Goli Otok- a mysterious place for yacht charter guests

October 2, 2023

7 minute read

Goli Otok, which means "Bare Island" in Croatian, is a haunting and mysterious place located in the northern Adriatic Sea, just off the coast of Krk island, the biggest island in Croatia. For charter guests looking for something "different", there is no place better in the entire Croatian Adriatic sea.

Photo Credit to Instagram Profile ante_kljenak

Goli Otok gained notoriety during the post-World War II era when it was used as a political prison by the Yugoslav government, subjecting thousands of political prisoners to brutal and inhumane conditions in an attempt to “re-educate” them. Tragically, many did not survive, and it is said that their spirits still haunt the island today.

Despite this dark history, Goli Otok has experienced a transformation in recent years, becoming an intriguing destination for yacht charter experiences. Today, the island is uninhabited, offering yacht charter guests the opportunity to explore its rugged beauty, abandoned buildings, and eerie ruins. Several bays and coves around the island provide ideal spots for anchoring and swimming, allowing visitors to bask in the tranquil Adriatic waters.

Yacht charter guests can also delve into the island’s unsettling past by taking a tour of the abandoned prison, which serves as a sobering reminder of the suffering endured by its former inhabitants. The tour includes visits to the prison cells,  and the torture chamber, with a museum displaying artefacts and documents that shed light on the island’s history.

For those seeking adventure beneath the waves, Goli Otok offers exceptional diving and snorkeling opportunities. The waters surrounding the island are teeming with marine life, providing an underwater paradise for enthusiasts. In this way, Goli Otok has evolved from a place of darkness and despair into a unique destination where yacht charter guests can experience history, nature, and adventure in a single unforgettable trip.

The history of Goli Otok island in Croatia

During the 1950s and 1960s, the prison on Goli Otok gained a reputation as one of the most brutal in Yugoslavia. Torture, beatings, and killings were reported to be common practices and the prisoners lived in crowded, unsanitary conditions, in which diseases spread rapidly.

In the 1970s, the prison population began to decline, as the Yugoslavian government loosened its grip on political dissent. However, the prison remained open until 1988, when the last prisoners were released.

After the fall of communism in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the island was abandoned and left to decay. However, in recent years, it has become a popular tourist destination for history buffs and people interested in the island’s dark past. Visitors can tour the abandoned prison and see the remnants of the brutal regime that once controlled the island.

Goli Otok island infrastructure
A visit to Goli Otok island is both a haunting and thrilling experience – Photo credit to Instagram account rememberingyugoslavia

Today, Goli Otok serves as a grim reminder of the atrocities committed during the period of the Yugoslavian government. It serves as a warning of what can happen when a government becomes too powerful and begins to trample on the rights of its citizens. It is important to remember the lessons of Goli Otok and to work towards a world in which human rights and freedom are respected and protected.

It’s also worth mentioning that Goli Otok was not only a political prison, but also a forced labour camp, where prisoners worked on the construction of infrastructure and buildings on the island, as well as on the land reclamation projects. The prisoners were also forced to extract sand, gravel, and other materials for the construction of the nearby port on the island of Rab..

Why would superyacht guests in Croatia want to visit Goli Otok island

Goli Otok is an intriguing island located in the Adriatic Sea, near Croatia, and it has a unique history that might attract superyacht guests who are interested in exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Exploring the remnants of this prison complex and learning about its history can be a captivating experience for history enthusiasts, but also for yacht charter guests who want to experience something completely different.

Since Goli Otok has gained recognition as a dark tourism destination, it began attracting visitors interested in exploring places with a dark or haunting history. The harsh conditions and stories of the prisoners who were held there make it an intriguing location for those who enjoy horror stories or political history.

Goli Otok island from a distance
From a distance, Goli Otok island looks like a regular patch of land in the Adriatic – Photo credit to Instagram account olibund

But, despite its dark history, Goli Otok boasts natural beauty with rugged landscapes, cliffs, and crystal-clear waters. Superyacht guests can enjoy the picturesque scenery, go hiking, or simply relax in a serene environment.

