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Croatia, a world under water

The Dalmatian coast, which stretches more than 2,000km, offers irresistible attractions for diving lovers. Its underwater heritage includes more than 1,500 sunken boats, antiques, and even bottles of wine in one of the world’s most unusual wine cellars.

The most recommended season for diving in Croatia runs from May to October. These are the best months for enjoying the seabed of the Adriatic Sea and its Bronze Age settlements, with Greek and Roman shipwrecks full of ancient artefacts and post-mediaevial galleys with cannons. These treasures are protected by law, so anyone caught stealing objects from the seabed will be faced with costly fines or even prison sentences.

The further from the coast you go, the cleaner the sea is and the richer its marine life. That’s why the best diving centres tend to be located on the remotest islands. Here are some of our recommendations:

Hvar: Split’s idyllic neighbour

Franciscan Monastery and Church of Our Lady of Mercy, in Hvar

Famous for its 16th-century aristocratic buildings and seafood restaurants, Hvar has become a magnet for luxury yachts and celebrities. But beyond the glamour is a different universe waiting for those who want to dive into it. The Viking Diving Centre is located on a bay of turquoise waters, with its wooden pier shaded by the leaves of palm trees.

For beginners: Vela Garška

An underwater cave near Hvar in Vela Garška, its entrance is just five metres deep, allowing even novices easy access. The place is full of lobsters, moray eels, red crabs, sea urchins and prawns. When lit with a lantern, everything looks turns red.

For experts: Stambedar or Vodnjak

These are two open water places for the most experienced of divers. Stambedar is a big sea wall that descends 100 metres, and is perfect for spotting fish, lobsters and dolphins. Vodnjak, one of Croatia’s most famous dive sites, is full of red gorgias, a spectacular underwater plant.

For everyone

With the aim of making diving an activity accessible to all, Viking also offers courses for people with disabilities.

Vis, the island furthest from the coast

The sea is especially clean, with excellent visibility up to 30 metres deep, and currents that encourage the proliferation of marine life here. The island also has many shipwrecks. It was a headquarters during World War II and the Allies settled in the area as well. Several battleships were sunk by submarines and two American aircraft also crashed into the water.

It is also said that, because it is such a remote island, many boats have been intentionally sunk for the insurance.

An underwater wine cellar

The excellent varieties of wine in the Pelješac peninsula area, just an hour’s drive from Dubrovnik, are known worldwide. Edivo wineries decided to take advantage of the sea’s properties that promote the ageing of wine: the temperature, water pressure, absence of noise, etc. This led to the creation of Navis Mysterium, the wine stored for more than 700 days at 25-metres below sea level. The wine cellar, located in a former sunken ship, can be visited only in a diver’s suit.

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