The best diving and snorkeling in Croatia
Croatia has some of the most exciting diving opportunities in the Mediterranean. Centuries of conflict mean that there is a wealth of wrecks to explore and the natural geology of the area provides wonderful walls, caves and tunnels to investigate. Sailing among the Dalmatian islands, you can hook up with local diving centers to take time to enter a different world, under the Adriatic.
Your skipper can co-ordinate with the centers so that you can SCUBA dive during your sailing week. Let the team at The Yacht Break know what your interests are, so that we can help to create a bespoke route. There are also plenty of awesome snorkeling spots that you can visit while you sail around the islands. This article is packed full of information on the best diving and snorkeling opportunities off the Croatian coast.
Dubrovnik has two traditional dive centers as well as being home to the only free-diving school in the whole of Croatia. There is a great selection of tunnels, caves and wrecks to discover in the surrounding area.
|Benešin rat||Lopud||20-40m||Lafodia reef with 39m wall and caves|
|Abyss||Koločep||2-40m||Wreck of the Aurora, cave and 60m abyss|
|Maros cave||Dubrovnik||3-47m||Narrow entranced cave, with beautiful exit at 47m|
|Taranto wreck||Dubrovnik||23-53m||Wreck of an 1899 steamboat and cargo, sunk in WW2|
|Sveti Andrija||Sveti Andrija||3-80m||Cave and wall descent to 80m|
|Mala Afrika||Dubrovnik||3-40m||Rocky reef and cave, with a sandy bottom|
|Grebeni-MA||Dubrovnik||3-40m||Narrow tunnel leading to the open sea on Grebeni island|
|Lokrum||Lokrum||3-30m||20m long tunnel into lake in the middle of Lokrum island|
|Tomislav wreck||Lokrum||2-35m||Wall down to wreck of a fishing boat, off Lokrum island|
When you need to cool down while visiting Dubrovnik, swap culture for nature and head to Danče. The cliffs by this convenient beach provide plenty of interest for snorkeling right by the coastline. Even more central to the town is
Address: Iva Dulcica 142, President Hotel Dubrovnik, 20000, Dubrovnik
Mobile: +385 (0) 99 25 61 256
Address: Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, Masarykov put 20, 20000, Dubrovnik
Mobile: +385 (0) 91 89 90 973
Web: Blue Planet
Address: Petra Svačića 3, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Mobile: +385 (0) 99 43 32 993
Web: Freedive Dubrovnik
There are three dive centers offering SCUBA diving around this area, in Hvar town, Stari Grad and near Jelsa. As well as some wrecks, there are plenty of walls and reefs scattered around the western end of Hvar (from Jelsa round to Hvar town) and among the nearby Pakleni islands.
|Zala Luka||Hvar||5-40m||Wall dive for all levels|
|Tatinja||Hvar||10-40m||Shallow reef and wall down to old wreck|
|Smociguzica||Hvar||10-50m||Reef and deep wall|
|RT Kabal||Hvar||na||Wall, cave and reef, night dives possible|
|Vela Garska||Hvar||5-30m||70m long wall and 20m long cave|
|Vodnjak Kampanel||Pakleni||15-40m||Bell tower, including 5m long tunnel|
|Poseidon Pillar||Pakleni||11-30m||Chimney rising out of water|
|Anchor Wall||Pakleni||18-35m||Drop-off wall, including old anchor|
|Paulina||Pakleni||30m||150yr old wreck|
A few bays west of Vinogradišće bay, on Sveti Klement in the Pakleni islands, is Taršče bay. A relatively quiet and remote bay that faces south. If you are sailing between Hvar and Vis, ask your skipper to stop on the way past to appreciate some superb snorkeling.
Address: Vrboska bb, 21463, Vrboska, Hvar island
Mobile: +385 (0) 91 33 44 088
Web: Hvar Divers
Address: Naselje Helios, 21460 Stari Grad, Hvar island
Mobile: +385 (0) 21 743 038
Web: Nautica Hvar
Address: Put Podstine 7, 21450, Hvar, Hvar island
Mobile: +385 (0) 91 62 05 847
Within easy reach of Korčula there are over 30 dive sites, including shipwrecks, walls, caves and sea grass meadows. Given the vast quantity of locations, only some are mentioned here. Make sure to visit the wrecks of Boca and Garda, as well as the Blue hole cave. It is only a short boat ride over to the north western end of the Pelješac peninsula, as well, for further exploring.
