Tourism has been growing by leaps and bounds throughout Croatia with good reason. This incomparable European nation that lies almost entirely astride the Adriatic Sea won the title of “Destination of the Year” from Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2016. It was selected because of its historical places, beautiful national parks, fantastic cuisine, and especially its stunning beaches. The clear waters of the Adriatic Sea offer perfect conditions for water activities, so if you wish to explore the beautiful undersea world, you will be right in this wonderful country. To help you with your vacation planning, we investigate now where to find the best snorkeling in Croatia!
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Krk is also known affectionately by Croatians as “The Golden Island” from the days of the ancient world. This closest island to Western Europe boasts a vast array of varying landscapes, fabulous beaches and considered one of the best Croatia snorkeling places.
The near-perfect clarity of the Adriatic Sea surrounding Krk Island provides summer-round chances to enjoy the underwater world with only a mask and snorkel. Croatia’s coast here offers great diversity with a combination of sandy beaches and rocky shores. Glavotok is a superb family-friendly spot to snorkel thanks to its calm waters, while the small bay of Sveti Marek adds some excitement to the day with its underwater tunnels and caves.
Tip: For more information, read our Snorkeling in Krk post.
Vis Island is an undiscovered gem of the Dalmatian Coastline and one of the best places to choose if you’d like to do snorkeling in Croatia. The waters surrounding this lesser-known island are pristine and unspoiled, making it an ideal spot to enjoy the sun and sea with practically no human competition.
Vis has the distinction from its past as an army base for the Yugoslavian Army. Because foreigners were restricted from the island, the place is immaculately preserved to this day. The island’s inherent remoteness from big cities like Split and Dubrovnik also has not hurt its natural appearance.
There are a number of unforgettable snorkeling locales on this magical island. You should not miss the Blue Cave, Green Cave and Srebrna Beach. Should you look for the island’s most stunning beach to snorkel, don’t miss out visiting Stiniva. Towering cliffs, deep azure waters and sheltered atmosphere give this beach’s uniqueness.
Vir Island is an ideal destination in the Zadar archipelago for those who wish to spend their time relaxing and snorkeling in Croatia. It is connected to the mainland by a bridge, so the lack of the ferry ride makes getting to the island easy and comfortable.
The island’s coastline is flanked by coves with pebbly and sandy beaches, while the sea is crystal clear. Vir’s most beautiful and at the same time best snorkeling beaches are the Plaza Kastelina next to the Venetian fortress Kaštelina and the Duboka Draga Beach that has red clay. Make sure to spend a day on the small island of Skoljic too which is famous for its beautiful sandy beach.
Brijuni National Park
One of the most famous areas for snorkeling in Croatia is the Brijuni National Park, found along the south Istrian Coast. The Brijuni Islands boast crystal-clear sea for those who take the water taxi from the village Fazana (near Pula). There is also a locally operated ferry boat from Fazana to Veli Brijun.
For several reasons, Brijuni National Park snorkeling is among the most otherworldly of experiences. The area was well-protected for a few decades, providing incomparable biodiversity in the underwater. You are able to see the rare noble pen shell and date shell creatures. The presence of submerged ancient Roman ruins means that you can enjoy a guided day trip out to underwater archaeological sites. Dolphins will accompany as you explore the mysteries of the country’s past.
Another top Croatia snorkeling spot is Dugi Otok. Lying along the north side of the Zadar archipelago, two nature parks cover the pristine natural area: Telascica Nature Park and Kornati National Park. An abundance of beautiful fish populates the reefs surrounding this island. Some of the most fantastic sandy beaches anywhere lie here.
One of the great spots to start snorkeling lies at Lagnici Cliffs near the Veli Rat Lighthouse. The shipwreck has coral reefs surrounding the vessel, now providing habitat for several different varieties of marine life and fish. Another nice place to visit is the Brbiscica Cave on the west coast where stunning contrasts and colors appear in the water courtesy of unusual light that filters through.
