Is it impossible to experience the state of complete peace in the middle of the summer season in Croatia? Visovac Island will convince you that it is. The energy and the atmosphere on the Visovec islet is special. The reason for this may be the intact nature surrounding it, but also the fact that this is a well-known place for prayer and self-reflection. From 1445 onwards, there is a monastery with a Franciscan order. The magical effect is enhanced with cypress trees that surround and hide the island, which inspires a sense of mystery to every visitor.
History of Visovac island
Today the Franciscans who rebuilt the church, live and work here, but the fact is that the islet was the first settled by monks that belonged to the Order of St. Augustine. The Franciscans came to the island later in the 15th century, fleeing from Bosnia from the Ottoman invaders. Thanks to the devoted work, the Franciscans succeeded in restoring the monastery and eventually transform the small islet into a true oasis within the steep cliffs of the river Krka canyon. Monastery of the Mother of Mercy and the Church of Our Lady of Visovački have been renovated several times, which is not surprising given the fierce events and changes that have affected this area through history.
What can you see in less than an hour?
Since it is a small islet and monastery don' think your visit will take a short time. Even before you reach Visovac, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the boat ride and witness the incredible scenes offered by NP Krka. Once you enter the island you will notice beautifully landscaped gardens and green areas. Apart from keeping the historical remains in awe, the Franciscans have managed to turn the isle into a true green oasis thanks to the cultivation of various plants. Interestingly, there are over 185 different plant species on the island today, many of which are exotic. Also, do not be surprised if you encounter fleas, swans or turtles in the garden during the sightseeing. If you are a lover of professional or amateur photography, leave enough memory space on your camera because you will surely spend a lot of time to capture every scene.
If you are a lover of culture and historical artifacts you should not miss a rich collection located in the monastery museum as well as the monastery library. Except for valuable incunabula (books printed until the year 1500 on the Gutenberg printing machine), there are historically important documents such as Sultan Mehmed's Ferman (law notice issued only by the sultan) from 1672. A small monastery library contains many rare examples of early Croatian literature. Every historical legacy has something interesting to offer, but be sure the artifacts exposed in Visovac museum are quite different. Don't believe it? Just try to take a photo of the smallest book in the world. Believe it or not, the rich collection also features a small book printed on the Gutenberg machine (in Mainz, Germany), with incredible dimensions - 3x5 mm in length and width. These dimensions brought her the title of the world's smallest book (a few years ago the book "Teeny Ted from Turnip Town", which can be read by an electronic microscope, took the title). The little book contains prayer "Our Father" translated into 7 languages. Unfortunately, visitors can't take the small book and see the content inside.
How to reach Visovac island
As you guessed it, Visovac can only be reached by boat. The tour starts in two places only - Stinice and Remetić. Keep in mind that the transportation is organized by NP Krka and a ride-along Visovac includes a visit to other sights within the park itself. You can choose a two-hour ride (including a visit to Visovac and Skradinski Buk waterfall) as well as a four-hour ride (visit to Visovac, Roška waterfall, Skradinski Buk). If you want to visit only Visovac, the journey will take 30 minutes. On Sunday, the ride to Visovac is free, but only in the hours when masses are held (9:30, 10:00 and 10:30 for checkpoints at 11 am and on return trips immediately upon completion of the service). Prices for each of these trips can be found on the official site of National Park Krka.
What else to see in NP Krka
Visovac is just one of the many reasons to visit National Park Krka. If you have more time for sightseeing on disposal, take a tour package that, besides Visovca, also includes the waterfalls Skradinski Buk and Roški slap. Skradinski Buk is one of the most beautiful natural phenomena in Croatia and is also the most visited attraction in the Krka national park. It is most visited during the summer months because it is possible to swim right in front of the biggest waterfall on Krka. On the other side Roški waterfall, which is considered "the entrance" to NP Krka, is a place that offers visitors something more authentic, given that there are not so many crowds here. Cultural enthusiasts will enjoy themselves in of the five remaining fortresses that point to the presence of the Roman Empire's army in these areas, as well as testify of the battles they have taken. These fortresses are located in the elevated grounds which means you can enjoy the amazing view that stretches across the entire National Park.