Ever heard of Zavratnica bay? If not, now is the time 🙂 I am considering Zavratnica bay as a hidden gem in at the Adriatic coast. Located in the northern coastal part of Croatia, just at the foot of mountain Velebit, it is not part of the popular Dalmatia region.
And this is exactly what makes this bay so stunning: Its curvy look with the mountainous area behind it, which allows for great views and pictures.
The hidden surprise.
But this beauty alone is not the whole reason that makes this bay so special. What’s more, there is another hidden gem: an abandoned German Wehrmacht shipwreck from the Second World War, which sunk in the bay while hiding from British bombings. Better said, it is the wreck of a Siebel ferry, a shallow-draft catamaran landing craft.
The outlines of the ferry are still there, which makes diving much more interesting. It is located about 2-3 meters (depending on the tides) below sea level. So, if you can hold your breath long enough, you can dive and touch it even without professional equipment.
How to get there.
The bay is located very close to Jablanac, the place from where the ferry leaves to the island Rab.
And this is exactly how you reach the bay by car/ foot. You drive along the coastal street until you reach Jablanac and find a parking spot for your car.
From the town, there is a walkway just next to the sea. Walk for approx. 15 minutes and it will lead you straight to the bay. The walk itself is already stunning with high rocks and a view of the Velebit mountain and the deep blue sea. There is even a short tunnel to pass through the rocky area. How exciting!
The entrance fee.
Once you pass through the tunnel, most probably a fisher’s boat will approach you and ask you for money. No worries this is completely normal. That guys job is to collect an entrance fee of 15 kuna per person as the bay was designated a protected landscape in 1964, due to its beauty.
After you pay you can continue walking and find yourself a nice spot in the shadow before enjoying your day swimming and snorkelling in the bay.
The view from above.
You want to take one of those stunning photos from above?
Well, then you do not drive to Jablanac town but keep on driving past it on the coastal street. After a short while there will be a sign for ‘Zavratnica’ which will lead you onto a rocky narrow street. Just follow the signs for about 10 minutes and you will arrive at the viewpoint.
What to keep in mind.
When at the viewpoint, please make sure to not walk too far away from the path. The area around is not very populated so there is a minor possibility of meeting some wild animals. In the worst case the venomous horned viper. But nothing to worry, if you watch your step and stay on the path, you should be fine 🙂
If you want to enjoy your time in the bay in tranquility, I recommend to go either in the early morning or around 6pm. The reason is that many boat tour providers have added visits to the bay to their itinerary. That means that it can easily happen that boats full of tourists just enter the bay and offload the tourists, which makes it really crowded. Alternatively go in the off season and enjoy the bay for yourself!