Best Time to Visit Croatia
Best Time to Visit Croatia: The best time to visit Croatia is during the summer months when the weather is hot, dry (typically in the high 20s °C but it can get well in the 30s °C in the afternoon) and there will be lots of lively festivals to enjoy as well as beautiful beaches for swimming when the heat gets to intense. This is also the busiest time to visit Croatia, however, so you’ll want to book your trip well in advance and plan to pay full airfare and room rates.
Best Time for Sightseeing: If you plan to focus your trip to Croatia on sightseeing, the best time to visit is in late spring or early fall, when the weather is comfortably warm and the tourist crowds won’t be as thick, typically from mid-April through May or mid-September through mid-October.
Best Time to Visit for Good Weather: The best time for pleasantly warm temperatures and dry weather is from mid-May to mid-June. Expect daytime highs in the low- to mid-20s with a relatively minimal chance of rain. While mid-September through mid-October will be warm, this period will be wetter with precipitation increasing significantly after the dry summer.
Best Time to Visit Croatia for Nightlife and Partying: Summer is the “hot” season not only for weather but for partying and nightlife, with all sorts of parties, festivals and live concerts held on any given weekend, or even day, throughout the country. You’ll find many great options in the islands and along the coast where the warm nights are ideal for after-dark events outdoors.
Best Time for Beaches and Swimming: The peak summer months of July and August bring hot days and ideal sea temperatures around 24°C for swimming. The beaches can typically be enjoyed comfortably from around mid-April through mid-October.
High Season: (June through mid-September) Summer is high season in Croatia. This is when the majority of tourists arrive, and the weather is consistently warm and sunny. It’s the perfect time to enjoy a slice of Mediterranean paradise, including swimming on the beaches, enjoying music festivals and exploring the magnificent historic sights in the Old Towns of exciting cities and beautiful islands. The evenings will be wonderfully warm for alfresco dining and strolling along seafront promenades. The downside is that you will have to pay higher prices during this time, and you can also expect to have to battle big crowds, especially on the beaches and in and around the most popular tourist attractions like Plitvice Lakes National Park and Split’s 4th-century Diocletian’s Palace. There are plenty of off-the-beaten-path kinds of places to be discovered when you want to enjoy a more tranquil experience, however.
Shoulder Season: (May, mid-September through October) Late spring and early fall are generally the shoulder season in Croatia, an ideal compromise between the high and low seasons, when most businesses are open, starting up or slowing down. While the weather may not be as predictable, temperatures will be mild, and you may be able to score some discounted room rates and/or airfare. By planning a visit in late May, you may get to enjoy the best of the high season without the higher prices and crowds, with the sea often warm enough for a swim.
Low Season: (November through April) The low season isn’t the time to visit Croatia for a beach or island vacation, but it can be ideal for sightseeing or a romantic getaway with relatively few other tourists. During this time, hotels that are open typically offer much lower room rates and airfares are often discounted too. The weather along the coast in places like Dubrovnik will be mild, so all you’ll have to do is bundle up a bit, bring an umbrella and enjoy walking the quiet cobbled streets. If you visit in December, there will be lots of holiday festivities to enjoy.
Croatia Weather by Month
The weather can vary significantly depending on your destination in Croatia. With the majority of travelers visiting coastal areas, including the popular city of Dubrovnik, averages listed are based here, but we’ll include a mention of what you can expect around the capital city too.
Croatia Weather in January: Croatia enjoys mild winters along the coast with an average high temperature of 12°C in the popular destination of Dubrovnik, but a visit to the capital city of Zagreb will be much colder, with daytime highs in January hovering just a few degrees above freezing. It may even snow. The coastal areas receive a lot more rain, with 139mm of precipitation on average over 13 days, while the drier inland gets around 38mm over 16 days. If you visit now, you’ll want to bring an umbrella and a waterproof coat, but you’re likely to experience some pleasant sunny days too, and it may even be nice enough to enjoy outdoor patios occasionally. Be sure to pack some warm sweaters, gloves and scarves for coastal areas, and heavier winter wear for inland and more northern destinations. (Average Max Temperature: 12°C. Average Precipitation: 139mm.)
