In recent years there has been ever increasing trend to try and extend the tourist season in Croatia, especially in the coastal areas where the most popular destinations are located. While the capacities are near their limits during the summer months, in spring and autumn there are always free rooms and apartments available (and cheaper too). This free capacity creates an opportunity for guests that enjoy outdoor activities that are better suited to temperatures in the twenties than in high thirties.
By Zlatko Tomšić/AiC
►National Park Krka is trying to take advantage of this opportunity by rebranding itself as a destination for active vacations. One part of this process included creation and marking of almost five hundred kilometers of bike routes that connect some of the most well-known attractions but also take cyclists through some less known parts of the park that is worth visiting.
This project makes ►Krka an attractive destination for a mini training camp or an active getaway. Performance focused visitors will enjoy a mix of varied terrain and smooth roads with little traffic. Those looking to enjoy and explore can immerse themselves in cultural and gastronomic delights.
The fourteen routes are divided into three categories: mountain bike (5), road (3) and trekking (6). Mountain bike and road routes are designed for riders looking for a test of their fitness. Because the routes are challenging, the creators stress the importance of having appropriate bicycles for each type of route.
Mountain bike routes include technical terrain that requires both technical skills from the rider and mountain bike with front suspension fork and brakes intended for off-road use. Road routes range from 58 to 95 km with between 720 and 1500 meters of climbing. Road specific bike is recommended for these routes, along with two bottles of water and essential spares (spare tire, pump and a set of Allen keys).
Trekking routes are suitable for cyclists of all abilities looking to discover Krka on two wheels. They range from 10 – 25 km, can be ridden on bikes with narrower tires (30-35 mm) and suspension with a smaller amount of travel.
You need a daily ticket to enter and explore the park. It can be purchased on entrance points near all the attractions. There are three entry points – ►Skradin, ►Laškovica, and ►Puljane. The ticket price varies depending on the time of the year. When you buy the ticket along with all other relevant information about the park you can get the brochure with maps of all the bike routes. To be on the safe side, there are GPX tracks that you can use with your GPS bike computer available for download on the park’s website. Between maps, GPS tracks and road markings, there is little to no chance of getting lost.
The main attraction of the park is Krka River its canyon and its seven travertine barriers. While travertine is common in Dinaric Mountain range, Krka is an exception as it forms spectacular waterfalls on the river. ►Skradinski Buk and ►Roški slap are two of the most well-known and visited. But besides these two jewels, there is plenty to see and admire. The whole park is home to a large number of protected animals and plants. The views of the canyon are breathtaking, and there is a photo opportunity around every bend. Also, it is worth visiting Krka Monastery, ►Visovac – a small island with a convent, ►Burnum – the site of an ancient Roman settlement and ►Čikola canyon that flows into Krka.
Dalmatia region is a real cycling gem waiting to be discovered. The potential is enormous, and visitors often make favorable comparisons with better-known regions in France, Spain, and Italy that are traditional cycling destinations during the colder months of the year.
Krka is a perfect way to get a taste of what is on offer. Stunning nature, easily accessible, with ►Šibenik and ►Kornati National Park within a half hour drive, give visitors a possibility to combine cycling, culture, nature, and gastronomy. With this wide range of elements, it is possible to create a vacation to satisfy almost every type of cyclist.
Photo: for Krka National Park – 3K Cinema