Visiting Croatia in Autumn / Fall: What to Do in September & October
Many people will tell you that fall (autumn) is a bad time of the year to visit Croatia. But I would beg to disagree, as I believe that the second part of September – all the way to mid-October is a great time frame for a thrilling, perfect vacation in Croatia.
And in today’s article we will talk about visiting Croatia during the fall season: what’s the weather like during these months and what to do if you come here during the time.
Still, the months of September and October are considered to be part of the “low season” here. The weather can sometimes be unpredictable but in most cases you can expect pleasant sunny days that are still good for swimming and sunbathing.
Sometimes it can be cooler, but mild enough for all outdoors activities. Of course, the weather itself and the temperature of the water will be cooler than during the peak of the season, but still acceptable – at least for dipping your toes in it, if not taking a full bath.
For example, according to my own research, in the last 15 years of official weather-forecast data, the average high temperature in October is between 16.0 to 20.0 °C (60 -68 °F) with an average nine rainy days.
October boasts of 197 sunshine hours but if you plan to visit Hvar Island and Dubrovnik, you can expect even more sunshine hours during this period.
Weather in October sometimes can be influenced by a phenomenon known as Indian summer. This Indian summer usually occurs in October (in any part of the month), with temperatures above average for October – however, it is impossible to predict if this will actually happen or not during a given year.
Finally, if you want a more in-depth guide for the month of October and if you’re visiting Split during the time, I have already written a complete guide to Split in October – make sure to check it out as well.
What to do in Autumn in Croatia?
Besides swimming and sunbathing which is still possible in September and even October, there are many sightseeing tours, activities and attractions awaiting for you in Croatia during this time of the year.
This is a time when tranquility returns again, the beaches are almost empty, ferry crowds are gone and all kind of accommodation can be found at much lower prices than just a few weeks prior.
This is a period when the nature pays off the hard work of the farmers with some locally grown products that have always had a long tradition in Croatia. In the fall you will start seeing big juicy grapes available at local markets, as well as black and green olives and figs.
Fall in Croatia: Olive picking
Cultivation of olive trees and grapes has had a long tradition since the time of the Greeks and Romans, particularly along the Adriatic coast and on the islands. Grape and olive harvest is a special event for local people, when families and friends get together.
The traditional olive picking starts usually at the beginning of November, and in some regions will last throughout the winter, sometimes even until mid-January, thanks to the mild climate of the area.
Most of the olive groves are in Istria and Dalmatia and the recovery started quite recently when government begun subsidizing planting of olive trees.
If you know nothing about olives and olive oil (but like olive oil), I would recommend you a tour for visitors wanting to spend a quiet afternoon getting to know some locals and a few other tourists while learning about olives, harvesting, life on one of the small islands in Croatia.
The tour will take you from Split to the small yet charming Solta island, to take part in traditional olive picking, to learn more about the entire process of making olive oil. And, as a bonus, a delicious lunch is included (with local wine too).
Solta island has a reputation for producing fine olive oils, honey and wine brandy (grappa) as well as local wines, which can be sampled at several family-run restaurants.
Wines of Croatia and grape harvesting
If wine is one of your passions, consider planning a trip in during early October – that is when the magic of the wine happens. Although, truth be told, great local wine is available year-long in the country.
If you are on Hvar island in the period of grape harvest, don’t miss to visit some most famous Duboković and Tomić wineries. Tasting the liquid is great, but learning a bit about it makes everything even more interesting.
What cities to visit in Croatia in Autumn?
Even though the smaller resort towns along the coast of the Adriatic are becoming less and less popular mainly because the beach season is over, you can still choose those for a late holiday if you want to relax and do nothing but sunbathe all day.
But with the days getting shorter and temperatures lower, I think it would be a better idea to look at the larger cities in the country in order to have more options.
The best choices you have during autumn are Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Pula or Rijeka… although any large town will do.
Remember: Croatia during this time of the year is much slower paced, a lot less crowded and even though you won’t get the same goodies you normally would during the summer season, you still have a lot of options, albeit a bit different than just going to the beach.
Have you visited Croatia in autumn? Let us know your impressions about the country and the cities you have seen in the comment section below.