Top 5 Things to Do in Croatia in Spring

Now that we’re fully into Spring, it’s time to take a look at some of the best things you can do when visiting Croatia this season. Springtime is often one of the nicest times to visit Croatia. As we emerge from the depths of winter, the weather has changed to be warmer and far sunnier (although swimming in the sea is off the cards – unless you’re very brave!) which is ideal for so many activities and adventures in the country. Here, I’ll suggest the top 5 things to do in Croatia in spring.

Firstly…what’s the weather like?

When I first set out to write this post, I had also intended to say “…oh and by the way, it’s 25C in Croatia right now”! which a) was 100% true and b) would surely delight many of you. Unfortunately, slightly cooler temperatures are sweeping in as I write this post, but I’m sure they’ll creep up again soon enough. Keep an eye on the Croatian Meteorological Service website for up-to-date forecasts.

Croatia in Spring – Be at one with nature

What could be better in springtime than a wonderful nature setting filled with flora and fauna? When you think of “nature” and “Croatia” you surely think of one of Croatia’s eight national parks or one of the twelve nature parks – which means you’ve got a very fine selection of parks to choose from.

My suggestion would be to explore one of the lesser-known nature parks in the country to see some stunning scenery beyond the popular lakes and waterfalls in the most popular locations. If you’re on the coast, consider Vransko Lake Nature Park in North Dalmatia which is home to the largest natural lake in Croatia and a special ornithological reserve as well as a large wetland area. It’s an idea place to do some gentle walking, hiking or even cycling.

Croatia in Spring - Vransko Lake Nature Park
Vransko Lake Nature Park

Inland, I’d suggest heading east – properly east – to Kopacki rit Nature Park near Osijek. It is here that the Drava and Danube rivers meet and the Park is part of one of the largest wetland areas in Europe. Exploring by boat (the park offers a 40-minute guided boat tour) is one of the top experiences here.

If you’re after something more intense to go along with nature, opt for one of the hiking trails in the highly forested Ucka Nature Park in the northern part of the Croatian coast.

Croatia in Spring – Explore the country’s fortresses and castles

On the 10th May 2024 a special event called The Night of the Fortresses takes place. Actually held in Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Serbia and Croatia at the same time (although most venues are in Croatia), the event aims to promote the cultural heritage of these fine fortresses and castle structures – most of which are very impressive indeed.

Some of the venues in Croatia you will have heard about – such as Revelin and Lovrijenac Fortresses in Dubrovnik or Kamerlengo Fortress in Trogir. Others you may not have and now’s the perfect time to explore these – places such as the 17th century Kotisina Castle near Makarska; the defensive fortifications in Omis; Fortress Nehaj in Senj; Brod Fortress in Slavonski Brod; Veliki Tabor Castle; and Trakoscan Castle.

Croatia in Spring - Veliki Tabor Castle
Veliki Tabor Castle

These venues will offer free entry and some may also offer free guided tours or other educational provisions. Examine the Night of the Fortresses website to see all the venues taking place and what particular offers each one will have.

Take a look at our Events in Croatia 2024 page to see what else is taking place all around the country over the next few months.

Croatia in Spring – Adventure time

Croatia allows for many an adventure, it has to be said! And by adventure, I mean activity – from hiking and cycling to white water rafting, ziplining, canyoning and more.

But one adventure that combines “fun activity” with “sightseeing” is sea kayaking. This is an unusual way of seeing some of Croatia’s most famous spots from a different perspective – from the sea!

Sea kayaking takes place in many locations all along the Croatian coast, and you can also time these outings so they coincide with – for example – sunset.

Why not try some sea kayaking in Split to explore the Marjan Hill area of the city?

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Croatia in Spring – Sightseeing without the crowds

Now’s the perfect opportunity to visit some of Croatia’s top sights without the crowds – and also without the soaring temperatures that can often make walking around in the hot summer sun a tough ask.

Take your pick for what you consider to be the top sight that you’d like to explore at this time of year. If you ask me, however, I’d go for Dubrovnik’s Old Town Walls. Walking the walls can be chock-a-block full in the peak summer season, made even more difficult when temperatures are in the 30s Celsius as they usually are in July and August.

Two Days in Dubrovnik - Old Town Walls
Walking the Old Town walls

Start your leisurely stroll on the Walls in mid-morning and spend a good couple of hours exploring all aspects of the walls themselves and the Old Town. We have a guide to Dubrovnik’s Old Town Walls that points out interesting things to see. You could also consider a guided tour if you really want to learn all there is to know about this spectacular setting.

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Another option would be to head to one of Croatia’s most popular national parks (see the nature entry above) such as Plitvice or Krka National Park. Again, these parks get incredibly busy during the summer months, so visiting them in spring is a great idea. Spring is also when all areas of the parks are fully open and accessible as well, so you can really explore to your heart’s content.

