It would be difficult to argue with the notion that the waterfalls of Croatia rank amongst the world’s most picturesque. From the UNESCO-listed Plitvice Lakes to the enchanting Krka National Park, many of Croatia’s best waterfalls have formed amidst limestone or karst landscapes, known for their unique geological features such as sinkholes, caves, and underground rivers. The minerals in such areas also contribute to the vivid colours of the waters, often casting them in bright shades of turquoise or emerald.
So, what are the best-known Croatian waterfalls? Let’s plunge right in.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
UNESCO describes Plitvice Lakes National Park as “magnificent” and “strikingly beautiful” in its listing as a World Heritage site. Indeed, this karst landscape of lakes, caves and, of course, waterfalls in Croatia has an otherworldly quality. It’s a collection of luminous lakes separated into haphazard tiers and interlinked by myriad cascades, much of it covered in lavish moss. These are all tufa waterfalls. The tufa, also known as travertine, has been formed over thousands of years from dissolved calcium bicarbonate.
Veliki Slap: The Tallest Waterfall in Croatia?
The Great Waterfall, also known as Veliki Slap, is a major feature of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. With an approximate drop of 256 feet, it’s the park’s tallest waterfall and often cited as being the tallest waterfall in Croatia. Surrounded by dense beech, fir, and spruce forests, the organic nature of the waterfall is accentuated by the moss covering its surfaces.
Meet another gem of Plitvice Lakes National Park: the Sastavci Waterfall. With an 85-foot drop, this captivating cascade is fed by Novakovica Lake. As you admire the waterfall’s lush surroundings, you’ll be struck by the rich array of trees and vegetation that frame its multiple tiers.
Waterfalls of Krka National Park
Prepare to be enthralled by the waterfalls of Krka National Park. Home to seven awe-inspiring cascades, this park features tufa formations that create intricate steps, caves, and shapes. As the water weaves its way through the moss-covered landscape, you’ll feel as if you’ve entered a fairy tale. Discover the wonders of the Krka River, from the 66-foot Bilušića Buk to the tallest waterfall, Manojlovac, standing at almost 200 feet tall. Rošnjak, Miljacka Slap, Roski Slap, and Skradinski Buk complete this captivating collection of waterfalls in Croatia which are located in this wondrous location.
The rural hamlet of Rastoke in central Croatia sits at the confluence of two rivers. It’s here that the Slunjčica River flows into the Korana and, where it does so, there is a cluster of 23 waterfalls. One of the things that makes these stand out amongst Croatian waterfalls is the way in which they have been integrated into the settlement. The traditional Croatian houses and buildings not only sit alongside the waterfalls, but are built around them, creating a bucolic blend of the manmade and the natural.
Whilst most of Croatia’s best waterfalls are found in its central mountain belt, there are examples of cascades elsewhere. The Sopot Waterfall is located in Floricici in the region of Istria. It plunges some 82 feet into a vivid turquoise lake. However, this is not a year round phenomenon, usually drying out during dry summer months.
The waterfalls of Croatia are an important part of the country’s natural beauty, closely tied to its geology and geography. The karst landscape of Croatia is unique, and its waterfalls, rivers, and underground features make it a fascinating place.