Croatia has quickly become one of the top destinations for travelers in the world, thanks in part to the hit show “Game of Thrones,” which used a number of its enticing spots as filming locations. It’s filled with everything from ancient fortified cities to island gems with beautiful beaches, wineries and vineyards for tasting and tours, countless eateries serving delicious Dalmatian cuisine and especially friendly, welcoming people.

But we probably don’t have to tell you why to go, by now, the word is out. The real question is, when is the best time to visit Croatia? The general answer is any time from early May through late September, as there is very little available in the low season, other then Zagreb’s famous Christmas market – of course, if that’s what you’re looking for it may be worth planning around as it’s been named the best and most beautiful in all of Europe for the past three years. Obviously, it will be too chilly for swimming in those brilliant turquoise waters or soaking up the sun on the beach, and cruises don’t run in this region between November and April. Sailing along the Adriatic coast, island-hopping through its crown jewels on a small-ship cruise is one of the best ways to Croatia’s beauty. You’ll be able to take in a lot more without having to continually pack and unpack with the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in each destination, getting to know the history and the culture. That means if you do decide to go in the winter, you’ll definitely want to plan another trip.

Those who prefer to take in the many delights that the “on” season has to offer have six months of the year to choose from. This Croatia travel guide is sure to help your decision as to when to travel to Croatia at least somewhat easier and we break down the best time to go based on the type of vacation you’re looking for followed by a month-to-month analysis.

Read our guide to Croatia below, for great travel tips and to find out when the best time to visit Croatia is:

Unforgettable Croatia, Plitvice Lakes, Hvar

When to Visit Croatia for Sightseeing

If the primary reason for your trip to Croatia is to visit the tourist attractions, including those “GoT” filming locations, you’ll want to avoid the peak summer months of July and August when tourist crowds are thick and the weather is hot, averaging in the mid-80s Fahrenheit, though the mercury can and often does climb up into the 90s. That typically means anywhere from about mid-April through the month of May or mid-September through mid-October. If you arrive in late spring, a 10-night Zadar, Plitvice Lakes & Split Luxury Cruise & Land Package makes it easy to combine a land tour where you’ll explore top sights like Lake Plitvice National Parks when the waterfalls will really be rushing, with a cruise to popular destinations like Split and Dubrovnik as well as some of the island gems. By booking this same tour for early autumn, you can experience the park when it’s splashed with the vibrant colors of fall, while enjoying pleasantly warm weather for sightseeing. As the sea temperatures are often idyllic through much of September and into early October, swimming will feel wonderful in between all your other exploits.

When to Visit Croatia to Experience Local Festivals

Attending a local festival is not only fun, it’s a great way to delve into the culture, enjoying an authentic side of daily life in Croatia. Plan to visit Split in May, perhaps as part of the 7-night Signature Split to Dubrovnik Cruise, and you might be able to attend the Festival of Flowers. The top attraction in this medieval city is the 4th-century Diocletian’s Palace and you’ll be able to see its basement halls filled with flowers as florists compete to find out who has the most beautiful, artistic display.

One of Croatia’s most popular islands, glamorous Hvar, famous for its yacht-filled harbor and upscale eateries, becomes especially aromatic in June as it marks the lavender harvest. The Lavender Festival is hosted toward the end of the month, bringing the opportunity to participate in harvesting, and follow the entire process through to distilling and production of lavender oil. There will be concerts, workshops and a variety of exhibitions, while the fields of endless purple make for especially photogenic shots. With Hvar on many island-hopping cruise itineraries, it’s easy to visit as part as one of these unforgettable trips like the 7-night Signature Dubrovnik to Split Cruise which also stops on Mljet, Korcula, Vis & Ston.

Dubrovnik host its popular summer festival from mid-July through much of August every year – the country’s largest cultural festival, international musicians and actors take to the stage on open-air venues within the city’s ancient walls. If you hope to attend, you might plan to spend some time here first and then embark on the 7-night Deluxe Dubrovnik to Split Cruise.

October is peak season for white truffles, the most valuable type, on the beautiful Istrian peninsula. This month brings Istrian Truffle Days, a time when multiple events will be held every weekend, celebrating the region’s famous gastronomic treat, including the chance to indulge in all sorts of dishes featuring truffles and purchase items like truffle oil and other products. We suggest combining it with a mid- to late-September cruise that culminates in Opatija, taking advantage of the wonderful early fall weather with perfect timing for the event.

