Diving in a submarine bunker

Tauchen im U-Boot-Bunker
Diving in a submarine bunker

Montenegro. In the former Yugoslavia numerous submarine bunkers were built at the Adriatic coast during the occupation by the Germans in the Second World War. Further submarine bunkers were built by the Yugoslav army during the Cold War. The bunkers were used by the Yugoslav army for almost fifty years. Now most of the bunkers on the Adriatic coast have been abandoned. Some of them are open to tourists and sometimes it is even possible to swim or dive in the submarine bunker. For example in Montenegro, in the bay of Kotor. It is an absolutely unique dive site. (Cover photo by Dr. Till Pasquay)

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Bunker Visits

Bunkers have fascinated me since my childhood. During our family holidays, which went to Denmark every year, I explored every bunker on the beach with great interest. No bunkers or bunker museums remained unvisited at that time. When we planned our roadtrip to the Balkans and Albania in 2018, bunker visits were of course also part of the program. During my research on the internet I found a swimming club that offers swimming trips in submarine bunkers in Croatia. Shortly afterwards I found a diving center in Montenegro, which goes diving in one of the former bunkers. And already diving in the submarine bunker in the bay of Kotor was on our itinerary.    

At the peninsula Luštica there are three abandoned submarine bunkers. Two of them are near the town of Rose, and the third is further towards the open sea. All three were built by the Yugoslav army during the Second World War.

U-Boot-Bunker, Montenegro
Well camouflaged submarine bunker, Montenegro

In the Balkan region - the former Yugoslavia - there are numerous bunkers to discover. The whole area includes the six countries Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. There are also many other bunkers in neighbouring Albania. During the communist reign of Hodja, which lasted for about forty years, about 200,000 bunkers of various sizes were built here. The small mushroom-shaped bunkers for one to four people are most frequently seen. But there are also nuclear shelters in the capital Tirana and submarine bunkers, for example the one in Porto Palermo. But unfortunately it is not accessible.

Excursus: swimming in submarine bunkers, Croatia
(Source: Strel-swimming.com)
Submarine tunnels that you can visit, explore and swim through in Croatia are among others: Hitler eye tunnel (approx. 250m), Šibenik; Parja tunnel (approx. 120m), Vis island; submarine pins (approx. 80m), Brač island.
There are further tunnels to discover on the island Dugi, Brač, Lastovo and Ploče.

Dive in the submarine bunker

We undertook our dive in the submarine bunker in the bay of Kotor from the diving base Diving Montenegro. The dive center is located in the harbour of the small town Herzeg Novi and offers guided boat dives including rental equipment.

The submarine bunkers in the bay of Kotor are about 80 meters far cut into the rocks of the steep coast. Their width is about seven meters. On the outside of the entrance the bunkers are designed and covered with stones in such a way that they are difficult for satellites or spy planes to recognize. At the entrance of the submarine bunker we could moor the boat and prepare our dive. After briefing and buddy check we start.

U-Boot-Bunker, Montenegro
Entrance to submarine bunker, Montenegro

The water depth over the entire length of the bunker is only about eight metres. The water here is still relatively warm. The submarine bunker becomes very dark after the first half and ends in a dead end. Every diver should have a good lamp with him. On the ground lies rubbish, fallen parts from the ceiling and garbage. Here you have to keep distance so that you don't get caught. In addition, many truck tyres are laid out on the floor and at the end of the bunker. They are intended to serve as impact protection for the submarine. Only occasionally we see some fish, crabs and starfish.

Tauchen im U-Boot-Bunker, Montenegro
Diving in the submarine bunker, Montenegro

For diving in the submarine bunker you don't need a special cave diving license, because you can dive at any time. But you should be careful, because from time to time even smaller motorboats enter the bunker. But if there is one in the bunker, you can't miss it.

But if you prefer to go by boat to the bunkers or swim in them, you can also do this with the so-called water taxis from Tivat.

Fancy more underwater adventures? Then you will certainly like my articles about snorkeling with giant sharks in Scotland or snorkeling in the Silfra fissure in Iceland .

Have you ever been diving in Montenegro yourself, maybe even in a submarine bunker? How did you like it? Do you have any questions about my article or further suggestions? If so, please write me a comment!

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