Croatia in Spring – See what quieter island life is like

Croatia’s stunning islands (and islets) are a big draw for many visitors to the country – and that’s no surprise. But whilst the summer months draw in the island fanatics on ferries, catamarans, small boat cruises and private yachts, springtime is a great time of year to see what island life is like when there are fewer people around.

Opt for any of the Dalmatian IslandsHvar and Brac would probably be top picks as two of the most popular islands and the ones that have the most to provide visitors (in terms of amenities, accommodation, restaurants and so on) at the time of year. Or if you want your springtime island adventure to be a bit more on the quiet side, consider lovely Vis.

The view from Vidova Gora, the highest point on the island of Brac

Kapetan Luka‘s Split to Dubrovnik coastal catamaran has started operating for the season on 1st April 2024. This catamaran departs Split in the morning and stops on Brac (at Milna), Hvar, Korcula, Mljet (Pomana) and then reaches Dubrovnik at 12.30pm. (The return journey takes place in the mid/late afternoon.) It would be ideal to use for doing a spot of gentle “island-hopping”.

Getting to Croatia

Late March and April is when a good number of flight routes to Croatia from the UK, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe start. So getting to Croatia at this time of year couldn’t be easier! Take a look at our Flights from the UK & Ireland page for details as well as Getting to Split, Getting to Dubrovnik, Getting to North Dalmatia, Getting to Istria and Getting to the Kvarner Rivera.

Outdoor Easter in Rijeka

The following is a lovely write-up from John Clayton, a UK citizen who has been living in the coastal city of Rijeka for 15 years. John talks about some of the wonderful outdoor activities that can be enjoyed during Easter in Rijeka.

The clocks are on summertime and the winter is over. Easter marks the time when we can start to plan bigger and better outdoor adventures in Rijeka. Jenny and I make the most of the winter, but this largely means grabbing opportunities on the days without “Bura”, the gale-force cold wind from the north, or the “Jugo”, the more destructive warm and wet wind from the south.

I’ll share here a few of our outdoor favourites at this time of year. As Croatia is rightly famous for its beaches this is the obvious place to start. We’re lucky to live just five minutes’ walk from the most beautiful beach in Rijeka, Sablićevo (don’t even try to pronounce it). It is also within walking distance from the town centre, or take the number 1 bus. The beach is surrounded by high cliffs creating a perfect sun trap. Even in the middle of winter, on a sunny day it’s possible to be down there in a just a T-shirt. By spring sunbathing is certainly an option and without the summer crowds.  With a wetsuit, there is also the option of swimming the 1.5km from Grčevo beach, past Sablićevo, to the dog beach right by the port. This is an amazing swim in crystal clear, often glass-smooth, water. At this time of year, there is even the small possibility that you’ll be swimming with dolphins.

Outdoor Easter in Rijeka - Sablicevo Beach in Rijeka
Sablicevo Beach in Rijeka

This morning, before writing this, we did the ten-mile mountain bike loop which is the most accessible mountain biking area from Rijeka. It starts with a slightly boring climb up through Kostrena, the fanciest suburb of Rijeka. The reward comes quickly in the form of single-track riding through the forest, opening out to views across the mountains of Gorski Kotar on the right and the islands of Cres and Krk on the left – all this before breakfast.

Rijeka keeps its last secret well hidden yet almost in plain sight. Rijeka is the third largest city in Croatia and, unlike many coastal towns in Croatia, is still industrial, with a busy port, shipbuilding, and a refinery. However, almost in the centre of the city is a steep-sided, wild, overgrown canyon, full of deep pools and cliffs. It is certainly not obvious from the town that it is there and even most locals seem unaware of its existence as it’s rare to see anyone else in there. Our favourite trail run starts at the castle of Trsat, scrambles down steeply into the canyon, past the abandoned water mills, and across the river. From here it climbs back steeply up the peak above Trsat before joining the road down to Rijeka.

After all this exercise you probably deserve a beer. As a Rijekan, I’d love to suggest one of the local craft beers, of which there are plenty to try (Tarsa, Morčić, etc.) but I have to be honest and admit that in my opinion, the best beer in Croatia, and possibly the world, is Fifth Element IPA. It’s from Daruvar and best enjoyed on draft in Pivnica Cont, on Tito Square, right on the old border between the first Yugoslavia and Italy. Just drinking a beer there is a history lesson in itself.

Thank you so much to John for suggesting some excellent outdoor adventures for Easter in Rijeka! Much appreciated. John has also previously filmed a great Easter in Rijeka video, which really gives a feel for the kinds of things that can be enjoyed at this time of year. Take a look:

To see more of what John enjoys in this part of Croatia, take a look at his Swimming in Rijeka video.