Brac Beach, Bol, Split, Zrce beach, Pag island

When to Visit Croatia for Swimming and the Beaches

Croatia is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches, like Zlatni Rat on the island of Bol, a unique stretch that continuously changes shape depending on the tide, currents and wind. It’s surrounded by crystal-clear waters in a myriad of hues, from turquoise to deep blue, framed by mature shady pines. May, June and September may be especially enjoyable for sunbathing with the weather warm but not as hot as it will be during the peak summer months. No matter where you go, the sea is sure to entice you for a swim. Earlier in the season, it will probably be a bit too chilly to enjoy, but by July when the weather has really warmed up the sea temperatures will begin to climb too, and it can make for an ideal time to hop in and cool off. It continues to warm through August, with September often ideal for swimming with tourist crowds starting to diminish and the water still quite pleasant.

An island-hopping tour in Croatia is one of the best ways to not only experience multiple islands and their beautiful beaches, like the 7-night Signature Dubrovnik to Split Cruise, but you’ll have lots of swim stops along the way. The good news is that if you book a trip during the hottest months of the year, July and August, there’s a/c on the ship if the heat gets to be too much.

When to Visit Croatia for Parties and Nightlife

Croatia offers famously fantastic nightlife that includes cheap beer, outstanding Croatian wines and creative cocktails, while DJs spin the latest tunes. There are plenty of crawls after dark too that will bring you to everything from Irish pubs to swanky cocktail bas, nightclubs, discos and raves. The summer nightlife really takes off on islands like Hvar, Pula and the Pag islands, with internationally renowned music festivals attracting big-name recording artists and DJs. The island of Obonjan near Sibenik hosts the popular Obonjan Electronic Festival each year beginning in late June, featuring electronic music, DJs, workshops, wellness events and more. Hvar attracts jetsetters from across the globe who come to enjoy some of the chicest parties, day and night.
Summer is definitely the “hot” season not only when it comes to weather, but for anyone who wants to join a party or live concert with something happening on any given weekend, or even any day, throughout Croatia. In the islands and along the Adriatic coast where the warm nights are perfect for outdoor events after dark, you’ll typically have a wealth of different festival and events to choose from.

When to Visit Croatia to Avoid the Crowds

Generally, the summer months, including July, August and much of September, bring the biggest number of tourists. Those that are looking for a Croatia family vacation would visit when the kids are out of school, and September is popular due to the warm sea for swimming and slightly cooler land temperatures, as well as among those who want to avoid the younger crowd. That means if you want to come at a more tranquil time when you won’t have to bump elbows while making your way through those narrow cobbled streets while enjoying pleasant weather, having flights and ferry services readily available, and cruises are running, plan to come in May, June or late September/early October.

Unforgettable Croatia, Dubrovnik, Plitvice Lakes

What to Expect Each Month During the ‘On’ Season

May. The cruise season gets started in May and it can be a fabulous time to be in Croatia when the temperatures warm but not too hot. The average high is around 70°F now, and the summer crowds haven’t arrived yet. If you plan to visit this month, you may be taking a bit of a risk with the weather, so you’ll want to plan on bringing clothing that can be layered and a light jacket. The sea is unlikely to be warm enough for an enjoyable swim, but you may want to pack a bathing suit to enjoy a hotel swimming pool or for sunbathing on the beach. If you plan to visit Split, you may be able to catch the beautiful Festival of Flowers.

June. One of the best months to visit Croatia for a cruise, the days are now much warmer, typically hovering around the upper 70s along the coast. The sea is likely be pleasant enough for a refreshing swim, and you’re unlikely to need a jacket or sweater now but bring plenty of sunscreen. Hvar will be blanketed in purple with this month bringing the lavender harvest, and if you happen to be on the island in late June you may be able to attend the Lavender Festival.

July. One of the peak summer months, July will be hot, with the average high temperature along the coast climbing to the mid-80s, though it can get quite a bit hotter. This is the time to come to enjoy your days at the beach, cooling off in the sea with water temperatures comfortable now at around 75°F and taking part in fun outdoor activities.  This is also the best time to travel to Croatia to enjoy the nightlife, beach parties and live concerts. Dubrovnik’s summer festival begins around the middle of the month, bringing the opportunity to attend the largest cultural festival in Croatia, complete with performances by actors and musicians from around the world.

