Where to go diving in Croatia? Read our list of the top Croatian diving spots for scuba diving and snorkeling to get some ideas.
Whether scuba diving or snorkeling, Croatia offers one of best diving experiences in Europe. Along the entire coastline, you can explore magnificent diving sites like old shipwrecks from WW1 and WW2, discover amazing coral structures or hidden caves and observe one of the most diverse marine life in the world.
Overview of the best areas for diving in Croatia
Diving areas in Northern Adriatic:
- Istrian peninsula
- Kvarner bay
- northern Dalmatia (area around Zadar and Kornati archipelago)
Diving areas in Southern Adriatic:
- Southern Dalmatia area - from Split, including Brač-Hvar-Korčula archipelago, down to Vis island area and Dubrovnik
Most of the diving sites we have listed below are recommended for scuba diving, as you will find more diversity and breathtaking sites the deeper you go underwater. Also, the sea gets deeper as you go from north to south. However, there are some great opportunities for snorkeling as well – take your pick from our list:
Best diving spots in Croatia – Northern Adriatic
Wreck Baron Gautsch – near Rovinj, Istria
Baron Gautsch shipwreck. Source: Shutterstock
This historical diving site is one of the most popular underwater wrecks a diver can explore in the Mediterranean.
Just off the coast of Rovinj, there is a Austrian passenger ship called Baron Gautsch located on the sea floor. It sank in 1914 after hitting an underwater mine, resulting in one of the biggest Austrian maritime tragedies in the First World War. The minefield was actually placed by the Austro-Hungarian navy to defend the Pula city port, which it governed back then.
The wreck is now protected by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, which is why you need permission from a local diving center to go take a look around the decks and quarters of Baron Gautsch. With a minimum depth of 28 meters and a maximum of 42, this diving site presents a great underwater adventure for experienced divers.
Diving centers in Rovinj:
Underwater Museum – Mali Lošinj
Historical Underwater Park on Mali Lošinj. Source: visitlosinj.hr
If you are a beginner diver, this diving site is a great place for you to enjoy. Located in Čikat Bay of the Mali Lošinj island, this magnificent underwater park hosts an exhibition of 11 different exponents in roughly 300 meters in length. It tells the story of the area’s rich history, dating back from Ancient Rome, through the Venetian times and all the way up to the World War II.
At the bottom, which is a maximum of 15 meters in depth, you will find replicas of war cannons, amphoras, anchors, as well as WW2 machine guns. The greatest attraction however is the replicated bronze statue of Apoxyomenos (the Scraper), placed upright in its natural size. (The original was found here and placed safely in a museum - it’s more than 2000 years old!)
Diving centers in Mali Lošinj:
Wreck Michelle – Dugi Otok
Wreck Michelle on Dugi Otok. Source: Shutterstock
- Scuba diving (beginner)
Another popular diving site is found on the island of Dugi Otok (translated as “Long Island”), located in the Zadar archipelago (which can be explored when sailing via our Northern Adriatic yacht charter route). It’s the underwater wreck of an Italian ship called Michelle, found near the Veli Rat lighthouse on the island.
Related: The most popular islands in Croatia
The ship was used to transport cargo and broke down in the 80s, and was left stranded here in the blue, becoming a coral breeding ground and a haven for marine life. Since Michelle isn’t located at a very low depth (about 5-6 meters) and can even be seen from the coast, it’s a great place for snorkeling enthusiasts as well!
Diving centers on Dugi Otok:
Best diving spots in Croatia – Southern Adriatic
Blue Lagoon, Drvenik Veli near Split
Blue Lagoon on Drvenik Veli. Source: Shutterstock
- Scuba diving (beginner)
The island of Drvenik Veli is located west of Split, and north of the island of Šolta – a sailing paradise also featured on our South Adriatic yacht charter route. There you will find an enchanting lagoon with turquoise blue water and rich with all kinds of fish. It is a perfect location for divers, swimmers and photographers alike. You can find a few local restaurants with delicious and fresh seafood here, too!
Related: Top 10 restaurants for a yacht tour of the Adriatic
Diving centers near Drvenik Veli:
Te Vega, Sušac near Korcula
Diving in the Adriatic Sea around Korčula. Source: Shutterstock
• Scuba diving
On a sweet little Mediterranean island called Sušac, located southwest of the island of Korčula, you can find a diving site known as Te Vega. In fact, it’s a sea lake which you can find by diving through an 5-meter deep underwater tunnel. The lake is also surrounded by cliffs 30-meter high, which is a truly spectacular sight.
The site itself is brimming with varied sea life, ranging from algae to octopuses and eels… including starfish! Doesn’t that sound like a diver’s heaven to you?
Diving centers in Korčula:
B-24 Liberator, Vis
B-24 Liberator on Vis island. Source: divingvis.com
Vis is a small but wonderful Croatian island, and the area around it is both a sailing and diving paradise. This is the island which is furthest away from the coast (45km), 50km away from the city of Split. It is also featured on our south Adriatic charter route.
Here you can find another wreck site to explore while diving – a B-24 bomber which crashed during the WW2, found near the islet of Veli Paržanj in the Vis archipelago. The wreck of the bomber lies at the depth of 52m underwater. If you are a more technically experienced diver, you should definitely check out this area – there are several diving centers on both sides of the island.
Diving centers on Vis:
Taranto Shipwreck, Dubrovnik
Taranto shipwreck in Dubrovnik. Source: blueplanet-diving.com
When diving not far from the coast of the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia’s south, you can find the wreck of a cargo ship named Taranto. It was an Austro-Hungarian ship used by the Italian army in WW2, which came across a mine during the war time and sank to the bottom.
The bow of the ship is located at the depth of 23 meters, while the stern stretches down to little more than 50 meters. For advanced divers, this is a terrific site, as Taranto houses a variety of marine species, like octopuses, lobsters, sponges and corals.
If you are looking for a perfect, luxurious sailing holiday which includes visiting Dubrovnik, one of the most popular and most unique Croatian cities featured on the UNESCO World Heritage list - and you are interested in discovering fantastic diving sites - then our Southern Adriatic yacht charter route is tailor-made for you!
Diving centers in Dubrovnik:
When is it best to go diving in Croatia?
The diving season in Croatia is normally from May until November. The water is still warm enough in the autumn months of September and October, and most sites are less crowded than during peak summer.
Water temperatures range from 22°C to 25°C (71°F – 77°F) in the summer, but can drop to 19°C (66.2°F) below a dozen meters underwater. It’s not recommended to go diving in the winter, both because of the lower temperatures and stronger winds.
Explore the best Croatian diving spots on a luxury yacht charter
Want to experience the magic of the Mediterranean underwater during a luxury sailing holiday in Croatia? Feel free to explore our list of luxury yachts here!