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BlogTravel tipsThe best time to visit Croatia: our season-by-season guide to planning an Adriatic adventure
Travel tips

The best time to visit Croatia: our season-by-season guide to planning an Adriatic adventure

Nov 14, 2023 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

When is the best time to visit Croatia? Whenever you’re ready! Whether you’re chasing summer sun, celebrating the harvest, or cozying up for winter festivities, Croatia is ready to welcome you. Join us on one of our Croatia tours and see for yourself why there’s no bad time to visit this diverse, coastal country.

Croatia: best time to visit by month

Croatia experiences four distinct seasons, but it can be challenging to determine the weather since it varies depending on your proximity to the coast. We recommend packing seasonally and accounting for at least a 10-degree variation between the warmer shores and cooler inland regions. If you want to make the most of your trip to Croatia, check out our recommendations for seasonal activities below.

Spring

For lighter crowds and sweet-smelling flowers

There isn’t one best time of year to visit Croatia, but springtime holds a certain magic. The weather is pleasant, with mild temperatures and sunny afternoons interwoven with cool, coastal breezes. The anticipation of the busy summer season may hang in the air, but you’ll find fewer visitors at many of the best locations in Croatia—meaning you won’t have to fight through crowds in popular places like Split’s Diocletian’s Palace or Dubrovnik’s Old City.

“This trip has a little bit of everything the country offers,” said traveler Annalise after returning from our A Week in Croatia: Zagreb, Split & Dubrovnik tour. “It’s not too slow nor too fast-paced. We went in May, and it was perfect and just before the height of the summer tourism season. We had a great guide, bus driver, wonderful hotels, and excellent included dinners. We learned so much about this beautiful country and look forward to being able to go back someday.”

Since the crowds will be lighter, but the weather will be warming up, spring is an ideal time to explore Croatia’s outdoor attractions, like the Roman ruins of Salona or the historical village of Kumrovec. This quaint, riverside town is an open-air museum featuring more than 30 restored buildings. The charming cottages and gardens provide a glimpse into what rural life was like near the Croatia-Slovenia border more than a hundred years ago. Join us on the Kumrovec & Medieval Tabor with Dinner excursion on our A Week in Croatia: Zagreb, Split & Dubrovnik tour to see the landscape awash with spring flowers.

Months to experience spring in Croatia:
April and May

Spring events and things to do in Croatia:

  • If you happen to visit Croatia around Easter, you’ll find the country blossoming with festivities. Larger cities, like Zagreb, will be adorned with colorful decorations and come alive with music and dance performances. Peruse handmade crafts and sweets in the city’s many markets, attend a religious ceremony, or sit down to eat a traditional meal of lamb or ham with sweet breads and cakes.
  • Provence, France, may be seen as the lavender capital of the world, but the Croatian island of Hvar boasts gorgeous, rolling fields of the purple flowers—with breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and distant mountainous islands to boot. If you join us on the Korčula Island extension of our Greece, the Balkans & Croatia tour in May, you can use your free time to take an hour-long ferry ride to Hvar to see the fields just as they begin to bloom. Even if you don’t make it to the island, you’ll find lavender from Hvar available to purchase in markets all over Croatia.

Weather in Croatia in the spring:
Average temperatures range from 41–69 F.

Travel tip for Croatia in the spring:
The inland weather can be chilly in the spring, especially in the morning, so pack light layers. “When you head out on your sightseeing tour of Plitvice Lakes, it will likely be crisp and chilly, no matter the time of year, so make sure you wear a light jacket to keep you warm in the morning,” said staffer Emily. We recommend a light, waterproof jacket that you can tie around your waist or throw in a bag as the day warms up.

What our travelers say about spring in Croatia:
“Early May is a good time to see Croatia,” said traveler Cynthia after taking our Croatia & Slovenia: The Old-World Adriatic tour. “Our weather included 70-degree temps and sunny, blue skies with scattered showers that brought out the colors and fresh scents of flowers and ocean. I will never forget the breathtaking views of Dubrovnik from our coach on the way from the airport. I literally gasped at the sharp beauty of blue skies, the ocean, and red tiles on the roofs of the Old City. Yes, I walked the ancient wall around the city, which is a must, as that’s the only way you’ll see the full panoramic splendor of this jewel on the Adriatic. The optional coast cruise and dinner was a pleasant surprise, with fresh fish cooked to order at the table and a beach sunset to die for.”

Explore Croatia in the spring

Summer

For island-hopping and sun-drenched days

According to our Croatia Travel Guide, summer is the best time to visit Croatia for days of endless sunshine. The warm Mediterranean climate is ideal for beach vacations and coastal exploration. When you join us on one of our Croatia tours during the country’s peak season, you may have to contend with larger crowds—especially along the Dalmatian Coast in seaside retreats like Cavtat and Korčula— but it’s worth it for the salt-kissed summer breezes. Take a tip from staffer Emily’s book and cool down with a frosty treat while you immerse yourself in the unique musical experience of Zadar’s sea organ. “Instead of getting a sit-down lunch in Zadar, I ordered gelato and enjoyed it while sitting on the steps,” she said. “Good food and seaside views. It’s the perfect combo!” The coastal installation emits calming sounds in response to the gentle movement of the waves.

