On June 6 2019 my mom, friend Fiorella, Onawa and I drove through Bosnia in rout to Zadar Croatia. We were about forty-five minutes south of Zadar, thirty minutes north of Split on the A1 highway when we drove over the Datoteck crescent arched bridge. The bridge which stands high above a pristine bay gave us a view of the adorable Skradrin town from a distance. The bay leads to a harbor where the river meets the sea like a gateway to Krka National Park. We vowed that we wouldn’t leave Croatia before going there. It worked out that I had to change Zadar plans because of Onawa’s newly diagnosed Addison’s Disease, enabling my mom and I to stay in Skradin the week of Labor Day.
We came in on Friday August 30 from Zagreb in a Blah Blah Car. The driver was headed to Split for his art exhibition with his little dog. His dog was so cute, she hates driving so grabs his hand whenever she’s scared.
Our driver dropped us off at our guesthouse, after settling in we went to explore the quaint town. We stopped at a coffee shop for a break when the thunder started, so loud that it seemed to echo through the stone brick buildings through the streets. Just as we thought, maybe we should head back to the apartment the sky opened up pouring down rain cooling the 90-degree stone streets instantly. The rain was only temporary, thankfully because we had dinner ideas, I was keen to try peka and had an appetite for the huge meal since we hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
When the sun returned we walked over to Konoba Toni where we discussed the exciting dinner options. There was a big sign for peka outside the restaurant. After checking the Trip Advisor ratings I ordered the octopus peka. It’s required to be ordered two hours in advance, that way it would be ready when we return. The fish and octopus peka had a three-person minimum, I was confident we could eat three people’s worth.
Peka is a traditional Dalmatian way of cooking. The meat which can be fish, lamb, or octopus is cut up with vegetables, covered in red wine inside a stainless-steel round baking dish. A hot slab that’s been heated with bright burning coals is brushed off then replaced with the baking dish. A cast-iron bell-shaped lid is brought down by a chain to cover the dish. Once covered the woman surrounded the cast iron bell with hot coals where it’s left to cook slowly. The process produces tender perfectly flavored meat and soft vegetables. I posted a video about our peka on YouTube.
After dinner our server brought us complimentary rose brandy. It was very strong, but the rose could still be tasted through the alcohol which left a lovely aftertaste.
The following day we woke up early to head to Krka National Park. First we bought a three-day pass for three hundred and twenty Kuna per person which is $47.50 USD. Then hopped in on the next boat. The boat was loaded with people from a Split tour group. I’m told that the summer here is always busy, but the autumn and winter are much quieter and really beautiful.
The boats go to Krka every half hour in the summer, which meant we had a half hour to see the waterfalls without many people. We took some amazing pictures then headed down to swim. We found a cave near the swimming area and set up camp, then swam for a few hours, my goggles made swimming around looking at fish fun. There are a lot of pretty trout and several other types of fish around the rocks.
The second day we went to look for the boats to Roški Slap, we were under the impression that all three boats were covered in the cost of the ticket, but when we walked all the way up the hill to the other station in Skradinski Buk we were told those tickets are 130 Kuna per person. We didn’t bring enough cash and didn’t have our cards on us, compelling us to plan to go the next day. We walked Skradinski Buk trail where we saw few more small cascades and lots of trout. The trail returned us back to the main area where we swam some more and then went back to Skradin for dinner at Konoba Dalmatino.
On our third day we woke up early then headed to the ticketing booth at the top of the hill above the second waterfalls in Krka. We bought our tickets then walked the 400 meters to the boat while eating figs off the trees along the trail. There is a boat about every hour, or two, and there is an option of a two and a four-hour tour. The two-hour tour is only to Visovac island and the four hour tour goes to both Visovac Island and to Roški Slap. We did the second which also tours Visovac’s Fraciscan monastery and a historic Gothic style church that was extended and restored in the Baroque style in the late 17th century rests. The grounds of the monastery are lovely, we only had thirty minutes to walk around, but it was enough.
Once at the next stop the boat pulls right up against Roški Slap to allow us to take pictures of it, but we were silly and didn’t realize this was the waterfall we came for. We got out of the boat and with only one hour and a half available darted to find the other waterfalls. After two sets of steps and a long pathway we were twenty minutes into our self-tour excursion. We found the other boat dock for the third boat trip we read about, but no one was there.
We didn’t see anyone working, but we did find some ripe figs to jump and climb for. They were some of the sweetest figs I’d had all season. After pilling some into our mouths we turned around to continue to the pedestrian bridge which is a loop trail for the cascade falls called the necklaces. Ozidana pećina which means walled cave is about two hundred and fifty meters up the steps, or a trail. We didn’t have enough time to do both the loop and the cave because we still wanted to swim. When we completed the whole loop, we asked for directions to the waterfall. We were directed to go back where we started out – that’s when we realized finally that we already saw the waterfall we were hunting for.
It took an hour on the boat to return to where we entered back to Skradinski Buk. We went to a café for a coffee and explored the watermills and the hydropower plant remains which began operations in 1895, only a few days after Nikola Tesla’s hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls. If we were to do the trip again I would stay in Skradin for the first three days, then take a taxi, or drive to stay in Roški Slap at the hotel for another two days, that way I would be able to do all the hikes and the third boat trip. A week is a good amount of time to stay in the area, there is a lot to see and the water is amazing to relax in. There are also other tours to take, one to the Roman military camp Burnum which looks amazing, but I didn’t have time this trip.