Samograd Špilja

Samograd Cave - Samogradska Špilja

Useful Information

Location: 2.5 km southwest of Perušić. From the hamlet Kaniža 20 min walk.
(44.644338, 15.355532)
Open: APR to MAY daily 9-17.
JUN to AUG daily 9-20.
SEP daily 9-17.
Reservation required.
Fee: Adults HRK 40, Children (6-17) HRK 30, Children (0-5) free, Students (18-27) HRK 30, Seniors HRK 30, Disabled HRK 30.
Groups (5+): Adults HRK 30, Children (6-17) HRK 20, Students (18-27) HRK 20, Seniors HRK 20, Disabled HRK 20.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=223 m, VR=54 m, T=7-10 °C, A=675 m asl.
Guided tours: L=466 m, D=30 min, VR=54 m.
Address: Turistickoj zajednici Grada Gospica, Tel: +385-53-574-784. E-mail: contact
Lika-Senj County tourist office, Miroslava Kraljevica 3, 53000 Gospic, Tel: +385-53-574-687, Fax: +385-53-574-687. 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.


1835 graffiti by officers visiting the cave.
1850 first described by J. Fras, the school supervisor of Karlovac borderland.
05-AUG-1889 cave lit for the first time, paths in the cave first mentioned.
1903 cave developed and prepared as a show cave.
1910 first survey of the cave.
1911 first plan of the cave published, together with the first cadastre of 156 caves of Lika and Krbava County.
1990 paths renovated and electric light with diesel generator installed.


Samograd Špilja (Samograd Cave) is said to be one of the most important and impressive show caves of Croatia. It is located on the eastern slopes of Mt Grabovaća (772 m asl), 2.5 km west of Perušić. To reach it you first drive southeast 1.5 km to the hamlet Kaniža, from here it is a 20 minutes walk. Follow the single lane road to the west, first through a meadow where you already can see the huge doline of the cave entrance, then through forest. The cave entrance is located in a doline, which was formed by the collapse of a part of the cave. It is called vrtaca or ponikva. Generally it should not be necessary to find the cave on your own. As tours are made only by appointment it is most likely you will meet your guide at Perušić.

The cave is a single passage, 233 m long and 54 m deep. The path is leading down to the deepest point, then up again 29 m meters to the end of the cave. At the deepest point the passage is 30 m high. As there is no other exit, you will have to go back the same route. This means a total height difference of 83 m and 470 steps, which requires some physical fitness. The cave is lighted electrically, powered by a diesel generator at the entrance.

The cave has numerous speleothems. Extraordinary are green stalactites and stalagmites, and two so-called sinter bridges. This are places were the path was built through huge formations of flowstone, and so the visitor walks virtually under a bridge of sinter.

The huge doline with the cave portal was an easy access to the cave for centuries. So the cave was visited continually over centuries by the villagers. Today, as a show cave, it is protected by a gate. On one ocasion officers from the so called military border visited the cave and left their names, together with the year number 1835. Today we would call this graffitti and vandalism, but because of the age it is now called archaeological and historic evidence.

The whole area forms the Pećinski park Grabovača (Cave Park Grabovača), a protected area of 1.5km², which covers 25% of all protected speleological objects in Croatia. Beneath Samograd cave there are several other. They may be visited by speleologists after appointment, and the organization of cave trekking tours is planned. The other caves are Medina Špilja (Bear's Cave, L=63m), Amidžina Cave (L=60m), Velika Kozarica (Large Goat Pen, L=30m), Mala Kozarica (Small Goat Pen, L=12m), Tabakuša (L=50m), and Slipica Jama (Slipica Hole, VR=40m). Most of the caves are pretty easy to visit, some even have some stairs and paths. The last one is a vertical cave and is used for cave trekking tours including abseiling.