Cerovačke špilje - Cerovačke pećine

The Caves of Cerovack - Gornja Cerovacka - Donja Cerovacka

Useful Information

Location: 1km southeast of Gračac towards Knin at the railroad. At the road Plitvice to Zadar, at the northern foot of the Velebit mountains. Signposted from the main road.
Open: All year Mon-Fri 9-17, Sat, Sun, Hol 9-18. Last tour 1 hour before closing. Visit only after appointment! [2006]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric
Dimension: T=11°C.
Upper Cerovacke Cave: L=1,295m.
Lower Cerovacke Cave: L=2,682m.
Guided tours: D=120min, L=700m.
Bibliography: Dr Mirko Malez (1965): Cerovacke Pecine / die Höhlen von Cerovac / The Cervac Caves / Les Grottes de Cerovac, Published as Izdanja Speleoloskog drustva Hrvatske, No 1. SB. 41 pp, 21 full page B&W photos, 2 large folding maps in the rear.
This is a nicely produced guide book to some famous caves near Gracac in Croatia. In three languages.
Address: Javna ustanova "Park prirode Velebit", Kaniža bb, 53000 Gospić, Croatia, Tel. 00385 53 560 450, Fax 00385 53 560 451. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1912-1920 a railway through the Lika region was constructed.
1961 declared a natural monument.
2004 closed due to problems with the current management.
2006 reopened under new management.


The plural of Cerovačke špilje (Caves of Cerovack) is justified, as there are three different caves. They are different levels, which were first thought be be different caves, but they are connected with several shafts. The caves are easy to visit and famous for their speleothems. They are often mentioned to be the most beautiful caves of Croatia. Donja, Srednja, and Gornja Cerovačka špilja are Upper, Middle, and Lower Cerovack Cave. Only the Donja Cerovacka is open to the public.

The huge entrance hall of the Donja Cerovacka (Upper Cerovacke Cave) was a shelter for prehistoric man. In the cave sediments, many remains of this people were found. In other parts of the cave the bones of cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) were found. Most of them were found in the Bear Pit 237m from the entrance and below a layer of flowstone about 400m from the entrance.

The upper cave is known for a very long time, Gornja Cerovacka (Lower Cerovacke Cave) was discovered during the construction of the nearby railroad. But 3,300 year old shards of pottery from the Iapodes, an proto-Illyrian tribe, were found on the first 100m, which proofs that it was known at this time.

800m from the entrance the passage divides into two branches, with the left one soon reaching Bear Hall, another place with remains of cave bears. The right branch is much bigger and is called the main passage. It was formed as it drained the rain water that fell on the Gračac plain and drained it through the Velebit Mountains towards the Zrmanja River and the sea.

Both caves are famous for their palaeontological remains, including not only cave bears, but also cave lions, fossil brown bears, wild horses, red deer, chamois, and several other animals. There was also discovered a human bone, a right tibia.