Croatia Weather in February: February brings slightly warmer temperatures to the country, with daytime highs in Dubrovnik of 13°C while Zagreb’s increases five degrees to 8°C. this month. You’ll still need warm clothing and a waterproof jacket no matter where you plan to be as precipitation in some form is likely. While it decreases a bit along the coast to 125mm, it increases in the inland and northern areas to 50mm over January. While the days are shorter during the winter, February still sees plenty of daylight for sightseeing with nearly 10 hours, even early in the month. (Average Max Temperature: 13°C. Average Precipitation: 125mm.)
Croatia Weather in March: Temperatures continue to increase as Croatia moves toward spring, with the afternoon high around Dubrovnik and the coast at 14°C now, while Zagreb isn’t much different. Nighttime will still be quite chilly no matter where you are, especially around the capital and inland areas with the low temperature at just 2°C, which means there’s still a possibility for snow. You’ll definitely want to bring along a waterproof jacket and clothing that can be layered to keep warm, but the later in the month you arrive, the more likely you are to experience sunnier days. Bring a mix of clothing so that you’ll be prepared for both. (Average Max Temperature: 14°C. Average Precipitation: 104mm.)
Croatia Weather in April: April brings fairly consistent weather across the country, with a good amount of warm, sunny days. Dubrovnik and the coastal areas see daytime highs that average 17°C now, and it’s just a couple degrees lower in Zagreb. While there may be some rain, there’s likely be more sun now than overcast, grey days. Now is the time to bring clothing for spring weather, including a mix of long- and short-sleeve shirts and a light rain jacket. Sunglasses and sunscreen are likely to be necessary too. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 104mm.)
Croatia Weather in May: May is a wonderful month to visit Croatia with temperatures really warming now. The daytime high increases to 21°C along the coast and the inland areas are just as warm yet the crowds of summer haven’t arrived just yet. It’s still a good idea to pack clothing that can be layered, along with a few sweaters or a light jacket for evenings and early mornings. The Adriatic is likely to be too chilly for a swim with the sea temperature at 18°C but you might want to bring a bathing suit to enjoy hotel pools. While there may be some rain, it probably won’t be enough to get in the way of your plans. (Average Max Temperature: 21°C. Average Precipitation: 75mm.)
Croatia Weather in June: With the arrival of summer, expect to experience hot days in June, with the average afternoon high along the coast 25°C and about the same in most areas throughout the country, perhaps slightly cooler in the north and mountainous areas. There may be some rain, but it’s relatively minimal with only 48mm over 6 days in Dubrovnik now. No need to bring sweaters or a jacket now, with even the low temperature pleasant at 18°C. You will need a bathing suit as the sea temperature has increased significantly to 22°C. along with a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen and sunglasses for sun protection. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 48mm.)
Croatia Weather in July: During the peak of summer it can be overwhelming hot throughout the country with the afternoon high on the coast increasing another four degrees in July to 29°C. This is also the driest month of the year with an average of just 28mm of precipitation over four days, so there is a good chance that you’ll experience sunshine throughout your trip if you visit now. Mountainous areas will be a bit cooler, but not much. You’ll probably want to spend most of your time enjoying swimming pools or at the beach, cooling off in the sea, with the average sea temperature in July a comfortable 24°C. Pack your lightweight clothing, perhaps including a couple of swim suits along with summery dress, shorts, tank tops and the like. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Precipitation: 28mm.)
Croatia Weather in August: August will continue the hot, dry weather throughout Croatia, although the average daytime high dips a degree to 28°C. The coastal areas are unlikely to get much if any rain with 38mm of precipitation on average over just three days, while Zagreb and other inland and northern cities have a higher chance of some wet weather with 79mm over 16 days in August. Like July, pack your lightweight, summer wear, including a couple of bathing suits and plenty of sun protection. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C. Average Precipitation: 38mm.)
