Croatia in December: Tips for A Christmas Holiday

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Croatia in December spells the arrival of winter; think snowy ski slopes, festive towns, and few tourists. The weather takes a dip in the north but the south coast still enjoys a few mild and sunny days. Much of the country celebrates Christmas, which in Croatia is a magical affair with numerous city markets and festivities. During December, a trip to Croatia is an absolute pleasure; from the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik to Diocletian’s Palace in Split, you can take your time exploring these old-world wonders.

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Croatia Weather in December

Watch Zagreb blanketed in snow on your trip to Croatia in December.
Zagreb is a city filled with culture and history and it is even more breathtaking in December.

The overall average temperature in Croatia ranges between -1°C and 4°C. Dubrovnik in the south has some of the mildest temperatures between 7.2°C and 10.8°C with around 13 days of rainfall. Split sees the same amount of rainfall with temperatures between 11.5°C and 6°C. The capital of Zagreb sits inland and has much cooler temperatures close to the nation's average. Here, December temperatures range from -1.7°C to 4.6°C and there is a possibility of around 11 days of snowfall. The coldest place in Croatia is Varazdin which fluctuates between 4.4°C and -2.2°C with just over 11 days of snowfall in December.

Take a look at our monthly breakdown to see when is the best time to visit Croatia.

Weather in Croatia in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)843
Avg Nightly (°C)2-1-3
Avg Daily (°F)474038
Avg Nightly (°F)363127
Avg Rainfall (mm)1185338

Why Visit Croatia in December

Christmas lights in Zagreb in December.
Watch cities light up with Christmas lights in Croatia in December.
Visit the colosseum in Croatia in December when it is sunny.
Enjoy sightseeing tours in Croatia with fewer distractions in December.

Don’t let a little cold scare you off as winter in Croatia can still be a marvelous time with lots to offer.

  • Christmas: The Christmas markets in Croatia are a joyous occasion with food stalls, performances, and best of all: dazzling light displays. Head to Zagreb where the streets are filled with rows of vendors selling local wares and treats. The snowy Dinaric Alps form the backdrop for Advent in Split, a city tethered between a Mediterranean setting and a European Christmas atmosphere.
  • Opatija Chocolate Festival: The first weekend in December is a time for indulgence in Opatija as the finest chocolates and treats are celebrated with tastings, workshops and concerts.
  • Better rates: This is the low season in Croatia and rates take a notorious dip over December. Some prices can be as much as 75% less than during peak season in the summer.
  • Fewer crowds: Very few tourists come to the country in December, making it the perfect time to see the most visited sites in a more relaxed way with sightseeing tours in Croatia.

Where to go and what to do

Visit Varazdin Castle on your trip to Croatia.
Varazdin Castle is a must-visit location in Croatia and it looks magical in December.

Dubrovnik is one of the best places to visit in Croatia in December. Take advantage of the minimal tourist crowds during this month to explore the medieval city, attend local concerts and shows and enjoy traditional "bakalar", an Atlantic cod dish on Christmas Eve. The New Year’s Eve concert in Dubrovnik is also legendary if you are looking for a party!

Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park in December and enjoy the waterfalls and other highlights of this iconic park without throngs of people. Try to visit just after a snowfall to see the park turn into a veritable winter wonderland.

The Adriatic Highway (E65) is one of the most spectacular coastal roads the world over and spans the whole eastern coast of the country. Driving along the Adriatic Coast is one of the most unforgettable things to do in Croatia and during December this road is very empty. Cruise along the wide-open stretch and soak in the never-ending views of the blue water below.

Croatia in December is a great choice for skiers, with a wide array of resort options for luxury to family to budget travelers. Gorski Kotar in the northwest is an alpine region with some of the best ski runs in the country and is surprisingly empty in comparison with other locations across Europe. For those looking to stay close to the festivities in Zagreb, Sljeme is only a 30-minute drive from the city.

Check out some of Croatia’s magnificent castles during December, many of which are close to the Slovenian border in the Hrvatsko Zagorje region. We recommend Varazdin Castle and Trakošćan, are two of the most beautiful castles that are transformed into fairytale locations over December.

Croatia in December is a dream for skiers and for those looking to get in the festive spirit. The cold weather shouldn’t be a deterrent as the marvelous nature around Croatia takes on a whole new look over winter. Discover our itineraries to decide how many days to spend in Croatia.

Speak to our expert travel coordinators to get a custom-made tour through Croatia this December.

Check out our tours in Croatia in December.

Other articles:
Croatia in November
Croatia in January

Published by Tim Green, updated on November 28, 2023

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