In midst of all the natural wonders that you can see on the magnificent Velebit mountain, there is one that hides beneath the surface.
The Cerovac Caves are one of the most famous caves in Croatia. The 7 km long system of underground tunnels is located underneath the southern part of the Velebit nature park, on the slope of hill Crnopac, near Gračac. The speleological structure is divided into three parts, called Lower, Middle and Upper Cave, with some parts of the caves still left unexplored.
Discovering the Caves
The complex was discovered in 1924, during the construction of the Lika railway track connecting the towns Gračac and Cerovac. The caves were named after the Cerovac train station, but the Lower cave is officially named after the constructor Nikola Turkalj, who is credited for finding this amazing natural phenomenon.
What’s hidden underneath
Thousands of years of water activity created beautiful dripstones on the walls of the caves. However, the fragile beauty of the stalactites and stalagmites is not the only thing hiding in the complex: human bones, countless cave decorations and a bronze axe from the Pleistocene epoch were found in the caves, as well as remains of ancient cave bears!
The prehistoric cave bear
The Cerovac Caves are one of the largest discovery sites of cave bear remains in Croatia. The bears lived during Pleistocene but became extinct 24,000 years ago. They often moved close to the cave walls, so you can still see their claw marks, encaptured in stone for eternity. For the protection of such rare beauty and amazing archaeological findings, the Cerovac Caves were named a geomorphological natural monument in 1961.
Croatia caves tour
There are numerous Croatian caves that attract speleologists from all over the world, but the Cerovac complex stands out for being the biggest one. You can explore the first 700 m of both the Lower and Upper Cave on organised tours, but the Middle Cave is still closed for visitors. While touring the caves, it is always recommended to bring a head cover, wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes. The underground temperatures are always under 10 degrees Celsius, even in the summer!
If you’re planning a trip to Velebit and the biggest caves in Croatia, book your stay at Camping Village Šimuni, where you can choose the type of accommodation that will suit your needs perfectly.