At the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, Croatia is the richest Balkan country, fringed by Adriatic Coastline and dotted with national parks, waterfalls, and pristine beaches. With a capital famed as a prominent Game of Thrones filming location, it’s no surprise that each seaside town, island, and city is steeped in history, but Croatia is also a great place for some winter sun.
The nation benefits from seasonal weather with scorching summer months and cooler winters. Still, in the south, you can find 12 hours of sunshine a day, no matter the time of year, and average highs in the mid-80s dominate from June to September. Croatia boasts some of the sunniest destinations in Europe and our list comprises all of the best places in the country if heat is what you’re after.
From bustling cities to dreamy islands, these warmest places in Croatia are soaked in sun all year round. Whether you want nightlife in December or lazing by the beach in April, this country’s got you covered. Let’s get into it.
Hvar, Hvar Island
The summer resort island of Hvar is celebrated for its 13th-century architecture, Renaissance town square, and quaint red-roofed panoramas. Located off the Dalmation coast in the Adriatic Sea, Hvar is surrounded by smaller picturesque islets while Hvar Town’s walled core covers the slopes to the north of the center.
Despite the cathedrals, fortifications, and cobblestoned old town, the oldest in Dalmatia that anchors Hvar to its medieval origins, the island has earned quite a reputation as a party destination in recent decades. Casual day bars and expensive Ibiza-style clubs line the strips and the town is also a big yachting port.
When it comes to warmth, Hvar is not only Croatia’s sunniest spot, but is, in fact, Europe’s sunniest island and supposedly one of the 15 sunniest places in the world. Hvar experiences around 300 days of sun annually, that’s 2,760 hours of sunshine a year. No wonder it’s one of the country’s most popular summer retreats with sparkling azure waters, spectacular swimming spots, and great food.
Truly the jewel of Croatian Dalmatia, be sure to check out the magical inland lavender fields that turn swathes of land into fragrant, lilac seas in early summer. As well as the beaches of Dubovica and the nearby Pakleni Islands with their own secluded coves.
From the jewel of Dalmatia to the pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s most spectacular cities located in the extreme south of the country. It was a powerful and affluent state until the 1800s and its well-preserved medieval core dates back as far as the 7th century.
The recognizable Old Town is encircled by 16th-century stone walls and peppered with Renaissance fountains, steep cobblestone alleyways, Baroque churches, and Gothic palaces. The pedestrianized Placa is paved with sun-bleached limestone and lined with restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops. Much of the coastal city is perched above the Adriatic, overlooking the turquoise seas, so great beaches aren’t hard to come by.
From rugged coves surrounded by cliffs to sandy swimming spots, crowds of sunbathers flock to Dubrovnik’s sunny shores in the summer months, but the city is a year-round destination. Dubrovnik experiences around 2,665 hours of sunshine annually and temperatures rarely drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical Mediterranean climate here leaves little to complain about. Still, winters can be wet and windy.
Croatia’s second-largest city, after the capital, Split dominates the Dalmatian Coast, spreading over a central peninsula on the eastern shore of the Adriatic and its surrounding region. Having been Roman, Venetian, French, Australian, Italian, and Yugoslavian, each rule has left its influence on Split and an amalgamation of European culture lingers in the city.
Split attracts close to one million tourists every year, despite a population of just over 200,000, with its perfect mix of dynamic modern living and ancient history. The Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it has served as a major commercial and transport hub since the 3rd century. The ruins of the Palace of Diocletian date back to 300 CE, but the Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius, the Temple of Jupiter, the Piazza, or People’s Square, and the Klis Fortress are also among its historical highlights.
Split has become a huge hotspot for European nightlife too, partly accredited to the Ultra Europe Festival which is held on stadium Poljud in July, and the number of nightclubs dotted around the city. The Split promenade and Bacvice Beach are also entertainment hubs that have helped put the city on the map for partying.
Split has a Mediterranean climate with mild, muggy winters and hot, sunny summers. Average daily highs exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit from early June until September and the city benefits from 2,628 hours of sunshine a year. Fringed with dense pine forest, hilly scenery, and beaches, Split is much more than its party reputation and a perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors in the sun.
Bol, Brač Island
Situated on the Croatian island of Brač off the coast of Split, Bol is a stunning seaside town and the most awarded holiday destination in Croatia. Nestled on the south side of the island it sits at the shores of Mount Vidova Gora with enchanting hilly scenery, sandy beaches, and Mediterranean forest to explore.
Bol is the oldest town on the island and historical highlights include Dragon’s Cave to the west of the town, housing a 15th-century chapel with carved walls, the Blaca Hermitage, built into a nearby cliff face, and the 15th-century Dominican Monastery to the east where you’ll find Baroque artworks decorating the walls. However, what Bol is perhaps best recognized for is the Zlatni Rat beach, otherwise known as Golden Horn, for its unique cone shape peninsula shrouded in woodland and fringed with golden pebbles that stretch into the bay.
Zlatni Rat cape plays a strange game with the wind and waves with the currents switching from side to side. Still, this makes it a great place for water sports like windsurfing and kite surfing as well as swimming and snorkeling in the shallow turquoise waters. Zlatni Rat is one of the most unique beaches in the Mediterranean and is just minutes from Bol.
