When is the best time to visit Croatia in 2024?


Croatia has vibrant cities, tumbling waterfalls and rolling vineyards.

But most visitors are here for its 1800km (1120 miles) coastline, which tumbles down the Adriatic like a glorious, half-finished jigsaw puzzle.  Here you’ll find idyllic coves, sophisticated ports and ferries that glide from island to island.

Choosing the best time to go to Croatia depends on what you want from your visit. High season brings high temperatures and a party vibe, particularly on the Dalmatian Coast, home to highlights like walled Dubrovnik, its hip cousin Split, and Hvar Town’s classy waterfront. Shoulder season is quieter, and great for hiking and watersports, while winter lets you experience culture and festivals at off-season prices in the capital, Zagreb.

The south of Croatia is a little warmer than the north, but the main difference in temperature is between the coast and the interior. By the sea, summers are warm and winters relatively mild, while in the interior, temperatures are more continental, with slightly warmer summer temperatures and colder winters.

Our guide to what’s happening throughout the year in Croatia will help you plan the perfect vacation for your needs.

Take a dip when the summer heat gets too much in Zadar © Getty Images / iStockphoto

June to August’s high season is the hottest time to visit

Croatia’s tourism peaks between June and August, when the Adriatic’s warm waters charm countless visitors. There are boat parties and medieval fairs, the booze flows freely, and the smarter resorts fill with yachters. It’s great fun, though afternoons are roasting hot, the lines at attractions are at their longest, and accommodation costs rise. Inland, temperatures are higher, but crowds are less noticeable and Zagreb empties as locals head for the coast.

June is the quietest month of high season, but with clear skies, music festivals and the promise of early summer, it’s a strong contender for Croatia’s best month. Ferries move on to their summer schedule, which makes heading out to islands such as pristine Cres, happening Hvar and forested Mljet a breeze. The cities are buzzing, and the LGBTIQ+ community lights up the streets during Zagreb Pride.

Visitor numbers really ramp up come July – you’ll need to arrange accommodation well in advance and work harder to find a sunbathing spot. If the bustle gets too much, try touring the quieter Kornati Islands, hopping on a sea kayak from Dubrovnik, or exploring the vineyards and hills of the interior. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival kicks off in early July, and the International Folklore Festival brings a celebration of traditional culture to Zagreb.

The sea is warmest in August, beach bars hum with revelers, Zagreb empties out and festivals salute high summer. Sonus is a techno party on Pag, Špancirfest brings music and culture to Varaždin, there’s a fair dating back to Venetian times on Krk, and jousting in Sinj. Bookings are essential everywhere on the coast – festival-goers who try and make do with a tent will swelter.

A woman sits on a rock at the edge of a pool being fed by a series of waterfalls in Croatia's Krka national park
The shoulder season months are a great time to visit Croatia’s national parks © fokkebok / Getty Images

May and September to October have sunshine and fewer crowds

Late spring and early fall are arguably the best times to visit Croatia. Sea temperatures are pleasant, and there’s plenty of sunshine, but the country’s pebble beaches and rocky coves are relatively quiet. With endless still seas, May and September are great times to sail in Croatia. Onshore, these are the best times to cycle, hike or visit the national parks. Better still, accommodations are also easier to come by than in high season.

The resort towns are warming up for the summer in May, making this a splendid month to wander squares and promenades and take short dips in the cool sea. Accommodation prices are lower, and bays and coves that are packed in summer have a tranquil feel. Rafting on the Cetina River or the Zrmanja (just east of Zadar) is also a highlight. The summer party season starts to gear up at the Sea Star Festival.

Things start to quiet down a little in September after a hectic summer season, but there are still plenty of ferries and cultural events to transport body and soul. This is another great time for a Dalmatian beach trip, while truffle season comes to Istria.

By October, Croatia is in shoulder season proper, with kids back in school and some ferry services and hotels closing over the course of the month. The coast is fairly warm with cool evenings and a mellow vibe, and you can still get anywhere and do just about anything, whether it’s feeling tranquil on the islands or exploring Dubrovnik’s walls.

A woman looking at a Christmas tree in a festive market in Croatia
Festive Christmas markets brighten up the cold winter months in Croatia © SimonSkafar / Getty Images

Accommodations are cheapest from November to April

There’s a reason the crowds stay away between November and April. The interior can be freezing, and while the coast is milder, it’s still affected by the bura wind that whips across the European plain, canceling ferries and snatching hats off heads. But if you’re here for food and culture, you can still have a fine time. Rates at hotels and other accommodations are at their lowest, and you’ll be sharing the galleries and backstreets with locals. 

