The Diver’s Guide to Croatia

September 22, 2012 by

Shore Excursions, Things to Do, Top Attractions, Travel Tips

Treat yourself to gorgeous underwater scenes in Croatia. Photo courtesy
Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten via Flickr.

Love to dive? You’re in luck! Croatia, with its vast Adriatic Sea on one border, is a diver’s paradise. From exploring wrecks, historic walls and more, there are plenty of options to go and get under the crystal clear waters and see more to Croatia than you ever thought possible.

Split

Split is home to around 15 dive sites offering various things to see under water. If you’re an intermediate diver, head to the deep cave site off of the small island of Solta. Only accessible by boat, once you submerge you are treated to glorious sea life, including octopus, corals, lobster, scorpion fish and more. If you want to see the remnants of a shipwreck, boat over to Stomorska bay and explore the remains of a boat, plus some varied sea life. It’s perfect for up-close examination of a wooden boat planted firmly on the soft sands below, as well as octopus and damselfish. Perfect for beginners, head to North Sandy Amphorae Beach located on the island of Ciovo. It is easy to get there — you can just head into the water from the shore. Here, you will see many different species of fish and dive within your comfort zone — from 1 to 15 meters.

Dubrovnik

While there are significantly less options for diving here, sites near Dubrovnik offer some of the most spectacular explorations in the country. One of the most popular sites here is the wreck of a German torpedo boat, S57. Sunk in 1944 after an attack from the British, the boat today is still very well-preserved. While you can’t enter the wreck, and you must have a guide with you, diving hear is a fantastic way to see a bit of history, plus various sea life, including larger fish hiding within the remains of the boat.

For wall diving, head to the Elafiti archipelago made up of 14 islands. A 20-minute ride by boat, you can visit a wall that delves deep into the sea and is covered by flora, sponges and home to many schools of fish. The wall accommodates all levels of diving, from beginners just going below the surface to experts that require a dive guide and nitrox.

Zadar

Up north along the coast is Zadar, which has six dive sites. The one to check out here is the Kornati Archipelago made up of 140 islands, islets and reefs. This area is one of the most popular in the country and features not only walls, and caves but also crevices and passages to investigate. The island of Rasip has gorgeous steep walls flanked with sea life. Diving here must be done with a company, individual dives are not allowed. And, because it is a National Park, sea life must be left intact and not touched.

Istria

While it is only open for experts, the deep sea wreck of Baron Gautsch is one worth checking out. A former passenger ship constructed in 1908 sunk in 1914 when it hits an underwater mine. It sank in just 10 minutes and was considered the greatest less of the Austrian-Hungarian merchant navy, which had military and refugees aboard. Today, the boat  lies about 40 meters down in the sea off of Istria. Expert divers with nitrox are allowed to explore this wreck, which is covered by algae, sponges, animals and more.

- Diana Edelman

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Croatia’s tours & things to doCroatia attractions and Croatia travel recommendations.

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