The warmest months are also the best time to transport yourself to Westeros at Croatia’s many Game of Thrones filming locations. Sure, you can visit the UNESCO-listed Cathedral of St. James in Sibenik any time of year, but the summer heat really makes it feel like you’re walking up to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Winter may be coming, but summer is the perfect time to stroll through the streets on one of our tours of Dubrovnik. Head up the Baroque Staircase, which stood in for the steps leading to the Sept of Baelor, and make your way to Lovrijenac Fortress. (True Westerosis will recognize it as the Red Keep.)

Months to experience summer in Croatia:
June, July, and August

Summer events and things to do in Croatia:

  • Summer is hands-down the best time of year to visit Croatia if you’re dreaming of sun, sand, and the sapphire Adriatic Sea. Go beach-hopping on the Croatian coast or add the Korčula Island extension on our Greece, the Balkans & Croatia tour for an extra dose of salt air and seaside life. (The Korčula Archipelago Kayaking excursion is a fantastic way to spot local wildlife). While you’re on Korčula, taste wine made from Grk, a rare grape only planted on the island.
  • Warm summer nights are the perfect time to head out on the water on the Scenic Dubrovnik Coast Cruise & Dinner excursion offered on our Croatia tours. Cruise beneath the city’s famous soaring walls and dine at a restaurant on the beach. If an excursion on the water sounds like it might be your favorite part of your trip, join us on our Italy, the Adriatic & Greek Islands Cruise to spend 12 days cruising along the Mediterranean coastline.

Weather in Croatia in the summer:
Average temperatures are between 56–83 F.

Travel tip for Croatia in the summer:
Summer is the peak travel season, so if you’re planning a trip to Croatia, book it now to secure your spot and beat the rush. Staffer Nic said, “If you’re going in the summer, it is HOT, so bring clothes that will be breathable and allow you to move around.”

What our travelers say about summer in Croatia:
“I had a fantastic time on this tour,” said traveler David after returning from our Greece, the Balkans & Croatia tour. “Great weather (high 70s and 80s every day), hotels, food, and fellow travelers. The best part was the Adriatic Coast in Croatia and Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia. Dubrovnik and Split were so beautiful.”

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Autumn

For changing leaves and spectacular sunsets

If you’re planning a trip to Croatia, you should know that visiting the Adriatic Coast in the fall could be a life-changing experience. The weather is warm and mild, and the shorter days mean earlier sunsets, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to admire them when you’re out and about. Autumn is the best time to visit Croatia if you want to spend some time in its abundant countryside and spectacular national parks. Mid-to-late autumn, after the rains have passed, is one of the best times to visit the Plitvice waterfalls as the water flowing off the falls is at its strongest. Hiking around the terraced lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park is always a pleasure, but it’s especially exhilarating when the weather is still warm and the foliage is ablaze with color. “This was a fabulous trip,” said traveler Starr of our Croatia & Slovenia: The Old-World Adriatic tour. “The excursions were totally worth purchasing. Our group and local guides well met my expectations. Fall is definitely a time to go due to the beautiful fall colors—truly a bonus.”

Months to experience autumn in Croatia:
September, October, and early November

Autumn events and things to do in Croatia:

  • Autumn is Croatia’s grape harvesting season, and the whole country celebrates with an array of wine festivals. When you join us on our Croatia & Italy: Dubrovnik to Venice tour, you’ll have the option to add our Pula, Istria Wine Tasting & Dinner excursion for a tasting and a chat with local winemakers. Istria celebrates the harvest with a Wine & Walk, which typically takes place in mid-October. Participants hike through the region’s vineyards with glasses of wine in hand, stopping along the way to taste and judge local offerings.
  • The fall harvest season is also a wonderful time to visit a Croatian agriturismo. When you join us on our Greece, the Balkans & Croatia tour or on the Konavle Wine Tasting & Lunch excursion offered on our A Week in Croatia: Zagreb, Split & Dubrovnik tour, you’ll head to a family-run farm in the Konavle Valley to learn about the fruits, vegetables, and flowers grown on the farm. Tour their gardens, then sit down in the warm autumn sunshine to enjoy lunch and a sampling of traditional liqueurs made from the farm’s produce.

Weather in Croatia in the autumn:
Average temperatures are between 48–77 F.

Travel tip for Croatia in the autumn:
The autumn abundance brings a wealth of seasonal delicacies to Croatian cuisine. Look for dishes featuring chestnuts, truffles, olives, quince, and game meats when you’re dining out on your tour of Croatia.

What our staffers say about autumn in Croatia:
“I traveled to Croatia at the end of September into early October, and I could not have asked for better weather,” said staffer Emily. “Our Tour Director even told us that the fall was one of his favorite times to visit the country because it’s the perfect temperature and all of the summer crowds have returned home. He was completely right!”

