Croatia is a stunning Central European and Mediterranean country that comprises 1,244 islands, islets, rocks, and reefs. The stunning landscapes, medieval towns, and villages, and rich fauna and flora have made this crescent-shaped country one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. It’s also one of the best regions for scuba diving within the continent.
With its many islands spread across the Adriatic Sea, Croatia offers a multitude of dive sites with coral reefs, canyons, caverns, and wrecks just waiting to be explored. There are more than 100 registered dive sites, the most popular ones being located around Krk Island, Zadar, Hvar Island, Rovinj, Pula, Lastovo Island, and Dubrovnik.
The diving season in Croatia usually lasts from May to October, although you may find several dive sites available throughout the year. However, diving during the winter months is not recommended because of the colder waters, choppy seas, and decreased visibility.
In the summer, the water temperature ranges between 22° C/72° F and 25° C/77° F. During the winter months, the temperature drops to about 12° C/54° F.
Most dive sites exhibit calm conditions with mild currents.
The water visibility in Croatia averages 10-15 meters (33-50 feet), but you can experience visibility of up to 50 meters (164 feet) in some locations.
Croatia may not be among the best places to go if you want to see amazing sea life and huge reefs, but what makes diving here so enticing is the abundance of shipwrecks that are true underwater museums just waiting to be visited. The SS Lina steamship, Rossarol explorer, Luana cargo vessel, Argo minesweeper, and the Giuseppe Dezza torpedo boat are among the most popular wrecks you can explore in Croatia.
Cave and cavern dive sites are a frequent phenomenon in this part of the Adriatic Sea due to the karst relief and indented coastline of Croatia. Most of the well-known sites are found along the islands of Vis, Lastovo, Mljet, and Korcula, in the South Adriatic Sea, as well as along the islands of Krk, Cres, and Dugi Otok. Note that in order to dive these caves and caverns, divers must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Culture of Croatia. Only properly trained divers should attempt these cave/cavern dives.
Sure, the Adriatic Sea does not offer the same marine life you’ll encounter in tropical waters, but there are plenty to be seen here as well. Common sightings include nudibranchs, lobsters, tunas, anemones, stonefish, urchins, rock gobies, seahorses, shrimps, octopuses, eels and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a bottlenose dolphin.