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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Zadar, Sibenik & Krka National Park

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

We continued our journey to revisit some of the places we saw during our 2015 visit to Croatia. After visiting Plitvice, it was a 1.5 hour drive to Zadar. Zadar is considered the top of the Dalmatian Coast and has a rich history as well. It was our first dose of the beach on this trip, so we spent some time at the beach, while still leaving some time to explore Zadar, Sibenik & Krka National Park.


Zadar is a coastal town in Croatia that has a picturesque Old Town, which is located on a small island from the mainland. To get into the Old Town you walk across a bridge through the Old City gates. One of the best things to do in Zadar is just to explore on foot, as everything is within walking distance of each other. There are several historical sites such as the Church of St. Donat, the Forum and the Zadar Cathedral and Bell tower.

Zadar is also a main port for several cruise ships and they can be seen docking. However, there was definitely less ships there than when we visited in 2015.

St. Donat Church with Zadar Bell Tower - Zadar
Walking up to the Zadar Old Town Gate

Also along the ocean walk there is a Sea Organ, which is an architectural piece that says music notes by the waves crashing up against the tubes underneath the marble steps. We have only seen something like this in Zadar!

Beaches North of Zadar

Our accommodation was north of Zadar in the town of Petrcane, where there were several beaches nearby. One day we went to Petrcane Beach and the other day we spent at Zdrijac Beach near Nin. The water was pretty shallow at both beaches and was perfect water temperature with it being just slightly cooler than bath water!

Petrcane Beach

At Petrcane Beach the shoreline was rocky but about 20 feet out there was a sandbar that both the kids could stand on. They also had an inflatable playground on the water. For about $10 USD per hour you could go out and play on that as well as go down the slides. Alex and the kids had a blast doing it! They also had lifejackets which was a plus!

Zdrijac Beach at Nin was a sandbar beach, so it was obviously a sandy beach, and there were lots of windsurfers on the water!

Nearby was the Old Town of Nin, which is one of the oldest towns in the Mediterranean and they believe it is about 10,000 years old.

Old Town of Nin, Croatia
Old Town Walls of Nin, Croatia

Day Trip from Zadar to Krka National Park & Sibenik

We decided to break up some of the beach time we had in Zadar and headed an hour south to Krka National Park and Sibenik for a day trip. It was about a 1 hr. drive to Krka National Park from Zadar and a little over 1 hour drive return from Sibenik. Both were towns that we visited on our trip to Croatia in 2015, but we had enjoyed both so thought it might be fun to go back.

Krka National Park

Another spectacular national park in Croatia, Krka also boasts of a waterfalls. The park is actually quite large, so you can do quite a variety of things including going to a few other locations within the Park (but you'd definitely need transportation between them). However, the part that stood out to us from our visit in 2015 was the Skradinski Buk waterfall. There are actually a couple of different ways to go to the waterfall – either by boat or bus. The boat departs from Skradin and does cost extra, whereas if you drive to Lozovac there is a shuttle bus that takes you to the walking path complimentary. Because we are cheap, we opted for the bus, but judging from driving along the road and looking at the river below, I’m sure the boat ride would offer some amazing views.

View of Skradin from Road between Skradin & Lozovac . You can enter Krka National Park from either of these towns.

Admission to Krka National Park

The admission to the park was the same as it was to Plitvice –250 Kunas (about $39 USD or $49 CDN) per person and children (ages 7-18) are 70 Kuna. As I mentioned in our Plitivice blog this was more expensive than we remember it in 2015.

The shuttle bus was a 5-10 minute drive, but was quite windy as we descended down to the river level. The bus drops you off close to the start of the boardwalk trail that takes you through the upper levels of the river where there are natural and man-made dams built in and even several little waterfalls, before you come out at the bottom where the large and main waterfall – Skradinski Buk – is located.

Up until the end of 2020 you could swim in the area below the falls, but as of January 2021 this was discontinued and there is no swimming allowed. We did know this before arriving so we weren’t completely disappointed, but after walking around in 35+ Celsius weather it would have been so amazing to go for a swim there!

Skradinski Buk Waterfall - Krka National Park

Sibenik Old Town

Sibenik has a quaint Old Town in a bay where the Krka river flows into the ocean and is only a 15-20 minute drive from Krka National Park. The town is the only town in Croatia to host two UNESCO World Heritage sites. We spent the latter part of the afternoon exploring the little alleyways that took you through the Old Town and showing the kids some of the things we did during our trip there in 2015. Sibenik also didn’t feel as busy or touristy as all the other places we had been so far in Croatia. There were definitely tourists there, but it wasn’t packed full of them like we have experienced in some of the other towns and destinations.

The most eye-catching part of Sibenik is the St. Michaels Fortress located at the top of the Old Town. This medieval fortress was an important defense along the Dalmatian Coast as early as the 12th century and today it hosts different events and is a museum. You can also walk along the fortress wall for a view of the inlet and town below. Just be prepared to climb lots of steps to get to the fortress – as it literally sits above the whole rest of the Old Town. (Honestly, it's not too bad, but just better to be prepared!)

St. Michaels Fortress at the top of Sibenik Old Town

Another fun area to check out in the Old Town is the square in front of St. James Cathedral, which is a combination of gothic and renaissance art. It was constructed between 1431-1535. When we were there in the late afternoon the courtyard was completely in the shade so it was a nice reprieve from the hot sun.

Overall, we just relaxed and explored Sibenik and had some dinner in a quaint courtyard before heading back to Zadar in the evening. The nice thing about the area is you could either spend a little time just to get a taste or stay longer and there would still be lots to do at Krka National Park and Sibenik.

The Zadar area is a nice place to explore with lots of offerings nearby including national parks, beaches and historical Old Towns. A great place to stop as you head on a coastal journey either north or southbound.


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