Many people ask me if Croatia in winter is worth visiting? Most of the recommendations in the guidebooks assume that you will be visiting in the summer. Is it too cold in winter? How about the islands? Is it worth visiting any of them in the winter?
Before I answer this question, I'd like to give you some essential notes on climate during the winter period. Talking about Croatia climate you have to distinguish two main types.
The fist one is typical Mediterranean along the Adriatic coast characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The snow is rather rare but not an unseen miracle.
The second one is Continental type of Croatia interior regions with rather cold winters , enough snow for skiing lover and warm summers.
If you have visited Croatia in the summer months you have already noticed that some places can get pretty crowded. The winter is the exact opposite.
Can you imagine having Dubrovnik old city walls strolling for yourself or almost empty Split ferry pier before boarding to Hvar or Brac islands. The islands are a bit quiet in winter. Islands are more considered more 'summer' places, but don't miss to visit Hvar island from Split. Sometimes winter there can surprise you with a favorable weather.
The capital of Croatia, Zagreb called a little Vienna, is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia in winter period. Divided in two parts, Donji and Gornji Grad (Lower and Upper Town) with some majestic Austro-Hungarian buildings with typical facades in secession style, monumental museums and beautiful squares, looks like to more famous Vienna.
Zagreb is a city of museums as there are more than thirty of them. But this doesn't mean that there is nothing else for you to do if you aren't a history enthusiast. Zagreb’s nightlife is primarily student orientated, with the highest concentration of small bars and cafes lining the charming street of Tkalciceva in Gornji Grad (Upper Town).
Don't miss to visit Zagreb in Christmas and New Year period, with traditional markets, craft stalls, Christmas decorations and concerts. Whatever you choose to do, you are guaranteed to have a good time!
Among the highlights to visit in Croatia in winter, are Plitvice lakes. The Plitvice lakes are Croatia's most famous national park and are among the most beautiful sights in Europe.
You should visit this natural beauty all the year around but believe me in winter these lakes are much more spectacular then in any period of the year. In winter period you won't find usual crowds and is one of the most magical sites you should visit. Try some of regular guided tours from Zagreb.
So, is it worth visiting Split in winter period? One thing is certain, Split is much more peaceful in the winter season.
While the most of the guidebooks recommend to visit Dalmatia only in the summer, Split has enough things to do and places to see, to deserve a winter visit too. Find out more why Split is a perfect place in winter time!
Visiting Croatia in winter, besides Hvar or Dubrovnik there is also Opatija, an elegant town on Northern Adriatic Riviera. Its mild winter climate, not far from Italian border, has been for centuries the elite climatic health resorts for Vienna and Venice bourgeoisie.
With several elegant 1st class hotels, Opatija offers the spectacular cobblestone walkway that start in Volosko and extends on to Opatija, all together 12 km long, passing by several spectacular old villas surrounded with beautiful gardens.
Everyone thinks that Croatia is famous only for its coast and beaches, ignoring the fact that Croatia in winter has enough snow falls around the country to enjoy some skiing on the country's mountains.
The most of these mountains are in the interior of Croatia. The most famous are Medvednica mountain, located just north of Zagreb with its highest peak of 1,035 meters.
Another one also close to Zagreb is Sljeme ski center where a World Cup Skiing event, takes place each year. Here you can find more info !
Other ski centers you can visit are Platak, a ski resort located north of Rijeka, and Velika, on the southern slopes of Papuk mountain. (find it on the map !)