office. Her recon yielded two phone numbers and after no answer at the first we got ahold of someone on the second and they assured us they would be there in a few minutes to open the camp for us. Unbelievable! As we waited a Croatian guy came up and in a mix of Croatian, German and French told us about another campsite that was open just up the hill so in theory we had a second option. True to their word the owners showed up, did a quick clean of the bathrooms and we were set for the next two days.
The camping is about a kilometer from the entrance to the National Park so it’s incredibly convenient for a visit. Similar to Plitvice, Krka is a series of streams and waterfalls in some wooded hills that you reach from a trail that wanders along the river that is connected to Skradin (the village adjacent to the park) and the marina there. As it was late in the season we had the place mostly to ourselves, though there were some people site seeing and there was a little shop open in the park selling sandwiches and drinks.
Krka is a pretty stunning place and well worth the visit. The park itself is quite large and we only visited the most popular section called Skradinski buk. There is a path that winds around and over the water with plenty of overlooks and photo opportunities.
Back in the day the locals had used the river for milling and then later power generation. The old buildings are still there and you can go in and visit the mill. During our visit there was some refurbishment of the old power station going on.
From Wikipedia – “Skradinski buk is one of the most attractive parts of the park. It is a massive, clear, natural pool with high waterfalls at one end and cascades at the other. It is the lowest of the three sets of waterfalls formed along the Krka river. In an area 400 m in length and 100 m in width there are 17 waterfalls and the total difference in height between the first and the last falls is 47.7 m. Due to the wealth and variety of geomorphological forms, vegetation, and the various effects caused by the play of light on the whirlpools, Skradinski buk is considered to be one of the most beautiful calcium carbonate waterfalls in Europe.”
We had a lovely picknick lunch overlooking the falls and just enjoyed drinking in the beauty of the place.
After the park we had a wander around the old village including the fortress remains on the hill overlooking the village and marina. Portions of the village are quite quaint and it does retain some of the old European village charm with the narrow streets and cobble stone. There was one small market open and a few restaurants, enough for us to get the basics while we were there.
Or decision to change our route had proven to be a good one. We were quite satisfied with our visit to Krka National Park and felt fortunate to have found campsite owners willing to take us in at the end of the season. Stay tuned as we head back north to Pag island and the massive Simuni Camping Village.