We weighed anchor at Rasline and motored across to the east side of the lake, under another road bridge and further up the Krka river to the small town of Skradin. We planned to stay here for a couple of days and picked up a mooring buoy near to the town.
Skradin has a long history as the town dates back to 33BC. It was the border between Illyrian and Liburnian tribes and when it was taken by the Romans it became the capital of Liburnia and was an important port. It has also been the Capital of Croatia and Bosnia, a part of the Ottoman Empire, a Venetian town and then held by Napoleon’s forces before becoming part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Over time Skradin went into decline as power shifted to nearby Šibenik, until the tourism boom put it on the map again.
Skradin is now a thriving town with narrow cobbled streets, arches, stairways, churches and colourful waterside buildings, it is located at the entrance to Krka National Park and well known as a convenient base to visit the nearby Krka Falls.
As the fresh water comes down the river from the mountains it is said that you can drink the water from the surface here. The swans definitely seem to thrive on it.
Private boats are not allowed to go further up the river and so you have to take one of the frequent ferries. We booked onto the first one the following morning hoping to get there before the day would get too hot.
The next day, we started early with a quick coffee and croissant in a local cafe before boarding the ferry. We set off up the river where there was no wind and the water was like glass reflecting the trees in the early morning sun.
The ferry took us up to Skradinski Buk, the longest series of waterfalls on the Krka River, it gushes over 800 meters with 17 steps. The waterfalls were created by travertine barriers, islands and lakes. There is a good trail and bridges to allow you to walk almost 2km around the falls giving stunning views along the way.
The Watermills in the park belong to pre-industrial times, the preserved mills date back to the early 19th century. Inside many of them now are demonstrations given by local people in traditional costumes displaying the old skills of milling wheat, cloth washing, carpet weaving, blacksmithing and methods of food preparation.
The remnants of the former Krka Hydropower Plant can also be seen here. The power plant was built under the Stradinski Buk waterfall and began operations on 28 August 1895. Thanks to the builders, Mayor Ante Šupuk and his son Marko, along with the engineer Vjekoslav Meischner, Šibenik received electricity before many European cities.
It was the second such hydro dam in the world. The first was built on the Niagara Falls based on Tesla’s design. That dam was put into operation on 26th August 1895, only 2 days before the Krka dam. However, the nearby city of Buffalo had to wait another year to see the first burst of power when transmission lines were eventually completed. The Krka dam continued to operate until World War I.
Walking between the Falls, there is plenty of flora and fauna to enjoy with wild flowers, trees overhanging the walkways, and lily pads in the water.
There are apparently 19 species of reptiles in the park, one venomous snake and two semi-venomous, we were pleased to see the friendly four lined snake who was very happy to pose for a photo!
The water was so clear that you could easily see the fishes enjoying the sunshine.
We then took another boat further up the river to a second set of waterfalls.
The first stop was to the small Island of Visovac in the middle of the river.
Here there is the 15th century Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy and the Church of Our Lady of Visovac. The Church was extended in 1694 which due to the limited space on the island, made it unsymmetrical and the altar was not central so another was built. Now the Church rather uniquely has two main altars!
After a short stop to look around the Monastery and Church, we continued on towards Roški Slap for the second set of waterfalls. As we arrived, the boat positioned us right in front of the the base of the falls where the water tumbled between the vegetation
We got off the boat and walked around the falls where there was again old watermills and traditional workers demonstrating their skills. The remainder of the falls here had much smaller cascades which the locals call ‘the necklaces’.
This is a picure of a map on the wall in the monastery which shows the route of our trip up the river.
We returned back to Skradin on the ferry, and after a very hot day we enjoyed a cool swim and a cold beverage on the boat.
The next day we motored back out to the lake and anchored in the northwest corner in the River Guduća. A very peaceful secure and sheltered anchorage surrounded by hills. The river is definitely off the beaten track as we were alone except for the swans and an evening visit from the local fishermen to collect the days catch from their fishing pots!
We had decided to visit the UK for a couple of weeks so while we were here in this tranquil bay we spent our time arranging our trip home (we had surprisingly good mobile data access considering our remote location!)……along with cleaning and laundry as we had unlimited fresh water, swimming, paddleboarding and a bit of relaxing!