|Wreck graveyard||Korčula||10-30m||10-15 wrecks from different time periods in a concentrated area|
|Prišćapac||Korčula||1-40m||Beach dive around Prišćapac peninsula|
|Veli Prznjak||Korčula||3-45m||Reef wall descending to large cave and 20m vertical tunnel|
|Boca||Pelješac||5-12m||Wreck of Boca, sunk in 1984|
|Garda||Korčula||23m||Wreck of an old steamship on the sandy sea bed|
|Blue hole||Korčula||10-58m||Large deep cave|
On the eastern tip of Korčula is Raznjic, there are some great steep cliffs and slabs for sea-life to hide in and the water is beautifully clear (if somewhat exposed to the elements). You can ask your skipper to stop here on the circular route from Dubrovnik or the one-way voyage from Split. If you find yourself passing the other end of Korčula (for example on this route), try snorkeling in the shallow waters around the islet of Proizd, but watch out for strong currents.
Along the nearby Pelješac peninsula, there is good snorkeling in Rasoha bay, near Loviste. Accessible only by boat, the bays of Krizica or Ceminova are also worth a stop.
Address: Obala 1 42, 20270, Vela Luka, Korčula
Mobile: +385 (0) 91 256 78 03
Web: Croatia Divers
Dupin Dive Centre
Address: Ronilacki Centar PP101, 20260, Korčula
Mobile: +385 (0) 98 812 496
Web: Dupin Dive Centre
Address: Uvala Račišće br. 48, 20263, Lumbarda, Korčula
Mobile: +385 (0) 95 560 6992
Web: Lumbarda Blue
Prišćapac Diving Center
Address: Prišćapac, 46b, Prizba, 20271, Korčula
Mobile: +385 (0) 99 877 1619
The Croatian Government designated this area as a National Park in 1980 and it consists of over 100 islands and islets. There are strict controls over diving in the Kornati National Park, which means that only a few dive centers have permission to do so, and all the sites are only reachable by boat. A lot of the area remains unexplored, as anchoring is not always safe, providing the excitement of discovering new and wonderful underwater worlds if the winds allow. Below the surface, the landscape is diverse; from tunnels and caves, to walls and reefs. The variety of small to medium sized marine life is as varied as you will find anywhere in the Adriatic. There are also wrecks to investigate, for example that of the Franceska. Note that night dives are not allowed in this region.
|Samograd||Samograd||5-40m||Deep wall with crevices|
|Oključ||Diving permitted by NP Kornati|
|Mala Panitula||Mala Panitula||0-40m||Sea grass medow leading to wall with overhangs and rifts|
|Vela Panitula||Vela Panitula||10-40m||Wall|
|Rašip||Rašip||0-40m||65m deep wall|
|Kasela||Diving permitted by NP Kornati|
|Mana||Mana||0-40m||45m wall down to a ship sunk in 1959 while filming Raging Sea|
|Borovnik||Borovnik||0-40m||45m wall and three caves at varying depths|
|Franceska di rimani||Kaprije||28-45m||Italian warship sunk by a torpedo in WW2|
There are a vast number of snorkeling opportunities within the National Park. As long as you just have a snorkel and mask, you are permitted to dive in anywhere that you are safely able to anchor up. Have a go at the southern most tip of Kornat island, near Opat. In the north, is the Telašćica Nature Park around Dugi Otok with its salt-lake, Mir. Although it is saltier than the surrounding sea, it is also warmer in summer. The lake holds a special sort of eel that grows to 3kg. In the bay of Telašćica, the sea is alive with life and there is great snorkeling beneath the cliffs that fall at the waters edge.
Further south, in the Šibenik archipelago, the islanders of Krapanj have a culture of snorkeling and diving down for the sponges that grow here. Tourists can look on, but you need a licence to fish and harvest from the sea, so leave the pickings to the locals. You could stop here during sailing holidays from Šibenik, such as the route south to Vis, or north to the Kornati National Park.
