Špilja Vranjača

geomorphological phenomenon

Špilja Vranjača is an underground karst cave located in Dugopolje, 25 km from Split, the second-largest city in Croatia. The cave was discovered in the late 19th century. Due to its value and uniqueness, the cave became a natural geomorphological monument in 1963. Vranjača is one of the most beautiful Dalmatian caves with easy access equipped for sightseeing.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    DETAILS

    • Geographical coordinates of the site: 43.562181, 16.648491
    • Elevation: 452 m
    • Cave air temperature: 15 ⁰C
    • Humidity: 68% (min.)
    • Stalagmite growth rate: 1 mm / 35 yrs
    • Maximum depth: 107 m
    • Length of hiking trails: 365 m
    • Duration of visit: 60 min

    LOCATION

    The cave is located in the central part of the northern slopes of the Mosor mountain.

    Within the administrative area of Dugopolje, there is a village called Kotlenice where the cave can be reached by car. The local road takes you about 10 kilometers away from Dugopolje, where on the right, you will be able to see an unpaved road with a sign that will take you directly to the parking lot.

    Only 300 meters of easy walk you will reach the entrance to the cave.

    Central Dalmatia map with Split, Sinj and Vranjača cave pointed out on the map.
    Central Dalmatia map with Split, Sinj and Vranjača cave pointed out on the map.

    DISCOVERY AND HISTORY

    The first chamber or entrance chamber has been known in the local community since ancient times and does not have the usual decorations like all caves.

    The second chamber was discovered in the late 19th century by a boy who was playing and chasing pigeons. Following the bird, he reached the passage that took him to another chamber full of stalagmites and stalactites that we call today - the Vranjača cave. His name was Stipe Punda, and his family still runs the cave because it was found on their property.

    Zadar speleologists were the first to visit the cave in 1900.

    After them, the miner Luigi Miotto explored the cave and informed the Austrian geologist Fritz Kerner from Vienna, who made a geological map of central Dalmatia. He visited the cave and published the first article in 1904 named Die Grotte von Kotlenice am Nordfuße der Mosor Planina, together with a description of the cave and the scheme of Miotto.

    In 1927 the development of the cave began, a 450 m long asphalt road, a parking lot with a turnaround, and a path to the cave entrance were built. The cave was equipped with electric lighting, concrete paths, and an iron handrail. The passage from the first chamber had to be artificially extended.

    In 1929 cave opened to the public.

    View from the inside of the cave on the concrete walking path with sunbeams coming from the entrance hole.
    View from the inside of the cave on the concrete walking path with sunbeams coming from the entrance hole.

    Umberto Girometta, the famous founder of the Mosor Mountaineering Association, explored the cave in 1934. He found that the cave was inhabited in the Neolithic and discovered a new species of cave spider with rich cave vegetation. He is known for promoting the natural beauty of Vranjača cave through his daily press articles, scientific publications, and magazines, which resulted in increased attendance.

    After World War II, the Vranjača cave was visited only by local mountaineers and few tourists. When the cave was declared a natural geomorphological monument in 1963 and restored in 1970, it began to regain its glory!

    CAVE TODAY

    Vranjača Cave consists of 365 meters of walking trails with electric lighting built for sightseeing. The path leads through both chambers to 65 meters below the ground. The temperature in the cave is about 15C throughout the year.

    Stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave and a lamp illuminating them with blue light.
    Stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave and a lamp illuminating them with blue light.

    At the entrance, there is a welcome house where you can pay for tickets and meet someone from the Punda family who will tell the story of the cave. Landscaped surroundings, wooden benches, and pine trees will make you feel relaxed!

    Vranjača Cave is one of the most beautiful examples of what the cave can offer visitors! With its rich interior, pleasant entrance, and family atmosphere of welcome, there is no doubt that the cave is one of the most beautiful pearls of nature in the karst region.

    PS. Not far from the entrance of the cave, there is a starting point of a hiking trail leading directly to the one of the highest peaks of Mosor - Vickov stup (1325m).

    FAQs

    Working hours depend on the month you want to visit.

    November to March – opens only with previous notice
    April & October – 10h till 18h
    May & September – 9h till 19h
    June, July & August – 9h till 20h

    Price for adults is 50, and for children 25 kunas.

    Split Hinterland Tour

    Split Hinterland tour is a private tour that includes historical and natural sites on the slopes of Kozjak and Mosor mountains. Tour starts with the ancient Roman city of Salona and continues with Klis fortress that holds a breathtaking view and rich history. Ethno-agro park Stella Croatica brings perfect display for Dalmatian plant traditions and Vranjača cave, the best geomorphological phenomenon in Split area.