Croatia has two climates, as you may well expect – one along the coastline, and one for the interior of the country. If you’re visiting, here’s what to expect for climate and weather in Croatia!

Climate & Weather in Croatia – Coast

The coast has a typically Mediterranean climate consisting of hot, dry, sunny weather during summer, and relatively mild – though somtimes wet – weather in winter.

Average temperatures during summer should lie in the mid-to-high 20s °C/77-86°F, although it is more likely that you’ll have temperatures well into the 30s °C/high 80s or low 90s °F.

Winters are obviously cooler, although temperatures never really get below about 5°C/41°F. Anything colder than this is considered freak weather, though technically not impossible – in the last ten or so years, there have been occasions of snow in parts of Dalmatia, such as Zadar and Split. In some winters, even Dubrovnik (one of the most southern points of Croatia) has seen a light dusting of snow.

It is not usual for summer weather to stretch out into autumn with temperatures in the high teens or even low 20s (Celsius) – meaning some hardy souls still hit the beach and go swimming.

In general, however, during autumn and winter on the coast, you will still experience some sunny days, although it can sometimes get quite rainy.

Climate & Weather in Croatia – Interior

A continental climate exists in the interior of Croatia which means that winters can be pretty cold, with temperatures often falling below 0°C/32°F. Snow is very likely, and can be pretty heavy during the winter.

Climate and Weather in Croatia

The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

Summers, on the other hand, can very often be sweltering with temperatures often reaching the mid to high 30s °C/high 80s or low 90s °F. When there’s no cool sea breeze (or the sea itself), it can get a little uncomfortable at times. Officially, average temperatures in the interior would be around the low 20s °C/low 70s °F but, from personal experience, it will be much hotter.

Air-conditioning is reasonably common in Croatia these days. Wherever you are during summer, it is more than likely that your accommodation (hotel or private) will have it, providing you with a bit more comfort in summer. Air-con is also pretty common in cafes, restaurants and bars.

Weather in Croatia – when should I go?

If you thinking of the weather in terms of the best time to go to Croatia, we’d advise September…or possibly May. September still has glorious, sunny weather with warm temperatures, and the sea will also still be warm enough for swimming.

May is also a great month to visit Croatia, as temperatures have already risen to a pleasant level and you’ll have more and more sunny days, but will be without any of sweltering heat that will make you want to lie down every half an hour. The sea may not quite be warm enough for swimming in in early May, however!

Better still, you’ll avoid the peak season crowds if you go in one of these two months.

The Bura

One reasonably famous – or most likely, infamous – aspect of Croatian weather that you may have heard about, or even experienced yourself, is the ‘bura’. The bura is a very strong north-easterly wind that blows towards the coastline. Generally experienced in Dalmatia, and is felt strongest around the Velebit mountain range (near Zadar). It normally occurs in winter though some of its effects can be felt year round.

The strong wind occurs due to the two different climate types clashing. This means the wind is considered unpredictable and strong gusts can happen rather suddenly. Wind speeds can reach over 125 miles/200 kilometres per hour, although you’re unlikely to ever come across winds that strong.

Unsurprisingly, the bura causes disruption to those sailing off the coast and to ferries. However, problems to traffic on the roads and so on can also occur on land.

More information

You can find all sorts of weather and climate statistics at the excellent Croatian Meteorological Service website, which has plenty of information in English. Their most useful pages are the current weather in Croatia; the 7-day forecast; and the current sea temperatures.

  • Carmen

    We are currently in Rijeka and traveling in your beautiful country for the next 2-3 months. Our original plan was to rent a car and visit the Istrian Peninsula, Plitvice Lakes, Krka Park, and drive the coast south to Split (stopping and staying along the way whenever something catches our interest), drop the car, and ferry to Dubrovnik. We were also hoping to visit a few islands on the way. In reading your site it appears that the ferry only operates until the end of October which means I need to revise our plans. I’m also concerned about the weather and being off season along the coast. Are restaurants, grocery stores, etc. open in late fall/early winter along the coast or does everything close down? is it a terrible idea to visit the coast during the fall/winter? We have already been traveling Europe for 3 months and so it is not important to us to have “nightlife” or a lot of activities to attend, we more prefer to live like locals and be more low key. Any advice and/or suggestions would be much appreciated!

    • Yes, the Kapetan Luka catamaran (https://www.krilo.hr/en/sailing-schedule/split-dubrovnik/) stops running for the year at the end of October. The alternative that you could do to try and replicate it would be to get the catamaran to Hvar, then a catamaran to Korcula (both with http://www.jadrolinija.hr/en/sailing-schedule/local-lines-2017 – the former route has two sailings a day in off-season, the latter one) and then a bus from Korcula to Dubrovnik (see https://getbybus.com/en/ for schedules).

      It’s not a terrible idea (the travelling in Croatia in autumn/winter) by any means – and don’t forget that there are plenty of Croats that live in many towns and cities along the coast so there’s no way the coast can ‘close down’! 😉 Sure there are some towns that are primarily holiday resorts which you would best avoid (as in, you wouldn’t stay there but you can obviously still check it out for the day) but larger places still have many shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, even clubs open for the locals.

      The islands will be pretty quiet and certainly quite a lot closes on them – but, again, there are still people living on the islands year-round, so some restaurants, shops and cafes *will* still be open. (Just not all of them.) Tbh, I think it is an interesting time of year to explore them.

      I would certainly also include a lot more of the interior of Croatia in your itinerary – *definitely* Zagreb (quite buzzing in autumn/winter, and it’s got a great Christmas market from December).

      However, what I would say is that 2-3 months is quite a long time to spend in Croatia – are you literally just exploring the country, or are you doing something else (e.g. working online?). Even in summer, 3 months may be quite a long time for Croatia! You may get a little bored, if I’m honest, especially as there’s hardly any chance of spending time on a beach/swimming etc. which is obviously one of the big pluses for Croatia in summer! If the weather is bad (e.g. rainy, stormy) would you mind just hanging around in wherever you’re staying? Or would you get quite bored?

      So overall, I don’t think it’s a bad plan at all and will certainly give you a different perspective but I just worry about the length of time of your trip!