Croatia is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, sparkling turquoise seas, and the largest coral reef in the Mediterranean. Her crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkelers looking to explore the biodiversity and marine life, historic shipwrecks, and sunken artifacts visible at depths even beginners can enjoy.
With over 1200 islands and 1880km of mainland coastline, choosing a spot to snorkel can be an overwhelming task. So to help you plan your next snorkeling adventure, we put together a list of the 5 best snorkeling spots in Croatia that showcase the best of the Adriatic’s aquatic wonders.
The top 5 snorkeling spots in Croatia
1. Blue Nautica Underwater Museum
Located in Jelinak Cove just 2 nautical miles from Trogir, the Blue Nautica underwater museum is the only museum of its kind in the world. Blue Nautica organizes snorkeling day trips where you can explore and enjoy 52 life-sized underwater statues, a sunken military plane, a beautiful beach and a “No Stress Zone” to unwind after it all.
The day trip includes a speedboat transfer to and from Jelinak Cove, snorkeling equipment, and entry to the museum and nearby aquapark. Bring your family, your friends, your kids, and your curiosity–especially if you’ll be snorkeling for the first time.
What to see
The Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) – At an accessible depth of 4-5m, the Via Crucis is suitable for snorkelers of all levels. The Via Crucis features life-sized statues of all 14 stations of the cross, plus an 8m tall statue of Jesus Christ to represent the 15th station.
The J-21 Jastreb (sunken military plane) – The model of this late-1960s fighter-bomber was the most commonly-flown military plane of the Yugolsav Air Force during that era. At a depth of 10m, this exhibit is suitable for intermediate to advanced snorkelers, history buffs, and flight enthusiasts.
The Blue Nautica Underwater Museum is located in an area rich with a cultural history, with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites within 30 km:
2. Mljet Coral Reef, Mljet National Par
Mljet National Park is the oldest protected marine area in the Mediterranean (since 1960). It comprises the entire northwestern cape of Mljet island and a marine area of 500 meters from the coast. Within the park’s 5300 hectares, you’ll find two stunning lakes and the Benedictine Monastery (pictured above) on the St. Mary islet in the Veliko Jezero (Large Lake).
What to see
The ridge of sod coral – covering 650 square meters, it’s the largest coral reef in the Mediterranean and the only coral reef in Croatia. With depths varying from 4-18m, snorkelers of all levels will find all sorts of vibrant plant and animal life here.
- Odysseus’ Cave – on the south side of Mljet island you’ll find a stunning, secret spot steeped in Greek mythology
- The town of Pomena – where you can rent gear and get tickets to the park
- The old city of Dubrovnik – yet another UNESCO site with a rich cultural heritage and ancient, immaculately preserved architecture
3. Plieski Beach, Lošinj
Lošinj island is a natural wonder, with over 200 days of sunshine a year, over 1000 plant species, and a family of over 200 bottlenose dolphins living in the area. This island is loaded with things to do and see when you finish your snorkeling adventure —the only question is whether you have enough time to see it all.
What to see
Plieski beach – accessible by foot or by boat, this beautiful snorkeling spot boasts a family-friendly atmosphere and plenty of pine shade. The shallow waters and sandy inlets are perfect for family outings, and there are lots of shallow spots for snorkelers to explore the varied underwater fauna; sea weeds, corals, schools of fish — and dolphins if you’re lucky!
- Museum of Apoxyomenos – the bronze statue of Apoxyomenos was discovered in the sea near Lošinj in 1997 after spending nearly 2,000 years under the sea
- Dolphin Way – a long, scenic path that overlooks one of the best spots to see dolphins
- Mrtvaška Cove – at the southern tip of the island, this scenic cove is accessible by boat transfer
4. Vele Lagne, Dugi Otok
Dugi Otok is a paradise for snorkelers, swimmers, and scuba divers alike. It’s full of hidden beaches, historic landmarks, out of the way coves, and towering cliffs to give some texture to your stay. Not to mention fish of all colors, shapes and sizes, and natural flora and fauna both in the sea and on land.
What to see
The S. Michele shipwreck – Just past the northwesternmost tip of Dugi Otok lies the historic German shipwreck the S. Michele, which sank in 1983. Half the shipwreck is visible above water, and the other half is just below the surface, accessible to snorkelers of all levels. While you’ll need a boat to get there, the trip is well worth it to see this piece of history up close.
Pro tip: be careful about the rust!
- Lighthouse Veli Rat – at 42 meters high, it’s the tallest lighthouse in the Adriatic
- Cave Strašna Peć – grab your headlamp and check out the stalagmites and stalactites in this ecological wonder
- Beach Sakarun – this sandy beach has an enormous swimming area, at 3.5 meters even 250 meters from the shore
5. Tučepi, Makarska Riviera
Makarska has a 60km stretch of coastline with both pebble and sandy beaches that extend from Brela south to Gradac. This area has a little something for everyone, from pine-shaded, family-friendly spots, primetime snorkeling areas, and even a section for nudists.
What to see
Tučepi – features a 4km pebble beach just in front of a quaint town and a shady seaside row of pine forest. This beach is highly accessible and family friendly, with plenty of shallow spots with great visibility along the whole stretch of beach.
The water around Tučepi has crystal-clear underwater visibility, and on a sunny day you can see all sorts of marine life: octopus, crabs, clams, fish large and small, starfish, and even sea urchins— which locals believe is a sign of clean water.
- Nature Park Biokovo – catch sweeping panoramic views from the mountain that rises straight out of the sea
- National forest Osejava – a forest park perfect for walking, running, and cycling
- Nugal Beach – considered one of the best beaches on the island, it even has a nudist section!
Things to keep in mind during your snorkeling trip
Take note of the rich marine life
As you snorkel the waters of Croatia, be on the lookout for some of the most common types of fish, such as tuna, swordfish, dolphins, and other forms of marine life, like octopus, cuttlefish, starfish, anemones, shellfish, sea urchins, eels, and corals.
Plan ahead to make the most of your snorkeling adventure
- Underwater visibility is best during low tide, so make sure you check the tides before setting out
- Beware of the bura — the famed Adriatic north wind that brings cool temperatures, strong currents, and lower visibility
- The best time to go snorkeling is from May – October, when the sea temperatures range from 20-25° C. Of course, you can technically go year-round–you’ll want to bring your wetsuit if you book your trip during colder months.
Book your next snorkeling trip with Blue Nautica
If you’re looking to explore the wonders of Blue Nautica’s Underwater Museum and the only underwater Via Crucis in the world, book your day trip from Trogir or Split here.