The Croatian Football Match Held At The Bottom Of A Lake

Paul Bradbury

croatian football match lake
Matko Begovic/PIXSELL

March the 11th, 2024 – Have you ever heard about the Croatian football match played at the bottom of a lake? This bizarre spectacle took place several years ago in – you guessed it – Imotski.

This rare sporting event at the bottom of Imotski’s famous Blue Lake attracted attention back in 2017, and rightly so.

The historic town of Imotski in inland Dalmatia, close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, is enjoying a tourism boom. Hailed as the Croatian Tuscany and Croatian Provence by several sources over the years, including the Croatian President herself, after years in the shadows, Imotski has become somewhat of a tourism hotspot away from the coast. 

The arrival of the motorway from Split to Ploce has made the town much more accessible, as has the opening of a tunnel which slashes travel time to the coast to just half an hour. Tourists are coming in increasing numbers to marvel at the famous Red and Blue Lakes of the town, as well as to try the wines, where the indigenous Kujundzusa white is king. There has been an explosion of villa rentals offering swimming pools, and the town has positioned itself as an attractive tourism destination in its own right, as well as an excellent base for a coastal holiday in traditional Dalmatian surroundings. 

And that is not all, for Imotski offers one of two little extras… 

It is perhaps the most unusual town in the world when it comes to football, for football in Imotski has two claims to fame, one visible every day, one only every few years. One of the many attractions of Imotski is its rather unusual football pitch (see lead photo) which regularly makes it into lists of the top 10 weirdest football stadia in the world

Next to the football stadium is the globally famous Blue Lake, and if you kick the ball out of the stadium in that direction, it is going to be hard to retrieve the ball. But the Blue Lake, with its ever-changing water level, has a football tradition of its own. It happens on occasion that the water level plunges to such depths that the lake dries out completely. What appears as an environmental catastrophe is actually a natural phenomenon, and the lakes then fills up over the winter months. 

The summer of 2017 was exceptionally dry, with the lake actually completely drying up at one critical point. Naturally, when the Blue Lake in Imotski dries up, the Elves and Werewolves (and their football) come out to play… 

This Croatian football match was staged between two teams, the Elves and the Werewolves, and kick off time was at 13:30 on Sunday, October the 8th, 2017. It’s too little to say that this was a serious spectacle to behold. 

For more information about hiking to the bottom of a lake, here is Secret Dalmatia’s experience the last time it happened in 2012. And check out the preparations for this most unusual Croatian football match in the video below.


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