Moderately warm Continental climate
Climate in Croatia depends on geography. When deciding which country to visit, there are several criteria that are crucial. As an adventurer, you’ll probably think about how wild are the rivers on which you will kayak or how high the mountain peaks are, that you will climb. Or how clear is the sea that you will swim in.
The climate in Croatia depends on geography. Really?
As you probably know, Croatia is geo-strategically part of Central and Southeast Europe and part of an area called the Balkans. The Pannonian plains and the Dinaric Alps, along with the Adriatic basin, represent major geomorphological parts of the country.
Most of Croatia has a moderately warm and rainy Continental climate. Due to amend of the four seasons, this country provides an ideal opportunity to enjoy the diverse amenities in the changing beauty of its nature. It has a number of ecoregions because of its climate and geomorphology.
But, the climate in Croatia is not that simple.
What to expect regarding the climate in Croatia on your vacation?
There are three main climatic regions in Croatia:
- The Adriatic and Mediterranean
- Mountain Basin
- Continental Pannonian
In each of them, there are several differences. Because of the position of the country, climate circumstances are favorable and moderate with no temperature extremes. There are regular changes of four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. We know how to appreciate it, of course. Our trips prove it. Croatia is an ideal place for kayaking, white water rafting, sea kayaking, hiking, trekking, rock climbing, and cycling.
What is „your type“?
The Mediterranean climate is probably the most comfortable climate for those who love to spend their summers in shorts or bathing suit. The summers are dry and hot and perfect for easy activities, or simply for resting on beautiful Croatian beaches. The average temperature of the warmest month is higher than 22 °C. While in the coldest month it is higher than 4 °C. That type of climate is characteristic for the narrow coastal area of Dalmatia and all Dalmatian islands. As a rule, summer is the driest season along the coast and winter is the rainiest season. Croatia’s islands can be very dry, which sometimes leads to devastating fires. Dubrovnik is one of the rainiest parts of the coast from October to December.
Snow is a rare occurrence anywhere along the coast. If you want to „feed“ yourself with energy and enjoy long days in the sun, or watch some of the most beautiful sunsets, visit Hvar Island. It is the sunniest island, with over 2,700 hours of sun per year. Split, Vela Luka (on the island of Korcula) and Dubrovnik are the next sunniest spots in Dalmatia. So have that in mind if you are in search of a vacation that includes hot summer and beautiful architectural environment.
Moderately warm and humid climate with hot summers
Differs most from the Mediterranean climate in rainfall and its balance throughout the year, although the summers are also dry. This type of climate is characteristic for closed areas of Istria, Kvarner, and inland of Dalmatia. So, if you are more of a type that likes hot summers, but wishing for a rainy day now and then, these parts of Croatia are ideal for you. You can go hiking, walking or cycling, kayaking or rafting and enjoy sunny weather, but always remember to bring some warm clothes along with you.
Moderately warm and humid climate with cool summers
Is typical for hilly and lower mountain parts of Gorski Kotar and Lika. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. The average temperature in the warmest month is below 20 °C, while in the coldest month, it is between 0 and -3 °C. Cloudy, high humidity and frequent fog are important characteristics of this climate. If you are dreaming of the „perfect air temperature“ with mild summer days and lot of forests in whose shades you can hide and enjoy, this is a climate for you.
The wet snowy-forest climate with cool summers
Is represented only in the highest parts of Gorski Kotar, Lika, on Dinara and the highest peak of Zumberacka Gora. Climbers, it is a perfect place for you. Once just pack your equipment, you are ready to explore breathtaking mountain peaks of Croatia. These are also regions with the highest precipitation in Croatia, evenly distributed over the year, with a bigger amount in the colder half of the year. Winters have heavy snowfall. The average temperature of the hottest month is lower than 18 °C and in the coldest months lower than -3 °C. Only 2-4 months of the year have a higher average temperature of 10 °C.
January is the coldest month in Croatia, although the largest coldness often occurs in the first half of February. But this is not a reason to avoid spending time here. In the Pannonian region air temperatures are everywhere between 0 and -2 ° C. With right clothes and strong will, it does not sound that bad, does it?