Explore Croatia in the fall

Winter

For festive lights and hearty meals

It’s no secret that we love off-season travel. From lower prices to lighter crowds and holiday festivities, there are so many reasons to travel in the off-season. If you join us on a tour of Croatia between December and February, you’ll get all of these benefits and more. Coastal towns like Rovinj and Dubrovnik look downright magical, with their narrow streets adorned with decorations and their holiday lights reflected on the calm winter sea. Cities like Zagreb are lively year-round, and winter is the best time to visit Croatia if you want a chance to really get to know the locals. Sip some mulled wine or rakija—a popular Croatian spirit made from distilled fruit—while chatting with some new-found friends, and you’ll soon realize why our A Week in Croatia: Zagreb, Split & Dubrovnik tour made the list of our favorite week-long off-season trips.

Croatia’s ski resorts might not be as famous as those in France, Switzerland, or Austria, but the country is home to several mountain ranges, and skiing in Croatia is a much more affordable pastime than it is in other parts of Europe. If you’re a ski enthusiast, we recommend designing a custom tour with us to visit some of Croatia’s best Alpine destinations, like the Gorski Kotar region or the Platak Ski Resort. If you choose to visit Sljeme, the highest peak in the Medvednica mountain range outside of Zagreb, make your way back into the city for a hearty seasonal meal of čobanac (a spicy meat stew) or sarma (cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice) to warm up after a day on the slopes. The nearby Terme Čatež thermal pools are another excellent way to relax and enjoy Croatia in the wintertime.

Months to experience winter in Croatia:
December, January, and February

Winter events and things to do in Croatia:

  • Istria may be completely absorbed in wine in the autumn, but in the winter, the peninsula is all about the truffle hunt. Each year, locals and visitors take to the forests in search of the gourmet treasures. Even if you don’t make it out for the hunt, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to sample Istria’s truffles throughout the country in the form of pastas, oils, and even ice cream.
  • In the winter, there’s nothing quite as cozy or as cheerful as a European Christmas market. Advent in Zagreb runs from November through January and transforms the Croatian capital into a sparkling winter wonderland. The Christmas markets spread throughout the city are the perfect place to shop for souvenirs, and the city comes alive with music, dancing, and entertainment.

Weather in Croatia in the winter:
Average temperatures are between 30–53 F.

Travel tip for Croatia in the winter:
While we love that winter in Croatia means lower prices and thinner crowds at our favorite sites, it also means reduced services and hours for many businesses—especially those on the coast. If you’re venturing out in your free time with a destination in mind, plan ahead and double-check their hours.

What our staffers say about winter travel:
“One of the things I loved about winter travel is that I didn’t break the bank, financially or with vacation time,” said staffer Jim. “I love traveling around Christmas and New Year’s because you can get a lot of low-cost options, particularly right after the new year. For vacation time, traveling over two different calendar years can help save some vacation days for summer months, and the cluster of paid holidays a lot of people get between December and January helps, too!”

Explore Croatia in the winter

Shoulder season

For discovering hidden gems

Early spring and late autumn are considered the shoulder seasons in Croatia, and they bring with them the lightest crowds and deepest discounts. It’s a lovely time to explore some of Croatia’s charming hidden gems, like the tiny island of Trogir. The tranquil, pedestrian-only town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was founded by the ancient Greeks. The shoulder season is the ideal time to leisurely wander cobblestone streets like a local and snap some perfect, unobstructed photos of beautiful Croatia.

Months to experience the shoulder seasons in Croatia:
March through early April and November

Shoulder season events and things to do in Croatia:

  • Every March, the quaint seaside town of Ston hosts an oyster festival to celebrate its famous export. Ston’s oysters are internationally recognized for their exceptional taste and texture. Join us on our Croatia & Italy: Dubrovnik to Venice tour or the extension of our Greece, the Balkans & Croatia tour to meet with local fishermen and learn about shellfish cultivation aboard their ship.
  • The cooler months of the shoulder season are ideal for walking the high walls of Dubrovnik—one of the best ways to spend free time in Dubrovnik. The view from atop the centuries-old fortifications is spectacular, but there isn’t much shade, which means it can get quite hot in the summer sun. Visit Dubrovnik in the shoulder seasons for a pleasant stroll and magnificent views of the Old Town and the Adriatic Sea.

Weather in Croatia in the shoulder season:
Average temperatures range between 37–57 F in early spring, and between 41–59 F in the late fall.

Travel tip for Croatia in the shoulder seasons:
March and November can both be rainy in Croatia, so pack an umbrella or a raincoat.

What our travelers say about the shoulder seasons in Croatia:
“This great tour took us to four countries and at least seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” said traveler Davara of our Croatia & Slovenia: The Old-World Adriatic tour. “With few exceptions, visits were outside. We experienced a wonderful blend of locations of historical significance and places showcasing the spectacular beauty of nature. There was a specialized local guide for almost every location. Free time provided additional opportunities for tour personalization, and we received excellent recommendations for places to see, things to do, and restaurants for non-included meals. For our mid-to-end-of-April tour, the weather was cool and mostly cooperative.”

The best time to travel to Croatia? As soon as possible! Join us on one of our trips to Croatia.


Summer travelSpring travelWinter travelFall travelOff-season travel
About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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The best time to visit Croatia: our season-by-season guide to planning an Adriatic adventure