Just Dive Croatia
Address: Šetalište Kneza Branimira 1, 23210, Biograd na Moru
Mobile: +385 (0) 99 263 5547
Web: Just Dive Croatia
Kornati Diving center
Address: Zaglav 15, 23281 Sali, Dugi otok
Mobile: +385 (0) 91 367 95 06
Address: Put Jersan 17, 22243, Murter
Mobile: +385 (0) 98 137 1565
Web: Najada Diving
There are restrictions on Scuba diving in the Lastovo Nature Park, so divers must be accompanied by registered dive centers. There is a school located on Lastovo itself, providing the perfect opportunity to hook up with the dive center during your sailing week. The area is a pleasure to dive as there are numerous bays and cliffs, as well as a miniature archipelago called the ‘Lastovnjaci’. Night and sunset dives are possible in this area.
|Bijelac||Bijelac||0-55m||Underwater passage through the island|
|Cape Struga||Lastovo||0-80m||80m wall|
|Međedina cave||Lastovo||2-9m||Series of interconnected caves|
|Te Vega||Sušac||5-35m||Small sea lake accessed by an underwater tunnel|
|Malo Jezero||Sušac||3-20m||24m long cave with several entrance tunnels connecting to the sea|
On the south of Lastovo is the bay of Skrivena Luka (or Portorus), one of the most remote places in Croatia. It’s untouched beauty make it a perfect spot for a bit of snorkeling. See if you can stop there for a quick snorkel during your sailing holiday from Dubrovnik on this route.
Diving center Ankora
Address: Zaklopatica 46, 20290, Lastovo Island
Mobile: +385 (0) 91 536 1575
Web: DC Ankora
There is a diving center in the Mljet National Park that can facilitate diving in this area. The surrounding waters provide a wealth of coral reefs, caves and walls, but there is the added attraction of diving in the two inland salt lakes of Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero.
|Zakamenica||Mljet||8-55m||Crag, canyon (40m long, 15m wide) and wall|
|Odysseus cave||Mljet||0-20m||Wide bright cave that can be accessed from the sea via a 30m underwater channel|
|Rikavica cave||Mljet||3-20m||Large cave with chimneys|
Snorkeling around Sveta Marija, the islet within one of the inland salt lakes is fantastic. The waters are warm and there is plenty to see as it is within the National Park. Outside of the park, visit Odysseus cave, although it is deep, the water is very clear and you can snorkel into the cave.
Dive and snorkel in Mljet when you enjoy either of these routes:
Address: Pomena, 20226, Mljet Island
Mobile: +385 (0) 98 479 916
Web: Aquatica Mljet
Diving center Žuljana
Address: Polje 17, Žuljana, 20247, Pelješac Peninsula
Mobile: +385 (0) 99 200 1222
The strategic location of Vis within the Adriatic Sea meant it has always had a significant military role. Evidence of past battles are all around in the waters, with ship wrecks and plane crash sites. Divers can explore wrecks from WW1 and WW2 as well as caves, walls and reefs, there is something for every level.
|Fortunal wreck||Vis||30-55m||Wreck of an old fishing boat lying at the bottom of a wall, plus cave|
|Teti Wreck||Vis||10-34m||Upright wreck of a cargo ship|
|Vassilios T||Vis||22-55m||Wreck of a Greek cargo ship sunk in WW2|
|Brioni wreck||Vis||4-60m||Wreck of a cargo steamboat lying on its side|
|B-24||Vis||40m||Wreck of B-24 bomber plane|
|B-17||Vis||75m||Technical dive site of B-17 plance wreck|
|Blue cave||Bisevo||12m||Blue cave, best visited 11-12am for sunlight effect|
|Brusnik||Brusnik||20-60m||A small volcanic islet with a wall between 20-60m|
The hidden cove of Stiniva is good for snorkeling, although since it has been widely publicized it can be rather busy. The Blue Cave on Bisevo island is definitely one to see while the morning light reflects off the rocks on the sea bed. Get your skipper to stop at these locations if you are sailing round the south of Vis, towards Komiža, for example during these routes:
Dive center: ANMA
Address: Šetalište Apolonija Zanelle 1, 21480, Vis
Mobile: +385 (0) 92 11 47 420
Dive center: B-24
Address: Obala Pape Aleksandra III br.8, Komiža, Vis
Mobile: +385 (0) 91 76 61 415
Dive center: ISSA
Address: Ribarska 91, Komiža, Vis
Mobile: +385 (0) 91 20 12 731
Dive center: Nautica Vis
Address: Šetalište Apolonija Zanelle 5, 21480, Vis
Mobile: +385 (0) 91 22 66 115
Web: Nautica Vis