Temperatures can still be pleasant in November, but hotels and restaurants on the coast may be closed, and the waters are chilly. Instead, treat any sunshine as a bonus, use the lower prices and shorter lines to tour cultural sights, celebrate the silver screen at the Zagreb Film Festival and watch as the last leaves (and potentially the first snow) fall.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it – December is cold, many tourist businesses are shut, and snow settles on high ground. It’s a good time to experience Dubrovnik’s local life: bars and galleries are open, while the run-up to Christmas brings mulled wine and DJ sets to those prepared to brave the winter streets.

The mercury is still low in January, so why not stay indoors and discover Zagreb’s lively cafes, impressive galleries and museums – and you can get a late-night culture fix at the annual Night of Museums. Sljeme (near Zagreb) or Platak (near the coastal hub of Rijeka) offer reasonable skiing.

The days get a little longer in February, but tourists are rare, and accommodations remain heavily discounted. It’s an intriguing time to tour the coast – focus on sights like Trogir’s richly carved cathedral rather than the beaches. Rijeka’s carnival is Croatia’s biggest and wildest, with a costume parade, bell-ringing and bands. Brighter, drier weather makes March a good bet for mixing visits to churches and galleries with outdoor exploration. You can hike along the coast or hills, or take in the Krka and Plitvice national parks, where wooded slopes wind between lakes and waterfalls that thunder with meltwater.

The sea hasn’t yet warmed up in April, but trees are bright with blossom and sunshine is never far away – try Istria’s hill towns (where asparagus season is in full flow) or the Samobor Hills near Zagreb. Parades liven up many towns over Easter and music fills every corner of Zagreb at the Music Biennale.

January

New Year’s Concert, Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik ushers in the new year with a traditional annual concert by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra on the Stradun at noon.

International Percussion Ensemble Week, Bjelovar.
Bjelovar resonates to the rhythms of percussion instruments during this three-day festival featuring ensembles from across Croatia, Europe and further afield.

Museum Night, various cities.
On the evening of the last Friday in January, museums across Croatia throw open their doors to visitors free of charge.

February

Feast of St Blaise, Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik’s patron saint is celebrated with much pomp on February 3rd with a procession of the saint’s relics through the city streets and other ceremonial rituals recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Rijeka Carnival, Rijeka.
On the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, Rijeka hosts Croatia’s biggest carnival with a grand colorful parade.

Split Marathon, Split.
On the last weekend in February, running enthusiasts flock to Split to join in a 5k or 10k (3-mile or 6-mile) race starting from the seaside promenade through the streets of the old town and forested Marjan Park.

March

Oyster Festival, Mali Ston.
The Pelješac peninsula’s local shellfish specialty has its own festival in March when restaurants serve up fresh platters of oysters accompanied by crisp Pelješac wines.

Life on Mars Trail Race, Pag.
Avid trekkers can explore Pag Island’s stark landscapes via three different trails of varying difficulty, including a 100m-long (328ft) Via Ferrata trail for climbers.

Zagreb Festival of Lights, Zagreb.
Light installations illuminate the capital’s upper and lower towns during this five-day festival combining art, design, architecture and spectacle.

A man hiking through a canyon in Istria, Croatia.
Join lovers of the outdoors on Istria’s trails in April © Mystockimages / Getty Images

April

Weekend Food Festival, Rovinj.
Lovers of fine food and wine come together for three days to explore Croatian gastronomy via masterclasses and gala dinners with top chefs.

Music Biennale Zagreb, Zagreb.
Every two years Croatia’s biggest contemporary music festival draws lovers of melody with an eclectic program of contemporary opera, jazz, electronic music, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, as well as multimedia installations and contemporary dance.

Istria 100, Istria.
This annual trail race across Istria’s sublime landscapes draws runners from around the world who can choose from five scenic routes of different lengths and difficulty levels.

May

Sea Star Festival, Umag.
This four-day beachside music festival is one of Croatia’s biggest with an eclectic lineup of some of the top names in electronic, techno, and trap music.

Sudajma, Split.
Split celebrates its patron saint, St Domnius, on May 7th with a procession along the seaside promenade, open-air concerts, and a grand fireworks display.

