Croatia is a country primarily defined the east coastline of Adriatic Sea. It is a rather small country very near to Italy & Greece. It is comprised of mainland area and collection of Islands. The best time to visit the country is in the shoulder months either May & June months or else the country can be best enjoyed in September – October months. However, if you are planning to visit Croatia in winters then the temperature here can be expected to go as low as -2 to 0 degrees celsius. But the average temperature remains around 5-10 degrees celsius. This temperature with mostly sunny days make Croatia one of your best bets for travelling in Europe during cold months.
Reaching Croatia in Winters:
Croatia can be easily and quickly reached via air route. There are a number of flight options available connecting cities within Europe and even abroad. In case, one is travelling internally from Europe then trains, buses & ferries are available too. But winters being an off-season, by & large, the number of ferries connecting Italy to Croatian cities are reduced drastically.
This is where bus services like Flixbus help people commute from Italy to Croatia. For instance, one can plan and start his or her journey from Venice and reach Rijeka crossing places like Trieste and some parts of Slovenia. Post that one can take another bus or hire a cab to Dubrovnik, Split or any city in Croatia. There are direct bus services also from Venice to major Croatian cities. Select carefully as per your schedules and other variables like duration of journey, costing etc.
Visa Requirement for Croatia:
Currently, Schengen Visa is sufficient to enter Croatia but if one is travelling from any other parts of Europe then Multiple entry visa is a pre-requisite.
Things to do in 72 hrs. of Stay in Croatia in Winters:
Reach Split. It is best to keep this day to explore this old city. It is the second-largest city in the country. Croatia in winters has a little different daylight scenario. The sun usually sets around 4 PM. so people here have a rather early start in the morning. Many people can be seen walking towards their offices as early as 7 AM. The aroma emerging from bakeries every morning is enchanting.
One can easily walk their way to different places in the old town area of Split. This area is also the one that is most touristy. Rest part of Split is more like a normal city.
The old town area of Split has a brilliant view of waterfront and ship docks on one side while in the land region it is packed with restaurants both permanent and make-shift ones. During winters especially near New Year & Christmas time, this part of Split converts into a big joyous hub for celebrations. There are open-air musical performances alongside the eateries to woo locals & tourists alike. For children too fun rides are available.
The main places to visit in Split are Diocletian’s Palace, St. Duje’s Cathedral, Statue of Grgur Ninski, Marjan & the beach bay areas like Stobrec. These place can easily be covered before sunset. ost monuments Cathedral etc. are in the old town itself so along with visiting these monuments one can stop over to grab quick bites and do some street shopping.
Around 5 PM most street shops close and people route to the Riva Harbour area for chilling and enjoying the festive vibes. Restaurants, hypermarkets and other branded stores are usually open till 8 PM though.
Head to Hvar Island.
Hvar Island has been voted 7th best island in Europe by Travel+Leisure in 2019. The place justifies every bit of this recognition and so it is a must to visit when in Croatia. Hvar is reachable by ferry from Split. It takes about 1.5 hrs of a scenic venture into the Adriatic Sea to reach Hvar Islands.
There are buses that you from the port to Stari Grad, the central bus stop. Travelling to this part of Croatia in winters one can expect that there will be many things that will be closed and one may not find the place to be touristy. But on the brighter side, one can & will enjoy the most beautiful island of Europe to be exclusively available.
It is important to note that the last morning ferry and so the bus reaches Stari Grad at around 12 -12.30 PM and in winters mostly the eateries close by 1. Barring 1-2 places, food options at that point of time is limited. Most places of interest like St.Stephen’s Cathedral, Franciscan Monastery and more are closed by 1 PM. So it is advisable to catch the first ferry in the morning to be able to visit these monuments on time. Also if you arent planning to stay back in the night at Hvar then it is highly advisable to not miss the last bus that leaves at 5.30 PM. from Hvar towards the port.
Places that are a must-visit in Hvar are Pakleni Islands Archipelago, Dubovica Beach & Pokonji Dol. Apart from this St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Franciscan Monastery and Španjola Fortress are also worth visiting places. Exploring the old, cobbled and rather exclusively available streets of Stari Gard too are quite enticing. Lastly, soaking in the cold aquamarine water or lazing around in the main street is purely a matter of personal choice.
Post returning from Hvar, in the evening head to Riva Harbour area to enjoy the musical show and cool, much more pleasant than the rest of Europe breeze of Croatia.
Gear up for an exquisite experience, that’s Krka National Park.
More about this national park which is around 88 km. away from Split in another article soon. Plitvice National Park is almost frozen and so it doesn’t make too much sense of visiting.
Post coming back from Krka, do not forget to try the Fritule a sweet street-side snack speciality of Croatia and some yummy pizza slices. Also, the rest of the time before departing from Croatia do not forget to buy souvenirs for your loved ones.
If you are heading back to Italy then taking up a government-aided Jardolinija ferry is the best bet. It is economical and has private cabin rooms too. The journey between Split to Anacona, Italy is almost an overnight one and the ferry arrives early in the morning to the destination. Be prepared for a hard-hitting welcome by the winters in Italy.
Our Special Memory of Croatia in Winters & a Close-Shave Experience too:
Apart from being a beautiful country, Croatia also has some of the most affable bunch of people. Here people are ready to help and guide responsible travellers. Just for the information, all buses are wifi enabled. While finalising transport for our Croatia trip, we read some articles & tour agent websites over the internet which mentioned that buses from Rijeka to Split are fewer in winters. On the contrary, we found Croatian Government Bus at 3 AM. which took us to Split comfortably. It was a Rijeka to Dubrovnik bus but had ‘Split’ as one of the stops. Apart from this private cabs are also readily available though they are a little pricey.
Croatian beauty that we won’t forget ever!
Just before boarding the ferry, all passengers have to line up for immigration and security checks. We too qued up and on the counter there was an extraordinarily beautiful female Croatian Police Officer. Her beauty is beyond the capacity of our words to justify.
Close Shave Experience:
Well, so she examined our passports that had an entry & exit Slovenia stamp on it (as we had crossed while coming from Venice.) She immediately called her fellow police officer and discussed in local language. There were few questions asked from us like for what reason we were in Slovenia, why we chose the following road route for visiting Croatia in winters and finally it was concluded that we will have to pay a fine of some Kunas (local currency).
We had nothing else to do but gathering all our courage & put forth our points before the two police officers. We also showed them our multi-entry Schengen visa seeing this they allowed us to go without being fined. Yes, that was a close shave but also taught us the importance of reading in detail about the rules of the country one needs to visit. If you are planning to visit one or two countries in Europe then getting a multiple entry visa is highly recommended!
This travel guide is for travellers who are entering Croatia in winters. If this guide was helpful then do like, comment & share this post. Also, do subscribe to this website for getting new posts straight into your email inbox!
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