Top 5 Snorkeling Spots on the Dalmatian Coast (Quick Guide for Boat Holiday-Makers)


Ivan S.

Quickly and easily plan a perfect snorkeling getaway in Croatia. If you want to take a breather from braving the waves of the Adriatic Sea aboard your chartered yacht, snorkeling is the perfect wind-down activity.

What’s best, this is something that boaters of all ages or experience levels can enjoy – ideal if you’re sailing with kids.

Here’s a quick reference list of my favorite spots to mask up and snorkel in the Adriatic, but don’t worry – you’ll find more details on each location once you scroll down:

  • Cape Kamenjak: Dive into the vibrant and safe waters where you might even spot the elusive Mediterranean monk seal.
  • Mali Lošinj Underwater Park: Combine history and marine exploration with an underwater museum of ancient artifacts.
  • Wreck Michele: Explore a sunken ship transformed into a vibrant reef just a short boat trip from Zadar.
  • Odysseus Cave: Discover the legendary blue glow and rich marine life of this underwater wonder on Mljet Island.
  • Elafiti Islands: Explore the varied coves of these islands, from sheltered beginner spots to captivating underwater caves.

Ready to pair some extreme downtime with even more extreme downtime? And discover the underwater treasures of Croatia while you’re at it? Keep reading for detailed descriptions, tips, and everything you need to plan your ultimate snorkeling adventure.

Cape Kamenjak (Premantura, Istria)

Aerial photo of Cape Kamenjak Istria. Top of the image features a landmass with various shades of green and brown and white cliffs descending into the sea. The bottom of the photo features crystal clear Adriatic Sea - high visibility allows a view of the seabed. A few motor boats can be on the surface of the sea.
Cape Kamenjak, Istria, Croatia | Author: Aleksandar Gospic | Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

Just look at that majestic otherwordly beauty that’s Cape Kamenjak! Is it any wonder it’s is one othe most popular stops for yachters and holiday-makers exploring Istria?

Jutting out from the southernmost tip of the Istrian Peninsula—like a floppy, undecisive, meandering balloon that can’t quite make up it’s mind as to what animal it wants to be—Cape Kamenjak is just 2.2 nautical miles from the nearest marinas (ACI Marina Pula and Marina Veruda).

The clear water of the protected Kamenjak cape is an open invitation to a day of carefree exploration after braving the waves on your chartered boat. On most summer days, the sea in the area is calm and safe. This makes it perfect for families with young, daring explorers.

So don’t wait – don your snorkel sets and glide above the rocky reefs, discovering dazzling schools of two-banded seabream, painted comber, and European conger. You can also expect octopuses, seahorses, and starfish of all stripes to make their appearance.

If you’re an experienced snorkeler and willing to brave deeper waters outlining cape Kamenjak—and you’re lucky—you might even see the elusive Mediterranean monk seal. This fascinating and endangered sea mammal is at home at depths of 50 meters and only rarely visits the shallows.

Cape Kamenjak Snorkeling At a Glance

  • Location: 2.2 nm south of Pula (closest marinas are Marina Veruda and ACI Marina Pula)
  • Accessibility & difficulty: Suitable for beginner snorkelers & children (shallow waters near the coast, depths up to 50 meters further out from the cape). Deeper waters (up to 50m) offer potential monk seal sightings
  • Mooring & anchorage: Anchor allowed (avoid Neptune grass meadows) | Skipper favorite spot: Portic Beach Kamenjak | Recommended anchors: plow-shaped & grapnel-type anchors
  • Seabed: Rocky formations and reefs, shallow underwater caves
  • Flora & fauna: Neptune grass meadows, noble pen shell, colorful algae, moray eels, scorpionfish, damselfish, bream, octopuses, protected Mediterranean monk seal, bottlenose dolphin, and others (find out more here)
  • Conditions: high visibility, weak currents, generally warm & safe waters

Mali Lošinj Underwater Park (Lošinj Island, Kvarner)

Artistic image of a dolphin statue in Mali Losin, j. The sun is setting in the background. In the foreground, we see a silhouetted a fountain in the shape of two dolphins.
Mali Lošinj, Croatia | Author: Ivo Biocina | Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

Masks on, snorkels up, and let’s dive into history! Roman Greek history at that… but at the heart of Lošinj Island.

Mali Lošinj Historical Underwater Park combines fascinating historical artifacts with the natural beauty of the Adriatic Sea. Anchoring your boat nearby, you can choose between a beginner-friendly snorkel adventure or exploring deeper waters for experienced divers. The closest marinas to the Park are on the Istrian Peninsula, some 30 nautical miles away (ACI Marina Pomer, ACI Marina Pula, Marina Veruda, Marina Punat, and Marina Medulin).

