Sailing is one of the most exciting holiday activities to engage in Croatia at any time of the year as there’s no extreme weather on this part of Europe. But the sailing conditions do vary greatly between pre-season and peak season.
Choosing the best time to sail in Croatia may depend on a number of factors including weather, budget and the unique sailing experiences one is looking for. So if you’re planning to visit Croatia soon for a cruising tour or expedition, you need to gather a few facts about the country’s climate and seasons.
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The Croatian coast is a popular cruising haven not only because of its beautiful coves but also because of its ideal climate and favorable weather throughout the year. On average, the Adriatic Sea –where the Croatian coast lies-experiences about 315 cloudless days in a year.
The peak season is between April and November and usually records a hot and dry climate with temperatures averaging at 28ºC. The winter season in Croatia is characterized by lower temperatures and short spells of rain. Regardless of the kind of weather or climate you love sailing in, you can always find solace in Croatia.
May and June
May marks the beginning of summer in Croatia and temperatures begin to rise steadily at this time, going up to a pleasant high of about 23ºC. The coastal towns start realizing a surge of tourists with restaurants and bars becoming more alive.
The average sea temperature in May is 18ºC, which can be perfect for water sports activities. June is one of the warmest and busiest months in Croatia. During this month there are plenty of sunny days with blue skies and average temperatures of about 22ºC, which can sometimes go up to a high of 27ºC.
Winds are light and moderate, blowing at average speeds of between 10 and 20 knots per hour. Also in June, sailors can enjoy daylight of up to 15 hours and more. There’s little rainfall (about 75mm) that can last for a week or so.
Advantages of sailing in Croatia between May and June:
- The warm land and sea temperatures are perfect for snorkeling, diving, and swimming
- Winds are light and moderate, making it an ideal time to go on sailing expeditions
- All tourist attractions are usually open during this period
- With the peak season setting in at this time, bays, ports, and marinas are likely to start getting crowded
- Winds can be a bit unpredictable during these months
- There are no discounts given for bookings or rental services are demand is rising fast
July and August
The peak months of July and August record the highest number of visitors and sailors, who are out to enjoy the blissfully hot sunny days and the cozy waters of the Croatian coast. The two months experience extremely hot and dry weather with daily temperatures of 28ºC and can go up to 30ºC. Sea temperatures stand at 24ºC, both in July and August.
Advantages of sailing in Croatia between July and August:
- All attractions in the Croatian coastal towns are more alive than ever
- The months record lots of sunny days with blue skies, which can be perfect for sailing, sunbathing and swimming
- Since July and August is the official peak season, you can take advantage of group sailing, beach parties and attend festivals like Dubrovnik Summer Festival
- The weather is extremely hot in July and August, something that might damage your skin or make you uncomfortable
- Marinas and bays are overcrowded with bars, restaurants, and hotels filled to the brim too
- The cost of booking a sailing tour or renting an apartment can be relatively higher compared to other seasons
September and October
In September, temperatures drop down significantly but the waters are still warm enough for one to enjoy some water sports activities. The month is also much wetter compared to July and August. And with high winds like Sirocco and Bura setting in, it can be quite exciting to sail in Croatia at this time. The daily temperatures range between 16 and 19ºC, while sea temperatures remain at a pleasant 23ºC.
October witnesses a fairly warm weather in Croatia with noticeably lower temperatures during the evenings. Daily temperatures hover between 18 and 22ºC. The Bura and Sirocco winds are stronger at this time, something that might not auger well with sailors. There might also be occasional showers, especially towards the end of October.
Advantages of sailing in Croatia between September and October:
- Crowds begin to lessen in September, making sailing more convenient
- The waters are still warm enough for you to enjoy swimming, snorkeling and/or diving
- Booking cruising tours and renting sailing vessels is quite seamless during this period
- Most tourist attractions are still open in September through mid-October
- Bura and Sirocco winds can be too strong, especially in October, something that can make sailing challenging
- With less crowds witnessed in late October, major tourist attractions may start to close
November to April
November ushers in the official off-peak sailing season in Croatia, which runs through April. Since it is winter season, the weather is colder with temperatures hitting the 9ºC low or even lower. However, the average daily temperatures in the period leading to April can go up to 13ºC or so. November to January records the highest daily rainfall ranging between 150 and 180 mm. In February and March, rainfall starts to decrease steadily as temperatures begin to rise significantly.
Advantages of sailing in Croatia between November and April:
- No crowded beaches, marinas or ports
- Hotel bookings and boat rental services are highly discounted during this period
- Most tourist attractions are closed during this period
- The land and sea temperatures are not ideal for water sports activities
- With the cold and unpredictable weather, sailing cannot be as enjoyable as it would be the rest of year.
When Are The Best Yacht Charter Deals?
Croatia starts to experience an influx of sailors in May and the crowds are even more between June and September. And since boat chartering services are high on demand at this time, you would obviously expect little or no charter discounts and deals.
But beginning October (the tail-end of peak sailing season) through April, the start of warmer and dry months, there can be great opportunities to save more of boat charters. Whether you want to charter a bareboat, a skippered boat or crewed boat, you can be assured of enjoying great discounts and juicy deals in between these months.
So…When Is the Best Time for Sailing Croatia?
The best time is basically when the skipper is ready to set out into the sea. And that’s generally between early April and mid-October. During this time, the conditions are calmer, the waters pleasantly warmer and there are many festivities happening around the coastal towns. So, cruising through the Croatian coast during this period can be as rewarding as it is enjoyable.
What to Pack
If your sailing tour is all about basking on the hot sun and enjoying the chilly winds of the coast, then carrying an organic sunscreen, a hat, a pair of sunglasses and non-marking deck shoes can do you good. And if you can’t go a day without immersing yourself in the water, then make sure you include a swimsuit, pair of shorts and towel in your dry bag. A light sweater or heavy jacket can also be useful in the evenings or when sailing during colder days.
Tips To Consider When Going Sailing In Croatia
- Going on a sailing trip to Croatia requires you to plan ahead if you are to enjoy a convenient and fun-filled experience.
- In order to be guaranteed of getting value for your money, choose to visit Croatia when the weather is pleasant (both land and sea, boat rentals reasonable and restaurants and marinas less crowded.
- Charter a vessel a month or two in the run-up to the peak season for you to enjoy great discounts and deals
- Have a checklist of all the things you need for your sailing tour or expedition
- Consider renting a boat during peak season instead of booking a group sailing tour, as there are huge queues on the islands of Croatia
- Remember to have fishing or diving license before venturing into the sea, if you love engaging in any of these activities
- Choose to charter a skippered or crewed boat if you have little sailing experience or are cruising the Croatian coast for the first time.
Croatia is a true sailing paradise for many. From its charming coves to its warm, cloudless weather that lasts the better part of the year all through to its amazing marinas and restaurants, there’s much you can enjoy on this part of Europe.
If you’ve been wondering where to take your next summer sailing tour to, then Croatia might just be the best recommendation for you. When well-organized, the trip will not only be adventurous and fun-filled but will also be hassle-free!
For further information on planning your yacht charter in Croatia, please contact us.
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Did you already sail to Croatia? If so, when was the best time for you? You are welcome to share your experience in the comments below.