Spring Procession, Gorjani.
On Pentecost Sunday girls dressed in colorful traditional costumes sing and dance in a springtime procession through the village of Gorjani near the town of Đakovo.

June

Zagreb Pride, Zagreb. 
On the second Saturday of every June, the capital’s LGBTIQ+ community takes over the streets with a colorful march and street celebration.

International Children’s Festival, Šibenik.
Children are at the center of this week-long event filled with music, dance, theater, craft workshops, film, puppets and parades.

Sword Dance Festival, Korčula.
Starting in June and continuing until September, visitors to Korčula island can witness performances of Moreška, a 17th-century mock battle tradition performed with swords by costumed participants.

Three young tourists looking at the homemade liquors sold by the street vendors on the street in Dubrovnik in Croatia.
Join visitors from all over the world for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival © urbazon / Getty Images

July

Zagreb International Folklore Festival, Zagreb.
Performers from across Croatia and around the world gather in Zagreb to present concerts and performances, as well as workshops on folkloric traditions.

Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Dubrovnik.
In 2024, this cultural festival will celebrate its 75th year with 47 days of theater productions, concerts, and dance and folklore performances.

Pula Film Festival, Pula.
Over nine days every July, Pula’s first-century Roman amphitheater as well as other venues across the city host Croatia’s oldest film festival.

August

Sinjska Alka, Sinj.
On the first Sunday of August, the 1715 victory over Turkish invaders is commemorated with a series of games played by costumed knights on horseback. Recognized by UNESCO, this tournament is the last remaining example of medieval knightly competitions.

Sonus Festival, Pag.
Revelers gather on Pag Island for five heady days and nights of open-air beachside and boat parties to the pulsing sounds of techno.

Špancirfest, Varaždin.
Over ten days at the end of summer, this family-friendly street festival delights with street performances, concerts and creative workshops.

Lovrečeva-Krk Fair, Krk.
It’s the 500th edition of this fair in 2024, celebrated each year since Venetian times on August 8th, 9th and 10th with a large open-air market and live music.

Stories of Diocletian, Split.
Over the last three days of August, Split goes back to its Roman past with Roman reenactments filling the streets and squares in and around UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace.

September

Subotina, Buzet.
This annual folk festival is kicked off with the cooking up of a giant truffle omelet on the square of this hill town in Istria, while its residents dress up in period costumes and the streets are filled with music and local specialties.

Goulash Disko Festival, Komiža.
It’s all about peace, love and music on Vis Island over four days with a musical lineup of tropical grooves, Gypsy Punk, African Disco, Latintronics and more global beats.

Visualia Festival of Light, Pula.
For three days Pula becomes the city of lights when its buildings and landmarks are lit up with 3D mapping effects and light installations.

Woman tourist exploring Plitvice Lakes National Park at sunny autumn day in Croatia
Enjoy incredible views during a fall trip to Croatia © da-kuk / Getty Images

October

Marunada Chestnut Festival, Lovran.
This Fall festival is one for those with a sweet tooth – visitors are regaled with cakes, sweets, cocktails and ice creams made with sweet chestnut, a local specialty.

Autumn Music Variety, Dubrovnik.
Hosted by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, this classical music festival showcases upcoming Croatian composers with guest appearances by celebrated conductors.

Istrian Grappa Fair, Hum.
Sample locally produced Istrian rakija (grappa) infused with fruits and herbs in the world’s smallest town.

November

Zagreb Film Festival, Zagreb.
Croatia’s largest international film festival showcases independent and debut films by directors from Croatia and around the world.

IstriaVirgin Olive Oil Festival, Vodnjan.
Lovers of extra virgin olive oil gather to meet local producers and taste the season’s freshly pressed oils.

Zigante Truffle Days, Livade.
Join in cooking shows, demonstrations of truffle-hunting, and sample Istria’s highly-prized black and white truffles at this annual festival.

December

Advent Zagreb, Zagreb.
The capital gets decked up with plenty of Christmas cheer during this huge yuletide market that includes ice rinks, themed night walks, and stalls peddling mulled wine and sweet treats.

Dubrovnik Winter Festival, Dubrovnik.
From the first day of Advent, Dubrovnik’s squares and streets become the festive stages for concerts, performances and children’s plays as well as a Christmas market and gastro events.

Opatija Advent, Opatija.
Romantic seaside Opatija dresses up in Christmas colors while its parks, squares and waterfront promenade transform into magical winter wonderlands.





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