Dubrovnik might not be the biggest city in Croatia, but it is easily one of the Balkan country’s biggest draws. Owing to its recent fame to its prominent depiction in the Game of Thrones TV series, the city has become an absolute dynamo for attracting tourists. But the fun does not end with fantasy-related sightseeing. Old Town Dubrovnik is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. The sandy and stony beaches surrounding the walled city also attract partiers and visitors from around the world.
Because of the scenic beauty, natural areas, and incredible architecture, almost every facet of Dubrovnik’s appeal involves being outside. Because of this, the weather is massively important for planning your trip. Between the rainy winter and sweltering summer heat. It’s important to know what you’re in for. Just as importantly, it’s important to know where you can store your luggage while you sightsee, hit the nightclubs, or take a ferry out to a gorgeous island in the Adriatic Sea. While you can’t control the weather, you can control how you plan your vacation to Dubrovnik. Here’s everything you need to know for when to visit Dubrovnik:
Summer in Dubrovnik
High Season (June - August)
The summer months are the most popular time to visit Dubrovnik for a reason. When you think of all the obligatory things that anyone recommends for your visit, all of them are improved when the weather is nice. From June the average temperatures go from 73°F (22.6°C) to 86°F (30°C), with a sea temperature just below that, and very pleasant.
These are times for shorts and sandals. Even at night, the temperatures are comfortable enough that you can get away with very few layers. There is always a chance of rainy days, but nowhere near as frequently as during the springtime.
The summer months are the peak season to visit Dubrovnik because you can always cool off at one of the many beaches if you overheat during your time walking the city walls or visiting the countless museums. There are plenty of incredible activities to enjoy while you’re at the beach as well, like wave runners, kayaks, paddleboards, and windsurfing, so active travelers will have plenty to do in between sightseeing and clubbing.
Almost every restaurant, bar, cafe, and nightclub has an outdoor area. So dining al fresco is one of the things you can expect in summertime Dubrovnik. The temperatures rarely dip too much at night, so ordering that bottle of wine after dinner is certainly an option! One of the most important things to remember is that reservations are almost required to get into the restaurant of your choice, so plan ahead.
Walking the streets of Old Town at night is one of the absolutely best free things to do in Dubrovnik. The nighttime summer air is refreshing, and the crowds have thinned enough that it’s comfortable to stroll at your own pace.
This is the high season in Dubrovnik, so expect crowds, crowds, and more crowds. Expect as many as 5 cruise ships bringing upwards of 8-10,000 people every weekend to the city. While the cruise crowds aren’t driving the hotel prices up, they are certainly packing the bar and restaurants and trying to see the best sights in Old Town and the town walls! Many people enjoy the crowds, especially as the nightclubs are some of the biggest town attractions, so if dancing is your thing, summer is the best time to visit Dubrovnik.
Not only are the scenic Dalmatian coast, history, culture, and natural beauty drawing thousands of visitors every summer, there are plenty of key events held in the city every year. Midsummer Scene showcases Shakespeare’s plays at one of the coolest venues in the world, Dubrovnik’s Lovrijenac Fortress. There are also numerous electronic music festivals and residencies at the resorts, clubs, and music venues throughout the city that bring partiers and ravers from around the world. Dubrovnik Summer Festival has open-air theater productions, orchestral music, and various art forms throughout the city from mid-July through late August.
Fall in Dubrovnik
Shoulder Season (September - November)
While it may not have the luster of July, September is widely regarded as the best time to visit Dubrovnik, especially the latter part of the month and running into October. For one, the college students from the US are back in school, and so the hordes of 20-somethings are no longer creating a scene at all the best sights, and the clubs are more tolerable. There are also fewer families taking endless pictures in front of every tower, monastery, and fortress.
The weather in early autumn (September through mid-October) is essentially the same as in August, and still, a great time to visit Dubrovnik. In late October, you’ll find temperatures right around 65°F (18°C), with an average sea temperature just below that, getting a little chillier into the lower 60s in November. November is when the rain really picks up, with about 12-14 rainy days on average. If you plan on visiting Dubrovnik in September or early October, plan your wardrobe like you would for June. Shorts are always appropriate, and some light layers can be helpful if you’re dining al fresco or taking a ferry during the night. The Adriatic Sea has a pleasant breeze. Visiting Dubrovnik in the second half of October into November requires some layers, especially a raincoat.
Hotel prices steadily decrease starting in late September, but they are never dirt cheap until around the second half of November. All bars, restaurants, main attractions, and nightclubs are open for all of September and October, only in November do you start to see reduced hours and seasonal closures. The museums are open throughout the entire season and become incredibly enjoyable in November when the lack of crowds makes it easy to appreciate the exhibits in a relaxed setting. The town's main street (Stradun) will also be more enjoyable as it's easier to window shop.
Most cruise ships will stop docking as regularly in November, and many hotels close starting early in the month. This is also when the sun starts setting around 4:30 PM, which makes it less enjoyable for walking to dinner and taking ferry rides, but many visitors who enjoy the lack of crowds prefer this time of year. There will be reduced hours for even the year-round key attractions like the city walls.
The best events and festivals tend to happen in early fall. The Dubrovnik Triathlon is held in early October, but that brings thousands of visitors to Dubrovnik’s Old Town and seems to keep the town alive for an additional week. The Good Food Festival is a seven-day event that showcases the best flavors and beverages in Croatia. Dubrovnik Table is the highlight of the week, with the best of the best showcasing their culinary exploits along Stradun.
