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Croatia in March: Is it the best time to go to Croatia?

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Planning to visit Croatia in March, and wondering how the weather, and sightseeing options look like? In this guide, you will find our travel tips from when we visited Croatia for the first in the spring, plus we are also sharing our packing list for the month. 

Visiting Croatia in March: Is it the best time to go to Croatia?

Croatia Map: Guide to Croatia in March

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We love traveling to Europe in the shoulder season, and in the month of March, we found a good flight deal from Canada to Zagreb Croatia and decided to spend our vacation there – exploring the length and breadth of the country including checking off some of the iconic destinations. 

What is the weather in Croatia in March? Croatia in March Weather 

Here is how the weather looks like in the month of March. 

Croatia Top Destinations in March: Croatia March Weather & temperatures

ZAGREB

Ave temp: 12° / 4° (C )

Ave temp: 54° / 40° (F)

Rain: 7 days

SPLIT

Ave temp: 14° / 8° (C )

Ave temp: 58° / 47° (F)

Rain: 7 days

DUBROVNIK

Ave temp: 15° / 9° (C )

Ave temp: 59° / 49° (F)

Rain: 8 days

The average daily temperatures in major destinations in Croatia range from 4 degree C (40 F) to a high of 15 degree C (59 F). Temperatures inland and in the north of the country are colder as compared to the coastal destinations in the south (Dalmatia region). 

Rainy days average about 7 to 11 days a month. Overcast days are common, rain is not heavy and more of a drizzle. We had warm, sunny days, and gloomy ones with slight precipitation during our Croatia vacation in March. 

Thankfully, there was no heavy rain. 

Although there was no rain, there were many days when the sky was grey and dull. For us the temperature was pleasant and perfect for city sightseeing. 

If you are someone who is generally cold (like me), we recommend carrying a warm scarf and a pullover at most times of the day.  In the evenings, the temperatures also dip and a cardigan or a warm jacket is needed. 

Zagreb Cathedral in Croatia in March
Zagreb Cathedral in March

When we were exploring Zagreb, we had clear weather, perfect for crisp walks. Most days we had temperatures of 6 to 10 degrees Celsius (42.8 to 50 F), with a slight wind. We had to wear light denim or a faux leather jacket at all times. 

Split, although warmer at 8 to 14 degrees C (47 to 58 F), the wind by the beaches, and promenade made us wear our hoodies, and scarves. However, it was still lovely to soak in the sun by the lakeside.  

Dubrovnik was a delight in the spring months, with empty lanes. There were a couple of days where it was warm, and we could dip our toes into the water (beaches), and play. 

No swimming though. And there were days when it was WINDY like crazy, and that made the temperature cooler, and the skies a bit gloomy!

Advantages of visiting Croatia in March

Before booking our flights and accommodation for Croatia, we were debating between traveling in the months of February, March and April. Now temperatures in February were colder, and we didn’t want to miss time outdoors, exploring comfortably (leaving our heavy winter wear in Canada). 

Although weatherwise, the tail end of April is warmer, but we didn’t notice a massive difference in temperatures in March or early April. And we were glad to have traveled sooner than later!

So here is why you must visit Croatia in March 

March is off season in Croatia with fewer crowds

In the month of March, fewer tourists plan to visit Croatia. Croatia’s peak season is during summer (from late May to August), and it can be very crowded and hot at the same time.

Dubrovnik in March
Fewer crowds in Dubrovnik in March

By visiting in March, we were able to beat the rush, and explore landmarks at ease. 

When we were planning for the trip, we read how in the summer months navigating through the old town lanes is crazy. Our local guide confirmed this to us, when we asked them about crowds. Plus don’t forget the cruise ships in the peak seasons. 

Our group tour ended up being a private tour as it was just the two of us! It is important to note that most sightseeing and walking tours were operational. 

Road crossings from Dubrovnik to Split, or other parts of the Balkans was painless with less wait time at the border. 

During summer months, the border crossings can take up to 1.50 to 2 hours! 

So season wise, and with fewer crowds March is a good time to visit. Don’t forget to carry a warm cardigan to be able to explore the outdoors. 

Plan a trip to Croatia around the holidays in March

We plan our vacations annually as we work full time. In March (in Canada), we get statutory holidays off when Easter and Good Friday fall in that month (long weekend). 

