Where to go scuba diving in Croatia?
I would like to try my hand at diving. Can you advise me where are the best places in Croatia to get diving lessons for a beginner, what time of year is better to do scuba diving?
There are several places in Croatia that attract divers from all over the world to this country. On the first place can safely put one of the most popular Croatian regions – Istria (it is also the largest peninsula of the Adriatic). Here, on the bottom back in 1914, sunk a ferry, which ran into an underwater mine. This ferry has been a kind of mecca among divers for decades, the more so that its parts have been preserved in good condition. But if you do not have the appropriate training, you will first have to undergo an appropriate training course.
On second place in popularity can safely put the island of Cres, which is one of the largest Dalmatian islands. In the waters near this island at a depth of 25 meters is a merchant ship that was transporting timber to the Italian island of Sicily, but due to heavy fog hit the reef and as a consequence, sank. The remains of the ship have been well preserved and can be seen while diving. In addition there is an opportunity to get inside the ship. Without proper training for diving tourists are not allowed, because the depth though small, but there are certain dangers.
Both beginners and divers enjoy popular diving around the island of Kornati. Diving in this place is interesting because of the beautiful underwater views. The underwater rock, which plunges to a depth of 65 meters, is a particular delight for divers. The sea here is crystal clear, visibility reaches 40 meters and more. The rock itself is covered with corals, around it you can see a lot of sponges and various fish. Usually a dive in this area is designed for 40-50 minutes or more.
Next in the list of the most popular diving spots in Croatia is the most popular country, Dubrovnik. But it is worth noting that diving in this place is preferred mainly by experienced divers. Most of all divers are attracted by a shipwreck that sank in 1943, which was blown up by a mine. The depth of the wreck is from 23 to 55 meters, the remnants of the cargo are scattered around, as well as various parts of the ship. After the wreck, the ship broke into two pieces. In addition to the ship on the dive you can admire the beautiful underwater world.
Another interesting place where you can see the beauty of the underwater world of Croatia is the Elafiti Islands. The most beautiful and interesting place to dive is the outer wall of the island, where there is a rock that goes into the water at a depth of 3 to 78 meters. And at a depth of 26 meters there is a real underwater cave. Underwater you can see all the variety of fish, seaweed and coral. Experienced divers dive to maximum depths to see the unique beauty of red coral. This place is equally suitable for beginners and experienced divers.
In Croatia, there are many diving centers and as a consequence, the competition is quite large, but less than $ 40 for a dive does not have to count. Much depends on the dive site, as well as the season (in the tourist season, prices increase by an average of 20-30%).
It must be said that diving is only becoming popular in Croatia, but we must pay tribute to this country, it is moving in this direction by leaps and bounds. Of course, the Adriatic Sea cannot be compared to the Red Sea and the seas of the Indian Ocean for the abundance of underwater flora and fauna. However, there are other advantages – very clear water (up to a depth of 50 meters) and a large number of interesting objects, such as ancient buildings, sunken ships and aircraft.
Another undoubted advantage for divers in Croatia is the presence of numerous islands, large and small, with different reliefs, underwater ledges and caves. In fact, the diving season in the Croatian part of the Adriatic lasts from May to November. Perhaps one of the most key areas for diving in Croatia is considered to be the Istrian peninsula with its surroundings. There are many ship wrecks here that date back to antiquity. The water in this northern part of the Adriatic is probably the most transparent and the most beautifully illuminated compared to the more southern regions.
In addition, the islands of Hvar and Vis, the Kornati archipelago and the coastal waters of Dalmatia, which are richly endowed with ancient artefacts thanks to the ancient history of Dubrovnik, are very popular with divers. In addition, the local nature has generously rewarded these places with a picturesque underwater landscape.
Experienced divers and thrill-seekers prefer to dive in the underwater caves, dark and far away from prying eyes. There are a lot of them along the Croatian coast. Perhaps the most beautiful among them are considered to be Zelena Cave on the island of Vir, Blue Cave on Biševo Island, Bear Cave – on the island of Mali Lošinj and Zaklopatica on the island of Korcula.
If we talk about training for beginners, among all the dive centers in Croatia, Kostrena near Rijeka stands out. This center has its own premises (this is rare in Croatia), a brand new compressor, excellent equipment, great infrastructure and a very good dive site right next to the center.