August. August is much like July, continuing the hot, dry weather, while bringing some of the biggest crowds of the year. The good news if you plan to come for a cruise during this period, is that those elegant small-cruise ships come equipped with a/c when you need a break from the heat. Plan to bring your summery clothing and a couple of bathing suits, keeping cool in the crystal-clear blue waters of the Adriatic.

September. The hot weather continues in early September, but as the month progresses, it will gradually start to cool while the sea is especially pleasant for swimming and snorkeling. The average high temperature along the coast dips back into the upper 70s, with days often idyllic. This is another one of the best times for a cruise, and if you come late in the month, it could be perfect timing for enjoying Truffle Days on the Istrian peninsula in early October, just plan to pack a light jacket for cooler days and evenings.

October. Many places in Croatia start to shut down in early October, but this month can be ideal for those who want to enjoy sightseeing in the cities and are looking for cheap flights to Croatia. There will be some cruises running during the first half of the month, though like May, it comes with a bit of a risk for some inclement weather. There is a chance it might rain, while afternoon temperatures tend to be around 70°F along the coast. If you plan to visit now, you’ll want to pack a mix of clothing for both warm and cooler days along with a light rain jacket.

Call our travel experts on +1 844 879 7838 or visit our website to start planning your dream Croatia vacation!


July 18th, 2019

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Croatia is not only filled with a wealth of remarkable ancient ruins, historic monuments and UNESCO world heritage sites, but it’s become one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, known as Eastern Europe’s ‘Riviera,’ with endless miles of sun-drenched beaches and island jewels, magnificent waterfalls and mountains. It also boasts a laid-back atmosphere and hospitable people along with mouthwatering food and outstanding wine.

With such a long list of fabulous places to visit, it can be to hard to decide how to make the most on your vacation Croatian. Many travelers find the best way to experience the country is via a small-ship cruise or a mixed cruise/land excursion, but no matter what your choice, you won’t want to miss experiencing some of these highlights.

Take a look at our small-ship cruises here>

Dubrovnik, Split,. Zadar, Unforgettable Croatia


The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ as it’s often referred to, is famous as the city Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor often escaped to for romantic liaisons, and more recently, for its starring role in HBO’s hit “Game of Thrones.” It’s incredibly exotic, with narrow streets to stroll while catching glimpses of the azure Adriatic, with the beautiful pedestrian-only Old Town jam-packed with Baroque churches and aristocratic palazzi, all contained within medieval fortifications, complete with bastions, towers, forts and casemates. Fans of “GoT” may want to search out filming sites they’ll recognize from King’s Landing scenes, like the city’s entrance, the Pile Gate, as well as Fort Lovrijenac, where the name day celebration for Prince Joffrey was held and a spectacular view can be enjoyed. Find out more about our Game of Thrones Tours here>

The city center also hosts flower-filled gardens, fine dining restaurants, charming cafes and tiny bars with private nooks that are ideal for sipping Croatian wine or cocktails while enjoying quiet conversation. Nearby are pristine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue waters for swimming, while many exciting day trips can easily be enjoyed, perhaps to one of the sparsely populated isles like Sipan in the Elaphiti Islands with its citrus groves, fig and olive trees, and vineyards – it’s famous for its tasty wine and wonderfully relaxed ambiance.


The “Mediterranean Flower,” is filled with fascinating history, not to mention being home to beautiful beaches for swimming, a picturesque palm-lined seaside promenade as well as a top-notch shopping and dining scene. As you explore the enticing narrow streets, you’ll be able to gaze up at some of the world’s most well-preserved Roman architecture. The ancient palace built for Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the 4th-century AD, with its Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque architecture, is a remarkable maze-like complex that resembles a large fortress – it takes up nearly half the historic center. More like a small city itself, it was birthed when Diocletian decided it would be ideal for a retirement destination.

Stroll the marble pathways and discover medieval buildings that have been converted into bars, cafes, interesting shops, bustling markets, and sleek apartments that were made from the barracks where Diocletian’s soldiers once resided. In the heart of the complex is Cathedral Sveti Duji, which was once the site of the mausoleum for the Roman emperor himself. By climbing to the top of the bell tower, you’ll be rewarded with an awe-inspiring panorama of the palace, city and the sea beyond.