Croatia Weather in September: While early September is likely to continue the summer weather, as it progresses conditions become much more pleasant and the biggest crowds of the year begin to diminish. The sea will still be warm enough for swimming and the beaches wonderful for soaking up the sun. The average high temperature along the coast drops three degrees to 25°C while daytime highs in the capital city reach around 22°C. Precipitation increases again rather significantly, so you might want to bring a light rain jacket just in case, especially if you plan to visit later in the month, with 101mm on average over 7 days now. When it comes to packing, you’ll still want to focus on clothing for warm weather. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 101mm.)
Croatia Weather in October: October will be noticeably cooler but still warm enough for enjoying the beaches with the average high temperature at 21°C, while cooler still inland and in mountainous areas. The chances of rain increase even more with an average of 162mm over 11 days along the coast. This is the time you’ll want to bring more of a mix of clothing for both cooler and warm days, along with a waterproof outer layer to stay dry. As early mornings and evenings can be rather brisk, you may need a few sweaters too. (Average Max Temperature: 21°C. Average Precipitation: 162mm.)
Croatia Weather in November: If you plan to visit Croatia in November, be sure to bring that rain jacket as it’s the rainiest month of the year along the coast with 198mm of precipitation on average. The better news is that you’re still likely to enjoy some sunny days, perhaps even warm enough for enjoying a few alfresco meals with the mercury climbing to 17°C in the afternoon. Up north and the inland areas it’s likely to be quite chilly, with the average high just 8°C and the low barely above freezing. Snow is a possibility now, especially in the mountainous areas. When it comes to packing, you’ll probably need more items for cooler weather, but you may need a couple of lightweight items too. (Average Max Temperature: 17°C. Average Precipitation: 198mm.)
Croatia Weather in December: Winters on the coast are relatively mild, so as long as you bundle up a bit, you can look forward to exploring the sights comfortably, although you probably won’t be spending much time on the beach with daytime highs of 14°C. There’s a good chance of snow inland and in the mountains with the average temperature right around freezing, and a couple of degrees below at night. Be sure to bring your warm winter clothing now, including a waterproof coat, sweaters, scarves and gloves. (Average Max Temperature: 15°C. Average Precipitation: 127mm.)
Croatia Events and Festivals
Croatia in January
New Year’s Day – January 1st is a national holiday in Croatia, generally a time to rest and recover from exciting festivities the even before. Many businesses will be closed, and public transportation will be limited.
Epiphany – January 6th is Epiphany, a national holiday here and in many Christian nations across the globe. It marks the end of the Christmas season, with many families taking trees down today and enjoying a big feast with fine wine.
Rijeka Carnival – This carnival is the biggest in Croatia, starting before Lent every year between mid-January and early March. In 2020, it begins on January 17. The main street in Rijeka will be transformed into a massive party. There will be a procession along with music, dancing and food.
Croatia in February
Festival of St. Blaise – This Dubrovnik event celebrates the city’s patron saint on February 3 every year. It includes a number of ceremonies in which locals pay their respects to the saint. The Marin Držić theatre usually offers a rich program, while museums and galleries offer special exhibitions and other events. On the evening before, the release of white doves, the symbols of freedom and peace, takes place in front of St Blaise’s Church.
Split Half Marathon – The Split Half Marathon takes place in late February every year, usually during the last weekend of the month, starting and ending at the 4th-century Diocletian’s Palace.
ZagrebDox – This international documentary film festival in Zagreb takes place annually starting in late February and runs for at least eight days. There will be a number of themed programs as well as a competition for the best documentary.
Croatia in March
March is a quiet month in Croatia when it comes to holidays and special events, although Holy Week and Easter sometimes take place, in 2020 it will fall in April.
Days of Istrian Asparagus – Asparagus lovers won’t want to miss this gastronomic event dedicated to asparagus in Istria, starting around the spring equinox and running through May. You’ll be able to taste a variety of dishes featuring the green veggie, and even asparagus desserts in the local restaurants.
