When is the Best Time to Visit Croatia?

Bol on Brac Island in September

Do you want long stretches of Croatian beaches to yourself? To be able to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites in peace or maybe wander by the majestic waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes without being elbow to elbow with other tourists? Well, it’s not possible. At least not in summer.

Plitvice Lakes in Early Summer

Croatia is one of the most popular summer destinations in Europe and unless you want to experience the country in the cold winter months then you’ll have to suck it up and visit in tourist season; from mid-May to mid-September.

Dubrovnik in September

But it’s not all bad news. Having previously visited Croatia in June, July and September. I can say that June is by far the best time to visit. Spending July at the beach was a nightmare. It was way overcrowded for my liking. September was quiet and beautiful but the temperature dropped very quickly making swimming out of the question.

This year we visited in June. It has been warm, there’s a tolerable number of fellow tourists and reasonably priced accommodation has been easy to come by. I’ve loved it this year more than ever. We even had Tucepi Beach almost to ourselves as you can see in this Vine video:

Tips for Avoiding the Crowds

Even in the busier months there are things you can do to avoid the crowds to a certain extent.

  • Wait for day-trippers to leave popular destinations like Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar and Rovinj before setting out to explore the old towns.
  • Visit underrated Zagreb.
  • Start your visit to Plitvice Lakes as early as possible (before 9am) to avoid the bus loads of tourists.
  • Avoid resort towns like Opatija and Makarska.
  • Travel slowly to give yourself time to get away from the main tourist spots.

The only other time I think it would be nice to visit Croatia is in winter when it’s snowing at Plitvice Lakes. That I would love to see.

About Andrea

Andrea Anastasakis is the founder and author of road trip blog Rear View Mirror. She is currently driving her Fiat 500 around Europe. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram.


Comments

  1. Such an important article, because so many people are anxious to visit after all the glowing recommendations Croatia has received. When I wrote an article about how disappointed I was with it (after visiting in July), it turned into my most controversial post. It’s nice to hear that opinion seconded.

    I always wished I had time to visit at a different time of the year! Thanks for doing it yourself and sharing the story.

    • Don’t get me wrong, I love Croatia! It’s just that I have a low tolerance for crowds so prefer to visit off season or during the shoulder season. It should be noted that pretty much any beach location in southern Europe in July and August will be ridiculously crowded, it’s not just an issue with Croatia.

  2. I am visiting Croatia in September. I hope that it is not too crowded but I think Dubrovnik may be hectic. My trip ends Zagreb.

    • I visited Dubrovnik in early September and it was definitely busy but not too bad in the evenings when the cruise ship day trippers had gone. If you walk the old city walls, be sure to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Enjoy your trip, I’m sure you’ll have a great time!

  3. I want to go back in the middle of Winter!

    Split was intensely packed, it was a bit of a shock really…

  4. Thanks for the tips! Croatia seems amazing regardless of when you go.