Keep in mind that while the Park is beginner-friendly, kids under 12 years of age can’t participate. Adults without a diving license are welcome, but need to be accompanied by a licensed diver (operated by TOP DIVE diving center where the Park is located). The trail tour is roughly 300 meters long and the star exibit is the replica of the Apoxyomenos statue.

For experienced snorkelers, the Mali Lošinj Underwater Park holds more than just the main exhibit. Explore the surrounding seabed and discover vibrantly colored sponges, playful octopus tucked into crevices, and perhaps even larger fish species frequenting the area. Search for hidden treasures, both the natural marvels of the Adriatic and perhaps even remnants from past shipwrecks.

Mali Lošinj Underwater Park Snorkeling At a Glance

  • Location: Čikat Bay, Island of Lošinj (approximately 30 nm from ACI Marina Pomer, ACI Marina Pula, Marina Veruda, Marina Punat, and Marina Medulin)
  • Accessibility & Difficulty: Shallow water exhibits (approx. 5-15m) for beginners. Deeper areas for experienced snorkelers
  • Mooring & Anchorage: Anchor allowed in the vicinity & you can dinghy to the site. Diving centers offer boat access and guided tours to the underwater park
  • Seabed: Sandy bottom with replicas of historical artifacts, surrounding areas with rocky reefs and vibrant sea life
  • Flora & Fauna: Neptune grass, sponges, sea slugs, octopus, diverse Adriatic fish, and larger species in deeper areas
  • Conditions: Calm, clear waters within the park

Wreck Michelle (Dugi Otok, Central Dalmatia)

Mask up and explore a piece of algae-covered sunken history – teeming with colorful schools of Mediterranean fish! The Wreck Michelle, a 76-meter cargo ship resting in shallow waters just off the coast of Dugi Otok, offers a unique snorkeling adventure. It’s a perfect addition to your boating itinerary if you’re chartering a boat from nearby marinas Marina Zadar, D-Marin Borik, or D-Marin Dalmacija in Sukošan.

The sunken wreckage of the cargo ship Michelle is ideal for a family outing or a fascinating stop for experienced divers and history buffs alike. While partially decayed, it still retains much of its form. Schools of vibrant damselfish dart in and out of its skeletal frame, now covered in algae, sea urchins, and starfish.

For the seasoned snorkeler, the Wreck Michelle offers more than just the main structure. The surrounding seabed is a potential treasure trove, with remnants of the ship and cargo scattered around. Explore the nooks and crannies, uncover hidden marine life, and create unique memories to last a lifetime!

Wreck Michelle Snorkeling At a Glance

  • Location: Northern Dalmatia, near Veli Rat, Dugi Otok (marinas within 20 nm are Marina Zadar, D-Marin Borik, and D-Marin Dalmacija)
  • Accessibility & Difficulty: Shallow wreck (approximately 6 meters), suitable for all levels. Experienced snorkelers can venture further to explore scattered debris
  • Mooring & Anchorage: Anchoring possible in the vicinity, dependent on conditions. Local dive centers may offer tours
  • Seabed: Sandy seabed, partially submerged wreck, scattered remnants | Recommended anchors:
  • Flora & Fauna: Seaweed and algae colonizing the wreck, diverse fish like bream, damselfish, wrasse, octopus, perhaps larger species frequenting the area
  • Conditions: Generally calm weather with good visibility, especially during the summer months

Odysseus Cave (Island of Mljet, South Dalmatia) 

Image of a woman snorkeling in deep water. The woman is wearing a green dive suite and a green mask and a snorkeler. The shot is taken under water with the woman breaking the water and gliding through it while looking straight into the camera.
Odysseus Cave, National Park Mljet, Croatia | Author: Indux Media | Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

Escape the ordinary and immerse yourself in the legendary waters of Odysseus Cave on the Island of Mljet. This cave—namesake of Homer’s mythical sea wanderer—is just 30 nm from Dubrovnik. Closer ports and moorings include villages of Pomena and Polače (some 10 nm from the actual cave).

All you need to start your own – safe! – underwater Odyssey are a mask and snorkel. Slip into the cool water and marvel as a mesmerizing blue glow fills the cave. If you’re visiting on a clear day, expect a dazzling light show. Around noon, the sunlight filters through the water, casting dancing patterns on the smooth rock walls. During summer months, the sea temperature is around 25 degrees, and visibility is high (up to 30 meters).