It is also spring break in the United States and Canada – so planning the trip around March is a good idea to take advantage of government holidays or take your kids during the school break (instead of the maddening crowds in the summertime). 

Great flight and accommodation deals in March for Croatia 

Because March is off season, we were able to score great flight deals from our home city. When we traveled it was not spring break in Canada, and Easter was a month away, so it was perfect timing to get vacation approved from our employers, and book flights and accommodation. 

Dolac Appartment
Dolac One Apartments in Zagreb: Perfect for long term stays

Booking at the city centre in cities like Zagreb, and Dubrovnik was a breeze too. As it was a low season, hotel staff were extra nice with goodies (from food, wine and discounts on extended night stays). 

Read: Where to stay in Zagreb Croatia

You can expect to pay 40-50% less in the off season months in Croatia as compared to July/prime summer months. 

Just like flights, and hotels if you are renting a car or booking tours, you can score a nice discount. Most of our tours were booked online, and Get Your Guide website had them at 10 to 15% off on most activities.

Take advantage of no summer fee in March

This is something we came to know when we visited Croatia. There are a few attractions where you pay a regular entry fee, versus paying a ‘summer fee’ in the peak months. Exhibitions at the Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik Old Town were free (and paid in the summer). 

Dubrovnik City Walls entrance is 50 kn per person until June, and 200 kn per person for the month of July. 

Croatia in March
Split in March

Most attractions are open, just be mindful of the weather

All the museums, cathedrals and places of interest were open, and operational. Many attractions do have a summer and ‘other’ season schedules, so do check before visiting. In the summer, of course, the hours were longer. 

As the weather is a little tricky and unpredictable in March, it is wise to head to indoor sightseeing options when the temperatures drop or if it rains. 

Enjoy festivals in March in Croatia

March is sort of a transition month in Croatia in various parts of the country. There are a handful of traditions and festivals that are celebrated in Croatia to bid adieu to the winter months.  (More festivals listed below.)

Samobor Carnival: Samobor carnival takes place in March. This is a tradition that has been celebrated since 1827. In this carnival, street performers host events throughout the week leading up to Shrove Tuesday. 

Rijeka Carnival. Rijeka Carnival is celebrated each year before Lent in Rijeka. Starting mid January to mid March you can check out street art, pageants, dances, concerts, and parades in Rijeka.

Celebrations in March in Croatia - Rijeka
Rijeka Carnival in March Croatia

Prepare for the weather, and limited restaurant options

Croatia in March experiences moments of sunshine, rain and gloomy weather. But……but… as long as you wear comfortable shoes, and something warm (cardigan, scarf or light jacket), you should have no problems in exploring the outdoors or walking the old towns, and beaches.

The possibility of rain is for 7-8 days, but it won’t rain heavily to spoil your vacation. Just take a break in a nice cafe, or visit a museum, or indoor attraction when it showers.

Cafes in Dubrovnik Croatia
Cafes in Dubrovnik Croatia

A word about restaurants: Due to low season, many small cafes, and restaurants may not be open. You will find places to eat, or buy groceries (and they won’t be super crowded), but not every restaurant in town will be open!

Disadvantages: Things to consider when visiting Croatia in March 

Although we had a great time in Croatia in March, this month may not be the best time to visit – depending on your travel plans/activities that you wish to enjoy. Here are some factors and things to consider,

Too cold for beach time 

During our trip we were able to enjoy 1-2 afternoons by the beach but it was too cold to dip our toes. As it is not warm for beach weather, beaches were empty, making it perfect for strolls and walks.

But you won’t be able to enjoy a normal ‘beach-like’ ambience as it will be empty, with cafes closed, sunbeds and umbrellas gone, and cooler weather!

Girl sitting by the beach side in Croatia in March
Lapad Beach in Croatia in March (it was slightly chilly – though)

So if you are heading to Croatia for warm weather, sun and sand type of vacation, then March is not the time. 

Cold for swims 

Needless to say you can’t go swimming in March in Croatia. There are swimming pools in resorts overlooking the scenic landmarks and landscapes, but that’s about it. 

Swimming season starts in May when the temperatures are warmer. Typically swim months are from June through September. 

