If you’re planning a trip to Croatia, you want to be sure to pick the best month to visit this gorgeous country. The weather and prices vary a lot depending on the time of year and the places you want to visit, so it’s easier to break it down into months.
Want to skip right to the best times to travel to Croatia? Head to May or October!
Weather in Croatia by Month
Here’s what the weather in Croatia looks like by month in a typical year, and my recommendations for the best months to travel to Croatia. I lived here for almost two years as a digital nomad and resident, so I am a good source of info!
Croatia in January
January is the cheapest time to go to Croatia – and it’s also the coldest. In Dalmatia and Dubrovnik with their warmer coastal climates, this is the only month of true winter we get. If you’re coming from a northern climate, it will feel pretty mild.
The weather in Croatia in January still has a fair amount of sunny days, though there’s also typically some rain mixed in. And the wind can bite pretty hard once in a while too.
In Split in January, once the Feast of the Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season on January 6, a whole lot of restaurants, bars, and shops close down for anywhere from a week to over a month. The owners and workers take their break in this quiet time of the year. Don’t expect to have a lot of options for dining in the city center.
There are also very few flights to Croatia in the winter, particularly if you’re going anywhere but Zagreb. Croatia currently is a heavily seasonal tourist destination, and you’ll feel that especially on the coasts. But the quietness of life is also a nice change from the crowds of summer—the chill atmosphere is why I love visiting Croatia in winter.
When you move inland to Zagreb or the western part of Croatia, it’s truly winter there – you will probably see snow at some point. It’s not bitterly cold usually, but you’ll need to bundle up. Since Zagreb is a major city, it remains open and lively at this time.
Croatia in February
The weather in Croatia in February starts to slowly grow milder. But it’s still fairly chilly and windy on the coasts, and cold inland. The coast and islands are still very quiet, so Zagreb is still your best bet at this time and prices are low.
Croatia in March
The weather in Croatia in March is warming up, and spring here is very beautiful. Everyone is out in cafes again sipping coffee on the terraces, the trees are an almost neon green, and flowers are in bloom all around.
But there’s one big reminder that it’s not summer yet – the bura winds are blowing on the coast. There are supposedly four winds of March, and those are the last of the spring bura. Bura doesn’t sound that bad, but let me tell you, when you get windburn every time you step outside and are awakened in the night by 75+ mph wind gusts, it’s no joke.
The coast is waking up a bit as well, as shops and restaurants begin to reopen.
Croatia in April
April in Croatia is the full Mediterranean spring experience.
The weather inland is warmer, and the coast smells like a mix of jasmine and the sea when you visit the beach on a walk.
Everyone is happy and relaxed because the tourist season has just begun (it typically starts after Easter) and it seems like the world is in bloom. If you prefer temperate (not cold, not hot) weather, this is the best season for Croatia travel!
Croatia in May
May is the best month to visit Croatia, in my opinion, especially if you’re visiting Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, or any other part of the Croatian coastline. It’s warm enough most days to go to the beach in Split to sunbathe and enjoy a cool (but not cold) swim. It’s not too hot to be walking around and exploring all day, and the bars and restaurants are nearly all open at this point.
But since it’s not yet high season, prices are still reasonable and the crowds haven’t arrived (unless a cruise ship has pulled into Dubrovnik).
It’s the best weather at a decent price – I highly recommend visiting Croatia in May!
Plus, if you’re in Split on May 7, you can enjoy Sveti Duje Day – the feast of St. Domnius. It’s a major local celebration full of fireworks, parties in the street, and a lot of ringing bells from the Sv. Duje bell tower in the center of Diocletian’s palace.
Croatia in June
June also has terrific beach weather – it’s warm enough for almost anyone to swim comfortably, but not yet too hot to sit on the beach for a few hours. The crowds are arriving on the coasts though, and costs begin to rise at this time.
Early June is better than late June to visit Croatia to avoid the heat and the crowds. Inland Croatia and Istria are quite temperate as well, and beautiful.
Croatia in July
The madness of the season on the coasts is in full swing. It’s hot every day – too hot to sit on the beach in the middle of the day or walk around in the sun. The old towns of Split, Dubrovnik, and Zadar are packed with tourists from all over, and it’s nearly impossible to get a seat at a decent central restaurant.
And prices are sky-high in all the coastal areas. You’ll pay a lot to be crowded by careless tourists, wait in line for everything, and need to book well in advance. Not my favorite time of year here in Croatia, for digital nomads or tourists alike.
Even Zagreb is pretty hot at this time of year, and you can’t jump in the sea there to cool down. On the plus side, there are tons of flights.
Croatia in August
The weather in August is pretty similar to July—plus there are even more crowds and higher prices on the coast, and more heat everywhere. Again, not my favorite unless you get a villa on a quiet part of an island away from the crowded towns.
Croatia in September
In September, the weather in Croatia begins to cool down and the crowds start to thin out. There’s still plenty going on and the coast is very open, and flights are still available. But prices go a little lower, and the heat is a bit less intense.
If you’re looking for guaranteed beach weather with a very warm sea, but don’t want to battle the full summer crowds, this is a good time to visit Split or the islands. Istria is also beautiful at this time of year if you’re interested in visiting that region (and you should be!).
Croatia in October
October is the other best month to visit to Croatia. The crowds are gone but most sites and restaurants/bars are still open, even in the smaller coastal areas and the islands. It’s still warm enough to lie on the beach and swim in the sea most days. Prices go down because the season is over on the coasts.
And more inland, the fall is beautiful as well and there are no crowds in the nature parks, so visiting Croatia in October is great if you’re into more than just sunbathing. Zagreb is bustling, and you can still visit attractions like Plitvice and Krka parks to see them without the crowds and with the changing fall leaves.
The weather on the coasts be occasionally be rainy and stormy—this is the only downside. But a Dalmatian thunderstorm has its own intense beauty, and it means you can visit a cozy konoba and eat pasticada and drink wine while the storm passes, which usually happens quickly.
Croatia in November
This is when the coastal towns and islands start to shut down and get a bit quieter. It’s not that you can’t visit them – there’s still people who live there – but your options will be fewer for sure.
The weather takes a turn for the colder, though it’s a mild chill. Stick to Zagreb, Rijeka, or Split for a base if you want to have more options for hotels and restaurants and to meet more people.
Croatia in December
Croatia is an under-the-radar place to spend Christmas in Europe. It’s a very Catholic country, so they love to celebrate Christmas to the max and it’s one of the best times to visit Croatia if you want a festive local atmosphere.
Every city and town has their own decorations and celebrations. Zagreb is the place to be for the Christmas decorations and markets, full of stalls selling beautiful handmade gifts and mulled wine and fritule (tiny donuts). Split has a smaller version and several Christmas markets to explore all through Advent, and the party continues until the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6.
If you’re looking for an undiscovered Europe Christmas market destination, Croatia is a great option. Prices for accomodations do go up in Zagreb in December because it’s a popular domestic destination, so plan accordingly.
The Best Time to Travel to Croatia
What is the best time of year to visit Croatia? Ultimately, it depends on what you want to do on your trip. Croatia might be small in population, but it’s got a huge variety of things to do and places to see. I hope you enjoy this country I’ve come to love and have lived in for much of the past two years!
More Croatia Travel Info:
- Planning the Perfect Croatia Trip: Everything You Need to Know
- How to Spend 3 Days in Split
- How to Spend 3 Days in Dubrovnik
- 8 Things You Need to Know Before Going to Croatia
- Digital Nomad Life in Split