Dubrovnik has withstood earthquakes and sieges. Its marble flagstones and rugged walls give this lovely city – Croatia’s most popular destination – a timeless feel.
But the seasons vary hugely in Dubrovnik. Your attitude to weather and the crowds will help you choose the best time to visit. High summer, for festivals and sun? Shoulder season, for quieter beaches? Or winter, when it can seem like you’ve the city to yourself?
What’s the weather like in Dubrovnik?
Dubrovnik is in southern Dalmatia, near Croatia’s southern tip. The Adriatic offers swimming and water sports, and gives this port city a maritime climate. Summers are warm and sunny and winters damp and fairly mild. It’s a compact place, with under 50,000 residents – making it significantly smaller than Split and Zadar further up the coast. That means the picturesque old town can get crowded – another reason to plan your trip carefully.
July and August’s high season is great but busy
In July and August, the sea is warm and there’s an average of 11 hours of sunshine each day. A constant stream of festivals focuses on classical music, theater, folk and opera. Most of Croatia’s many dance music festivals are further up the coast near Zadar, but buses and ferries make getting around a breeze.
This all means Dubrovnik gets busy – arrange accommodations as early as you can. Overnight visitors are joined by cruise ship passengers several times a day, which can make the old town hectic. Things are quietest before 9.30am or after 3pm, and day trips and visits to nearby islands mean you won’t struggle to fill your day.
Shoulder season can offer the best of both worlds
In May, June, September and October, temperatures of 77°F (25°C) or higher are common, and while the sea can be cool this is still a good time for a beach-focused holiday. The old town can still be crowded, but without the intensity of July and August, and conditions are good for touring the islands, hiking or rafting.
You’ll see another side of the city in low season
If you’re after a beach break, visiting between November and April is a terrible idea. But if you’re looking to explore the city’s architectural and cultural delights in peace, you’re in luck. The old town feels less like a busy museum and more like a living city, quite a few bars and restaurants stay open right through the winter and hotel prices drop substantially.
January is cold but quiet
January is the city’s coldest month, with daytime averages around 48°F (9°C). It’s not a time for outdoor activities unless windy walks are your thing – Croatia’s famous bura winds can bring strong gusts through winter. Most visitors stay away, so you may feel like it’s just you and the locals walking the atmospheric streets.
Key events: Feast of St Blaise warm-up
February is festival season
February means festivals. The Feast of St Blaise celebrates Dubrovnik’s patron saint with concerts and theater, while the Carnival packs in a costume parade, wine, street food and kids’ activities. The days are getting longer, but wrap up before you hit the sights.
Key events: Carnival, Feast of St Blaise
March is for explorers and foodies
With average temperatures creeping up to 54°F (12°C) and visitor numbers still low, March is good for exploring the city walls or day trips to fishing villages or Trsteno Arboretum. Accommodations are still inexpensive, although some remain closed. Wine celebration FestiWiNe should restart in 2023 after its pandemic closure and Ston, a short drive up the coast, has an oyster festival.
Key events: Dubrovnik FestiWiNe, Stone Oyster Festival
April means sightseeing and sweet bread
April brings a distinct step up in sunshine, and a shift in the city’s energy too. Easter is the traditional start of the tourist season, and the festival features street events and pinca sirnica, a sweet Easter bread. The sea chilly and the old town is relatively peaceful, apart from some enjoyable classical festivals.
Key events: Easter, Aklapela, Dubrovnik Musical Spring
May is charming
May can be seriously warm, though conditions are still unpredictable, with temperatures averaging around 64°F (18°C). It’s a great time to visit as almost everything is open, without being too busy. You can breathe in the spring from pavement cafes and take (fairly bracing) dips in the sea, and it’s a good month for walking (try the Way of the Cross, hilly Šipan or wooded Mljet).
Key events: Feast of St Domnius (in Split)
June has early summer buzz
Warm sun and early summer buzz make June one of Dubrovnik’s most magical months. The beaches and coves are quieter than in mid-summer, and you’ll find less congestion on the city’s famous walls, giving you more time to appreciate Dubrovnik’s proud trading history and glittering sea views. Plays and concerts add to the fun.
Key events: Le Petit Festival, Midsummer Scene, Orlando Furioso
July is for beaches and music
Dalmatia is glorious in July, with temperatures frequently exceeding 95°F (35°C). Life spills through the old town, while festive music and theater fill the courtyards and forts. The result? It’s busy. Book accommodations well in advance, and head out early or late in the day to avoid the worst of the crowds.
Key events: Dubrovnik Summer Festival, International Opera Arias Festival Tino Pattiera
August is sunny and popular
Another peak month. The water is at its warmest, though you may need to look longer to find a quiet spot – try hopping on a sea kayak, or getting a boat to the car-free Elaphite Islands. Dubrovnik’s cultural blitz continues with concerts and theater (usually including 16th-century playwright Marin Držić’s exuberant comedies). The heat and high visitor numbers mean it’s not worth rushing – instead, go with the flow and soak up the atmosphere.
Key events: Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Šipan Film Summer School, Dubrovnik Late Summer Festival
September brings a mellow warmth
Dubrovnik slips gently into shoulder season. At the start of the month, classical festivals are still in full swing, the weather can be baking and the old town is full of eager visitors. But as September moves on, the things become cooler and less feverish. It’s a fine time to visit, with plenty of sunshine but less museum neck-craning.
Key events: Dubrovnik Late Summer Festival
October is quiet but fun
Your last chance for beach time, and one of Dubrovnik’s most pleasant months. Some restaurants and hotels shut, but there’s enough going on for the city to still feel vibrant, including food festivals and sporting events. Hiking and kayaking are appealing, accommodations are relatively affordable, and the cool waters off beaches such as Sveti Jakov and Bellevue are yours to explore.
Key events: International Festival of Jams & Marmalades, Dubrovnik triathlon, Good Food Festival
November is for sightseeing and soup
The summer season is long gone, and as businesses close for winter there’s melancholy in the air. But with average temperatures reaching a high of around 62°F (17°C), November can lovely. You’ll rarely wait in line anywhere, so can pack in museums, galleries and churches, as well as nearby destinations such as Split, before heading inside to fill up on the hearty likes of stuffed peppers and fažol (spicy bean soup).
Key events: Veteran Car Rally
December means Christmas and culture
December is usually cold and often wet, but celebrations bring spark to its dark evenings. The Winter Festival has twinkling lights, a Christmas Fair and plenty of cod dishes. On Saturdays, free guided walking tours are followed by folk performances. All this festive fun means a slight uptick in visitors, but rates are discounted and attractions are quiet.
Key events: Dubrovnik Winter Festival, Tisina Molim, Christmas, New Year’s Eve