Waterfalls and a Museum without walls – Krka and UNESCO World Heritage Trogir
From our stopover in Zadar, we continued further south in this fascinating country to explore the unspoiled beauty of another National Park – Krka – and the town of Trogir. The scenery on this next leg of the trip is really unbeatable, from the perfect coastline to towering mountains, and a road trip is the best way to experience Croatia’s stunning countryside.
Zadar to Trogir isn’t far in terms of distance, but driving on the smaller roads does add some time – as well as great views – to the route. You could drive straight to Trogir fairly quickly via the A1 and use the town as your base to spend a few days in Krka, but we decided to do our sightseeing as we drove, with a handful of stops in the mountains.
The Entrance to Krka
It’s around 70km from Zadar to the official entrance of the National Park at Lozovac, which translates into an hour’s drive along the A1. Exit the motorway at Šibenik if you’re coming from the north, following the country approach road from Sibenik-Tromilja-Lozovac, following the signs. You can also go from Knin-Drnis-Tromilja-Lozovac for an alternative (and very pretty) route.
We followed the road north east through the mountains to Roški slap for our first stop, then doubled back to Lozovac and Šibenik, which worked well for a tour of the area. When you’re ready to drive on for the night, follow the 8 to Primošten and stop briefly for postcard perfect views over the Mediterranean – this is where most photos for guidebooks to Croatia are taken from! The coast road ends up in Trogir and it takes about an hour from Šibenik.
Things to See in Krka
The sprawling National park is full of amazing spots with panoramic views over the mountains and water and you won’t be disappointed by the sights wherever you choose to go. Follow one of the trails for a hike and the opportunity to find a remote and beautiful picnic spot – nature lovers will be in heaven! This video gives a taste of what to expect.
Roški slap, however, is a great destination to aim for when you’re exploring Krka. This semi-famous site isn’t too crowded and especially noteworthy for its beautiful waterfall (Ogrlica) and the wild feeling of the surroundings. Enjoy a swim (but watch out for water snakes) followed by a rustic lunch in an old fashioned konoba (tavern style restaurant) to refuel for the next part of the drive.
Head further north for a glimpse of the Krka River canyon or drive down to one of the main waterfalls, Skradinski buk, for more amazing swimming amongst the tiers and cascades of the water. The town of Šibenik is also well worth a visit for the Cathedral of St. Jacob, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fascinating architectural monument.
To continue the adventure into the evening, pitch a tent on the outskirts of the National Park at Camping Vranjica Belvedere. It’s about 5 km outside of Trogir in the direction of Šibenik and makes a great place to spend the evening under the stars if the weather is right. It’s a 3 star campsite with good facilities, including a shuttle boat to the Riva in Trogir where you can find restaurants and bars for an evening out.
Trogir itself is more than just a convenient place to find a hotel after visiting Krka. The whole of the Old Town has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and today the town is like a museum without walls – a treasure trove of art, architecture and inscriptions.
The heart of this interesting town is actually on a small islet, which lies between the mainland and Ciovo Island. Not surprisingly, therefore, Trogir was an important city throughout history for rules along the Adriatic coastline and for more than 2,000 years the Greeks, Romans, Venetians and French have fought over occupation of the city. Today, you can see the influence of all these diverse groups on the cultural heritage and buildings.
The Old Town islet has one of the highest densities of churches in the world, with Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque churches all jostling for attention amongst the older Roman, Kairos and Croatian architecture. Head first to St Lawrence Cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century, with an amazing portal from Master Radovan. There’s a small entrance fee (20kn), it’s well worth the price for both the amazing art inside the cathedral and the views from the tower. The Fortress Kamerlengo, at the north peak of the islet, is another great spot from which to admire the streets of Trogir.
Where to Eat & Sleep
If you’re looking for picnic ingredients or a meal to cook back at the campsite, the Green Market is the place to go. It’s situated just next to the bridge in the mainland part of Trogir and is packed with fresh fruit, vegetables, olive oil and rajika (the local homemade whiskey).
For an evening out, it’s easy to find a great bar and restaurant. All the places to eat and drink are concentrated around the Riva on the islet, so simply wander around and see what catches your eye.
Unlike Pula and Zadar, Trogir is a big tourist destination in Croatia, thanks to its fascinating sights. Whilst this means it can get busy during peak seasons, it also makes finding accommodation a simple task. There are supposedly 20,000 beds here, although hotels in the Old Town islet are limited and expensive. For the best choice, drive along the main road on the land side of town towards Seget.
Hotel Monika is a four-star hotel in the heart of Trogir Old Town. If you don’t have a car, the front desk can organize trips to the Krka Nature Park and other excursions. There are only 16 rooms in this hotel.
Stafileo Palace has affordable rooms in a 15th century protected palace. It is only 20 metres from Trogir main square. There are only 6 rooms in this hotel so book early if you want a room in this old palace.