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Diving in Croatia

Croatia lays claim to the lion’s share of the eastern Adriatic coast, and a quick look at a map will delight divers and reveal a land with more than its fair share of islands and coastline. Unexpected and exciting, Croatia’s dives are some of the best in Europe.

Diving in Croatia

Quick facts

Surprising Croatia offers divers an unreal amount of scuba dives to take part in, with its many islands strewn out into the Adriatic. In total, you’ll find around 1000 of these islands in Croatia, all adorned with reefs, underwater caverns, pillars and canyons. There are plenty of wrecks to see, too. Around the island of Vis, the largest of the islands, you can dive among many WWI and WWII shipwrecks, all fallen in battle. There’s a B-17 bomber to see in addition to the older ships. Head to the caves here, too, a great dive where sunlight filters in, making for ethereal seascapes. This island is literally encircled with dive sites. From walls to wrecks to rocky reefs, there’s something here for divers of all levels. To the north, situated at the foothills of the Alp and Dinarid mountain chains, Kvarner is one of the most beautiful gulfs on the Adriatic. It’s the closest warm water diving destination to Eastern Europe, and diving is possible all year. Kvarner's underwater world is known for amazing wall dives and rocky reefs covered with beautiful gorgonians. The craggy coastline and relatively shallow water underpin an underwater world with enough variety to make this a great dive destination. Head to Bisevo to explore the Blue Cave, which can only be entered by a small boat. Once well within the cave, you can set out in your scuba gear to explore. Light enters the cave and permeates through the water, filling it with a calming blue glow.

Recommended training

Take the PADI Deep Diver and PADI Wreck Diver courses for diving on the deeper wrecks. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course is always a good choice to record your adventures.

When to go

Croatia's coast and islands have a Mediterranean climate with pleasant temperatures averaging 24-26°C/75-78°F during the summer and cooler (5-15°C/41-59°F) in winter. The interior climate varies depending how close you are to the mountains. For diving, summer is the best time to visit. The water is warm, and the visibility is endless. During the winter, the water temperatures are about 17-19°C /63-66°F and warm up to 25°C/77°F by mid-summer. In addition, visibility averages 10-15 metres/33-50 feet. Some sites can have significantly better visibility.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

  • The Istrian peninsula

    Jutting out into the Adriatic Sea, the Istrian Peninsula’s mild climate and outstanding vistas greet scuba divers on the search for clear water and marine life.

  • Korčula

    Dive the calm and clear waters of the Adriatic Sea from Korčula and be pleasantly surprised by some beautiful caves and interesting wrecks.

  • Kornati

    The uninhabited islands of Kornati offer some of the best diving in the Adriatic Sea. Explore a diverse range of habitats, from tunnels to reefs, for an unforgettable Croatian dive holiday.

  • Kvarner Bay

    Home to some of Croatia’s most desirable islands, Kvarner Bay’s clear, warm waters are ideal for diving, the rich Adriatic a treasure to be uncovered.

* Plic Tenki – A wall here drops to 22 metres/72 feet and one of the most interesting sections is a rock pinnacle at about 15 metres/50 feet. Pockmarked with holes, this area is covered with underwater plant species and fish, such as two banded bream and scorpionfish. More experienced divers will enjoy the deeper part of the reef at 25-40 metres/82-130 feet, which is covered with red gorgonians. * The Wreck of the Teti – Just off the Island of Mali Barjak, the bow of the 70-metre/230-foot long Teti is 7 metres/23 feet deep and the stern is at more than 30 metres/100 feet. Look for the conger eels here that are well used to divers. * Bisevo Grotto – Blue Grotto is a magical sea cave and a prime dive site with visibility often better than 25 metres/80 feet. On the dive you’ll likely meet up with octopus, scorpionfish, lobster and more. * The Cathedral – Not far from Zadar, off the small island of Premuda, is a dive site with a series of inter-connected caves through which sunlight filters in a spectacular display. Octopus and spider crabs reside here. * Kornati Archipelago – There’s a wall off Rasip Island, festooned with sponges and corals, that drops to more than 60 metres/185 feet. Fish life is remarkable at recreational diving depths. * Wreck of the Taranto – The Taranto is a fairly intact wreck of a merchant navy ship, which sank in 1943 after hitting a mine. Old tractors, part of the cargo, add interest to the dive, and large sea bass are sometimes spotted here.

What to see

You can see some fascinating coral in these waters. Rare black coral clings to Svetac, and reefs can be found around many of the islands. There is plenty of wacky macro life to see, as well. Nudibranchs are common, as well as shrimps, crabs and massive starfish. Seahorses, Zeus Faber (John Dory), conger eels, tuna, scorpion fish, octopus, lobster and sole are fun to find. Plus, the array of odd worms will blow you away. While seeing a massive creature is rare, there is still a chance you will run into a huge amberjack or a dusky grouper and maybe even a bottlenose dolphin.

Calendar

For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Country

Croatia’s history is vast and complex. The region Croatia inhabits has been occupied since prehistoric times. Greeks and Romans fought over this land, swinging back and forth. In addition, the lands have joined and disbanded from several countries, including Yugoslavia and Hungary. 1991 proved to be the year of independence for Croatia, finally becoming its own country. Today, Croatians live in prosperity, their economy booming. Most people work in the service industry. Wine is also hugely popular to grow because of the ideal climate, and vineyards have popped up all over this lovely landscape.

Other attractions

While in Dubrovnik, be sure to head to the Ancient City Walls, a preserved ancient city. You can even head up in a cable car to get a bird’s eye view of the region, your sight extending far out over the sea. Get your history fix at the many museums and forts in the region. Krk Island is a popular wine production region with traditional fairs, watersports and cultural events all year. The town of Vinodol Low has existed since 1288, and the summer carnival, Rose of the Vinodol, is a special event. Plitvice Lakes National Park features 16 unique lakes with waterfalls, forests and diverse animal life.

Getting there

Dubrovnik (DBV), Split (SPU) and Zadar (ZAD) are the major airports. Once in the country, get around via bus. If you buy your tickets at the tisak, or news stand, you will get a discounted price.

UTC+01:00

Time zone

HRK

Currency

+385

Calling code

230 V

Electric volt

C, 

F

Plug type

ZAG

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.