Skradinski Buk is easily the most iconic and recognizable waterfall in Croatia. Located in the Krka National Park, this stunning multi-layered cascade has long caught the eye of Instagrammers and nature-lovers. So as I started planning my trip to Croatia, I instantly knew it would be on the list. In this article, I’ll share everything I learned about photographing Skradinski Buk, as well as tips and tricks for getting the best images.
- Why Photograph Skradinski Buk
- How to Photograph Skradinski Buk
- Getting to Skradinski Buk
- Photography Tips for Skradinski Buk
- The Verdict — Is Skradinski Buk Good for Photography?
Why Photograph Skradinski Buk
Skradinski Buk is a large multi-tiered waterfall on the river Krka in Croatia. It is the main attraction of the Krka National Park and arguably one of the most famous landmarks in the entire country.
And it’s easy to see why. While Skradinski Buk isn’t overly high, the water here runs through a series of wide ledges, thresholds, and smaller islands before arriving at the bottom. These break the flow creating an illusion of dozens of smaller waterfalls stacked upon each other.
It is truly a sight to behold, especially at full water. All surrounded by lush greenery, Skradinski Buk is somewhat reminiscent of a tropical island untouched and unspoiled by civilization. Honestly, this is what a paradise might have looked like.
Until recently, the impression was further reinforced by the fact that you could swim in the river below it. And so, increasingly larger flocks of tourists would come here every year to make that perfect holiday selfie.
At some point, the situation got so out of hand that the park administration had to step in. Sadly, from 2021, swimming at Skradinski Buk is no longer allowed. And although this will undoubtedly disappoint a few folks (myself included), I believe it was the right call.
Besides, if anything, it makes our lives as photographers a bit simpler. The Instagrammers might be largely gone now, but Skradinski Buk is still a magnificent sight, well worth visiting and photographing.
How to Photograph Skradinski Buk
Because this is a photography guide, let’s dive straight into the main topic — how to photograph Skradinski Buk, what to expect, and what to pay special attention to.
That said, logistics are equally important, and you’ll surely want to do some planning before arriving. Later in the article, I explain what ticket you need and how to get to the waterfall. Be sure to check that section as well.
Photographing the Main Waterfall
Impressive as it is, photography-wise Skradinski Buk is no different from any other waterfall. This means the two things you should be paying attention to are composition and shutter speed.
With regards to composition, there are two prominent spots to shoot Skradinski Buk from. These are the northern shore of the Krka River and the bridge that crosses it in front of the waterfall. Each location comes with its own set of challenges.
When shooting from the riverbank, it’s tricky to get a clear view without tree branches getting into the frame. I was only able to do so by zooming in quite a bit, so a longer lens is quite handy here.
The view is much better from the bridge, but photography from there during the day is difficult because of the crowds. The bridge is made of wooden planks and vibrates whenever somebody passes by. And believe me, people walk there all the time.
This means that any sort of long exposure is incredibly challenging. With waterfalls, you typically want a shutter speed somewhere between 0.8 to ⅙ seconds to smoothen out the water flow. Achieving this with the floor constantly vibrating beneath you is no easy feat.
Setting up the tripod is a separate hurdle. The bridge is quite narrow, so you effectively block the passage. Skradinski Buk is a popular spot, and you quickly become everyone’s favorite guy by doing so. You can try and get creative (see my solution below), but this still only works when there aren’t too many tourists around.
So if at all possible, I recommend being at Skradinski Buk first thing in the morning or right before the closing hour. That is your only chance for bagging some shots without being constantly distracted.
Skradinski Buk Walking Trail
Skradinski Buk might be the most prominent photography subject, but the area around it is also quite interesting. So once you’re satisfied with the photos of the waterfalls, take a moment to explore what else is nearby.
The easiest way to do that is by following the Skradinski Buk walking trail. It’s a circular path that leads up the river Krka, onto its opposite shore, and eventually back to where you started.
The walk is around 2 kilometers in length, well-marked, and mostly straightforward. There are some stairs and uphill sections but nothing too complex. We did the full loop in about two hours but it only took us this long because I was stopping a lot for photos.
As you follow the trail, you’ll see several smaller waterfalls, natural pools, and a couple of amazing panoramic views. You will also pass a bunch of old structures left from the power plant that existed here back in the day.
Fun fact — built in 1895, this was the first hydroelectric power plant in Europe. And it wasn’t far off from being the first in the world either, launching just two days after the Niagara Falls one that holds that title.
Some of the remains, such as the old water mill, are incredibly photogenic. Others — like the old turbine that sort of looks like a huge barbell — are just unusual or fun to fool around with. In any case, you’ll find plenty to photograph here.
All in all, Skradinski Buk walking trail is an intriguing blend of nature and industrial heritage, so take your time getting to know it. Compared to the main waterfall, I think it gives you more creative freedom and opportunities to come up with something unique and exciting.
