Wreck diving in Croatia

The best diving locations!

The bottom of the sea, along almost 1,800km of the Croatian coast, is adorned by a few hundred recorded wrecks. Yes, you read it right, a few hundred wrecks! Shipwrecks in Croatia are scattered from the northernmost to the southernmost point. The oldest shipwreck is 3200 years old (dated to1200 BC) and the youngest is the two years old wreck of Yugoslav President Tito’s flagship. It is estimated that the wrecks in Croatia are generally in a better state than the others in European waters, and, of importance, we also have those that can even be considered as a world heritage. Not all our “underwater museums” are available for diving but at your disposal, there are about 70 wrecks full of history and stories. Since there are so many wrecks, we will present to you the greatest ones, so let start …

wreck diving in croatia - Baron Gautsch 2

The best wrecks in Croatia

HMS Coriolanus

The northernmost wreck in Croatia is HMS Coriolanus, a minesweeper which belonged to the British Royal Navy and was named after W. Shakespeare’s tragedy. HMS Coriolanus was an intelligence ship and in that role, it participated in two naval operations in World War II: “Torch” – the invasion of French North Africa in 1942 and “Husky” – the invasion of Sicily in 1943. Reportedly, its task in the northern Adriatic Sea was to listen to the radio links of the Yugoslavian government. Though being a minesweeper, it sunk after striking a mine on 5 May 1945 at a depth of 28 meters. The most interesting artifact is the armament consisting of one 12-pounder AA gun and three 20 mm Oerlikon AA guns still visible on the wreck. HMS Coriolanus is around 6Nm off the Istrian coast and from the diving spot, you have an amazing view of the coastal cities like Savudrija, Umag, Novigrad, and Tar.

Length: 46m, Width: 8,5m, Depth: from 18m to 28m,

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver

Diving period: from May to the end of October, Water temperature: from 12°C to 28°C


Baron Gautsch

One of the most majestic wrecks in the Adriatic sea also known as the “Titanic of the Adriatic” because of its sad sinking story. This was an Austro-Hungarian passenger ship which sunk on 13 August 1914 after running into a minefield laid by the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Baron Gautsch and its sister ships were built for the “Dalmatian Express Line”, a route that went along the Istrian and Dalmatian coast south to Montenegro. It had three steam engines with total power of 4600HP and on its last voyage, it carried the families of military personnel, state officials, soldiers, and other passengers. The size of the wreck is enormous so scuba diving is allowed inside, on two upper decks featuring salons and dining rooms for the passengers. The accident happened not far from the town of Rovinj, in the direction of Brijuni islands, close to Fažana and Pula.

Length: 85m, Width: 11.6m, Depth: from 28m to 40m,

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver with a minimum of 40 logged dives

Diving period: from April to the end of October, Water temperature: from 11°C to 29°C


Lina

Lina is an iron cargo steamship built in Newcastle on Tyne in Great Britain in 1879. At the time, this kind of ships took the lead over the sail cargo ships and became the main type of cargo transportation on the sea. Unfortunately, due to bad weather and a big storm, the captain lost his orientation while sailing in the channel between the Istrian coast and the island of Cres and the strong wind blew them onto the shore. The sandy sea bottom is pretty steep so the stern of the ship is deeper than 40m, which is the limit for recreational divers, but luckily the rest of the ship with its own bow lies in the shallow water. Two ancient admiralty anchors are fastened to the bow at the top of the deck and the wooden main decks have moldered so that the entire interior of the ship can be seen from above. From the diving position, you get also the magical view of the east side of the Istrian coast and the town of Rabac plus the coast of an amazing island called Cres.

Length: 64m, Width: 9m, Depth: from 20m to 55m,

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver with a minimum of 40 logged dives

Diving period: from May to September, Water temperature: from 14°C to 27°C


Giuseppe Dezza 

Giuseppe Dezza was a torpedo warship made in Italy in 1915 as a ship from a series of 8 destroyers. In 1944, after Italy’s capitulation, it was captured by the Germans who changed its name to “TA35” and used it to escort convoys along the Dalmatian coast. The ship was sunk on 17 August 1944 near the islands of Brijuni,  by an English aircraft during a routine reconnaissance flight. The terrible explosion caused by a torpedo broke the ship in two parts, so the prow and the stern are separated by a distance of 50m. The stern part lies in the right position and is more attractive for diving. Stern gun and antiaircraft heavy machine-guns are well noticeable and they are the main attraction on the wreck. Diving in the interior is prohibited because of safety but you can see the interior of the ship through the holes on the wreck. The wreck is 7Nm off Rovinj, and from the diving position, you have an amazing view of the entire southwest part of Istria, the Brijuni Islands and towns of Pula, Fažana and many other.

Length: 40m (prow) 25m (stern), Width: 7.5m, Depth: from 32m to 37m,

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver with a minimum of 40 logged dives

Diving period: from April to the end of October, Water temperature: from 12°C to 29°C


Hans Schmidt 

Hans Schmidt was a Dutch cargo steamship built in 1920 and its very first name was “Albireo”, later it was named after its last owner from Germany. For many years the wreck was called “Istra” because of unknown origin. On its last journey, on 24 January 1943, the ship was transporting ammunition and weapons and it came across a mine just a few Nm off the coast of Fažana and Brijuni Islands. The wreck is in two parts, a small part of the bow and after 10m the rest of the wreck. Hans Schmidt lies in an upright position which makes the dive easy and gentle and under the stern the rudder is visible. However, the most interesting and historical part of this wreck is the anchor, now out of production for more than a century. The distance from the town of Rovinj to the wreck is 9Nm and the open sea diving position gives also a breathtaking view of the beautiful land of Istria.

