Because of its unique geographical position Croatia is known for its fascinating landscapes and beautiful beaches. While Croatia is typically associated with sun and sea vacations, many other natural attractions in Croatia will leave you breathless. Besides many stunning locations on the surface, in Croatia, you will also discover underground gems that intrigue you with its unique sceneries. The most attractive underground wonders are caves, and many of them are suited for visitors mostly during the summer season. Caves in Croatia can be found both in continental and coastal regions. Croatia boasts around ten thousand caves and pits.

Nevertheless, for safety reasons, there are approximately forty caves open for exploration. In Istria this number is also significant, so we bring you the 5 most popular caves in Istria that you should visit. During your stay in one of our beautiful villas with a pool in Istria you will enjoy an exploration of natural landscapes and an underground world of hidden caves. Some of them are Baredine Cave in Porec, the Kingdom of Festini near Zminj, Mramornica Cave in Brtonigla, Romuald Cave in Lim Channel and Pazin Cave.

Baredine Cave, Poreč

Cave in Poreč

Baredine Cave is located near the place called Nova Vas in Istria. It is also known as Jama Grotta Baredine and it’s designated as a protected geomorphological monument of nature. It offers a captivating journey through its subterranean passages. It showcases impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations. Visitors of Baredine can explore its chambers and witness the beauty of various geological features. One of the highlights of the cave is an underground lake that adds to the overall allure of the experience. The cave has a depth of 132 meters. The cave is open for tours through five chambers reaching 60 meters. The cave’s interior is adorned with richly decorated calcite deposits, stalagmites, stalactites, and colourful columns. These structures give rise to captivating and fanciful figures. For example, there can be found an incredibly lifelike representation of the Virgin Mary, a titled tower reminiscent of Pisa, a snowman holding a lantern, and the form of shepherdess Milka which is associated with tragic love legend from the 13th century. Besides, the Baredine cave is special because inside its chambers you will be able to see endangered species called Human fish. Baredin Cave's working hours are with announcement in wintertime, while in the low and high seasons, it’s open from 10 am. The prices can differ for individual visits and group visits.

Kingdom of Festini (Feštinsko Kraljevstvo)

Cave in Feštini near Žminj

The cave known as Feštinsko kraljevstvo (Kingdom of Festini) is located in the heart of Istria, close to Žminj and the village of Feštini. It was discovered in the 1930s during vine planting. A hole was accidentally formed when a pickaxe penetrated the ground and attempts to fill it proved futile. The name of the cave “Kingdom of Festini” originated from a story where children from nearby villages used to gather and play in the cave, referring to it as the “kingdom” when questioned by adults. The cave is abundant with beautiful stalactite formations resembling shapes like the “wizard’s hat, the “bat tower” or the “Babylonian tower”. The interior of the cave Feštinsko kraljevstvo is organised with safe pathways stretching about a hundred meters. It is uniquely covered with vine roots that draw water from the cave’s floor. The tour has a duration of approximately half an hour, while on the spacious meadow near the cave entrance, there are numerous amenities for both children and adults. Among various interesting contents, there is a mini farm, a refreshment bar, a sandbox, an observation deck and a meadow perfect for soccer, running or biking.

Photo by Nenad Buzjak, Unsplash

Mramornica Cave (Špilja Mramornica - Grotta del Marmo)

Cave in Brtonigla

Mramornica cave, also known as Grotta del Marmo is one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Istria. It is located near Brtonigla in the northwest of the Istrian peninsula. The cave was first recorded in the 18th century in the documents of renowned traveller Alberto Fortis who visited this cave in 1770. Nevertheless, the cave has been known to locals since ancient times, evidenced by several “graffiti” signatures of earlier visitors. The cave Mramornica consists of a single chamber, 93 meters in length and 51 meters wide. It reaches a maximum height of 5 meters. During 30 minutes of the guided tour, you will discover a variety of different forms of stalactites of various colours, ranging from deep red to white. The cave maintains a constant temperature of 14 C. In the winter season, the visits are possible with an announcement, while in the summer season, there are guided tours available each hour starting from 10 am. Regarding the price, there are different possibilities for individual and group visits, where students and children have special discounts.

Romuald's Cave (Romualdova špilja)

Cave in Lim Channel

Romuald's cave known as Romualdova špilja or Romualdova pećina is located on the eastern side of Lim Bay on the Istrian coast. The name was derived from the legend of St. Romuald, the hermit who spent various years in this cave in the 11th century. The Cave of St. Romuald is today protected as a karst phenomenon. It is a natural habitat for a colony of the endangered species called the greater horseshoe bats. The cave stretches 105 meters, while the cave’s height ranges from five to seven meters. Its width spans between two and seven meters. There are several chambers which can be visited by professional guidance and where are you able to discover sediment deposits, some of which hold significant paleontological value. Numerous animals have been discovered in the cave, such as cave bears, leopards and lions dating back to the extinct Ice Age.

Photo by Jakub Micuch, Unsplash

Pazin Cave (Pazinska jama)

Cave in Pazin

Pazinska jama also known as the Pazinčica Abyss is the largest karst river sinkhole in Istria. It is situated in the heart of the Istrian peninsula. The Pazin Abyss is legally protected as a Significant Landscape and the protected area encompasses the canyon and sinkhole of the Pazinčica. It spreads approximately 500 meters in length and 100 meters in depth, as well as the Pazin cave. Its underground section measures 287 meters. The entrance to the cave in Pazin is beneath an almost 100-meter-high vertical rock face, where the houses of the town of Pazin now stand. In the interior of the cave, there are spacious chambers with a siphon lake known as Martel’s Lake connected to the next one, Mitrovo Lake. If you, on the other hand, would like to discover Pazin Cave from another perspective, you can experience the adrenaline Pazinska Jama zip line adventure above the Pazin Cave at the speed of 50 km/h.

Photo by Mikhail Yanyushin, Unsplash