The fact that this place causes full confidence among beginner divers is evidenced by the fact that Germans, Austrians, Poles and Italians are trained here. And they, believe me, are well versed in these matters. The instructors here are experienced and will never let you go deep without training. They value their reputation very much. Here the diving center is responsible for every diver. Near the center itself there is a very beautiful wall, there are a lot of fish, crabs and various plants. It’s the best place for beginners to start. You don’t even have to start your lessons with diving from a boat. This is still a bit scary at first. Here you will enter the water directly from the room on a special fenced passage, and even the entrance is very gentle. So I recommend you to go to Rijeka. Have a nice dive!
If you do not have much experience in diving, it does not make sense to look for some difficult places, which attract experienced divers from all over the world to Croatia. For starters, one of the most popular Croatian resorts is Dubrovnik. For beginners in this resort provides a lot of training schools, and where there is competition and prices are more affordable. Diving in Dubrovnik takes place all year round, as this is facilitated to some extent not only by the weather conditions, but also by the equipment that is available in the dive centers.
One of the most popular dive sites is not in Dubrovnik itself, but 20 kilometers from the resort. We are talking about the area off the coast of Cavtat. The area is called the sea museum, because on an area of 200 square meters, lies a sunken ship, which, according to experts, sank before Christ. There is evidence that the ship was carrying about 50 tons of oil, but for unknown reasons it was shipwrecked. Despite the fact that much time has passed since the wreck, the ship has been perfectly preserved and divers can still see with their own eyes the ancient amphorae and other antiquities. This area is under state protection and to raise anything from the bottom of the strictly prohibited (to dive to get a special permit).
Then follow the steep cliffs, which are located on the Elafiti Islands and go deep under the water and the so-called “Park of Ships”, which is located near the famous far beyond the borders of Croatia park “Mljet”. We could go on and on describing the other popular diving spots around Dubrovnik, but there is no point, because you only need to contact any diving school and they will give you comprehensive information with illustrations.
If you are interested in any specific schools, one of the best diving schools in Dubrovnik is considered to be the scuba diving school BluePlanet, which is located at the DubrovnikPalace hotel. Despite its popularity, the prices at this school are quite democratic: two dives will cost $45-50. Approximately the same amount you have to pay for the certificate. These are the prices for group diving and training, if desired, you can take advantage of individual programs, which may include many additional benefits (boat trips, lunch on the boat, etc.). During low periods, prices are reduced by about 15-20 percent or even more.
To explore the Italian shipwrecks of Tarango and Columbia you need to contact the diving center located in the Croatian village of Mlini, which is only seven kilometers from Dubrovnik. Prices depend on the time of the dive, as well as the intensity of the tour (it is cheaper to book a group dive).
In the northern part of Croatia is the peninsula of Istria, which is well known among fans of diving not only in Europe but also beyond. Diving in this place is primarily popular because of a number of wrecks (at one time in this region was very busy with shipping and there are more than ten wrecks). In addition to shipwrecks Istria can delight various underwater caves, coral reefs, rich marine fauna and flora.
For diving you will need a special license of the local diving federation, but usually there is no problem with its acquisition, as it can be purchased locally, in one of the diving centers. A number of ships are closely guarded by the state and in order to dive to them to pay a surcharge (in dive centers are well aware of this and inform tourists). Beginners should take a certain training course, as without certain skills diving is quite dangerous and no diving center will go for it.
Most often, divers come to Istria, that look at the wreck of about 100 years ago the steamship Baron Gautch. At one time this steamer was one of the flagships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy. The ship lies at a depth of about 40 meters. During his stay on the seabed, her hull grew with algae and became an artificial reef on the sandy bottom (for many marine life ship serves as a reliable sea shelter). The ship’s hull is made of metal and is very well preserved to this day, but the captain’s bridge is completely destroyed, and the bow mast is broken and lies beside the ship.
Newcomers are most often shown the top of the ship, which lies at a depth of 28 meters, and to get there is not much of a problem. In the upper part you can see the passenger and pleasure decks.
Beautiful places for diving offer the archipelago of Brijuni, which at one time was one with the peninsula of Istria, but now they are separated by the canal Fajana, which is about 12 meters deep. Among the sea inhabitants of this bay there are dolphins, turtles, many species of fish (even such rare ones as shellfish and black surgeon). Sea urchins, clams and sponges are often found on the seabed.
