Izvoru Rijeke Krke

Krka Spring

Useful Information

Location: Odmorište - početak Napoleonove staze, Dinarska ul., 22300, Kovačić.
M 1 between Šibenik and Split. At Knin turn off towards Kovačić, after 700 m outlook on the right, 250 m further parking lot on the right, 5 minutes walk to the spring. Alternatively, at the southern end of Knin a gravel road leads to the power station and spring.
(44.0424448, 16.2353325)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstKarst Spring
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Krka Spring, Tel: .
PP HE Jug, 21000 Split, Ivana Gundulića 42, Tel: +385-21-40-56-00, Fax: +385-21-40-55-01.
MHE Krčić, 22300 Kovačić, Dalibora Defilipisa 5, Tel: +385-22-34-10-00, Fax: +385-22-34-10-17.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1988 hydroelectric power station installed.


The izvoru rijeke Krke (Krka Spring. literally spring of the river Krka) is actually a hydroelectric power plant. Quite frequently the springs of Croatia are rather complicated karst features, and this one is no exception. The spring of the Krka river is a massive resurgence, a water-filled cave which produces a massive river. The amount of water is so high, a part of the water is used to produce electricity. For this reason a tunnel was built into the massive rock, a part of the river redirected inside the cave. The few meters the river goes down several rapids in front of the resurgence are used to drive the generator. After the power plant the water goes through an underground pipe which is 1 m in diameter to the trout farm 350 m downstream. It's not that much water and the height difference is only 37 m, so the MHE Krčić (Krka Hydroelectric Popwerplant) produces only 375 kW. This equals an annual production of 1 GWH [2010].

The machine room with the generator is completely underground behind the resurgence in the massive limestone. The entrance is a blue door the size of a single car garage door, and it is not open to the public. As far as we know, there are not even open door days or Heritage Days. However, the resurgence is not disturbed and still worth a visit, the only visible change is the fact that there is less water, and the paved road which was used for the construction and allows now easy access to the spring.

The spring is called the spring of the Krka, because it has a very high yield. The river has quite some size from its spring. It also has a left side tributary, which is dry from mid-July to late September, but may have a lot of water during snow melt and after heavy rains. It meets the Krka less than 50 m from the spring with a huge, 22 m high, waterfall named Slap Krčić, (Krčić Waterfall), obviously not a very creative name. But it has actually three names, the other two are Veliki buk (Big Waterfall) and Topoljski buk (Poplar Tree Waterfall). This Krčić river is 10.5 km long, and flows through a meandering gorge which is up to 450 m deep. Its spring is near the hamlet Kijeva at the foot of Mount Dinari (1,831 m asl). There are two waterfalls and 15 caves along the course of the river.

This valley shows the typical situation in a karst area where drainage is going underground. The river flows on the surface forming a valley, but at the same time there are cracks underground which are widened slowly by the water. The current situation is a well-developed underwater cave system, but still some water draining on the surface. That's not only a matter of the cave size, it's also a matter of the drainage area, underground drainage typically differs from the above ground catchment area and drainage direction. Nevertheless, the next stage in development will be a dry valley, when drainage has gone underground completely.

Some say the river had water all year, before the hydroelectric power plant was installed, but this seems unlikely as the river springs more than 8 km away. However, there is a small chance that the drainage by the plant lowered the karst water level.