Be amazed by the magnificent colors and shapes of stalactites and stalagmites as you walk the paths that cave bears walked in prehistory!
Cerovac Caves, located in the southern part of the Velebit Nature Park, are among the most famous and most important speleological objects in Croatia. This impressive complex of underground corridors, canals and halls consists of three caves rich in cave decorations and karst features. Known for the beauty of stalactites and stalagmites of various colors and shapes, this wonderful karst underground is truly a special and unique treasure of natural heritage. Have fun discovering what the various shapes of rocks and cave formations remind you of!
But that's not all. The caves are also rich in archeological sites because in the Bronze Age they were used as a "refrigerator", while in prehistoric times a cave bear had its home here.
Come and meet this intriguing world!
How to visit them
Cerovac caves are located on the slope of southern Velebit, on the northeastern slope of Crnopac hill, in the protected area of the "Velebit Nature Park".
If you are coming on the A1 highway, you need to get off at the Sveti Rok exit and follow the direction of Gračac, and then follow the signs for Cerovac Caves from Gračac.
The Lower and Upper Cerovac Caves are open for tourist visits, which can be reached by a short walk through the forest. Start from the Center of Excellence located at 553 m, from where you can walk to the Lower Cave at 620 m in about 15 minutes. The length of the explored channels of the Lower Cave is 4 km, but 608 meters of tourist trail is available for visitors, which will surely delight you.
After Lower Cave, take an easy walk to Upper Cave, about 10 minutes away, at 700 m, where you will also be able to walk along a 725 m long path.
The tour of one cave lasts 1 hour. The caves can be visited only with a guide included in the ticket price. Given the limited number of visitors that the caves can receive, plan your arrival by following the official website of Cerovac Caves.
The temperature in the caves is around 7 ° C on average, so it is recommended to wear warmer, layered clothing, comfortable sports shoes and a head covering.
The Center of Excellence of the Cerovac Cave with parking is located at 553 m, from where you can walk to the Lower Cave at 620 m in about 15 minutes. An additional 10 minutes walk along the walking path leads to the Upper Cave.
Center of Excellence
Although they have been open to visitors since 1951, with the newly opened Center of Excellence of the Cerovac Cave, this mysterious attraction of the Velebit Nature Park can be explored even more! With the help of modern content related to the phenomena of Cerovac caves, karst and natural and cultural heritage, get to know and explore the underground in a new, attractive way, and you can also refresh yourself and buy a souvenir.
Cerovac caves were discovered in 1913 and cover just over 9 kilometres of underground passages. But they are just one small part of the Crnopac massif cave system, which is today among the 66 longest caves in the world. This underground labyrinth extends with each new research by Croatian and international teams of speleologists, and currently the Crnopac Cave System counts 58 km!
Let's preserve this natural treasure
Stalagmites and stalactites form over hundreds of thousands of years, to be exact, it even takes up to a few decades for just 1 mm of these beautiful formations! Every touch of the human hand slows down this process because various microorganisms are transmitted from the human hand, so please refrain from touching.
Perhaps it's invisible to the human eye, but caves are inhabited by various living beings. Please do not make noise or take photos because you are disturbing the animal world adapted to life in eternal silence and darkness.
Cave bear site
Cerovac caves are also known for their cave bear sites. History lovers will surely enjoy the sightseeing because the traces of the presence of this imposing prehistoric animal can be seen on the spot, the claws on the sigmoid and the traces of "bear grinding", ie the polished and rounded parts of the cave walls created by long rubbing of bears against rocks. The guide will even show you the place of the so-called "Bear's nest", ie hollows in the ground where the remains of a mother bear and cub were found, which probably did not wake up from the last winter sleep at the beginning of the ice age.
Traces of human presence
The first explorers of this underground labyrinth came across numerous remains of ceramic vessels crunching under their feet immediately upon entering. The caves turned out to hide almost 3.5 tons of pottery, but also a significant amount of objects made of bronze, amber, bone, pottery and stone, such as parts of costumes, jewelry and tools. And from the late Bronze Age 14th to 10th century BC. n. e. used for food storage, but also as a place of occasional residence. You can see some specimens at the Center of Excellence where archaeologists assemble plates of hundreds of pieces daily!
Hiking in the area
Crnopac is the southernmost offshoot of Velebit, and also one of its most attractive parts. It is an extremely rocky terrain full of deep sinkholes and steep cliffs, a real labyrinth of abysses and white limestone hips. There are many caves and pits in the Crnopac area. The main base for excursions is the mountain shelter Crnopac at 1140 m known as Tatek's hut according to the famous Zadar mountaineer Slavko Tomerlin Tatek. All marked tours in the area of Crnopac are very demanding and require good condition and dexterity, but they provide spectacular views and top mountaineering pleasure. One of the most famous tours on Velebit is the Crnopac's trail of the Little Prince, known for its beautiful rock formations, and the most difficult places are secured with cables, wedges and ladders.
Download the free mobile app
The new app of Cerovac Caves is available for smartphones and tablets. The app is completely free and can be downloaded via the Google Play Store (Android) and the App Store (iOS). Download it and find out all you need to know about this beautiful attraction!
ENTRY SCHEDULE (WORKING HOURS)
Here you can find the opening hours of Cerovac Caves so you can plan in detail this underground adventure!
*in the summer period: from 01.05. to 31.08.