Best Time to Travel to Croatia
Of course one could argue that any time of the year is a great time to visit Croatia and we could not agree more. But we often have people asking us when the best time to travel to Croatia is. Though our instinctive answer would be to say anytime, we have compiled a guide to some of the best times to travel to Croatia, depending on traveler preferences and other factors.
If you are looking for a time to visit Croatia that is warm and sunny, anytime between May through September is the time to go. May, June, and September are often warm enough to enjoy the sun and the sea, with temperatures typically ranging from mid 60s to high 70s. This temperature range may be considered more comfortable than the hotter peak summer months if you are hoping to do more active activities such as hiking.
During the months of July and August, the temperatures average in the 80s and 90s, with the hottest part of the day being the early afternoon. Even though July and August are the months when Croatia reaches its hottest temperatures, the Adriatic Sea provides for a perfect, cooling escape. There are also many outdoor restaurants, markets, and cafes stationed with large umbrellas for shade.
Regardless of which warm month you choose to visit, you are sure to be able to enjoy a Summer day by the refreshing sea, or basking in the golden sun on a private chartered yacht!
Alternatively, the winter months are not necessarily too cold. If you are exploring the coastal area, the Mediterranean climate provides for cool but tolerable temperatures. The temperature during the winter is not the warm weather you would typically associate with Croatia, but the country is still just as wonderful! Moving inland, you can find some colder regions with lots of snow and frozen lakes. Most people tend to think of spending time on the beaches along the Adriatic, but the wintertime allows for spending time at ski resorts and finding places to go sledding or ice skating.
For transportation purposes, the most versatile time of the year to travel is during the summer season. There are many flights from various airlines that only operate from roughly May to October. For example, Croatia Airlines announced this year that it would operate additional flights that are accessible only during the summer season, which started in May and will run until the end of October. Though these added flights only operate within Europe, some of our tours include visits to multiple countries. Or you may wish to explore other parts of Europe for a bit before beginning your adventure in Croatia, such as the stunning coastal nation of Montenegro.
There is also a nonstop flight offered by United Airlines that is operating this year between New York and Dubrovnik. The flight will be operating from May through October, so if you prefer a direct flight to Croatia from the USA, you may want to take advantage of this limited time flight option. On the other hand, if you are traveling after October, there are still many flight options to Croatia, many of which stop in some famous European cities such as Paris or Barcelona.
For transportation by water amongst the Croatian islands and mainland, many ferry routes only operate during the high season. That being said, the other routes that still operate during the off-season are often significantly cheaper due to reduced demand. Don’t worry too much about the ferry routes during the off season, as the options may be more limited. However, you will still be able to travel between the mainland and Croatia’s islands with relative ease.
Last but not least, there is always the option of renting a car or taking a bus or a train no matter the time of year. The transportation system in Croatia is fantastic and there are train routes that operate year-round connecting all of the major cities, as well as many smaller towns.
Thinking of the amount of tourists visiting Croatia throughout the year can be best pictured as a bell curve. The crowds are quite small from January through April, then they start to slightly ramp up during May and June, before reaching a peak in July and August. Following the popular tourist months, the crowds tend to decrease between September and October until they are much lower in November and December.
It may be helpful to note that the influx of tourists does tend to increase lodging and food prices as well. Despite the large crowds and slight price increases, there is a lot to look forward to when traveling during peak Summer months. Nothing beats the glorious Croatian Summer sunshine!
The best time to travel to Croatia for visiting national parks is most likely during the Spring (May to June). Each season brings a different experience while visiting the national parks. Springtime is often regarded as one of the best times to visit national parks for a few reasons.
There is snow runoff that makes for strong waterfalls and full lakes. Also, since there are smaller crowds during this time, this is the optimum time of year to take in some uninterrupted breathtaking views. The summer is also a great time to visit national parks, but the crowds and queues can make it a little more difficult to experience the scenery all to yourself. Meanwhile, Winter can provide for some snowy hikes and views of a magical Winter wonderland. Many of the national parks are covered in snow during the winter, dusting the trees and the forest floors. You can even find frozen waterfalls and snow covered trees at Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is truly a spectacular sight.
If water activities are your main focus while visiting Croatia, the months of June through September are the best time to visit. It is during these months that the water temperature is the most comfortable for swimming and other water sports. The options on the Adriatic or the rivers and lakes are endless. You can go swimming, sailing, scuba diving, kayaking, and so much more. Access to the sea is also ideal during the peak summer months as you can cool down from the hot summer air after lounging on the beach by jumping into the refreshing sea.
Finally, if you are traveling to experience markets and festivals, then any time of the year is great! There are some amazing Christmas markets that take place in December, boasting magnificent decorations and outdoor celebrations with twinkling lights and live music. Another well-known festival is the much anticipated Oyster Festival which takes place in Mali Ston every March, offering the opportunity for visitors to try fresh, mouth-watering seafood. Markets also can be found year-round, though the most lively markets with the highest abundance of fresh produce are often encountered during the spring or the summer seasons.
After reading this guide, you will hopefully have more of a feel for when may be the best time for you personally to travel to Croatia. There are many factors to consider when deciding where and when to travel. Regardless of when you choose to visit this amazing country, we are here to help you plan the perfect vacation!