Limited tours, and attractions are open

In March, many of the tour operators may not operate island tours, or special excursions. 

In Dubrovnik, we found that island tours had limited availability, and ferries operated less frequently. 

Planning is key; do check schedules so that you are able to catch the ferry/boat on time to explore islands (if tours aren’t taking guests). 

However, museums, walking tours, and funicular rides were open in Dubrovnik, Split and Zagreb. 

Zagreb funicular from Upper town
Zagreb funicular

Zagreb was probably the only place not subjected to seasonal/weather tantrums – all sightseeing attractions were open!

We recommend checking tours, and tickets availability ahead of time, especially if you have a specific bucket list item on your travel itinerary. 

Because we love city and culture travel, March was perfect for photography, walking tours with a local, and just enjoyed our time exploring leisurely – without feeling rushed (or pushed along with the crowds). So if you are like us, you will enjoy Croatia in March. 

Places like Duvrovnik, Split and Istria will be warmer too during the day so you can enjoy little outdoor activities like sightseeing cruises, stroll at beaches or promenades, and day time exploration. 

Limited restaurants are open

Many guide books will tell you restaurants and cafes are closed in March. It is true ‘some’ restaurants will be closed for the season, but….you will find places to eat and hang out.

In fact nightlife in Split and Zagreb will be inviting. A plenty of bars and cafes (plus musical events, etc.) will be operating as normal. 

Warm, and inviting in Dubrovnik
Cafes in Zagreb in march
Cute, but closed in (early) March

When you are road tripping or navigating via small towns, not a LOT of restaurants will be open. But you will find a place to buy your meals. You have to be open, and flexible with food options to enjoy Croatia in March. 

That being said, if you have a spot/cafe that you really want to visit, check that ahead of time.

We wanted to visit the Cliff bar or the Buza Bar (after we read reviews, and saw photos online), and it was open in March in Dubrovnik – but even if it was not open – I don’t think we would have changed our trip plans (just saying!). 

Unpredictable Weather 

Weather is the one thing that we were concerned about during our trip. We didn’t want our photos to be dull in the low light, but escaping crowds was a big bonus for us. And so we booked our trip in March. 

We were traveling in Croatia for 10-12 days, with multiple nights in one destination, so we hoped that some days the skies would be clear for photography. 

But other than that, we packed a light waterproof jacket, and I had a nice cardigan and a scarf with me – when the temps dropped. (Get our packing list below.)

Dolac Market in March in Zagreb
Dolac Markets in Zagreb in March

We are happy and satisfied with our trip and LOVE how the photos turned out. It was super gloomy on one day in Dubrovnik and the skies were all grey/white – but with slight edits, we love how the images turned out well!

So, unpredictability of weather in Croatia is something you have to factor in. It can shower a few hours, have overcast skies, and warm and bright on other days. 

Do note that landscapes, and popular national parks are open in March, but you may not be able to see all the green leafy trees, as the country is shredding its winter blues. 

In certain natural landscapes because trees are not blooming you can actually sight mountains or scenic viewpoints clearly, which is otherwise covered or views interrupted by tree branches. 

In March the weather is warming up, however it won’t be super hot (which in a way is good for sightseeing).  

Oh, and no snow in March in major touristy destinations like Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik Hvar or Zadar.

Things to do in Croatia in March: By Destination

Here are some of the activities and must see attractions in Croatia in March,

Dubrovnik: What is there to do in Dubrovnik in March? 

March is the perfect time to visit Dubrovnik. Being an off season, the old city is left empty for you to explore. Take your time walking the quaint lanes, capturing the well preserved buildings, and relax by the beach or at a cafe. 

Girl enjoying in a cliff bar in Dubrovnik in March Croatia
Buza Bar in Dubrovnik in March

Dubrovnik warms up in March, with temperatures ranging from  15° / 9° Celsius (or 59° / 49° F). Some days will be overcast skies, and it would rain, but having the old town to yourself is a blessing – when you opt to visit in the offseason. 

We booked a few day tours from Dubrovnik, and they were operating in March. Our tours included – Kotor, Mostar, and public transportation or buses to travel in the Balkans. 

In Dubrovnik, do check out the attractions in Old Town such as the Rector’s Palace, Sponza Palace, walk the old city walls and the Stradun and more. 

