Formerly the ancient port of Scardona, the picturesque small town of Skradin sits on the right bank of the Krka River with a mulberry alley. Virgil once said that the mulberry is the smartest plant, as it awaits the warm weather and is the last to bloom. The leaves of the tree provide food for the mulberry tree butterfly, also called the mulberry silkworm, from which silk fibres can be obtained. The largest silkworm farm in Dalmatia was located in the town of Skradin in the first half of the 19th century.
Skradin currently is home to a fully equipped marina with 180 berths for yachts arriving via Lake Prukljan and Sibenik. The geographical location of Skradin and the Krka National Park enables boaters arriving from the sea to make a unique visit to the mainland national park, entering a river from which the sea receives huge amounts of fresh clean water as it flows over waterfalls and tufa barriers in the park. Skradin is the final sailing point, so yachtsmen can leave their vessels in the marina or at the anchorage across the marina. Further upstream, only boats departing from a nearby pier can be navigated upstream, transporting visitors into the Krka National Park to Skradinski Buk, the most famous and visited waterfall on the Krka River. Transportation with these boats is included in the price of National Park entrance tickets. Skradin may also be the first point of sailing for some boaters, given that the marina also offers a boat for weekly charter, so after visiting the park they can go to the sea.
Boaters who want to stretch their legs after sailing can also take the 3.4km pedestrian path from Skradin to Skradinski buk, which leads through a gentle and peaceful canyon through which the river flows. When one turns one’s eyes away from the blue of the river, one’s gaze rests upon the green cliffs of the canyon. These are also known as “brine” and are decorated with pines and cypresses. This trail is also the shortest bike route in the national park at 8.6 km long. It starts from Skradin and follows the Krka River upstream to Skradinski buk, from where it returns to Skradin. In the past it was possible to sail to Skradinski buk, and old ships from all over Dalmatia would transport cereals to the hundreds of mills that ran near the falls. Over land, alongside these ships, were carriages loaded with corn, grain and barley, which were drawn by horses, mules and donkies.
When the tufa barrier of Skradinski Buk rose from the deep green, the water began to flow all the way to the Roški Waterfall and along the three kilometres of the lower course of the Čikola River, forming one of the most unusual and beautiful landscapes in the park. Around Skradinski buk, a 1.9km-long path leads over wooden bridges, passing through a series of watermills - which today constitute an ethno-village - and the remains of an old hydroelectric power plant. It is still unknown to many that this power plant in Krka was the second hydroelectric power plant built in the world.
From Skradinski buk through the emerald green canyon of the Krka River there are boat trips organized that provide visitors access to the peaceful oasis where the island of Visovac is situated, through the attractive strait of “Među gredama” and on to the Roški waterfall. There are two boat trips from Skradinski buk. The first is to the island of Visovac for two hours, with a half-hour tour of the island accompanied by a guide. The second is to the Roski Waterfall for four hours. It includes a hop-off sightseeing stop at Visovac for half an hour and a free one-and-a-half-hour tour of the Roška Waterfall.
Visovac Island is one of the most important natural and cultural sites in Croatia. The Franciscan monastery of Our Lady of Mercy was built on the island in 1445 as well as the church of Our Lady of Visovac. These buildings blended beautifully into the landscape of Visovac Lake, creating a unity of structure and nature that provides a unique aesthetic in the surroundings.
The Roški waterfall is called the spacious waterfall, standing at 22.5 m high, and consists of the main waterfall, countless branches, cascades and tufa islands. The main waterfall is located at the end of the barrier where Krka crashes into the Visovac Lake from a fifteen-meter height. It is preceded by a series of parallel waterfalls, commonly known as Necklaces.
If you are on the Roški waterfall, you can take a boat trip to the monastery of Krka and the medieval fortresses Nečven and Trošenj. The excursion lasts two and a half hours including sightseeing of the monastery for half an hour. This spiritual centre of Orthodox believers is a gentle gem located next to the river Krka and was built on the foundations of an older eremitic monastery. This monastery is first mentioned in historical documents dated back to 1402. Given the high position of these buildings on the cliffs of the canyon, the fortifications can only be viewed properly from a boat.
For all those boaters who have wished to travel by land, there is a possibility of renting a mini-bus which can be taken all the way to Burnum, a Roman military camp filled with pearls of ancient history. It was built during the transition from the old to the new era in a position from which the crossing over the river Krka would have been monitored. It is a valuable cultural and historical heritage site within the Krka National Park.
This area at the junction of salt and fresh water offers so many unique experiences and so much important cultural history. It should not be missed when planning your sailing tour of the Croatian coast.
By Public Institution "National Park Krka"