Getting to Skradinski Buk
Now let’s talk logistics. Figuring out how to get to Skradinski Buk might be confusing at first. There are several routes, each with its pros and cons. Unfortunately, the official website doesn’t do a great job of explaining them, so let’s go through them one by one.
Do You Need an Entry Ticket?
First things first. Skradinski Buk is located inside the Krka National Park, so you need a ticket to access it.
Annoyingly, although you can buy entry to certain other areas (e.g. Roški Slap) separately, there’s no such option for Skradinski Buk. You’ll need the full park ticket.
During the high season, the price ranges between 150 to 210 Croatian Kunas (20-28 EUR). The exact amount depends on the time of entry — morning slots are typically more expensive.
This is by no means cheap, especially if you’re only interested in Skradinski Buk and nothing else. Which, as I suspect, would be the case for many people.
In fairness, the price does include a boat or bus ride to the waterfall depending on your selected option. The problem here is that not everyone needs it, as we will see later. And yet, even if you choose to walk to Skradinski Buk, you still end up paying almost the full price (5-10 kunas less).
You can purchase the tickets online or before entering the park. Note that when buying online, you need to specify the exact date and time of your visit as well as preferred transport (boat, bus, or on foot). This significantly hinders your flexibility, as you have to plan all that in advance.
All in all, I find the entire process unnecessarily convoluted and not at all visitor-friendly. For now, we have to live with it, but I do hope the administration streamlines it in the future.
By Bus From Lozovac
Lozovac is the main entrance for those arriving on cars or tourist buses. It is also the closest one to Skradinski Buk. There is a huge free parking lot, from which you have to proceed on foot or catch a shuttle to the waterfall.
The path to the waterfall is 1.5 kilometers long and somewhat steep. If it’s too hot or you just don’t feel like walking, you may use the shuttle bus instead. It runs from April to November and is included in your ticket price unless you explicitly select the option without it.
Overall, for those who arrive with a car and don’t intend to stay in Krka National Park overnight, I’d say Lozovac is probably the quickest and most convenient entrance. The only downside is that it’s in the middle of nowhere, so there’s nothing else to see around.
By Boat From Skradin
The second main gateway is from the town of Skradin, some 3-4 kilometers northwest of Skradinski Buk. There, you board a boat that will bring you almost directly to Skradinski Buk waterfall.
Same as the Lozovac shuttle, the boat only runs from April to November and is included in the park entrance fee. You can opt out of it, but that’ll only reduce the price by 5-10 Croatian kunas — might as well enjoy the cruise.
Still, if you decide against it or are visiting in winter, you can also get to Skradinski Buk on foot. A well-paved and easy-to-follow 4-kilometer walking/cycling path along the river Krka will lead you to the waterfall in around 45 minutes.
For me, Skradin is by far the better one of the two entrances. The half-an-hour boat trip is more pleasant than the Lozovac shuttle and an excellent opportunity to soak in some views in a relaxed manner.
Besides, Skradin is a charming little town that is fun to explore on its own merit. It has some excellent restaurants, and if you’re lucky, you might spot some millionaire luxury yachts parked at its marina.
On Foot and by Bicycle
From both Lozovac and Skradin, it’s possible to get to Skradinski Buk on foot. In winter, when shuttle buses and boats don’t operate, this is your only option. In summer, you might go for it to save some money on the ticket — though you won’t be saving much.
It is also an interesting alternative for photographers who wish to get to Skradinski Buk outside of its opening hours. These are from 8-9 am to 4-8 pm, depending on the season.
This allows you to stay until sunset in August or September, but for sunrise, you’re out of luck. There are, however, no physical barriers for you to enter before dawn if you wish to. You just have to arrive early enough and walk.
Needless to say, this is against the rules, so only do so at your own risk. I haven’t tried it myself, so cannot tell you what repercussions you might face if caught by the rangers. Can’t imagine it being anything too serious, but no guarantees.
Bicycles are also allowed on the road from Skradin to Skradinski Buk. You have one, it’s a nice alternative to walking 4 kilometers. You can use them on the Lozovac side as well but there you can only go as far as the parking lot. The last kilometer or so down will still be on foot.
If you don’t have a bike, you can rent one directly in Skradin. This could be something to consider if you’re willing to see more of Krka National Park than just Skradinski Buk. The staff will provide you with maps and mark some of the more interesting routes to explore.
There is no direct access to Skradinski Buk with a car. You have to park at Lozovac or Skradin, then take one of the allowed routes from there.
Photography Tips for Skradinski Buk
To wrap up this guide, I’ve put together a few additional photography tips that I think might be helpful when planning a visit to Skradinski Buk.
