Don't worry if you missed out on summer in Croatia as autumn and winter could be a great getaway from work and stress. With mild climate and warm days, including lots of festivals and other happenings, Croatia is now a resort to visit throughout the whole year.
Indeed, mild but rainy weather along the coast may keep you off the beach, and some hotels may be closed, but overall it’s a good time for holiday if you like participating in many cultural events, if you want to travel on the budget as the price of hotels drops dramatically in autumn and winter and there are lots of weekend spa packages with extremely low prices; and if you want to take a part in the famous Carnival in February.
Many tourists come to Istria at the beginning of the autumn when days are still warm and long enough for cruising, walking, hiking, and perhaps a quick swim because the sea temperature is still up enough. Beautiful scenery, cool nights great for night sleep after long walks and perhaps visit to one of the famous and well equipped wellness centres, and many sights are just the part of it. The best known Lovran gastronomic event is a real feast for gourmands - cakes, sweets and other dishes prepared with chestnuts (maruni), according to old local recipes. Each year the month of October is that of "maruni", when along with the entertainment programmes in the Lovran restaurants and in the cafe of Hotel "Excelsior", a rich gastronomic range of chestnut cakes and sweets is on offer on the streets of the old town. At the end of the month of October, each year, cafes in neighbouring Opatija - celebrate "maruni", offering a great assortment of cakes prepared with this tasty ingredient. This is surely something you should not miss out.
Good late autumn destinations in Croatia include the interior of Istria, the national parks and cities such as Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik that offer a vibrant cultural life where you can always duck into a museum if the weather turns nasty.
There’s something interesting about spending your winter in the Northern parts of the Adriatic. You can easily spend your mornings with cup of coffee along the well known “lungo mare” in Opatija, and still go to the beautiful Platak, mountain where you can enjoy the rest of the day snowboarding or skiing as the snow can last up there until the March. Last minute flights are available at the end of the summer, cheaper private accommodation, and the bookings for New Years Eve, especially in Opatija and Dubrovnik which are still one of the top spots in Croatia. And, as mentioned before, Carnival in Rijeka is the event of the winter, so to speak. You can just take pictures, try local cuisine, spend your days attending the minor events, or, roll up your sleeves, put your mask on and join hundreds on streets of this old port town and have some fun.
The interior can be brutally cold but it's good for appreciating snowy hills and white-capped mountains, especially if you ski. But, don't expect great deals in Zagreb though, as the urban city starts its season as soon as the beaches become more and more empty. Still, if you book early enough, you could experience this old city and its charm, and be only a few hours away from the coast.
If you don't like summer hot days and nights, want some peace and still have some fun when and where you want to, autumn and winter are the best parts of the year for visiting Croatia. Forget about traffic jams, crowded beaches, long lines for your favourite restaurants and local rides. Blend in with its culture and people, visit places you always wanted but kept delaying your trip due to crowds, and enjoy. Don't let the low prices fool you because in the end, you'll get the full service by the kind and cheerful hosts who'll make you stay unforgettable.