Caves of the Croatian Adriatic: 8 hidden gems for yachtsmen
Discover caves of the Croatian Adriatic. Blue and Medvidina Caves on Biševo, Odysseus Cave on Mljet, Blue Grotto on Cres are must-see tourist attractions
The geomorphology of the coast has benefited many diverse natural shapes, including caves easily accessible from the sea surface, launching Croatia into top tourist destinations. Yachtsmen take great pleasure in visiting attractive ‘halls’, and if you take a look at the busy Blue Cave entrance on Biševo it is clear these natural black pearls have grown into an integral part of our broader tourist offer.
Apart from visitors, we cannot forget the inhibitors that used to dwell in the caves – the Mediterranean monk seal named by the Vis locals ‘the sea man’, representing today almost extinct species rarely seen on the Adriatic. Apart from the most famous locations, the list of recommended destinations embraces less known, yet attractive sites, however we bring you destinations overview intended to inspire your sailing route.
Blue Cave – Biševo Island
Probably the most famous cave on the Croatian Adriatic, toned in blue light crystal-clear water glows against the darkness of the cave above, with silver brilliance streaming across the rocks, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The location is on easily accessible Biševo island in the Balun Bay, south off the Mezoporat Bay, where buoys for ships and entrance fee await you, and traditional boats take you further into the world of the monk seal. The cave ambience is of jaw-dropping features, though it is advisable to visit it between 11.00 and 14.00, the magical sun position time zone of awe-inspiring images.
Monk Seal Cave – Biševo Island
The island of Biševo hides seven caves, with the second most known Monk Seal Cave situated on the east side, only a mile sailing distance away south off the Blue Cave. Crooked crack in the cliffs reveals entrance being the top Adriatic adventure. Having sailed inside a relatively wide atrium, a dinghy-size-broad tunnel (swimming is a welcoming option providing exceptional experience) will lead you to the end of the cave, a lamp is required, guiding you further to a tiny beach – the monk seal’s chill-out-zone and the root of the cave’s title.
Green Cave – Ravnik Island
The Green Cave, an essential element of the Vis cave trilogy, on the island of Ravnik, lays on the south-east part of Vis. Facing south and open sea with two big entrances, it features visible character with a ceiling fissure of a man-size inside the larger hall, casting green hues it was named after. This site features, apart from the regular tourist visits, adrenalin traits providing cliff dives and free climbing adventure amenities for the daring ones.
Medjedina cave – Lastovo Island
Not many yachtsmen are familiar with this cave. It is placed on the south side of the Lastovo island, half a mile away from the Mrca Cove, a mile and a half from the famous island berth Skrivena luka. As the name suggests, it used to be a habitat of the Mediterranean monk seal.
Vela spila Cave – Korčula Island
This is the only cave not possible to reach by boat. It is located close to Vela Luka on the island of Korčula. Archaeological findings, still under research, indicate it served as a dwelling place of humans in the period of Palaeolithic till the Bronze Age. Transparent labels provide insight into the life style and habits of the prehistoric humans for at least 20.000 years. The Vela Luka Cultural Centre hosts cave artefacts guiding one through the past, a true joy for history enthusiasts. In case you go for this cave visit, you will definitely enjoy in bella vista of the Vela Luka Bay this location generously offers.
Odyssey Cave – Mljet Island
According to the legend, as Odyssey was returning home, he drew Poseidon’s wrath upon himself, and thus the God sent harsh south wind blowing Odyssey away from his route, taking him to the south side of the heavenly island of Mljet where he was hosted by the nymph Calypso in her cave and where he was doomed to spend the next seven years. In the end Odyssey decided to cast away his eternal youth and immortality Calypso offered him in return for his stay and marrying her, and the rest belongs to the legend. The cave is located across the Ogiran Cliff on the south side of Mljet and if you pass through the 20 m long tunnel, swimming or in a small boat, you will end up in a stunning cave with hollowed ceiling opening the land view. Folk tales say the monk seal used to dwell here as well.
Golubinka Cave – Dugi otok Island
The Golubinka Cave is nested on the south slopes of the Dugi otok island, west off the Brbinjšćica Bay offering the best berth site in times of calm weather. The cave features a long entrance possible to swim through or penetrate in a kayak, yet the recommendation says swim till the end of the cave with a scuba mask. The natural light pierces through the open ceiling in the rear end and the rich submarine fauna awaits in the karst tunnel unveiling a magnificent hall at its end.
Blue Grota Cave – Cres Island
The south side of the island of Cres, underneath the town of Lubenica in the Žanja Bay, holds the Blue Grota. It is accessible only by swimming, with blue hues created by the afternoon sun representing a genuine reward for such effort. A sparkle of enthusiasm plus a daring dive underneath its second entrance will lead you to the pebble beach of the Žanja Bay.
Photos by Ivo Pervan, Boris Kačan, Mario Romulić & Zadar Archipelago /M. Longin