Croatia’s underwater world is fascinating for snorkellers thanks to its high underwater visibility, thriving flora and fauna, and shipwreck remains that decorate the coast. A safe snorkelling destination without the fear of sharks or dangerous sea animals, sailing holiday guests of all ages can delight in Croatia’s coastline, and many will be surprised by what they can uncover.
While snorkelling in Croatia is without the colours of the Caribbean or other vibrant tropical destinations, the dynamic Adriatic amazes with Mediterranean charm. Iridescent sea caves and blissful bays replace the absence of vivid sea creatures, and national parks along the coast keep the sea protected, well-preserved, and pure.
While we could argue that almost any coastal location in Croatia could tempt you to reach for your goggles and gear, there are five snorkelling spots, in particular, you won’t want to miss the next time you charter a sailboat.
Brijuni National Park
One of Croatia’s eight national parks is Brijuni, a collection of 14 islands just off the Istrian coast and not far from the town of Pula. Declared a National Park in 1983, Brijuni’s popularity grew years before, and mainly thanks to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia president, Josip Broz Tito, whose ‘White House’ on Brijuni became his official residence in 1953. Politics aside, Brijuni’s untouched underwater world is a treat for snorkelers for many reasons. For starters, its National Park status means that fishing in the area is regulated, resulting in well-preserved fauna and thriving marine life. It’s common to see a variety of fish, sea urchins, and sea sponges on your underwater adventure - but that’s not all. The Verige Bay seabed offers a look into the region’s vibrant Roman history with underwater archaeological remains to be explored.
The ‘golden island,’ located in the heart of Kvarner Bay in the northern Adriatic, is also Croatia’s largest. Bustling with summertime tourism, Krk is a hotspot for tourists looking for a snorkelling adventure, and it abounds in submarine scenes. While climate change has exhausted the sea of colourful corals and troves of fish species, that doesn’t mean there is nothing left for you to explore. Brown algae and red starfish can be found in the Karaka area, while Sveti Rak flourishes with sea cucumbers, majestic rock formations, and even a small boat wreck! Glavotok’s high underwater visibility allows you to examine the urchin-covered seabed, and Stara Baška thrives with a variety of Adriatic fish species, crabs, and yellow tube sponges.
With a name that literally translates to ‘long island,’ you can imagine that Dugi Otok has many subaqueous spots to be examined. Located in the Zadar archipelago, Dugi Otok is known for its indented coastline, which has drawn sailing holiday guests for years. Thanks to Telašćica Nature Park in the south-eastern part of the island and Kornati National Park nearby, swarms of fish and coral reef envelope Dugi Otok. One particularly favoured snorkelling location is the Italian merchant shipwreck Michele from 1984, which can be found near Veli Rat. The wreck is also partially above the surface, so you can’t miss it! The wind-protected Telašćica Bay also offers an abundance of flora and fauna.
Croatia’s irresistible ‘green’ island is located on the southern Dalmatian coast. Known for its myths and legends thanks to Homer’s Greek epic poems, the western part of Mljet is recognised for its National Park, declared in 1960. Often considered Mother Nature’s playground because of its lush forest and turquoise waters, Mljet is no stranger to the world of snorkelling. Desirable locations for those looking to analyse the undersea are the Big Lake (Veliko Jezero) and Odysseus and Rikavica Caves. Applauded for its aquarium-like conditions, Mljet snorkellers can swim among the sea life and even see coral reefs!
A military base for the Yugoslav National Army that was isolated from foreign visitors from the 1950s to 1989, Vis is one of Dalmatia’s best-preserved islands. With over 85 kilometres of jagged and rocky coastline, nearby islets, and secluded bays, Vis teems with subaquatic surprises. From mind-blowing rock formations and war memorabilia to sea tunnels and flourishing flora and fauna, snorkelling around Vis does not disappoint. Some of the most popular locations to dive in are the much-publicised Blue Cave on Biševo Island or Europe’s best beach Stiniva Bay. However, experienced divers should head to the southern coast of Vis, on Ravnik Island, where they can explore the remains of the World War One steamship Brijuni!
Sail and Explore Croatia!
There is so much to see, do and explore when you sail in Croatia. Visit our website for more inspiration and let’s book your week charter in Croatia this season!