Winters are much milder along the coast. Along the coast north of Sibenik and on the islands of Krk and Cres, Rab and Pag average January air temperature range between 4 and 6 ° C, and the south of Sibenik and on all other islands are more than 6 ° C. The interior of the coast is cooler, but only on higher grounds; the average temperature in January is lower than 0 ° C. In the higher parts of Lika the average January temperature is below 2 ° C.
Differences in air temperature in the coastal regions and the Pannonian plain in summer are significantly less than in winter. Somewhat larger differences occur at night after sunset, when the land cools faster. In the north and east, average July temperatures range between 20 and 22 ° C, days with warm nights are rare. So, if you want a good night sleep, consider visiting some of those parts of Croatia.
The question is, how “wet” can you get?
Precipitation is usually in the form of rain, and in colder months of the year, snowfall occurs. The coastal mountains and the Pannonian region are the significant orographic barrier on which condenses most of the moisture. Snow is a common phenomenon in most high ground parts of the country. Not only children are happy with this fact. Every skiing or snowboarding enthusiast will find its bliss during winter.
Still, there are plenty of Pannonian lowland regions where the snow may sometimes be absent during the whole winter. Moving away from the sea and at higher altitudes the number of days with snowfall increases. It is more likely that snow will fall on the coast than on the islands, or in the north than in the middle and southern coast, even in Lika and Gorski Kotar rather than in the Pannonian part of Croatia.
Offshore outer islands of the Adriatic Sea, south-western Istria and the mainland coastal area between Zadar and Split have the lowest number of days with precipitation. So, if you don’t consider spending some romantic time in the rain, visit these places. The narrow mountain belt between Kvarner bay and continental Croatian, and extends from Snjeznik and Risnjak in the northwest to the southern Velebit have the highest number of days with precipitation
Some will refresh you, some will keep you warm but with some, you don’t want to mess with!
There are two most important, totally different winds that appear in Croatia, especially in the Adriatic – Bura (bora) and Jugo (sirocco). In other parts, winds names are given according to the direction from which the wind is blowing e.g. Northern.
Is the strongest wind in the Adriatic. When you mention Bura to the locals, you can almost see a fear in their eyes. They know what Bura brings to their winter days and they always await it with caution. It is a dry and cold northeast wind, and it blows from the land to the sea. It blows in bursts and often creates dust that reduces visibility at sea. The strongest and most dangerous bora occurs in the Velebit canal and coastal area at the foot of Biokovo. The changeable Bura can often be felt all over Dalmatia, Istria, the Slovenian Littoral, Trieste, and the rest of the Adriatic east coast. It blows in gusts. The Bura is most common during winter. As the air grows even colder and thus denser at night, the Bura increases. Its initial temperature is so low that even with the warming occasioned by its descent it reaches the lowlands as a cold wind.
The wind takes two different traditional names depending on associated meteorological conditions: the “light Bura” (Italian: Bura chiara) is Bura in the presence of clear skies, whereas clouds gathering on the hilltops and moving towards the seaside with rain or snow characterize the “dark bora” (Italian: Bura scura). Whatever Bura you meet, it is important to remember that you cannot win this challenge. You can protect yourself only with warm down jacket and hat and gloves. Sometimes, Bura is so strong that the only smart option is to stay at home, or in case that you are already outside, find a shelter.
Comes from the Sahara and reaches stormy speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe. It arises from a warm, dry, tropical air mass that is pulled northward by low-pressure cells moving eastward across the Mediterranean Sea, with the wind originating in the Arabian or Sahara deserts. Jugo causes dusty dry conditions along the northern coast of Africa, storms in the Mediterranean Sea, and cool wet weather in Europe. Jugo’s duration may be as short as half a day or may last several days. Jugo is a frequent and typical strong wind of Dalmatian islands and southeastern Adriatic coast, and its continuation is a dry-warm fen in Dinaric inter-mountain valleys.
Due to moisture and abundance of positive ions in the air, Jugo is extremely negative and depressing to people who then engage Dalmatian “fjaka” (apathy and inaction), as well as more headaches (a migraine). It is statistically confirmed, at time of sirocco, for example, occur more murders and car crashes. Thus, in the Republic of Dubrovnik crimes committed during Jugo blowing period are treated milder due to the bad influence of Jugo on people.
Here’s hoping that you have chosen your climate type. That considering its circumstances you become aware of what to expect, while on a perfect holiday in Croatia.