So you are planning your vacation for the upcoming or next year and you stumbled upon the country we live in, Croatia. You google the images and see a feed full of crystal clear sea, vast beaches, beautiful landscape. Your heart starts to pound faster because you found the place where you want to spend your vacation. You start to think about all the places you are going to visit, you make real scientific research because you have a limited amount of time for your vacation and you want it to be a dream one. Among all the questions you ask yourself one pops out: “What is the best time to visit Croatia?”. Stick around and you’ll find out how Croatia looks like at different times of the year.
If you are in a hurry you can skip to the conclusion part where you can find our thoughts summarized but we believe that reading this post will do you more good than harm. Let us say that in this text we are speaking about a regular person planning its visit to Croatia. We’ll try to inform you about what to expect from every period in Croatia. We’ll even rule out some months, but if you have specific goals, for example, want to pick mushrooms, well, then you already know when to visit Croatia and that might be in months ruled out.
a bit about croatia
You probably know a bit about Croatia. We can just add that it’s a really beautiful country in which you can find almost anything modern travelers seek from their roaming around the globe. One particular thing that we like most about Croatia is nature. Astonishing nature. A lot of national parks and parks of nature but with nature outside of those still being beautiful and jaw-dropping. Everyone interested in touring through nature should immediately come here. The other thing, and the thing why most people come to Croatia, in the Adriatic sea. Crystal clear, warm, vibrant – perfect. You’ll know what we are talking about as soon as you put your feet in the Adriatic sea. Third thing, historical cities. We are talking about Split and Dubrovnik but a lot of smaller cities attract a lot of visitors every year. These two are simply a bit more popular because of a bunch of reasons, Game of Thrones being one of them.
high season in croatia
When it comes to Croatia, most people decide to visit it during the summer months. Usually, it’s the case with most countries in the world. People like summer and sea combination. Summer is a good choice with the weather in Croatia being warm and nice. Sea is perfect for swimming and snorkeling and tourism machinery is at full force. Everywhere you look, you’ll see someone. All the empty beaches you googled before coming to Croatia are full of people to the extent you don’t have a place to put your towel at. All of a sudden you realize that you just might be made a mistake and choose a bad time to visit Croatia. We are talking about the high season here, and by high season we mean a vacation somewhere between 15th of July and 15th of August. This is the hottest period of the year with the temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius in a shade during midday.
Then there are some specific places such as Dubrovnik. If you want to experience this beautiful city, don’t go there during the high season or go early in the morning. During the day, Dubrovnik streets look like a river of people and it’s not an experience you want to have there.
It may sound like a vacation from hell while reading the previous part of the text. It isn’t. If you are ok with crowds wherever you go, you can have some really good time. There are some advantages to visiting Croatia in the summer and the warm sea is just one of them. The high season is full of any kind of event. If you are searching for wild parties then the high season is the right time for you since all the major festivals are organized in this period. If you are more of a nature exploration person then you would want to skip this period since it can get too hot to do any exploration outside most of the day.
preseason and postseason
Some other periods you want to think about are what we call preseason and postseason times. It’s usually a month before and after the high season periods. Theoretically, it can be a longer period. What to expect if you visit Croatia in this period? First of all, nice weather and a lot fewer crowds. And that’s why we believe preseason and postseason are the best times to visit Croatia. Depending on your preferences, you can choose the exact period. If you want to enjoy empty beaches you may want to visit Croatia in May and early June. If you are interested in doing adventure tours in Croatia then this period is perfect for it too. There won’t be many people around and you could end up having a lot of famous places just for yourself. Nature is waking up in this period and everything is lush and vibrant. On the other hand, the sea is not as warm as it is in full summer. Some tourist vendors are still not opened so you might end up without dinner in a restaurant with good grades you saw on TripAdvisor. Still, if you ask us what’s the best time to visit Croatia, this would be our answer. There are not many events going around but if you would like to explore the nature of Croatia, then this is your time to visit Croatia. Air temperatures in this period range from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius during the day.
autumn time in croatia
It comes after the summer. It’s a melancholic period of the year in every country. When talking about Croatia, all of the tourists are gone, people in the tourism industry are counting their profit and closing their businesses, most of the accommodation units are closed as well as main hotels and tourist vendors. The nature is still beautiful with all the autumn colors wherever you look. Sea is not so warm so you can count on skipping any serious swimming unless you don’t mind a bit colder sea. If you plan to visit Croatia during the early autumn, let’s say at the end of September and the beginning of October, the sea might be just fine. To be honest, the sea seems to be warmest during early September.
