When is the best time to visit Croatia?
Croatia is an extraordinary country not only full of spectacular beaches boasting golden sand and sparkling turquoise waters but also rugged mountain ranges and surrounding areas that come to life with a heavy dusting of snow, making this country one of the best for year-round travel.
While the best time to visit Croatia is generally considered to be July and August (summer), figuring out when you want to travel to Croatia largely depends on what kind of holiday you want to have. There's always something to do regardless of the season but Croatia's climate can vary from continental to mediterranean so some regions are more known for various events, festivals, and activities than others.
Winter in Croatia
Best for: Christmas markets, snow-based activities, and exploring national parks
Winter in Croatia can get pretty cold (think 0°C/32°F temperatures) but you shouldn't let that deter you. Regular snowfall during the months of December, January, and February transform cities into magical wonderlands full of snow-capped houses on softly-lit streets. Feeling like you've just stepped into a Narnia-like world is not uncommon and the many Christmas markets and fairy light-filled squares do nothing to convince you otherwise.
Whether you want to wander the Old Town of Dubrovnik or try your hand at skiing in one of the country's premier snow destinations, winter offers plenty of heartwarming and adrenaline-pumping activities you can participate in. Winter is also considered the 'low' season so you won't have to share the stunning sights of Plitvice Lakes National Park with a heap of tourists or fight crowds for an unimpeded photo of a Game of Thrones filming location.
Spring in Croatia
Best for: sailing, rafting and kayaking, and Holy Week events
If you're looking for nice weather that isn't too hot and you'd rather avoid the crowds (and exorbitant prices) that summer brings then spring is the perfect time to travel to Croatia. Known as the 'shoulder' season, spring weather is still relatively warm at around 20°C/68°F making water-based activities like swimming and sailing still an option. While the possibility of frequent rainfall is still there, especially in March and April, the days in spring generally experience more sunshine hours so it's a perfect time to explore Croatia's natural beauty without getting too uncomfortable.
Some of the best activities to try out include sailing, rafting, and kayaking as rivers swell with the water leftover from storms and the rainfall of winter. Flowers are also blossoming in spring, adding another layer of colourful beauty to Croatia's already lively and vibrant gardens, as well as its lush vegetation. Another major reason to travel to Croatia in autumn is Holy Week, a 500-year-old series of events carried out during the month of April.
Summer in Croatia
Best for: swimming, diving, and festivals
Summer in Croatia isn't for the faint of heart with temperatures reaching up into the 30°Cs and large crowds of travellers congregating at popular locations and attractions. As summer is considered to be the 'peak' or 'high' season to travel to Croatia, accommodation prices increase during this time so make sure you book your trip well in advance to avoid spending too much or avoid disappointment as unavailability rises closer to your travel date.
Summer is definitely the season to soak up as much Croatian sun lying on as many beaches as you can with the sparkling bays and enticing waters at coastal destinations such as Korcula, Split, and Dubrovnik proving too alluring to resist (and why would you want to?) There are also a bunch of festivals running during the month of July with the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the Split Summer Festival, and the Full Moon Festival in Zadar being among the most popular.
Autumn in Croatia
Best for: wine tastings, spending time outdoors, and visiting castles
Autumn is another great time to visit Croatia as the months of September and October still average warm temperatures of around 17°C/45°F but the crowds of summer have largely dissipated. As October rolls into November, cities start to quieten down so be wary of limited timetables and closed restaurants/cafes in popular locations. Rainfall will also increase heading into winter and so will daylight hours so keep that in mind when planning activities for your trip.
St Martin's Day in November is celebrated in all the wine regions across the country so it's a great time to taste some local wines, as well as feast on local produce. The dreary weather of autumn also lends itself to wandering castles and exploring ancient, medieval buildings - just make sure to rug up before you go.