Croatian summers are known for music festivals, sunny skies and sunbathing, but you can also have a relaxing holiday while visiting it during the winter.
Off-season is one of the best times to visit Croatia — no traffic jams and still many things to do.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Croatia in winter but it’s important to note that you can expect very different scenery depending on the part of Croatia you choose to visit.
Gorski Kotar and Lika are the epitome of a winter wonderland with heavy snow and temperatures going below zero, but Dalmatia has very mild winters with temperatures rarely going below 10°C, and a lot of sunshine. Count in the low number of tourists, and you can have a beautiful winter vacation in Croatia!
Take a look at what you can experience.
Pag Winter Carnival
The town of Pag is home to the Pag Winter Carnival. This unique carnival has been going strong for almost 90 years and brings immense cheer to Pag’s streets each winter. It begins on the first Saturday after Epiphany and lasts till Ash Wednesday, and the entire period is filled with dancing, singing, and colourful processions.
Plitvice National Park is famous for its 16 turquoise lakes and lush nature, but seeing it captured in ice is a somewhat magical sight. Frozen in motion, the waterfalls look like they came straight out of H.C. Andersen’s Snow Queen, and the snow covering the park creates a tranquil silence. Winter is an especially nice season because of fewer visitors, so you feel like you have the park for yourself.
You can hike in Croatia during all seasons, but by hiking during the winter you’re escaping high temperatures and due to the changing seasons, enjoying a different view from the top. For an easy climb, conquer Saint Vid, Pag’s highest peak at 349 metres and take in the view of Velebit mountain, Metajna village, and numerous surrounding islands.
Dubrovnik Winter Festival
Zagreb might have the best Christmas market, but Dubrovnik also has a unique Winter Festival. It starts at the end of November and ends at the start of January, and features music, culture, dance, gastronomy and art activities and exhibitions. The Festival also celebrates New Year’s Eve with an open-air concert on Dubrovnik’s most famous street, Stradun.
With the beginning of February, holiday decorations in Rijeka are exchanged with colourful carnival ribbons. Rijeka Carnival starts with an official handover of the key to the city to the carnival-goers, which is followed by Rijeka Carnival Queen Pageant and many masquerade parties. The culmination is the International Carnival Parade when thousands of participants stroll through the city centre showing off this year’s costumes.
If you’re up for a road trip, here are 10 beautiful coastal towns for you to visit. For even more ideas, read about other activities you can try during your winter holidays in Croatia, and take a look at some of our exciting off-season sports events.