There are also plenty of unique photography opportunities, with visible contrast between the natural beauty and the historical ruins of the island, which can offer photographers a unique opportunity to capture captivating images.

Also, Goli Otok is relatively untouched by mass tourism, making it an ideal destination for those seeking an authentic and off-the-beaten-path adventure. Exploring the island’s rugged terrain, hidden coves, and wildlife can be an exciting experience for adventurous travellers.

What can superyacht guests enjoy around Goli Otok island in Croatia

The island is surrounded by crystal-clear waters, making it a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling and diving. The waters around Goli Otok are home to a diverse array of marine life, including colourful fish, octopi, and dolphins. It is also an ideal spot for fishing, where guests can catch different kinds of fish as well as seafood delicacies.

Goli Otok island offers something that very few locations offer; a unique, although gruesome, past which can serve both history buffs and urban explorers. If you are looking for something that is totally out of the ordinary, consider Goli Otok Island. Despite its pedigree, the island also offers a variety of activities and services, making it a perfect destination for yacht guests looking for an exclusive getaway.

Guests can merge the wild and beautiful side of the island with the amenities of their yacht, enjoying the natural vistas in the afternoon, and finishing the tour of the island with cocktails on the alfresco deck of their yacht.

During their entire stay on Goli OTok island, the panorama of the Velebit mountain range will be clearly visible. If some guests feel a certain allure to this majestic mountain range, on-shore excursions can be organised for yacht charter guests who want to explore the beauty of the biggest mountain range in Croatian.

Also, the channels between Goli Otok, Krk Island and the Croatian mainland offer incredible windsurfing and kitesurfing conditions. This, combined with the water sports potential of your yacht charter, creates a unique opportunity to learn this fun and exciting water sport in a safe and professional setting.


What are some areas in the vicinity of Goli Otok island, that are of interest to superyacht guests?

The vicinity of Goli Otok offers several interesting destinations and attractions that can appeal to superyacht guests. So, after a day spent on Goli Otok, there is still much to see and do in the vicinity.

Goli Otok seen from Krk
It is only a short cruise away from the shores of Krk island to the haunting coast of Goli Otok – Photo credit to Instagram account iva_sverko
  • Krk Island: Krk is one of the largest islands in the Adriatic Sea and is known for its beautiful beaches, historic towns like Krk Town and Baska, and outdoor activities such as hiking and water sports.
  • Rab Island: Rab is another picturesque island nearby, famous for its historic Old Town with medieval walls, bell towers, and sandy beaches. It’s a great place for sightseeing and relaxation.
  • Cres Island: Cres is known for its unspoiled natural beauty, including pristine beaches, lush forests, and the charming town of Cres. It’s an excellent spot for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Lošinj Island: This island is renowned for its lush vegetation and medicinal herbs. The town of Mali Losinj is a popular destination, offering cultural attractions, a picturesque harbour, and beautiful beaches.

Try something different with Goli Otok and SuperYachts Croatia

Exploring the vicinity of Goli Otok and the broader Adriatic coast of Croatia offers superyacht guests an enchanting blend of history, natural beauty, and cultural experiences. From the haunting echoes of Goli Otok’s past to the picturesque islands of Krk, Rab, and Cres, or the vibrant cities of Zadar and Šibenik, there’s something to captivate every traveller’s heart.

If you seek tranquillity on secluded beaches, adventure amid pristine landscapes, or a glimpse into the region’s rich history and culture, the Croatian coast and its neighbouring islands have it all. As you set sail on your superyacht journey, these destinations invite you to immerse yourself in their unique charms, creating memories that will last a lifetime. So, drop anchor and embark on a remarkable voyage with SuperYachts Croatia through the Adriatic, where the past meets the present, and every horizon reveals a new adventure.