Find out more about our small-ship cruises from Split here>


This 3,000-year-old walled city remains relatively undiscovered compared to some of the country’s more famous destinations, set along the seafront with a gorgeous promenade. It has become a bit more well-known in recent years thanks to its unique art installations. The Sea Organ plays harmonious sounds using sea waves through tubes beneath the marble steps, while the nearby “Greeting to the Sun” light installation is a display of lights produced from the rhythm of the waves. There are also unspoiled beaches for soaking up the sun and the sand, and if you’re here at dusk, you can marvel at the same sunset Alfred Hitchcock called one of the world’s most stunning. In Zadar’s historic heart, discover impressive medieval architecture, Roman ruins and Romanesque churches.

Visit Zadar and see all that it has to offer on our 7 Night Deluxe Cruise. 


Unforgettable Croatia, Hvar, Brac, Korcula


One of the most popular islands in Croatia, Hvar is a dazzling cosmopolitan island that’s become famous for its yacht-filled marina, and a scene that caters to the rich and famous, with lots of fine dining restaurants, high-end resorts and vibrant nightlife. But it’s also a place filled with history and striking beauty. Stand in the town square and you’ll be surrounded by historic delights like the majestic Cathedral of St. Stephen, built on the site of an early 6th-century Christian church and later, Benedictine convent. Visit the oldest community theater in Europe, which opened its doors in 1612, and the medieval hilltop fortress, which provides a fabulous panoramic vista over the harbor. The natural scenery is striking too, with many postcard-perfect beaches and secluded coves for swimming, endless lavender fields and picturesque vineyards producing delicious island wines.

Check out our Food & Wine Tours here>

Pakleni Islands

As you gaze out from Hvar Town, you’ll see the beautiful chain of wooded islands known as the Paklenis stretched out before you. Home to hidden beaches and deserted lagoons, they make for a popular sailing or sea kayaking excursion from Hvar. St. Clement is the largest isle, though all are famous for their wild natural beauty that can only be accessed by watercraft. Whether you join a tour, rent a boat or hop on a taxi boat from Hvar, you surely won’t be disappointed. Vinogradisce Bay with its surreal aquamarine shade is surrounded by green pines for shade, making it especially popular as well as being a great base for taking advantage of some of the island’s outstanding restaurants.


The island of Brac is famous worldwide for Zlatni Rat beach (also known as the Golden Horn). This unusual stretch is constantly changing shape depending on the tide, currents and wind. Considered one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean, if not the world, it’s surrounded by crystal-clear waters in a myriad of hues, from turquoise to deep blue, framed by mature shady pines.
Brac is also home to one of Croatia’s prettiest villages, Pucisca, a small town on its northern coast known for its quarries and stone. The glistening white stone is indigenous to the island, with not only the local homes made from it, sitting alongside impressive Baroque buildings and Renaissance palaces, but some have even been used to build ancient Roman palaces and many notable landmarks like the White House in Washington, DC. The island hosts the only stonemasonry school in the country, with students here specializing in sculptures carved from the local limestone using traditional tools.

Visit Brac on our 7 Night Signature Dubrovnik to Split Cruise. 


Korčula may be a small island but it makes a big impression with its unspoiled sand beaches, charming villages, olive groves, vineyards and emerald forests, all surrounded by some of the most vivid blue waters you’ve ever seen. Not only is its scenery jaw-dropping, but it’s allegedly the birthplace of intrepid explorer Marco Polo. The especially captivating historic core of Korčula Town is sometimes called a “mini-Dubrovnik” with its countless medieval delights. It was once controlled by the Venetians, with plenty of glimpses of the past that can be witnessed by strolling its maze of atmospheric streets, laid out in a fishbone pattern to help protect residents from the elements. Along the outer wall, now a promenade, visitors can take in especially beautiful views. In the summer, watch impressive Moreska sword dance performers, and anytime of the year, enjoy dining at one of the many outstanding eateries serving traditional Dalmatian cuisine followed by nightlife in the lively bars and clubs.

Join our Taste of Dalmatia tour and enjoy local cuisine in Korčula.

Mljet, Vis, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Unforgettable Croatia


Known as the greenest and one of the most enchanting of all the Croatian isles, the majority of Mljet is covered by dense forest, with the remainder made up of quaint villages, vineyards, fields, sandy shoreline and saltwater lakes. While its national park, established in 1960, put it on the map among tourists, it’s managed to remain practically untouched, with nearly all visitors heading to the area around touristy Pomena. The rest retains a magical air of tranquility, something said to have seduced Odysseus for seven years. It has a rich history, with tombs, fortifications and a grand Roman palace, the largest after only Diocletian’s Palace, too. Visitors can enjoy the two salted lakes that are popular for swimming, and the islet in the middle of Great Lake that hosts a 12th-century monastery.

