You can sail in Croatia from April to October. All through the summer, the weather is fine and sailing around the Dalmatian islands is bliss. In this article, we discover when is the best time to sail in Croatia, based on value, crowds, the weather and things to do.
Shoulder season is the best value
Come to sail in Croatia during the shoulder season and you win on many levels, first and foremost on cost!
September-October is our favorite time of year. The summer crowds have dissipated but the sea is beautifully warm, and the weather is wonderful. Yacht charters during the last week of September are on average 38% lower than their high-season prices¹ so there are some great bargains to be found. It is also cheaper to travel to the Dalmatian coast outside of the normal school holiday months when airfares are inflated due to the demand.
There is good value to be had at the beginning of the season as well (ie April-May). Mid-May prices are 36% below the peak². With long hours of daylight and temperatures rising steadily, this makes for some lovely sailing conditions for a sneaky early holiday.
Crowd control in Croatia
One of the most attractive draws for chartering a yacht during the shoulder season, apart from the price, has to be the relative lack of crowds.
Croatia is increasingly becoming one of Europe’s hottest tourist destinations. In the summer months, key destinations can become overwhelmed with visitors. It is much easier to enjoy the must-see sights without an army of selfie sticks to battle through. Tourism statistics from 2018 reveal that over half of the region’s annual visitors³ came in July and August, while only a fifth came in May and September (source: Croatian Bureau of Statistics). So, why not come and enjoy Croatia outside of the mid-summer madness (if you can)!
Tied to the peak season?
Timing is key and local knowledge is priceless if you do intend to come in high season. This is where the experience of the skipper truly shines through, knowing where to go and when in order to stay ahead of the pack. Whether they get you there at the right time of day or know when it is prudent to book ahead, having someone on board able to provide advice is gold-dust.
What about the weather?
The best of the sunshine is found during the summer months of June to August. But the weather during the shoulder season is still very good. You will find average daily temperatures in Dalmatia are slightly higher the further north you are, with Zadar a couple of degrees warmer than Dubrovnik during the day and as much as 5°C warmer at night.
In the summer, temperatures during the day tend to average 25-30°C. This warmth extends into September which enjoys a lovely 24-26°C on average during the day. Daytime temperatures in May tend to be 5°C higher than in April, and already averaging the low-to-mid 20s.
The crystal clear waters of the Adriatic are at their warmest from July to September (peaking at 25°C). That said, they never really get cold enough to take your breath away, even in the spring! Oftentimes, the waters provide a refreshing relief to the heat of the midday sun.
Seasonal winds are more reliable during the shoulder season which means that you get to harness the power of the wind more often. After all, that is what true sailing is about, isn’t it?! The exhilaration and excitement of effortlessly gliding through the water using the forces of nature, without the background drubbing of a motor to disturb the moment. For the best sailing opportunities, come and sail in the shoulder season.
Even during the summer, the afternoon often brings a welcome breeze to fill the sails. Most weeks will provide some sailing opportunities. While navigating through the maze of the Dalmatian archipelago, knowledge of the local winds and how they filter through the straits helps to squeeze every last breath into your sails.
Rain clouds stay inland for the most part
On the coast and around the islands, there is little rainfall during the summer. Perhaps the occasional welcome downpour which quickly passes.
The clouds tend to provide a backdrop over the mainland, snagging on the mountainous regions. It is with smug contentment that you can sip a sundowner from your yacht, looking back to the mainland…. knowing that you are where the grass is greener (or perhaps the sky is bluer)!
Whenever you come, there is always plenty to do!
Croatia thrives on its tourism industry and there is a vast range of cultural events scheduled to run across Dalmatia all season long. For further details see our blog article on the coming season: Summer 2019 Cultural Events. If music festivals are more your style, check out everything you need to know in the Summer 2019 Music Festivals guide.
We love it here and stay all season long, so whenever you are thinking of coming, we will be here to help! Get in touch today to start planning your next sailing holiday in Croatia! Why not start off by getting your 2019 brochure?
¹ Data based on an average of 68 yachts and catamarans offered in our portfolio, which varied from 19-55% cheaper than their seasonal highs.
² Data based on an average of 58 yachts and catamarans offered in our portfolio, which varied from 23-52% cheaper during the week commencing 18 May than their seasonal highs.
³ First release data for 2018 on tourist arrivals into the counties of Dalmatia.
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