Length: 99m, Width: 11.5m, Depth: from 34m to 42m,

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver with a minimum of 40 logged dives

Diving period: from April to the end of October, Water temperature: from 12°C to 29°C


John Gilmore

John Gilmore is a steamship that has changed many times its owners and flags in history. The data say that it was built in the English shipyard and equipped with John Gilmore engines, from which the ship also got the name. Till now no one found information about when and how it sunk, some sources mention that it was in the second half of the 19th century, other at the beginning of the World War I. Most probably, it happened as a result of a mine explosion. The wreck is well-preserved and safe, it can be explored inside and out, and because of that is one of the most popular wrecks. The visibility is beautiful, the current is weak, which makes it the best possible dive spot.  The wreck is located in the vicinity of Briuni islands and town of Pula, where was the main Austro-Hungarian Navy port.

Length: 50m, Width: 8m, Depth: from 36m to 44m,

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver with a minimum of 40 logged dives

Diving period: from May to the end of September, Water temperature: from 11°C to 29°C


Varese 

The merchant steamship “Varese” was built in 1871. in the United Kingdom, afterward sold to Italy in 1905. In January 1915. the ship was carrying cargo from Trieste to Tunis, but due to a huge storm in the south of Istria, the Captain decided to hide in the port of Pula. The steamer was caught in an Austrian minefield which caused an explosion at the bow of the ship. During diving, is allowed to enter in a wreck, which is quite wide and secure throughout its length. Sediments of mud cover the steam engine which is freely accessible and visible from above. Because of its beauty, safety, and simplicity, the wreck of Varese is one of the best spots to dive. The wreck is located near towns of Pula, Banjole, Premantura and natural park Cape Kamenjak which mean, just in a couple of minutes by boat you are on the location.

Length: 72m, Width: 9m, Depth: From 32m to 42m

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver with a minimum of 40 logged dives

Diving period: from May to the end of October, Water temperature: from 11°C to 29°C


Submarine U-82 

On the open sea in front of the Stoma beach in Pula is one of the seven German U-boats, flooded by Germans even it was the end of the war. This supposed to prevent secret information from falling into the hands of unauthorized persons. The submarine is not complete; only one open pit with the two diesel engines of the submarine were found. However, there are remnants of bombs and munitions around the wreck. The U-82 is a very interesting dive site, which due to its depth is only suitable for advanced divers.

 

Length: 26 m, Width: 6m, Depth: 35 m to 38 m

Qualification: Tech-divers

Diving period: from June to September, Water temperature: 11 ° C to 27 ° C


Luana

This cargo steamship was built in 1892 in Sunderland (Great Britain) under the name Majorca and sold in 1933 to Italy. There, the ship was renamed Luana. This ship survived the hard times of the Second World War and resumed its task as a cargo steamer in March 1947 at the age of 55. The Luana transported bauxite to Venice when it got lost due to an erroneous reading of the maps in one of the many remaining minefields. On the upper deck are still the lifeboats on the cranes, which means that the boat sank so fast. You can dive inside of the wreck, which still contains remains of bauxite. The machines can be reached through a narrow door. However, due to the sand that rises with each movement of the fins, it is not advisable to penetrate into the interior of the wreck without good preparation. This amazing wreck is located only a few kilometers from the city of Pula.

Length: 67 m, Width: 10 m, Depth: 42 m to 49 m

Qualification: Tech-divers

Diving period: from June to September, Water temperature: 11 °C to 26 °C


Vis

Vis was the command ship of the Yugoslavian Navy fleet and the pride of Tito´s ( Yugoslavian president ) war fleet. Armed with anti-aircraft cannons it was built in Pula´s shipyard in 1956 three days before Tito´s birthday. In eighties, Yugoslavian Army gave it to the Government of Montenegro from where it was repurchased back to Croatia in 2002. The body is made of steel, decks of aluminum and it was driven by two engines of thousand horsepower which allowed the maximum speed of 17 knots. Vis was flooded for diving purpose in 2016. close to the biggest Istrian city of Pula. The ship has 32 cabins and two saloons, but the most striking attraction is the engine room. New flora and fauna are still being created on the ship but this doesn´t diminish its beauty.

Length: 58m, Width: 9m, Depth: From 18m to 32m

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver, and OWD ( to the depth limit )

Diving period: From May to September, Water temperature: From 13°C to 26°C


Peltastis 

The Peltasis wreck also called the “Greek” cause of sailing under the Greek flag, lies on the northeast part of Krk island. It was a freight ship and it sunk due to a strong storm during the night from 7th-8th January 1968. The wreck abounds in flora and fauna and, like many others, is visited by schools of fish. A permanent resident at the wreck is a conger, 2 m in length. The cargo area below deck is home to lobsters and Galathea strigosa squat lobsters. Night dives are a special treat as many sea creatures are nocturnal. The wreck is also home to Dendrodoris grandiflora sea slugs and various sponges.

Length: 60m, Width: 10m, Depth: From 15m to 33m

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver

Diving period: whole year, Water temperature: from 10°C – 25°C


Tihany

The cargo steamship Tihany was named after the town in Hungary because in the First World War was hired by Austro-Hungary. It was built in Trieste in 1908. as a typical cargo steamship of its time which carried the cargo along the eastern Adriatic coast. The last carried cargo was 129 tons of coal and oil wagon, but on 12th February 1917, it stranded on a small island called Školjić. The dive should start at a depth of 5 meters and follow the vertical wall that falls. Tihany silhouette will be spotted soon how it lais on its right side on the sandy bottom. Diving inside the wreck can be seen the last transported cargo and the other part is dominated by the spare propeller.

Length: 46m, Width: 6m, Depth: From 5m to 35m

Qualification: Minimum AOWD or 2-star diver

Diving period: from May to October, Water temperature: from 10°C to 22°C