WHEN TO VISIT CROATIA
Summer (July & August) in Croatia brings guaranteed good weather – and guaranteed crowds. This is the country’s high season, when tourists and locals alike hit the beaches of the Adriatic – Hvar island is the sunniest place in the country, with maximum temperatures averaging around 29°C – and visitor numbers to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, busy at the best of times, are at their peak. Book accommodation well in advance and be prepared for higher hotel prices. The summer holidays are the best time of year to take in one of Croatia’s many cultural festivals, though, particularly in Dubrovnik, when many of the city’s squares and buildings provide a spectacular setting for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival – although this is likely to be of interest to older children only.
The shoulder season (May, June, September & October) is the best time to visit Croatia. The weather is perfect – sunny but not too hot for sightseeing – and the sea is warm enough to swim in, but there are fewer visitors and lower prices than the peak-season months (though note that Dubrovnik’s high season stretches into June and September). The vast majority of hotels and restaurants are open, and there are regular ferry services to the islands. For families, this means that the May Half Term is a great time to visit Croatia. The October Half Term can also be good time to go – temperatures in Split average 17°C, the sea around Hvar is a balmy 20°C and Krka National Park is awash with autumnal colour – though this is also one of the rainiest months of the year.
The Adriatic’s Mediterranean climate means that the weather on the coast stays fairly mild during the low season (November to April), though winters in Croatia’s interior are harsh – consequently, this is not a good time to visit Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, either. Easter is usually dry and a good time to go sightseeing in Dubrovnik (the city receives an average of 9 hours of sunshine a day in April and hotel rates are much reduced), though it’s too early to enjoy swimming in the sea.