Weather and climate
Contents [click on chapter for quick jump]
- 1 What to expect from the weather in Croatia
What to expect from the weather in Croatia
The climate and the weather in Croatia are determined by geography and divided into two climate regions – Continental and Mediterranean, although there are some variations within those climate zones.
Mediterranean climate in Istria and Dalmatia
The coast and islands, from Istria the north to Dalmatia in the south, are areas of Mediterranean climate in Croatia–long hot summers and mild winters – although the northern Adriatic is several degrees cooler than the south.
Summer time on Adriatic coast
The Adriatic coast mean temperature in summer is between 24°C and 26°C (Istrian inland is somewhat cooler at 22°C). The summer is the driest season along the coast, especially on the islands furthest from the mainland, and summer heat sometimes leads to devastating fires. The sunniest island in Croatia is Hvar, with over 2,700 hours of sun per year. towns Split, Vela Luka on Korčula Island and Dubrovnik are the next sunniest spots in Dalmatia.
Winter season on Adriatic coast
The Adriatic coast mean temperature in winter is 2°C in the north and 9°C in the south, with twice amount of rain as in summer. For example, the island of Vis averages only 557 mm of rainfall per year while Brač Island averages 952 mm. Dubrovnik is one of the rainiest parts of the Adriatic coast from October to December. Snow is a rare occurrence anywhere along the coast.
Learn about coastal winds in Croatia
The most frequent coastal wind in Dalmatia is the south-easterly “Jugo”, which blows toward the mainland in autumn and winter bringing warmer and moister air with it.
The “Bura” however, is a cold, dry coastal wind which blows from the mainland in sudden and powerful gusts bringing dry air and cooler temperatures. When blowing in the summer cools down the sea for a few degrees.
The westerly “Maestral” is a pleasant summer coastal wind that blows in from the sea (reaching its peak force in early afternoon) and that refreshes the air.
All the winds bring the pleasant cooling feeling from the heat in hot summer days, but in the winter Bura and Jugo sometimes can be unfriendly and powerful with very strong gusts.
Continental climate in Croatian interior
The Croatian interior has a continental climate. Coverage areas spread from the north-west of the country towards south all away to mountain Velebit (including capital Zagreb, regions Hrvatsko Zagorje and Lika), region between towns of Zagreb and Rijeka –Gorski Kotar, and eastern part of country – Slavonia.
Winters are cold, and summers are hot – the reason why Croatians from northern and eastern parts of country travel to coast whenever is possible during summer season.
Climate in the North
Here winters get cold, with the mean temperature in January ranging from 0°C to -2°C and summers are hot, in July the mean is approximately 22°C, with heat waves that have become more frequent.
The higher points on the mountains such Velebit and Dinara host large forests and alpine climate with snow cover for much of the year. In winter the mean temperature ranges from -2°C to -4°C , above 1,500 m it’s a few degrees colder. In summer mountains mean temperature ranges from 10°C to 18°C, making them a pleasant escape from the heat.
The gem of nature worth of visiting in winter is Plitvice Lakes National Park where stunning scenes will take your breath away no matter what is the season or temperature.
Climate in the East
As you move further to the east and head towards Slavonia the mountains decrease, terrain melts into the valleys where conditions in winter become more extreme. As you leave behind the moderating influence of the Adriatic Sea it gets much colder and there is significantly less rainfall all year round, but the amount of snow can be very surprising. Summers can be very hot and dry.