Diving in Croatia as an adventure vacation has exploded in popularity the last 10 years even though diving clubs and courses have been on the Croatian coast since the 1950s. You’ll now find diving clubs and centers on nearly
every Croatian island as well as dozens of coastal towns.
First of all you need a Croatian diving permit in order to dive legally in Croatia. It costs 100Kn and can be obtained from dive centers and dive clubs on presentation of your passport and diving certification card. It’s valid for a year.
Even with a general permit, you need a special permit to dive in the Kornati Islands National Park , Mljet National Park and a number of other locations. The cost (100Kn) and paperwork of the permit is handled by the dive club organising the dive.
The diving season runs from May through November. Don’t hesitate to dive in September and October; the water is still warm and the crowds are much less. The rough, cold waters in the winter months make diving unpleasant.
Summer water temperatures range from 22°C to 25°C at the surface but drop to 19°C below 12m. Most people are more comfortable in a wet suit even in summer. Winter water is a chilly 11°C at the surface.
Although there is little surge and minimal tides in Croatian waters, wave height runs from 0.5m to 1.5m but can be as high as 5m. Currents are weak in most places but watch out for the channels and passages between islands.
Croatian part of the Adriatic is truly full of life! There are 7000 species living in the Adriatic. Thankfully (for every swimmer), dangerous sharks are not among the 7000, so you can calmly take a swim, or a dive whenever you like! There are however fish, cephalopods, crustaceans, mammals, and more
Croatia’s underwater treasures include wrecks, coral reefs, caves and endless schools of fish. The best diving in Croatia tends to be in comparatively deep water; beginning divers need to choose carefully! The sea is shallowest around the Istrian coast (at around 50m) but becomes progressively deeper the further south you go. The deepest point is around Jabuka island (70km northwest of Vis Island) where the water is as deep as 1300 m.
Just a short distance off the coast, the wreck of transport ship Taranto, which sank after hitting a mine in 1943 while carrying flour and tractors, will prove an interesting site for advanced divers who will discover that octopuses, lobsters, and cardinal fish have taken up residence inside. The wreck lies at 10 metres in the shallows to 52 metres at its deepest.
The island of Lorkum is only 10 minutes away from Dubrovnik and the sunken shipwreck dive siteSS Tomislav is almost fully intact. Swimming through the surrounding area, divers can hope to see dogfish and tuna hunting, the latter putting on impressive displays as their scales glint in the sunlight.
Bol is renowned for the friendly dolphins that frequent the area, meaning divers can hope for a close encounter with these playful creatures. In addition to great diving, the Dalmatian Island of Brač will prove a hit with nature lovers and history buffs alike. Ancient sites such as Roman quarries and monasteries carpet the coast, where the quintessentially Mediterranean experience of gourmet dining and fine sand beaches is never more than a short walk away.
An opening at three metres leads to a cave with two chambers, the larger of which reaches a depth of 37 metres and the smaller one a depth of 42 metres. Within these chambers, divers will discover stalagmites and stalactites from a time when the caves were above sea level. The walls are covered in red coral while vibrant orange sea plants offer camouflage for the marine life living at these depths.
Modra Špilja (Blue Grotto)
Home to Benedictine monks in the 11th century, Biševo is known for the Church of St Silvester and its ten grottoes hidden within its coastline. The best and most famous of these is Modra Špilja — the Blue Grotto. Similar to Capri’s attraction of the same name, the midday sun reflects off the limestone bottom on calm days and creates a brilliant blue hue emanating from underwater.
Modra Špilja receives the most visitors between July and August and it is advisable to visit the grotto out of the peak season for the best experience.
There is a wide variety of sea life only a few metres below the surface in Korčula, making for an easy and rewarding dive with young and inexperienced members of your group. Octopuses and moray eels hide within the shaded crevices of the coral reefs, while crayfish traverse the ocean floor, passing by sedentary starfish and vivid sea slugs.
In Sušac, drop into a small hole above the water level and follow the tunnel to the Te Vega sea lake. Parrotfish and goby swim along the bottom and high sea walls reach more than 30 metres above sea level, making for an impressive sight.
An excellent spot for divers of all abilities, Fraskeric has four beautiful tunnels that start at three metres deep and descend to 16 metres. Rays of light break through gaps in the tunnels, adding to the dreamlike ambience beneath the waves. The location is also well-known for snorkelling and night diving and a full moon gives the tunnels a silvery glow. Seahorses may also be spotted at dive sites around Istria.
Croatia was once a part of the Roman Empire and today, its Archaeological Park contains extraordinary amphorae and a Venetian cannon as well as many other pieces. The replica Apoxyomenos statue is the main attraction, which will one day form an artificial reef. The original 2000-year-old statue was discovered in 1996 and has since been restored to its former glory for exhibition on dry land.
At only 12 metres below the surface, the underwater museum is an entertaining day out for beginner-level divers and those looking for an easy dive and an opportunity to learn about Croatia’s history.
Rovinj has a large number of dive sites and historical artefacts litter the sea floor. Beginners will find plenty of treasures in the shallow waters, while the more experienced can explore the caves.
Intermediate and advanced divers should make the time to visit Baron Gautsch, which is one of the most popular wrecks in the Adriatic. After the Austro-Hungarian navy laid a minefield to protect the main port of Pula during World War II, the Baron Gautsch ploughed into the mines and sank, killing 147 passengers.
Info by boatinternational.com
Airports in Croatia are Zagreb Airport, Split Airport, Dubrovnik Airport and Pula Airport, apart from several others. Croatia is accessible from most places in the UK and Ireland. There are only a couple of direct flights to Croatia from outside Europe. An alternative would be flying to a city in Western Europe that is well-connected and then continuing from there. There are flights to Croatia from Qatar and Tel Aviv as well. Croatia Airlines is the national carrier.