Experience the beauty of the stunning lakes at the remote Mljet National Park on our 7 Night Signature Cruise.


The furthest island from Croatia’s central coast, for nearly four decades, Vis served as a Yugoslav Army base and was deserted by many of the locals while being closed off to outside visitors. The result today is an especially peaceful destination that’s ideal for travelers seeking an unspoiled, authentic Croatian island. Some of the most exclusive wines are made here, while restaurant menus often serve fresh, local seafood that pair perfectly with the tasty vino like Vugava and Plavac. Discover secluded bays and beautiful beaches ideal for a relaxing afternoon on our Signature cruises to Vis. Stop by Stiniva Cove where you can snorkel in the clear aquamarine waters and swim alongside loggerhead turtles or even bottlenose dolphins.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

One of Croatia’s most famous, most photographed and impressive natural wonders, Plitvice Lakes National Park has become an iconic symbol of its enchanting beauty. A maze of waterfalls and lakes that range in shades from brilliant emerald to deep blue, all surrounded by lush greenery, it’s a true fantasy-like scene. It’s also abundant in flora and fauna, home to 126 recorded bird species, along with brown bears, wolves, red deer and lynx. Visitors can immerse themselves among the lakes and cascades by strolling the wooden walkways and bridges, hop on a boat for a tranquil ride across, or board a train that circles the park for another dazzling perspective. You can visit the Plitvice Lakes with us on our 10 day Cruise & Land Package.

Unforgettable Croatia, Rovinj, Rab, Sibenik, Krka National Park


Located on the west coast of the Istrian Peninsula, rising up dramatically in the hills above the Adriatic, Rovinj has a particularly alluring, romantic feel, perhaps in part due to the strong Venetian influence. The most Italian town in Croatia, the St. Euphemia Church tower marks its highest point, while the cobbled streets below are delightfully winding, with something to discover around early every corner, from art galleries, lively bars and eateries to ancient crumbling houses and colorful facades.


Located at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, the seaside city of Pula is home to one of Croatia’s most famous sights, a well-preserved 1st-century Roman amphitheater that’s among the world’s largest surviving Roman arenas. In ancient times, it drew many to watch gladiator flights, and today, it’s the only one that remains with four side towers and all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved. Visitors can explore many other ancient sites, like the 1st-century BC Hercules Gate, the oldest standing Roman monument; the Triumphal Arch of the Sergii and the Forum, where in Roman times it served as the main square. Today it’s a bustling piazza with a host of    cafes.


Situated off the northern coast in Kvaner Bay, Rab is known as the “island of love” as well as being one of the greenest islands in the Adriatic. Enclosed within ancient city walls, this is the place where King Edward VIII famously took his new wife Wallis Simpson, casting off his regal attire and jumping right into the sea, taking part in the isle’s nudist-friendly tradition. That same, let-loose, laid-back ambiance stretches to the gorgeous beaches, with the small town itself filled with historic charms, a landscape of church towers and terracotta roofs. It’s fun to simply wander the stone streets, discovering medieval palaces, Romanesque churches, ancient facades, and the 16th-century monastery. Join our deluxe cruise to Opatija and stop off at Rab along the way to try the island’s traditional sweet: Rab cakes.


Croatia’s least developed island, Cres has a very small population, wowing visitors with its incredible beauty that includes remote wilderness terrain with hills covered in oak forests, majestic cliffs, olive groves, vineyards and pristine beaches. There are abandoned hamlets, crumbling hilltop towns and fantastic bird watching opportunities, with the island known for its griffon population. Cres town brings visitors on a walk through the past, having been inhabited since the Paleolithic era, touched by Romans, Byzantines, the first independent Croatians, and Venetians.

If you are interested in learning about Croatia’s history, check out our Croatia Heritage Tours here>

Sibenik and Krka National Park

Sibenik is an enchanting walled city on the coastal mainland, established more than 1,000 years ago. It’s famous as the home of one of the region’s largest and most important cathedrals, the Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral of St. James as well as serving as a popular base for exploring nearby Krka National Park. The park is filled with mesmerizing waterfalls like Skradinski Buk with its tranquil pool below ideal for a refreshing swim.

Why not come and discover Croatia for yourself? Call our travel experts on +1 (844) 879 7838 to start planning your Croatian Cruise today.

July 2nd, 2019

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