Bol receives 2,620 hours of sunshine per year and is the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of nature that Croatia has to offer. Average summer highs sit at around 85 degrees and with 12 hours of sun a day from June onwards, Bol and Brač Island are great summer retreats.
Vela Luka, Korčula Island
Located in the municipality of Dubrovnik-Neretva in southern Dalmatia, Vela Luka is a small town on the western side of Korčula Island. Tucked into the bottom of the bay with indented coves dotted along the jagged coast, Vela Luka is a gateway to Korčula Town and the surrounding islands with its own peaceful resort vibe and spectacular swimming spots.
Vela Luke is also home to some of the best restaurants, historic sights, and small beaches in Korčula. The Vela Spila or Great Cave is one of the town’s must-see attractions and the rocky hideout is thought to have been inhabited in the Neolithic Period. Other architecture such as the small houses and churches in the center date back to the beginning of the 18th-century and Korčula in general is also known for its dense forests, from which the Greeks assigned the nickname Black Korčula to the island.
From luxury island retreats to quaint ancient vacation rentals, Vela Luka is a dreamy coastal hotspot in Korčula and you can expect pleasant Mediterranean weather year-round. The sea has a strong influence on the climate and lifestyle in Vela Luka, and light winds from the northeast are a welcome relief in the scorching summer months. Vela Luka experiences around 2,600 hours of sunshine per year and the average annual high temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The port town of Makarska on the Dalmatian coast is best known for its Makarska Riviera beaches, bustling seafront promenade, and energetic nightlife. Surrounded by woody headlands and the towering Mount Biokovo, Makarska is much more than a summer party hotspot and offers a bit of something for everyone.
The small town’s population lies just below 12,000. Still, this doesn’t stop over 100,000 tourists a year from choosing the Makarska Riviera for their Croatian getaway. Makarska is just 65 kilometers down the coast from Split so it’s easy to make a day trip up to the busy city, while Dubrovnik is around 150 kilometers south of the town.
The old town of Makarska center on Kačić Square is where you’ll find a charming old church set to the backdrop of rugged mountains with a good selection of bars and restaurants surrounding the central mosaiced water fountain. The port is a safe place for families and couples but the youthful nightlife scene is an undoubted pull factor for certain crowds. Still, the picturesque town beach is worth a mention, where fragrant pines provide shade on the fine pebble sands that meet clear blue seas.
Mount Biokovo to the east is also the home of a vast nature reserve where you can find golden eagles, Balkan chamois, and hairpin roads winding up to the summit of Sveti Jure. The best time to visit to enjoy the nature and coastal scenery is between June and September when average highs hover around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and temperatures barely dip below 70. Winters are cooler but Makarska receives close to 2,750 hours of sunshine a year, second to Hvar, making it a great sunny holiday destination.
Situated in the west of the Pelješac peninsula in southern Dalmatia, Viganj is a diverse mainland tourist resort with stretching views of Korčula island, luxury villas, a laid-back atmosphere, and perfect weather. Thanks to the Maestral winds that are common throughout the summer months, Viganj is a hotspot for water sports, and windsurfing schools line the pebbled beaches along the coast.
Viganj has perfected wild beauty with its mountainous scenery, clear seas, and crashing waves. The Croatian fishing community also acts as a great family summer retreat with kids clubs, campsites, and beach activities aplenty.
The Pelješac channel that separates the peninsula from Korčula can also be easily crossed by ferry making Viganj a great vantage point for the popular island. On a breezy day, you also won’t struggle to make it half the distance to Korčula Town while brushing up on your windsurfing skills.
Viganj is warm and temperate with rainy but mild winters and sun-drenched summers. Highs exceed 80 degrees from as early as late May and you can enjoy 12 hours of sunshine until the end of September. The famous breeze is also a delight in the 85-degree July and August weather and you can expect 350 hours of sunshine a month at this time.
What part of Croatia has the best weather?
The Dalmatian coast receives the most sunshine in Croatia, particularly the outlying islands of Korčula and Hvar where you’ll also find the least annual rainfall and hottest summer averages. The further south you go, the warmer it gets and hot, muggy periods are common from Split to Dubrovnik. The wettest part of the country is the Dinara Mountains on the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Is Croatia warm in winter?
As winters go, Croatia is relatively warm. With a typically Mediterranean climate, November to February sees temperature drops but it remains mild, with January temperatures, the coldest month across the country, rarely reaching below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Hvar Island receives the most sun in winter with 150 hours a month and average highs of 55 degrees, while the Biokovo Mountain can get to minus 20 degrees in the depths of winter.
When is the best time to visit Croatia?
Croatia’s temperate, Mediterranean climate makes it a year-round vacation destination and you can expect warm dry summers and cooler winters wherever you go in the country. If you’re after sun, the best time to visit is between June and August when average high temperatures remain in the mid-80s. However, with average lows of 70 degrees Fahrenheit from late April and until early October in southern Dalmatia, the shoulder seasons also offer pleasant weather with fewer crowds and off-peak discounts.