When to Visit Skradinski Buk
Skradinski Buk is accessible all year round, although buses or boats don’t operate between November and April. From a photography standpoint, there are three important factors to consider. These are the greenery, how much water there is, and the crowds.
The vegetation is at its lushest from late April to October. In spring and summer, the green foliage creates that paradise tropical island vibe Skradinski Buk is so famous for. In autumn, the bright colors give it a more somber and nostalgic look.
Crowds are next to unbearable in summer, with up to 10000 people visiting Skradinski Buk daily in July and August. If at all possible, try to avoid these months. But if these are your only options, try your luck early in the morning or an hour before the park’s closing.
Lastly, the amount of water in Skradinski Buk makes a huge difference for photography. Unfortunately, this is extremely difficult to predict. I was there in late September, and the waterfalls were still rather weak. I suspect that early spring and late autumn are way better.
Bringing this all together, I’d say the best season to visit Skradinski Buk for photography is mid-spring or mid-autumn. That’s when you’re most likely to catch the optimal conditions.
Best Time of Day for Photography
It’s no secret that sunset and sunrise generally produce the most favorable light for photography. In that respect, Skradinski Buk is more of a morning location, since you are mostly shooting it from the west.
That said, I wouldn’t be coming for sunrise. The horizon is obscured by cliffs and trees, so you won’t be seeing much of the pre-dawn glow. A couple of hours after the sun has risen and the early evening golden hour might actually work better.
And if you can get a clean shot, I wouldn’t at all disregard photographing Skradinski Buk during the day either. As already mentioned, it has this dreamy tropical island vibe which is easiest to capture when the sun is high in the sky.
Lenses and Other Gear
To photograph Skradinski Buk, you’ll need the same gear as for any other waterfall. Here’s what I suggest having:
- A tripod – when crowded, it will be of little use as the wooden pathway constantly vibrates when somebody passes by. Not to mention, there might not be enough room to set it up. But for less busy days and on the walking trail, it’s a life-saver.
- A travel zoom lense such as 24-105 or 24-70 mm will be sufficient for most shots. I didn’t need my wide-angle at all and only used telephoto once.
- I recommend an optically stabilized lens as a backup for whenever you can’t use the tripod. Modern stabilization allows for shots with exposure of ⅙ – ⅛ seconds, which is good enough. Vibration will still be an issue but at least you won’t be disturbing others.
- A polarizer filter is a must to reduce reflections and get that deeply saturated water color that contrasts so nicely with the white streaks of the waterfalls.
- ND filter helps in achieving slower shutter speeds even during the day. A 3-stop ND filter should be sufficient, especially since the polarizer adds another stop or two on top of it.
Commercial and Drone Photography
If you have a drone, flying it inside Krka National Park is prohibited. Besides, in all of Croatia even if you can fly somewhere, you cannot take pictures or recordings from your UAS. You need a separate permit for that which is not easy to obtain.
It’s a silly law, and hopefully the legislation changes in the near future. But for now, you might as well leave your drone at home when traveling to Croatia.
Commercial photography at Skradinski Buk is also not allowed without a permit. According to the Krka National Park rules, “visitors are not permitted to […] take photographs for commercial purposes without approval”.
I’m not sure how complex the process is for getting that approval. If that’s something you are interested in, you’ll have to get in touch with the park authorities.
The Verdict — Is Skradinski Buk Good for Photography?
Skradinski Buk is a stunning location well worth visiting and seeing with your own eyes. Naturally, as photographers, we want to capture this might and beauty. But is it really a great photography location?
The answer depends on what you’re after. If you are looking for something unique and truly impactful, I’d say you’re better off elsewhere. The geography of Skradinski Buk is such that you can only shoot it from a few well-known and rather obvious spots.
As a result, your chances of getting an image that wasn’t already shot by a dozen other photographers or catching some once-in-a-lifetime conditions here are slim.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get a good photo. It won’t be groundbreaking and it probably won’t win you any rewards, but it might be a fair addition to your collection. If you’re happy with that then Skradinski Buk is for you.
In other words, I wouldn’t recommend Skradinski Buk for hardcore photographers who’re after the absolute best shots they can get. But for those who simply enjoy photography and want to see Croatia, it’s a place you won’t regret coming to.
I hope you enjoyed this photography guide to Skradinski Buk and got something useful out of it. If so, let me know in the comments and share it with your friends and on social media. And if you still have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.
I also have other photography and travel-related articles on the blog that I think you might like. Feel free to browse around or have a look at some of those listed below:
- A Land of Wonders: 10 Great Reasons to Travel to Slovenia
- How to Photograph Lake Bled: Best Locations and Useful Tips
- Sunrise on Top of the World: Photography Guide to Mt. Pilatus
- Mont Saint-Michel Photography Guide: Best Locations and Tips
- Best Landscape Photography Locations in Patagonia
- Top 7 locations for landscape photography on Tenerife
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