The last spot is Telascicia Bay to Dugi Otok’s south. This bay is surrounded by higher cliffs and sheltered from wind by oak and pine trees. The bay provides a variety of islets and coves to explore along with the most varied marine life to be had on Croatia’s coastline. There are over 250 different species of marine life calling the Telascica Bay home, living among over 300 different kinds of flora.
Dubrovnik offers more than simply incredible architecture and magical history everywhere in the walled town. Although Dubrovnik is known mainly for its historical attractions, beach lovers will be right here too since there are several spots to enjoy the refreshing waters of the Adriatic Sea on a hot summer day.
Buza beach is considered to have the best snorkeling near Dubrovnik. The rocky site is easy to access from the town center. Visibility beneath the crystal-clear waves is always excellent. An added plus is you can enjoy food and drinks only moments after exiting the water, thanks to facilities like restaurants and bars lining the beach.
Another superb Dubrovnik snorkeling beach is Dance that lies in the heart of the old town. The cliffs are both tall and unusual, fronting beautifully colored water in the undersea world. Last but not least, consider visiting Gorica too which is is an excellent spot for snorkelers with experience and confidence. A deep-sea bottom means you will observe sea life from a distance. It is easy to access from the center of town in a 20 minutes’ walk. There are no facilities at this all-natural spot, so plan to bring your food and drinks with you.
The second-largest city of Croatia is a popular vacation destination thanks to the areas numerous cultural, historical and natural attractions. Visiting the Old Town of Split (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Saint Domnius Cathedral and the Diocletian’s Palace are not-to-miss-out programs, but the area does not disappoint when you are looking for good snorkeling in Croatia.
If you decide to go snorkeling in Split, there are a number of guided snorkel tours available including transportation and food and drink. They will transport you to the best locations and provide snorkeling gear. The three top spots where such tours take visitors to snorkel are Brač, Blue Lagoon, and Trogir abounding with interesting marine life and flora.
Makarska has been called the Riviera of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast with good reason. It extends for approximately 40 miles (60 kilometers), stretching from Brela of the north to Gradac of the south. The region is home to the finest beaches in Croatia. You can go from one pebbly beach and uninhabited bay to the next along this village strewn coastline.
The Makarska Riviera features some top Croatia snorkeling spots, each of them with fantastic underwater visibility. The best snorkeling beaches here include Nugal Beach, Zivogosce beaches, and the lesser-known intimate beaches lying between Igrani and Drasnice. In these snorkeling spots, you see octopus, little crabs, tiny fish, star fish, and sea urchins.
Known as Croatia’s greenest island, Mljet is the country’s most tranquil spot and certainly one of the best places to go snorkeling in Croatia due to a wealth of marine life.
Many fish and other sea animals call the protected natural area home. Veliko, Saplunara and Malo Jezero are nice places to swim and snorkel, but the most exciting snorkel spot is definitely the Odysseus Cave, found along the Mljet Island south coast. It is better for experienced snorkelers because the water is extremely deep with cliffs dropping to the seafloor. You can even snorkel the cave and see the sun rays extending deep into the beautiful water.
Losinj is one of the most popular islands in Croatia that offers visitors a wide variety of outdoor things to do as well as cultural attractions. The island has a few sandy beaches, most the coast consists of mostly rocky-pebbly spots that offer ideal conditions for underwater activities. Losinj is known as one of the best diving places in Croatia, but snorkelers will have fun too while exploring various marine species in the Adriatic Sea’s clear waters.
For those who arrive with kids, the sandy Cikat bay is the most recommend where children can go snorkeling in the calm shallow waters. Those who seek out some advanced snorkeling will certainly love the beaches around Mali Losinj and Veli Losinj. It is also worth to take a boat trip to the nearby Susak Island that offers some exciting snorkeling with underwater tunnels. Moreover, near Susak, in Obis Bay, there is another unique place that is worth visiting, the Margarina Cove. This nearly 60-feet-deep (17 meters) canyon includes a shipwreck to explore.
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