There is so much to enchant you on your sailing holiday, and the caves of Croatia’s coast are an essential part of ensuring you experience all the magic it has to offer. Whether they played a significant role in Greek mythology or tempt tourists eager for an Instagram-worthy photo, Croatia’s spectacular sea caves are unique not only because they can usually be accessed no other way, but because Mother Nature has played her role in giving each a distinctive trait.
Some change colors, others provide a safe haven for animals, and some might keep you for seven years. All, however, are impressive pieces of natural artwork best explored by sailing in Croatia. A look at our five favorite sea caves on the Croatian coast.
1. Blue Cave, Biševo
Arguably the most popular cave in Croatia is the Blue Cave, located in the small Balun Bay on Biševo Island near Vis. Welcoming thousands of sailboats, charter guests, and swarms of tourists on 5-island tours all summer long, the Blue Cave is a top tourist attraction - and visitors will go to great lengths just to see it live. This natural jewel is best visited between 11 am and 2 pm when sunlight peeks through the vault opening, hitting the sea and white seabed to ignite the interior with a blue hue, a unique natural wonder in the world. Interestingly, this cave has only been accessible to the public since 1884, when an artificial entrance was created large enough for small boats. While the Blue Cave experience is breathtaking, waiting for hours in line to enter may kill your buzz. Fortunately, the area boasts other cave adventures, like the Monk Seal Cave just a short ride from the Blue Cave or the Green Cave on the tiny islet of Ravnik. You can’t swim in the Blue Cave, but you can swim in these!
2. Betina Cave, Dubrovnik
Located between Villa Šeherezada and Gjivović beach is Betina, a cave named after the renowned Dubrovnik scientist Marin Getaldić, whose nickname was Bete, and who dedicated part of his research work to this very cave. This well-preserved hidden gem is a sanctuary away from the Dubrovnik crowds, and its natural beauty even earned it a mention by Vogue as one of the eight most beautiful Croatian beaches! Because Betina is only reachable by sea, its pebbled beach draws few bathers. Pigeons, however, use this rock shelter to nest, so if you’ve never seen a small pigeon, this is your chance!
3. Odysseus Cave, Mljet
This paradise on earth, located on the south side of Mljet Island, was once refuge to Homer’s most famous ancient hero, Odysseus. This cave opened up to the shipwrecked Odysseus, where he met the captivating nymph Calypso, who kept him here for seven years! Centuries after the departure of Homer’s hero, visitors are still fascinated by this romantic cave, and it’s not hard to see why. The cave is entered through a five-meter-wide passage, and the depth of its bottom is between 18 and 30 meters. It is also adorned with a low vault, so only when the sea is calm should you enter. A natural habitat for the Mediterranean seal for many years, the cave today is increasingly visited by divers thanks to its rich wildlife, while photographers are enchanted by its noon summertime light, illuminating the cave with a cerulean tint.
4. Golubinka Cave, Dugi Otok
Golubinka Cave is located near Brbinjšćica Bay, in the southwestern part of Dugi Otok. The cave entrance is long and narrow, and it is only accessible from the sea - by swimming or kayak. Much like the Blue Cave, visitors here can experience a similar natural wonder when sunlight hits the cave opening, creating a spectrum of colors in the cave’s interior. What makes this cave even more interesting is that around 50 sea sponge species have been recorded in it, along with over 3,000 red and greater horseshoe bats!
5. Plava Grota (Blue Grotto), Cres Island
One nautical mile from the town of Lubenice and next to the famous St. Ivan's beach is the beautiful Žanja beach, where you’ll find the entrance to the Plava Grota (Blue Grotto) cave. Boasting 20 meters in length and a roomy interior, Plava Grota can only be accessed by sea, enhancing its appeal. Yet another cave that transforms to blue thanks to the play of afternoon light and shadows in the summertime, Plava Grota has quickly become a hotspot for yacht charter guests wanting to experience this natural paradise. The active marine life around the Grota includes lobster, John Dory, and thorny oysters, and there is even a small beach inside the cave with pleasant pebbles that make it easier to come ashore!
As you can see, there is so much to explore when you book your yacht charter and sail in Croatia. Browse our website for more blogs and inspiration, or contact our team to start planning your sailing adventure in Croatia!