What would be the best to visit if you are visiting Croatia during this period of the year? Well, anything that has any kind of deciduous forest or vegetation. If you are a hiker then autumn is your season. It’s possible to hike during the summer months but the heat can become so unbearable that you might end hating hiking. There are a lot of mountains in Croatia and we have written a post about hiking in Croatia so you might want to check it out if you are a hiking addict. Then there are other places like Devil’s passage in Gorski Kotar that are stunning during the autumn months.
And finally, we come to the coldest season of all. So what’s the winter like in Croatia? When we talk about the tourism industry pretty much of it is closed, especially on the coast. There are no tourists around. If you plan to visit Istria and Dalmatia, you might be surprised that it’s still warm enough. Winters on the coastline are usually mild. Sometimes so mild that you can spend your day in short sleeves. But then again it depends, you might end facing the strongest wind called Bura with the cold reaching your bones. If you seek for any tourist content during the winter period, you won’t find any. Again, it depends on what you are looking for. If you like empty streets, don’t care about swimming in the sea and want to climb mountains in winter conditions, then winter is the perfect season for you.
We guess you want to see and experience at least something during your stay in Croatia. In that case, we would recommend Zagreb Christmas Market. We were still living in a Zagreb when the whole Christmas Market story began and we still can’t believe how it has grown over the years. Zagreb has won numerous awards for it’s Christmas story, and you should put it on your bucket list. Other cities in Croatia have their own Christmas markets, but we believe Zagreb has the best one by far. Christmas Market starts at the beginning of December and lasts for a bit more than a month.
If you are looking for snow and winter activities, you may want to visit Croatia during winter. It’s perfect for hiking but has in mind that Croatia doesn’t have so developed infrastructure for winter sports. Slovenia is much better in that part just like Croatia is better when it comes to summer activities.
when not to visit in croatia
If we need to talk about when not to visit Croatia we would say you can skip November and February. You could say that these 2 months are somewhat more depressing than the rest because not a lot of things are happening. These 2 months are somehow caught in the middle, they serve as the glue to others. If you ask Croats, they prefer summertime. Not many people love winter. If you ask us, winter has its advantages. Mountains covered with snow is one of them. A lot of people don’t like snow at all, especially those living in inland Croatia. For the people living near the sea, snow is like a holiday. There’s no school, all the children and adults are outside and playing in the snow. A lot of best memories in my life are related to snow in Dalmatia. It falls rarely, once every few years and with the overall climate warming up you can see less and less snow in Croatia every year.
Let’s be concise here, describe what to expect out of every season. If you visit Croatia in the period od 15th of July to 15th of August you can expect a lot of traffic on the roads, waiting on borders, crowded beaches and other places such as national parks, etc. There are a lot of events going around, a lot of parties, fishermen nights, recreations of historic battles. Definitely, the time when Croatia is blooming with life. It’s the hottest period of the year and the sea is perfect for swimming.
Preseason and postseason, let’s say May, June, September, and October. It’s still warm, not hot, but pleasantly warm. June and September are still good enough for swimming. There are a lot fewer people around. It’s not crowded, especially during May and October. There are not so many events going around but if you visited Croatia because of its nature, this is the best time to visit for you.
Early Spring – March and April, nature waking up. Almost no tourists around, the weather is nice. Sea is still not perfect for swimming but it’s possible to take a short swim.
If you plan to visit during the winter months we would advise you to choose December since there is a Christmas market going on and for the best experience, we suggest visiting one in Zagreb. Other than this, there are almost no events for tourists and a lot of tourist places and accommodation are closed during the winter months.
That would be it, we hope we helped you a bit and now you feel more confident about choosing the best time to visit Croatia for you. If you still have any doubts, contact us and we’ll gladly answer any questions you have about our country. Enjoy in Croatia!