The cave’s 50-meter-long canal is between 7 meters (entrance) and 30 meters deep (far end). This variety of depth offers plenty of exploration opportunities to both beginner and experienced snorkelers. However, if you’re a serious explorer who wants to brave the deeps, you will need diving equipment.

You can reach the Odysseus Cave from the land, too… if you’re willing to hike. In fact, this is what I’d recommend doing if you’re with kids and want to spend a day there. While anchoring near the cave is possible, it’s also tricky. To stay on the safe side, you should only try it if the sea is calm and the winds low. That said, if anchoring is not possible, someone (your skipper if you’ve hired one with your charter boat) can stay onboard and keep your vessel safe.

Odysseus Cave Snorkeling At a Glance

  • Location: Island of Mljet (30 nm northwest of ACI Marina Dubrovnik and 16.5 nm west of ACI Marina Slano)
  • Accessibility & difficulty: Suitable for beginner snorkelers & children around the entrance to the cave; diving equipment required to venture deeper. Deeper waters (up to 30 m) inside the cave and the surrounding waters (potential to spot the elusive Dusky Grouper)
  • Mooring & anchorage: Anchoring allowed but difficult | Might have to leave someone on deck to motor | Visit from land possible (nearest mooring in villages of Pomena and Polače)
  • Seabed: Rocky formations and reefs, shallow underwater caves
  • Flora & fauna: Neptune grass meadows, brown algae (Padina Pavonica), Acetabularia algae, musky octopus, gilthead seabream, colorful Mediterranean blennies, and more
  • Conditions: high visibility, medium to strong currents, generally warm but choppy waters (especially when southerly and easterly winds are strong)

Elaphiti Islands (Dubrovnik, South Dalmatia)

An underwater image of a diver in full diving gear. It's taken in an underwater cave - the diver is looking at the sea bed with a flash light.
Red Cave, Koločep Island, Croatia | Author: Indux Media | Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

Discover the hidden coves and vibrant waters of the Elafiti Islands, an archipelago just a short sail from Dubrovnik. These islands are the perfect stress-free, activities-rich spot for sailors with kids onboard. And especially if you’re setting out of marinas in Dubrovnik (ACI Marina Dubrovnik or the nearby ACI Marina Slano). They offer a variety of snorkeling experiences, from sheltered bays perfect for beginners to captivating underwater caves and reefs for adventurous explorers.

The Elafiti Islands are known for their crystal-clear waters and protected bays. Beginners and families will find calm, shallow coves where they can drift over vibrant reefs and observe schools of colorful fish.

And if you’re an experienced diver, you can explore the hidden world of caves (Red Cave and Blue Cave just off the island of Koločep), tunnels, and shipwrecks. One of the most exciting dives in the area is the one down to the sunken coaster Aurora (diving equipment – or a mighty set of lungs – is required for this one). If you want to experience this particular part in all its majestic—as the dive is technically challenging and leads through Koločep’s Blue Cave—consider booking a dive tour in Dubrovnik.

Elaphiti Islands Snorkeling At a Glance

  • Location: Dubrovnik (2 nm from ACI Marina Dubrovnik)
  • Accessibility & Difficulty: Varied, with easy access for beginners at many sheltered coves and more challenging sites for experienced divers (license and equipment required in some cases)
  • Mooring & Anchorage: Numerous bays and harbors for anchoring, dependent on specific location.
  • Seabed: Rocky formations, sandy coves, reefs, underwater caves and wrecks (depending on specific location)
  • Flora & Fauna: Neptune grass meadows, seahorses, starfish, octopus, damselfish, wrasse, bogue, salema porgy, bottlenosed dolphis, rare sightings of the loggerhead turtle, and more
  • Conditions: Many sheltered spots with good visibility, generally calm, safe, and warm waters

Ready, Set, Snorkel!

The Adriatic Sea is a treasure trove of vibrant marine life, hidden caves, and fascinating shipwrecks, all waiting to be explored. And what better way to discover these underwater wonders than from the deck of your own chartered boat?

With Yachtaris, you can turn your Croatian snorkeling dreams into reality. Choose your chartered dream boat right here, plot your course, and experience the magic of the Adriatic’s underwater world.

Oh, and take pics. Lots and lots of pics!

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Ivan S.

Ivan cooks, walks his dog Loko, and writes for the Yachtaris blog. When he writes, it's about sailing, hospitality, and event organizing (putting that BS degree in hospitality management to work). He's a good D&D player and a bad miniature painter. Which is why he spends most of his time walking the dog.

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