Waterfalls in Croatia: Wonders of Nature

Actually, our Adriatic country is famous for its gorgeous beaches and beautiful islands. But there is another natural phenomenon Croatia is known for and it also has to do with the liquid element: Croatia's famous waterfalls!

Below we present our top 7 must-see waterfalls to make your holiday in Croatia an unforgettable experience.

#1 – Veliki Slap (Plitvice Lakes)

Veliki Slap (The Great Waterfall) is Croatia's biggest waterfall and can be found along the Korana River, in the Plitvička Jezera National Park.

The park is divided into two sections, the upper and lower lakes, and the Veliki Slap can be found at the end of the final section of the lower lakes area. The Great Waterfall, which falls 78 (!) metres in just one section, is considered a highlight of the Plitvice National Park

Near the falls you’ll find numerous trails and bridges from which you can see fish, waterfowl, and the spectacular caverns and rock formations all around … and from the main entrance (entrance 1) of the park you can enjoy a fantastic view of the Great Waterfall and the final section of the lower lakes – so don’t forget to pack your camera!

Does Plitvice Lakes allow visitors to swim?

To protect the park, swimming is not permitted within Plitvice, particularly given the million tourists that visit the park each year. There are however some great places nearby where you can cool off on a hot summer's day.

Veliki Slap waterfallVeliki Slap waterfall in the Plitvice National Park

#2 – Mrežnica river falls (near Karlovac)

The river Mrežnica can be found in Karlovac County. It’s one of Croatia's most beautiful and remarkable natural streams, with various canyons, waterfalls, springs, and mills along its 63km long course.

There are close to 90 waterfalls along the Mrežnica set in spectacular scenery, and although none of these waterfalls are as high as those seen e.g. in the Plitvice Lakes or Krka National Park, they are so unusual and unique that they are well worth the journey.

Swimming is possible all along the river, and in most spots you’ll be joined by far more locals than tourists, making for a unique and authentic Croatia experience.

Waterfalls along the Mrežnica riverWaterfalls along the Mrežnica river

#3 – Zrmanja waterfalls (near Šibenik)

The rugged and rough Zrmanja river, which can be found about 35km inland in between the towns of Zadar and Šibenik, features no less than 12 cascades along its winding route.

Certain sections of the river are perfect for extreme sports, and in fact the Zrmanja is one of the top destinations in Croatia to go river rafting. Other parts of the river are more relaxing, peaceful and quiet, and potentially make for great destinations for a family holiday.

The spring of Zrmanja is located near the southern peak of the Pljesevica mountain and is characteristic for its location at the bottom of avery steep, almost 200m high funnel-shaped rock called Misije.

Kayaking along the Zrmanja riverKayaking along the Zrmanja river

#4 – Skradinski Buk (Krka National Park)

The Skradinski Buk waterfall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the Krka National Park. It is located near the town of Skradin and is the largest waterfall on the Krka River and one of Croatia's most well-known landmarks.

The word Buk means "cascade" in Croatian, and Skradinski Buk is the national park's most popular and impressive waterfall. In fact it is actually a group of approximately 20 separate cascades over 800m of this stretch of the Krka River.

Can you swim in Skradinski Buk?

Summer used to be a particularly good time to visit the waterfall since it was possible to swim in the cool waters at the base of the waterfall, however swimming was prohibited in Krka National Park at the beginning of 2021.

To get to the falls, there is a ferry from the entrance of the national park that can take you close to the falls, or if you prefer to walk, there are well-marked routes and bridges that will take you there in approximately 30 minutes.

Skradinski Buk waterfall in Krka National ParkSkradinski Buk waterfall in Krka National Park

#5 – Rastoke waterfalls (near Slunj)

Rastoke is a small but lovely hamlet near Slunj, which is about 20km north of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. It is in Rastoke that the Slunjica and Korana rivers meet, forming dozens of smaller lakes, rapids, and waterfalls.

The Rastoke Falls is formed at the confluence of these two rivers. Here you can see a mass of emerald water tumbling over many smallers falls and rapids on their way downstream

Rastoke makes for a quieter and less crowded alternative to the Plitvička Jezera for those who prefer a little elbow room while enjoying the view of a spectacular waterfall. Despite its tiny size, the town and falls are a popular enough tourist destination that you’ll find plenty of housing and dining options.

The river is also known for the many watermills along its course, which were once used to power local grain mills. Consequently it’s a popular spot for photographers and artists wanting to capture the area's magical character.

Rastoke waterfall near SlunjRastoke waterfall near Slunj

#6 – Sastavci waterfalls (Plitvice Lakes)

The Sastavci Slap falls are located on the Korana River in Plitvice Lakes National Park's lower lakes section, not far from the Veliki Slap (see #1 above). Various other adjacent falls are visible, leaving the impression that the landscape is formed entirely of waterfalls.

At Sastavci the water torrents over various dark brown rocky outcrops before ending in the clear pool below. The best place to view Sastavci Slap is from the viewpoint at entrance 1 – from here you can see both Sastavci Slap and Veliki Slap may both be seen from here.

Insider tip: Pay a visit to Croatia’s national parks!

Our guide to Croatian national parks contains information on each park's location, what makes it special, what you can do while you're visiting the park.

Sastavci waterfalls in Plitvička JezeraSastavci waterfalls in Plitvička Jezera

#7 – Roški Slap (Krka National Park)

Roški slap can be found in Krka National Park, about 35km downstream from the source of the Krka river. Along with Skradinski Buk, it’s considered one of the highlights of the national park.

The falls are approximately 650m long and are made up of 12 linked cascades with a drop of nearly 25 metres, making them magnificent even by Croatian waterfall standards.

Insider tip: Don’t stop at Skradinski Buk!

Many visitors don’t continue on to Roški Slap, stopping at Skradinski Buk, which is closer to the park entrance, but we strongly advise you to visit both! The cost of the ferry rideis included in the park entrance fee, and the 20-minute cruise is breathtaking.

Roški Slap is noted for its numerous watermills (most of which are currently used as souvenir and gift stores). Above the waterfall, there are beautiful natural surroundings and a cave worth investigating.

Woman swimming at Roški SlapWoman swimming at Roški Slap (pre-2021!)

Final thoughts

Visiting any of these waterfalls is a fantastic opportunity to get away from people and reconnect with nature!

Therefore, we recommend not simply rushing through your holiday and ticking off all seven famous waterfalls as quickly as possible. Rather, concentrate on 1-2 destinations and take the time to experience them with all your senses!

Further reading