When to go to Croatia
Spread along the sparkling blue Adriatic Sea, Croatia constantly clings to the traveling envy of travelers with its pebble coves, verdant hills and historic but bustling towns, which host festivals and events. throughout the year. So of course you want to visit, but when is the best time to go?
Whether you’re looking to collapse on the beach or take in the action at one of the country’s famous wine festivals, keep things cheap or avoid the tourist crowds, here’s our guide to the best time to visit. Croatia.
High season: July and August
Croatia’s high season in July and August offers guaranteed sunshine but also guaranteed crowds, in part thanks to European schools on summer holidays. Accommodation prices are also at their highest during this peak period.
July and August are also festival season, making it even more attractive to visit. Dubrovnik and Split both host summer festivals with concerts and theater held around the city, and the eponymous Krk Fair features medieval costumes and stalls selling traditional crafts.
Mid season: May-June and September
Shoulder season is a great time to visit the coast: the Adriatic is warm enough for swimming, crowds are more sparse, and prices are lower. In spring and early summer, the maestral (strong and regular westerly wind) allows excellent navigation.
Low season: October-April
Winters in Croatia are cold and ferry times are drastically reduced. However, the crowds are very slim and accommodation prices low, and October and April offer a chance for good weather (if you do it right!).
Christmas makes the streets of Zagreb vibrate with its winter market, even with the snow. There is also skiing from December to February in Sljeme a short distance from town.
As the country returns to work after the holidays, snow makes inland roads difficult to tackle, while strong winds on the coast and islands limit ferry schedules. It is one of the less popular months for tourism, although skiers may be tempted by the downhill slopes just outside Zagreb to Sljeme (the main peak of Mount Medvednica), and culture enthusiasts. may be drawn to the Night of Museums event, which sees dozens of them. museums and galleries across the country open their doors to the public on the last Friday of January.
Key events: Museum night
Enjoy scenic snow-covered hikes in mainland Croatia, while staying alert on the roads. Bura (cold northeast) winds blow along the Adriatic, ferries run infrequently, and many hotels in coastal towns close their doors. If you’re enjoying a party, February can appeal, with pre-Lent Carnival celebrations bringing colorful costumes and festivities to cities like Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik and Samobor. The feast of St. Blaise, in honor of the patron saint of Dubrovnik, also brings dancing and fun to the streets of the city at the very beginning of the month.
Key events: Carnival, Feast of St Blaise
The days are starting to get longer and the temperatures are starting to rise, especially by the sea. As the winter ice melts, it’s a great time to catch the Plitvice and Krka waterfalls. Most activities take place indoors, but the steep discounts on accommodation make March a more tempting prospect. The annual Zagrebdox documentary festival begins at the end of February and continues into March, making the city of Zagreb vibrate.
Key events: Zagrebdox
April is a great month to visit Croatia for those who want to avoid the tourist crowds (it’s the last month of low season), but still look forward to good weather. April brings days of bright sunshine (especially towards the end of the month), but also rain and cool temperatures; an unpredictability that keeps the number of visitors low. Trees also start to bloom in April, which makes the countryside picturesque, and as the rivers swell with water, it’s a great time for rafting and kayaking. The 500-year-old Holy Week events in Hvar, including the all-night following procession of the cross, which is inscribed on Unesco’s list of cultural heritage of humanity, adds a additional incentive for a visit in April.
Key events: Holy Week
May marks the start of the shoulder season in Croatia. It is nice and warm on the coast and you can swim in the sea. Hotels are also cheaper and the crowds have not yet arrived for good. Cafe life in Zagreb and Split goes by fast. If that wasn’t enough, the month of May is reserved with two intriguing cultural events: The feast of Saint Domnius, the patron saint of Split, extends into a week-long extravaganza from the beginning of the month. Expect concerts, rowing races, religious rituals, and fireworks. While on the last Sunday renowned Istrian winegrowers and winemakers open the doors of their wine cellars for free tastings and wine celebrations.
Key events: feast of St Domnius, day of the open wine cellar
Swim in the Adriatic, attend festivals across the country and enjoy outdoor activities galore in June. Ferries are starting their summer schedule, high season prices haven’t quite kicked in and hotels are still not crowded.
The tourist season is in full swing: hotels along the coast are full, the beaches are busy, and the ferries are operating at their maximum schedule. Head inland to escape the coastal crowds. July is also the epicenter of the festival season in Croatia, with the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which has brought classical music, theater and dance to the city streets since the 1950s, and the Split Summer Festival, where open-air stages for plays, ballets, and concerts held all over the harbor town, two of the many events that take place. Zadar’s Full Moon Festival sees the city’s docks lit with torches and candles, stalls selling local delicacies, and boats lining the docks become floating fish markets.
Key events: Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Split Summer Festival, Full Moon Festival
The tourist season peaks in the Adriatic, with the hottest days and sea temperatures, teeming beaches and the highest prices. Zagreb is hot but empty as people escape to the coast. This month’s events include the Krk Fair, a three-day Venetian-inspired event held on the island of Krk that features concerts, medieval costumes and stalls selling traditional food and crafts, and the annual Vukovar Film Festival, presenting feature films, documentaries and short films, mainly from Danubian countries. Visiting is a great way to support the city, which is still recovering from the war.
Key events: Krk Fair, Vukovar Film Festival
The summer rush is over, but the sun is still plentiful, the sea warm, and the crowds are largely gone – now is the perfect time to visit Croatia. Zagreb comes back to life after the summer exodus to the coast. The Subotina Festival kicks off the white truffle season in Istria on the second Saturday in September. Stick around to help consume the giant truffle omelet.
Key events: Subotina Festival
The kids are back to school, the parents are at work and the country is swinging at its regular pace. The ferries change for their winter schedule but the weather is still quite mild.
The continent is cooling down but the seaside can still be sunny, but not hot. Many hotels along the coast are closing for the season, as are many restaurants. Martinje (Saint Martin’s Day) is celebrated in all wine regions of Croatia on November 11. There are wine celebrations and many parties and tastings of new wines.
Key events: Martinje
It freezes everywhere, but a little less on the coast. In this deeply Catholic country, churches are packed for midnight mass on Christmas morning. Zagreb residents brave freezing temperatures for mulled wine and street food at this relocating Advent market.
Key events: Christmas day, Zagreb Christmas market
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