St. Patrick’s Day – There will be plenty of ways to celebrate the Irish holiday in Croatia. In the capital city of Zagreb, a St. Patrick’s Day festival takes place bringing bands from throughout Croatia, as well as Ireland, the U.K. and beyond playing Irish music.
Tuna, Sushi and Wine Festival – This fun festival is held in Zadar every year starting in late March. It offers a variety of cultural, historical and gastronomic experiences, with lectures, workshops, exhibitions and a special food event in the main square.
Croatia in April
100 Miles of Istria – Over the weekend in mid-April (April 12-14 in 2019) this Istria event includes several races. There is a challenging 100-mile trail as well as a 110-kilometre trail and an “easy” 65-kilometre route. All are welcome to enter, or watch.
Easter and Holy Week – While some years Easter and Holy Week fall in March, in 2019 and 2020, it will be in April. This is an important religious event celebrated throughout Croatia, beginning on Palm Sunday and continuing throughout Holy Week. At the end of Easter week, brightly painted eggs are given as gifts. There won’t be any egg hunts, but there will be egg fights. Everyone picks an egg from a basket it and hits it against their competitor’s, whoever emerges with an egg that’s still intact wins. On Easter Sunday there are also special feasts, often including lamp and cakes made with walnut and carob.
St. George’s Day – April 23 is St. George’s Day, a time to celebrate the start of spring and the growing season, with St. George the patron saint of harvests. Today it’s primarily celebrated in rural villages north of Zagreb where there will be festive bonfires and special masses.
Croatia in May
Festival of Flowers – This event takes place for two weeks in May each year, May 4 through May 20 in 2019 in Split. The basement halls of Diocletian’s Palace will be filled with flowers as florists compete to have the most artistic, beautiful displays.
St. Duje Day – Also annually in Split on May 7, St. Duje Day celebrates the city’s patron saint with an elaborate procession, games with prizes and a ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Duje.
Zagreb Design Week – Hosted at Lauba Art Gallery over five days in mid-May, May 9-14 in 2019, this week features up-and-coming Croatian designers with everything from cars and furniture to clothing. Notable international designers attend, and there will be a range of workshops and talks.
Zrce Beach Spring Break Festival – Taking place annually on the Island of Pag over three days starting in late May, May 30 through June 2 in 2019, this festival brings parties and live music to Zrc Beach.
Croatia in June
Dance Week Festival – This festival of contemporary dance in Zagreb is the biggest of its kind in Croatia, attracting dance troupes from throughout Europe along with the best of Croatian modern dance. It takes place annually in early June, June 4 through 12 in 2019.
INmusic Festival – Hosted at Lake Jarun near Zagreb around the summer solstice for three days every year, June 24-June 26 in 2019, this is the country’s largest open-air festival featuring an impressive lineup that includes big-name music artists.
Days of Radunica – This ancient festival that takes place in Radunica, the oldest area in Split, brings St. John and St. Peter celebrations to the neighborhood’s squares and streets over the last week of June.
Obonjan Electronic Festival – Held throughout much of the summer starting in late June on the island of Obonjan near Sibenik, starting June 30 in 2019, this festival includes electronic music, DJs, talks, workshops, wellness events and more.
Croatia in July
Hideout Festival – Hosted in Zrce on the Island of Pag for five days in early July, July 1 through July 5 in 2019, this annual electronic music event is often named among Europe’s top festivals.
Festival of Dalmatian Klapa – Held in Omis near the city of Split, this UNESCO-listed festival celebrates “klapa,” a type of multipart singing that’s unique to this region. Melodious songs are sung from low bass to high-pitched tenor to create angelic music without instruments. It takes place over four weeks with klapa ensembles serenading tourists down the cobbled streets with the final competition in mid-July.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival – Running from July 10 through August 25 every year, this is the largest cultural festival in Croatia. In brings international actors and musicians to open-air venues within the medieval walls of Dubrovnik.
Pula Film Festival – Hosted annually in mid-July in Pula’s ancient Roman amphitheater, July 13 through 19 in 2019, this film festival has been taking place since 1954.