Winter in Dubrovnik
Low Season (December - February)
Dubrovnik in the wintertime is steadily chilly, with the average temperature being 50°F (10°C). The sun does set by 4:30 PM throughout most of the season, which makes it difficult to enjoy sightseeing for longer than a few hours. While you won’t need to pack for snow, layers, and jackets are certainly advised! An average of one in every three are rainy days, so packing a raincoat along with boots or waterproof shoes is advised.
The number of visitors that trek to Dubrovnik peaks around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For many people around the world, the temperatures in Southern Croatia are exponentially warmer than in their hometowns, so some families and groups will make a holiday of visiting Europe. While it may not be the quintessential Dubrovnik experience, there are still happy travelers walking the streets of Old Town.
The holidays are the best time to visit Dubrovnik during the winter. Stradun, the busiest street in Dubrovnik, hosts a Christmas market every year. You’ll find authentic Croatian food like swiss chard pie, cabbage rolls, and meat skewers, but also the typical Christmas market staples like sausages. Of course, mulled wine and beer are served, which helps take the bite out of the (at times) brisk night air. Local artisans have set up stalls in the market to sell their folksy toys, trinkets, collectibles, and everything in between. While it may borrow heavily from the Christmas markets of Germany and Austria, this is a fun way to take in the holiday. There is a small Dubrovnik Winter Festival that brings in crowds in the off-season, but it's not particularly well attended.
After the holiday rush, there are a few weeks of quiet where you’ll find smaller groups and older couples taking in the ever-beautiful sights of Old Town. The best museums in Dubrovnik are all still operating, and any real history buff will tell you this is the best time of year to visit Dubrovnik. The photo opportunities are plentiful, as there won’t be any competing tourists to jockey for position in front of towers, monasteries, and medieval fortresses.
By the middle of January and February, Old Town goes quiet, with the vast majority of businesses closing down for lack of customers. This is the heart of the off-season in Dubrovnik. Simply put, there are very few reasons to visit this time of year. Hotels are mostly closed, so finding discounted hotel rates can’t really serve as a reason to visit.
Spring in Dubrovnik
Shoulder Season (March - May)
Like many places, early spring can be a frustrating time for trying to appreciate the weather. In the first half of March, you can expect rainy weather, with an average of 53°F (11.5°C), improving to around 59°F (15°C) in mid-April. From March until April, you will absolutely want to pack some form of rain gear. Fortunately, the temperatures never dip too low, so these raincoats can double as a coat for when it gets a little chilly on your walk home from your favorite wine bar. Packing a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, and a pair of light pants would be highly recommended for visiting Croatia in spring because there is a chance you will use all of them.
By April, the resorts and Old Town have awoken from their winter slumber, and you will start to see crowds in the most popular tourist areas. At this point, it’s rare for restaurants to still be closed, although you might find reduced hours, which can be a challenge if you’re expecting the full Revelin Nightclub experience at 3 AM. This is when it becomes the best time to visit Dubrovnik for families and older travelers, as long as you don't mind a few rainy days!
May might be the best month to visit Dubrovnik. Every hotel, restaurant, nightclub, wine bar, and landmark is open and available to visitors. If you’re not a fan of sweltering heat, or full afternoons sitting on the beach, Dubrovnik is paradise. The weather is perfectly comfortable for al fresco dining, walking around, and exploring the many iconic landmarks, but you’ll never find yourself needing a change of clothes because you sweat through your shirt getting those 10,000 steps on the city walls.
Plenty of folks might find it too cold for swimming, with an average temperature of 63°F (17°C), but that can provide opportunities for hearty folk from Northern Europe or the American Midwest. Rain is fairly common, with around 9-10 days per month expected. Still, when the weather cooperates, it’s hard to find a better place to visit in spring than Dubrovnik.
For almost the entire season, Dubrovnik hosts one of the best wine festivals in Europe. Festiwine is held from the middle of April through early June, and it seems that most of the city is involved. Restaurants will host wine-pairing events featuring local wines and local cuisines. The many specialty wine bars are filled with enthusiasts and amateurs alike, sharing an appreciating incredible Croatian and Balkan-made wine. There are also concerts curated by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and many theatre performances held within the town walls. The festivities are mostly held in Old Town, which makes it easier to drop your luggage off and explore the many amazing events! Other fun events held in March every year are the Dubrovnik Musical Spring and Oyster Festival when these delicacies are in season.
Car rentals are more affordable in spring, with much more manageable traffic for getting in and out of Dubrovnik. Because of this, day trips are a great option for longer stays. Even with Dubrovnik’s vibrant restaurant and club scene starting to come alive, some of the best experiences can be had in the smaller countryside villages and scenic Dalmatian coastline.
The Peljesac Peninsula and Korcula Island are great day-trip destinations if you want to rent a car. In these more remote places, the still-off-season crowds allow these beautiful spots to feel almost empty (but not too empty). You'll have more space to walk around and enjoy yourself, especially when the weather is particularly nice. Horseback riding, hiking, and wine tasting are popular in Konavle, which is a short trek from Dubrovnik.
When is the best time to visit Dubrovnik for you?
Whether you plan on walking the jam-packed streets of Old Town in the summer or traversing the city walls like so many Game of Thrones Characters have during the wintertime (that's a different wall), there isn’t a more beautiful city in Europe to visit than Dubrovnik. Its impeccably-preserved history, amazing culture, and incredible natural beauty make it a timeless place to visit. Only your threshold for weather and crowds along with your preferred vacation activities and budget can tell you when you should book your next trip. But, what we do know is that Bounce luggage storage facilities make it easier and more convenient to appreciate this glorious city, so drop the bags off and go explore those cobbled streets!