Skradinski Buk was one of two main waterfalls (or waterfall networks) featured in Krka National Park. Similar to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the waterfalls found in Krka were karstic with numerous segments and tiers of cascades and waterfalls weaving their way between ponds, vegetation, mini-islands, and even a tiny (albeit made-for-tourists) village.
Unlike what we had done for the Plitvice Waterfalls (where we treated the whole region as one giant network that we could easily tackle in one integrated excursion), we had to split up the Krka Waterfalls into Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap. That was because unless we had planned ahead or were willing to spend an extra day or two here, we would have had to catch one of the infrequent boats covering the distance between the two waterfalls. Plus, this particular boat ride was not included in the ticket price, which by the way was only good for the day (we found this out the hard way, which we'll get into shortly).
Anyhow, we discovered that it was quite easy to spend a few hours just strolling amongst the maze of boardwalks, spurs, and overlooks that ultimately added to the overall experience at this waterfall. It was almost as if a pocket of the Upper Lakes of Plitvice Lakes was transplanted into the Šibenik-Knin part of Croatia's Northern Dalmatia region.
Now with that said, there were a few key differences between our experience here and that of Plitvice. First and foremost was that this part seemed to be a bit more commercialized and developed. We sensed this firsthand because of the sheer quantity of kiddie groups running amok within the park along with that made-for-tourist village within the top of the falls. While the village was charming and even relaxing (except for the everpresent cigarette smoke), I was certain some liberties were taken to divert part of the falls for aesthetics while also allowing for waste to get dumped right in.
Second, I've seen photographs and post cards of some people swimming in the large plunge pool between the footbridge and the main waterfall itself (see photo at the top of this page for an idea of the context of that plunge pool). While we did see a handful of people swim near the edges of this plunge pool as well as closer to the smaller waterfalls, we only saw one person swim in the main part of the plunge pool. I would guess that the cool weather and threatening rain had something to do with fewer people jumping in. Even with that said, this contrasted with Plitvice because the waters there were off limits to swimming.
Finally, we noticed some hydroelectric activity going on downstream of the Skradinski Buk network of waterfalls. So, again, there was some human intervention affecting parts of this waterfall whereas Plitvice had been protected in the true sense of the word.
As for experiencing the falls, the way we did it was that we bought an entrance ticket for Krka National Park from the charming small town of Skradin (where we were also staying for the night). This ticket was only good for the day we had bought it. In our situation, we bought the ticket at around 2pm or 3pm, but it was only good until the park closed (within a few hours). That time wouldn't carry over to the next day (which we found out the hard way when we went to Roški Slap).
But the ticket at least included the boat ride right up to Skradinski Buk from the town of Skradin. That boat ride was quite slow moving and consumed roughly a half-hour. The boat appeared to depart roughly once every half-hour from either end at Skradin or from Krka.
Once we were at the boat dock near the falls, we passed through a little quad area where there were food stalls as well as children playing on the lawn. There were even people (kids and adults alike) feeding the geese in the ponds. In addition, there were restrooms requiring payment. Interestingly, it turned out that we saw more restrooms further within the park that didn't require payment.
Once we were past the very busy quad area, we then took our choice of paths to continue on the walk as we were faced with both ends of a long loop walk that pretty much took in the whole waterfall network this side of Krka National Park. We chose to walk in a counterclockwise manner (to our right) that started with a very long footbridge affording us wide open views of the main waterfall.
Beyond the bridge, the path ascended past a few trinket vendors and over to more views of the waterfall's upper cascades. There was also an informal lookout through a fence along a wall, but that only yielded limited partial views.
Climbing up more stairs, we then entered a very wide open area with a lot of space for peering into the next series of cascades (see adjacent photo). The most crowded part was typically closer to the bottom of the open area where there was a fairly contextual view of the overall cascades making up this section. We were also able to look further downstream towards the main falls from this spot. Given that there were large tour groups inundating the choice viewing spots, we took our time checking out other aspects of this open area before we seized our opportunity to check out the choice spot when the crowds died down momentarily.
Beyond this giant open area (I recalled that this was where we found the free restroom area after a short descent), the path continued to ascend higher up and into a charming little developed village area complete with museums, cafes, lookouts, mills, and even a captive mule. This was where I thought they might have taken liberties in altering parts of the watercourse while also allowing for dumping as well.
Personally, we would've chilled up here a little longer, but we're non-smokers and there was a bit too much second-hand cigarette smoke for our liking.
Just further upstream from this developed area, there was a car park. We figured out that this was where the mega-tours were coming from, but it might have also been the place to park the car had we self-driven directly here and opted not to take the boat. Nearby the car park, there was the start of a boardwalk that went right into a lush area and over the watercourse responsible for Skradinski Buk itself.
As we walked on this well-shaded and lush boardwalk, we noticed some smaller cascades at the uppermost reaches of Skradinski Buk while also taking spur paths towards overlooks of the same waterfalls we had seen up to this point but from the other side of the river.
The boardwalks continued in much the same manner as the Upper Lakes of Plitvice where we were walking above and under some of these smaller waterfalls. Towards the end of the boardwalks, we noticed some little pillars that look like they were supposed to hold up a boardwalk. Apparently, the track wasn't finished during our visit, but I'm sure they would be in a few weeks or days.
Finally, the track descended back towards the main quad area. Just before we made it all the way down, we stopped at another overlook of the main waterfall juxtaposed with the footbridge and even the hydro facility in the background. This overlook was what I'd consider to be the money shot of the Skradinski Buk part of the park (the photo at the top of this page was taken from here).
The nearest town to Skradinski Buk (besides Skradin, which is a charming little town in its own right and where we spent the night) is Šibenik. It's about 15- to 30 minutes drive. But again, since we stayed in Skradin, we didn't need to drive and were content with taking the boat up the river/lake towards the waterfalls.
As for getting to Skradin, we came here from Plitvice. It was about a two-hour drive to go from Plitvice to Skradin along Hwy 13 and then the high-speed motorway on Hwy 2 (toll required). If you were coming from Zadar, you'd be taking Hwy 2 to Skradin, and my guess is that would probably be between 30 minutes to an hour.
Krka National Park is well signposted as you're driving along Hwy 2. The good signage continue as you're driving the rural streets towards Skradin and further up Krka National Park towards even Visovac (the monastery island) as well as Roški Slap - the other main waterfall in the park.
If you're going the other way (north), realize that we took a little over an hour to drive along the Hwy 2 from the Skradin vicinity to Split when we left the park. So I'm guessing you'll take a similar amount of time if you were to come to Krka from Split.
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