Tunnel Pitve

The unlit and unpaved Tunnel Pitve in Croatia leads to paradise

Located on the island of Hvar, in the district of Jelsa, in Croatia, Tunnel Pitve will make you feel as if you have entered into a mine with your car. Although someone passing through a tunnel dug in solid rock can be seem like passing through hell - in the end it is actually waiting for paradise.

How long is the Tunnel Pitve in Croatia?

Running north-south from Pitve to Zavala, the tunnel is 1400 meters long, not paved in asphalt, unlit and wide enough only for one-way traffic, which is thus directed using traffic lights system at both entrances. The traffic light system is in operation for much of the year. The lights come into operation for the tourist season, after which the real fun begins in the tunnel. The local rules are simple: upon entering the tunnel, if there are no headlights coming the opposite way, one may progress; approaching headlights require drivers to wait. Remember to turn your headlights on. It’s not the best place for those suffering of claustrophobia as it’s narrow and dark.

When was the Tunnel Pitve in Croatia built?

The tunnel was sharply carved by the army in 1962 for the needs of water supply. But it was never used and was converted to a road tunnel. It opened to traffic on November 24, 1963. The tunnel bypassed a gravel road, pretty steep, climbing up to the mountains, called Pitve-Zavala road. It’s a fire road over the top of the hill, suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles rather than normal cars.

Is the Tunnel Pitve in Croatia worth it?

The tunnel connects the town of Pitve in the center of the island with Zavala and other settlements on the south side of the island. It’s 1.4 km long and 2.3m wide with a height of 2.4 m. Water seeps through the rock overhead, causing minor flooding problems. During your stay on the island of Hvar be sure to drive through this tunnel. If not for anything else, then do it because of what awaits you on the other side of the tunnel; several beautiful small villages with awesome beaches. The road surface in the tunnel is very poor, although it is patched up each year. The roughness, damp and poor visibility combine to make conditions especially dangerous for bicycles, scooters and motorbikes, which in principle are not supposed to go through the tunnel.

What’s the secret of Tunnel Pitve in Croatia?

Located on the southern part of the country, the tunnel has one big secret that not so many people know about, and even fewer have seen - its own wine cellar. On the left, shortly after entering the tunnel from Pitva, you can see, if you look closely, a door. An even bigger surprise is what's behind the door. The cool and constant temperature of the tunnel are apparently perfect for storing wine.