Split in March

Split is also spared from the maddening summer crowds in March. We didn’t find a lot of crowds in the old town, and photographing the Diocletian’s Palace and the Sphinxes were a breeze. 

Rive Promenade in Split in March (evening)
Rive Promenade in Split in March (evening)

The Riva Promenade is lovely for a stroll. Restaurants in and around the old town were open for guests in March. 

Zagreb in March

We LOVED Zagreb in March. It was amazing for sightseeing, and for photography! 

Zagreb is often overlooked by tourists visiting Croatia, we highly recommend staying there 1-2 nights. 

March was pleasant with nice weather, and little to no crowds at the museums such as the Museum of Broken Relationships and the The Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb (Muzej za umjetnost i obrt).

We had the St Mark’s Church to ourselves, and getting on the shortest funicular was easy. 

The central square – Ban Jelačić Square – was lively in the evenings with people (and not deserted) which added to the amiebence. You will also find markets, cafes and bars open (and active) in March in Zagreb. 

Other destinations: What is there to do in Croatia in March?

Plitvice Lakes National Park in March: Plitvice Lakes National Park is a popular site in Croatia for tourists. The park is open in March, and it is a good idea to visit the site before the peak seasons. 

There will be fewer visitors, so you get a good view of the lakes,and the cascading waterfalls. 

If traveling by car, parking is free. And entrance fees are lower in the season as compared to the peak season. Note that in March, the Upper Lakes access is closed, and boat services may not be operational. 

But from the Lower Lakes, and the hiking trails you will be able to get a good glimpse of the waterfalls. 

Krka National Park in March: Krka National Park is another popular park which is open all year round in Croatia. However from November to March, certain sections of the park may be closed. 

The park has 5 entrances. Lozovac entrance is the main entrance and between April and October shuttle buses take visitors to the beginning of the Skradinski buk trail (waterfall). 

Outside of these months, you can drive down (car or by tour), as the park is not busy. 

Shuttle services only operate when the bus is full, and hence don’t rely on it in March. Book a tour, if you are not renting a car. 

Boat tours are operational in March to travel from Skradin entrance (second closest to the popular Krka National Park waterfall – Skradinski buk). 

Blue Cave Trips and Tours: Blue Cave or the Blue Grotto is one of the unique natural phenomena in the world. And this experience is truly magical.

You can explore a Blue Cave by a speed boat tour from Split or Hvar. 

In March (and also in spring and fall months) you can go on a 10 hour (full day) tour of the Blue Cave – Bisevo island, Stiniva bay – Vis island, Blue Lagoon – Budikovac island, Hvar Island and Paklinski islands.

The tour includes a swim/dive in the water, and in March as the water is too cold for a swim, you are provided extra time for sightseeing. 

The tour does provide a full experience (minus the swim). During peak season this tour takes about 12+ hours due to the crowds.

If the Blue Cave is closed because of bad weather, the tour operator provides an alternative route with reduced price and you will also get partial refund. Do check the tour options below, 

Tour options: 

Festivals and Events in Croatia in March

When visiting Croatia in March you are also welcomed to traditional and modern day festivals in the country. 

  • International Documentary Film Festival: Zagreb conducts the IDFF or Zagrebdox in March. 
  • Zagreb: Zagreb Festival of Lights
  • Dubrovnik FestiWine: Dubrovnik FestiWine takes place in March where about 100 regional winemakers showcase their wines to visitors.
  • Samobor Carnival: A Croatian tradition that has been celebrated since 1827. In this carnival, street performers host events throughout the week leading up to Shrove Tuesday. 
  • Rijeka Carnival. Rijeka Carnival is celebrated each year before Lent in Rijeka. Starting mid-January to mid-March you can check out street art, pageants, dances, concerts, and parades in Rijeka.
  • Easter: Depending on the calendar (for that year), you may be able to take part in the Holy Week in various neighborhoods in Croatia. In particular, Zagreb and Korcula old town are popular. You can also enjoy the Easter food festival in Rovinj

Things to know before your visit to Croatia in March

Enjoying quiet moment in Dubrovnik Croatia in March
Enjoying a quiet moment in Dubrovnik Croatia in March

Croatia in March Weather 

In March, the average temperature in Croatia ranges from a low of 4° (C )/40° (F), to a high of 15° (C )/59° (F). There is little to no snow in natural landscapes. 