Brijuni is also a national park, on the southwest side of which is Cape Peneda. This cape is ideal for both beginners and experienced divers (depths range from 4 to 35 meters). Underwater you can see not only the rich underwater world, but also a variety of tunnels and walls.
The cost of a dive depends on the difficulty, as well as the duration. It is best to contact diving centers beforehand and specify all items of interest, as in one diving center a dive may cost $40, but in the other one the same services will cost $60 or more.
Diving in Croatia
On a par with Montenegro, Croatia is considered the best destination for yachting in the Adriatic Sea. But the popularity of this country among sailors is not only due to the possibility of exciting trips. Unforgettable diving is also available here.
Favourite diving destination
Croatia has a lot of dive sites for all tastes. They offer interesting dive sites for beginners and intermediate divers in particular as most of the dive sites are designed for intermediate and advanced divers.
A significant advantage for diving in Croatia is the presence of numerous certified centers, of which there are at least two hundred. Therefore, it is always possible to find the most suitable club for diving training under the guidance of experienced instructors or to improve their skills. Taking all this into account, you can understand why diving in Croatia is considered one of the most popular water activities.
“The legends of ancient times…”
Diving in Croatia is especially attractive for those who are interested in underwater archaeology. In ancient times, popular trade routes passed through the Adriatic, on which ships loaded with all sorts of goods passed. Many of them never reached their destination, getting caught in terrible storms and ending up at the bottom of the sea. Now all these treasures are available to explorers of the underwater depths.
Of course, the most valuable items have long since been transferred from the bottom of the sea to museums in Croatia, but what diver does not dream of making his own discovery, finding something unique. In addition, the remains of wrecks, ancient amphorae, half-destroyed by time and sea, and anchors of ancient ships overgrown with seaweed are still available to lovers of underwater archaeology and rak-diving.
Military equipment in the realm of Neptune
Among the most interesting items on the Croatian seabed are cannons, of which there are many. From many ships caught in bad weather or attacked by pirates, cannons were first thrown into the water in order to lighten the weight of the ships and at the same time prevent the enemies from getting hold of the valuable spoils of war. The numerous artillery pieces overgrown with seaweed resemble a veritable underwater art gallery.
The most ancient cannon can be admired near the shipwreck near the island of Lastovo. No less interesting exhibits can be seen underwater near the island of Vis, where a warship, on board of which there were 16 cannons, sank. Near the town of Plavnik divers can dive to the location of 12 cannons of the ship.
Treasure Trove of Mljet amphorae
Another point of interest for divers in Croatia is that in addition to military trophies, the local waters conceal many original objects from sunken ships. Thus, near the island of Mljet was found a real cemetery of amphorae.
On board the shipwreck of the 1st century BC there were more than 150 such vessels, most of which were raised to the surface, restored and placed in an underwater museum.
The ship itself is over the centuries completely destroyed, but it is also planned to restore and place it in an underwater museum Odysseus cave, located in the southern part of the island of Mljet.
Secrets of sunken ships
Rack diving in Croatia is the most popular, because there are many places for fascinating dives to sunken objects. Among them you can highlight the wreck “Baron Gautsch” – perhaps the most famous and interesting object of attention of racketeers. However, only experienced divers with excellent diving skills to the wrecks can dive to it.
Ferry sank in the early 20th century, hit by an underwater mine. The upper deck of the ship is located at a depth of 28 m and the lower deck at a depth of 42 m. Well preserved not only the hull of the ship, but also its interiors with the original interiors of those years.
You can also take a walk inside the wreck of the Lina. This is another popular dive site for experienced divers. It is located near the island Cres. The ship sank as a result of a collision with the reef in heavy fog. A well-preserved wreck can also be seen near the popular Dubrovnik.
The Taranto broke into two pieces and sank as a result of a mine collision in 1943. Today, this rak site is an artificial reef where you can admire not only the remains of the shipwreck, but also many colorful fish.
An underwater tale for every taste
These are just a few of the dive sites in Croatia, of which there are many. It is also worth noting that no less popular than the rake diving in this country has and key diving, because there are many noteworthy underwater caves.
Especially appealing is the Blue cave Bishevo, impressing with its unique blue glow. A lot of mysterious grottoes and colorful coral reefs also attract the lovers of the interesting diving.
There are a lot of interesting wrecks on the Croatian sea bottom and it is impossible to say unequivocally that all the discoveries have long been made and there are no surprises awaiting the divers here. The main thing is not to forget about safety in the search for sunken treasures.