Croatia in August
Sinjska Alka – Taking place in the town of Sinj near Split during the first weekend of August every year, the Sinjska Alka is a famous, historic horseback tournament that’s been held for over 300 years. Competitors on horseback armed with lances aim to hit the inside of a metal ring called the alka.
Thanksgiving Day – On August 5 every year, celebrations are held to commemorate the military victory that took place in 1995 known as Operation Storm when the Croatian army took over a self-proclaimed Serb entity. It’s commemorated by solemn wreath-laying around the country, but the main focus is in the town of Knin. There will be military parades, a concert, choirs, speeches and wreath-laying.
Sonus Festival – This annual festival in Novalja on the Island of Pag brings top electro and techo names performing for five days, August 18-22 in 2019.
The Nights of Diocletian – Hosted for five nights in Split starting in late August, this is the city’s most popular cultural event. Many people stroll the streets in togas and there will be Roman music, foods, workshops, street entertainers, fire dancing, gladiator fights, acrobatic shows and more.
Croatia in September
Outlook Festival – This festival takes place in Punto Christo, Pula for six days in early September every year, September 4 through 9 in 2019. Considered the largest bass culture and dubstep festival in Europe, it includes a spectacular opening concert at the Arena, the ancient Roman amphitheater.
Goulash Disko – In Komiza on the beautiful island of Vis, this entirely crowd-funded event marks the end of the festival season annually in mid-September with producers, DJs and bands from around the world. In 2019, it takes place from September 11-19.
Split Film Festival – This international festival of new films takes place every year in mid- to late-September in Split, September 18-25, 2019. There will be a good selection of international, independent, experimental and innovative cinema as well as visual arts.
Croatia in October
Lovran Chestnut Festival – Held throughout the month of October in Lovran, this festival celebrates the local marun, a type of chestnut harvested here. It includes all sorts of chestnut dishes as well as music events, a baci tournament and other competitions and races.
Istrian Truffle Days – October is peak season for white truffles, the most expensive and valuable type. During this time there will be numerous events held every weekend to celebrate around the famous truffles center near Motovun. You’ll be able to treat yourself to truffle risotto, truffle omelets and many other delights at reasonable prices. There will also be contests for the biggest truffle and a variety of truffle oil and other truffle products for sale.
Independence Day – October 8 is a national holiday bringing many business closures. It celebrations the decision to declare the independence of Croatia from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Expect to see processions and peaceful rallies in city streets.
Olive Days – Punat on Krk Island celebrates Olive Days with olives, olive oil and olive products, as well as offering the opportunity to participate in the olive harvest over thee days in the second half of October, October 20-22 in 2019.
Croatia in November
All Saints Day – November 1 is a national holiday to honor loved ones who have passed and all saints, with Croatians bringing flower bouquets and candles to the cemeteries.
Theatre Night – Across Croatia in mid-November at some 80 different venues in 30 cities there will be free and discounted performances, workshops and tours focused around the theater.
St. Martin’s Day/Feast of St. Martin – While this was once a solemn event, November 11, St. Martin’s Day has become a day to celebrate wine here in Croatia, along with a feast that includes a roasted goose. It’s celebrated most elaborately in Buzet, Vrsar and Tar.
Croatia in December
Dubrovnik Winter Festival – This festival takes place throughout December and includes many different holiday and cultural events. Along the Stradum there will be traditional craftspeople selling handmade crafts, Christmas décor, holiday cakes and sweets.
Christmas Holidays – December 25, Christmas Day, and December 26, Boxing Day, are both national holidays. Croatians typically celebrate starting with a holiday dinner on Christmas Eve followed by Midnight Mass. Expect most businesses to be closed on December 25, although there will be some restaurants open.
New Year’s Eve – On December 31, New Year’s Eve, the coming of the new year will be celebrated throughout the country. Restaurants and hotels often host special events that include New Year’s Eve dinner, drinks and more, while big-name Croatian acts perform live in prominent squares of major towns. The capital city of Zagreb hosts the biggest firework display for the midnight countdown.