Destinations by the coast have no snow, and the weather is slightly warmer there than inland/places in the northern part of the country. 

Expect rains for 7 to 11 days of the month. 

When is the best time to visit Croatia?

The best time to visit Croatia is in the months of May and June (summer) or September and October (fall). During these months, the temperatures are bearable for sightseeing outside (without being overly hot and humid like in the summer months.)

Weather is also great for swimming, evening boat cruises and sunbathing by beach sides. Plus as compared to the peak/summer months, the early summer and fall/autumn months are perfect to beat the crowds. 

Boats docked at the Old Port - Dubrovnik Old Town
Boats at the Old Port – Dubrovnik Old Town

Is Croatia warm in March? Is Croatia hot in March? Is Croatia cold in March?

As compared to winter months, March is the onset of the spring season, and the temperature begins to rise. 

Places by the coast like Istria, Split and Dubrovnik will be warmer than inland destinations including the capital city – Zagreb. 

  • The average daily temperatures in major destinations in Croatia range from 4 degree C (40 F) to a high of 15 degree C (59 F). So it is not HOT, but you will experience warm temperatures during the day
  • 4 degree (C ) is not cold, I mean we are from Canada – so it is nice weather for us, perfect for a walk, with a light jacket (for me).
  • Rainy days average about 7 to 11 days a month. Overcast days are common, rain is not heavy and more of a drizzle. 

For warmer weather all throughout the country, plan your trip after mid March. 

Can you swim in Croatia in March or April?

Unfortunately, the water is cold for a swim in March or April in Croatia. The perfect time for swimming is in the summer months from June through September. 

No swimming in March in Croatia, but you can dip your toesies!
No swimming in March, but you can dip your toesies! (Dubrovnik – Croatia)

The highest sea temperatures in Croatia are in August, and the swimming season typically opens up in late May, or when temperatures reach warmer levels (fit for a swim). 

What to pack for Croatia in March?

Here is what we packed for Croatia in March, 

  • Long sleeve tops: Long sleeve shirts, blouses & tops (for her)
  • Bottoms: Jeans (in dark colors)
  • Dress: Flowy dresses (for photos only, if you like. Or pair with warm leggings to stay comfortable) 
  • Comfortable walking shoes 
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket 
  • Light cardigan (optional)
  • Sunglasses & sunscreen 
  • A scarf
  • Charger: Carry multi-charging cables. They are so handy to charge multiple tech devices. This is our favorite.
  • Universal Adaptor: Croatia uses a plug with two round pins (type C), unlike the flat ones in North America. You can buy yours here
  • Camera: Don’t forget your camera. Our camera gear – Sony Mirrorless Camera and Sony A7iii (perfect for low light captures)
  • SD Card: To back up all the photos you will be capturing in Europe
  • Passport: Check the validity of the passport (not expired). Visa-related documents, if it applies. Croatia allows visitors with a Schengen visa. 
  • Currency and Credit Cards: Don’t forget your credit cards and currency. The official currency of Croatia is the Croatian kuna. 1 Croatian Kuna = 0.16 United States Dollar. Many places do accept Euros, but change is returned in Kuna. Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, but Euros has not been fully implemented as an official currency yet (tentative 2023). 
  • Don’t forget to apply for travel insurance to protect all of your vacations.
Girl in Dubrovnik taking in city views from the funicular
Views of Dubrovnik in March

Is March a good time to go to Croatia?

Yes, and no. We planned our trip to Croatia using online resources and we were happy with our experience in March. If you like city and culture related attractions then you will enjoy visiting Croatia in March – museums, events and bars and restaurants were open. 

Hotels and flights were affordable, when traveling from Canada or the USA. You will also save if you are traveling from Asia or planning to stay long term (as accommodation costs will be cheaper).

A big plus for visiting Croatia in March is beating the summer heat and rush. Fewer crowds means more room in public transport, tours, and in cobblestone lanes. 

However, if you wish to swim, and soak in the sun, go diving or snorkeling, yacht parties, then March is not the time! 

Ready to book your trip? Get all of our tips and information about Croatia  

Is March a good time to visit Croatia: Croatia Travel tips

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