I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to explore some caves in Croatia. The idea of squeezing through a small opening amongst the rocks and entering into a vast cavern filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and other speleothems is very appealing to me.
I have in the past visited some of these Caves set up for mass tourism with nicely paved walkways and handrails lit up with huge floodlights, and shared the cave with 100 or so others. The experience was ok, but the feeling of being in the cave in all of its natural glory is somewhat lost when you have 50 camera flashes constantly going off.
I recently had the opportunity to fulfill my cave exploration wish at Modrič Cave in Rovanjska, which is 30km from Zadar, and what a superb experience it was.
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Modrič Cave Tour
The day started with meeting our guide, Marijan, who has been running small group tours in Modrič for some time now. Marijan issued our coveralls, helmet, and the compulsory helmet-mounted light, and we went to get dressed for the occasion.
At the pre-start cave safety briefing (which, by the way, is very thorough), he tells us the most hazardous part of the tour is crossing the street on the way to the cave. Can I say that in the 30 minutes that I was waiting for the tour to commence, only one car passed us – I guess we were going to be relatively safe on this adventure.
Marijan then leads the way to Modrič Cave, which is only 10 10-minute leisurely walk from the meeting point. The views on the walk to the cave are of the Paklenica Riviera and are utterly beautiful.
We arrive at the entry to the cave, where Marijan points out that we need to get on our hands and knees and crawl through a small passage to enter into the first chamber of the cave.
At first glance, I wondered whether I would fit into the space; after all, I am 188cm – however, once I got a little closer to the passage, it was clear there was plenty of room to crawl through. Under Marijan’s guidance and supervision, each of us passed through the small entry with no trouble.
Upon entering the first chamber of the cave, I was awestruck by its grandeur. It was everything I had hoped for—floor-to-ceiling stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and various speleothems. The best part was that this was just the start – there were nine more chambers to explore.
We slowly made our way through the cave and its multiple chambers, stopping at various points while our guide explained interesting facts about the cave.
Along the way, there are a few more challenging narrow passages to navigate. However, our guide ensured every person got through without a problem.
Modricč Cave is 829 meters long, with some of the chambers up to 10 meters high. The cave stays at a constant 17 degrees Celsius all year round and has not been developed in any way.
It’s untouched by mass tourism, and the cave is in its natural state. In one part of the cave, they found the fossil remains of a man from the bronze age, around 4000 years old, and a cave bear from the ice age.
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The Highlights of Modrič Cave
Notice the sizeable alien-like creature ominously positioned behind us? That’s the Cuttlefish!
Here is a close-up of the Cuttlefish.
Can you guess the name of this speleothem? Medusa.
Along the way, Marijan points out an impressive formation, which he calls the “Anvil of Honesty.” The Anvil of Honesty is Mother Nature’s physical test of a person’s honesty. If you are an honest person and place your hand on the anvil, you will pass the test and proceed. If you are a dishonest person, when you place your hand on the anvil, it will strike your hand, crushing it!
Marijan asks that if anyone in the group is a politician or used car sales clerk, please keep left, stay clear of the anvil, and continue to the next chamber. I’m neither of those. However, I have told the odd white lie. I thought I’d give it a go anyway and see what the outcome was. Let’s say that I typed this post with one hand. Ouch!
I’m kidding, of course.
The exploration concludes with us stopping in the nursery, a chamber where all the stalactites are small, and the youngest in the cave are a meager five to ten thousand years old. We take a seat, and Marijan asks us to turn out our lights and not speak for a moment.
It’s complete darkness.
I mean, you cannot see a thing. Couple that with complete silence, and it’s an eerie feeling. Have you ever been somewhere that is entirely black and dark with zero light?
This cave exploration experience was thoroughly incredible. For those people like me who like a little adventure but don’t necessarily have the skills or ability, this is an activity you can definitely take part in – even kids can give it a go. Marijan and his team are professional and fun and will look after you while in the cave. If you’re in the Zadar Region, you should unquestionably add this to your list of things to do while here.
Visiting Modrič Cave?
You need to be on a tour to get into the cave, as the cave is not open to the public. We visited with Zara-Adventure in Rovanjska. The tour takes around two hours, and you need to wear light clothing and fully enclosed shoes suitable for walking through a cave.
Thanks to Marin Majo Marasović for sharing his photos with us.
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Paklenica Area Tips
If you plan to head to the caves, you’ll want to check out a few other things in the Paklenica area.
- We’ve stayed at both the Bluesun Hotel Alan and Hotel Vicko – both are excellent choices.
- If you are traveling with kids – or even without – here is one tour you have to book. It’s a photo jeep safari of the Velebit Mountains. We had a blast.
- Croatia has eight national parks, and Paklenica National Park is the place to be if you climb or hike.
More Ideas For Things To Do In Croatia
Are you traveling to Croatia? Great, we’ve got a stack of suggestions and helpful tips: