The best time to visit Dubrovnik

Wonder when is the best time to visit Dubrovnik? In this article, we will give you information on when to visit Dubrovnik, but also an overview of what to expect when visiting the town at different times of the year, from January through December.

The Best Time To Visit Dubrovnik, Illustration
The Best Time To Visit Dubrovnik, Illustration

Dubrovnik is one of the most popular places in Croatia. And lots of people visit it throughout the season (from April to October). However, the season peaks in July and August. For example, you will have two times fewer people visit Dubrovnik in May than in July.

April to mid-June and mid-Septemeber to mid-October is the best time to visit Dubrovnik because there are fewer tourists, the weather is generally nice at that time of the year, accommodation prices are more affordable, and all bars, restaurants, and activities are open and running.

Fewer tourists around make the town less crowded and more pleasant to explore and enjoy.

In the low and shoulder season, the accommodation prices are much more affordable. This is another valid reason to visit Dubrovnik out of the peak season. You’ll pay around 120€ a night for a double room in an old town in May, while for that same room in July, you will pay close to 300€ a night. If you would like to read more, here is a full article on where to stay in Dubrovnik.

The best time to visit Dubrovnik: What to expect

Although the number of visitors to Dubrovnik greatly varies throughout the year, the fact is that there are tourists in Dubrovnik a year around. Sometimes it isn’t possible to travel at the best times, you simply travel when you have time. Below is a rundown on what to expect in Dubrovnik from January through December.

Dubrovnik in January

After the NY craze, Dubrovnik goes dead and dormant. January is the slowest and the most depressing month in Croatia and Dubrovnik is no different.

The first week of January is known as Croatian week in the ski resorts in Bosnia, Slovenia, Italy, and Austria. The kids are still out of school and many families go skiing.

As people spend lots of money on the Christmas holidays and then on the skiing holidays, the rest of the month they stay put.

January is also the coldest month in Dubrovnik. The average temperature in Dubrovnik in January is 9.1°C (48°F), and the town gets an average of 12 rainy days.

However, if you decide to visit in January, you might have a unique opportunity to take some awesome photos without too many people around.

Museums still work, and so do the city walls. Many restaurants are closed for holidays, but you can always find something good to eat. And do so in more local eateries, like bistro Glorijet, Konoba Tabak, or Gaffe Pub.

Many hotels in Dubrovnik, as well as vacation rentals, are closed for business. However, Guest House Fourty-Four in the old town, hotel Neptun or Hotel Dubrovnik Palace in the Lapad neighborhood, and the newly opened City Hotel Dubrovnik in Gruz are all great choices for your stay in Dubrovnik in January.

Dubrovnik in February

In February, you can expect an average temperature of 9.5°C (49°F), and an average of 12 rainy days.

February is still slow but the town is already getting more festive.

On the 3rd of February, Dubrovnik celebrates St. Blaise, the town’s patron saint. But, the celebration starts a week before with various cultural and entertainment programs.

St. Blaise’s celebration is extremely important for the people of Dubrovnik and they do get out and participate in the program. So at least for the first week of February, the town will have a bit more to offer.

The end of February is reserved for Carnival.  Although the exact time of the Carnival depends entirely on the Easter date, generally it happens at the end of February.

February weather should normally also improve compared with January bringing in more sunny days and less cold. However, it’s still cold.

As in January, many restaurants are closed and many activities are unavailable. But museums, town walls, certain restaurants, and bars still work.

Only a limited number of accommodations and hotels in Dubrovnik are open. Among them, are the Pucic Palace and B&B Andio in the old town, Hilton Imperial and Excelsior just out of the old town, and hotel Royal Princess and Valamar Lacroma in the Lapad peninsula.

The old town bars and nightlife go dead, but you will find locals and students hanging in bars along Iva Vojnovica Street.

Dubrovnik in March

In March, you can already count on better weather, especially in the second half of March.

The average temperature is 11.5°C (53°F), and the town gets on average 12 rainy days in March.

Many hotels start opening after winter break, and so do many restaurants and bars in the old town. At that time there are also more tourists in the town, especially coach groups from Korea, Japan, and China.

In March you can partake in a few interesting events that happen in Dubrovnik and its surroundings. We particularly like the Oyster Festival in Ston. It takes place in March, around St. Joseph’s Day (March, 18), when oysters are in top season.

From November through March, there are free guided tours of Dubrovnik every Saturday at 10 am. Every Wednesday at 9.30 am, you can also join a free “Maritime Dubrovnik” themed tour dedicated to the seafaring history of Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik in April

April is already a great month to visit Dubrovnik. The weather improves a lot, it gets warmer too, but you can still expect some rainy days.

The average sea temperature in Dubrovnik in April is 15°C (59°F). The average air temperature in April in Dubrovnik is 14.5°C (59°F). You can expect on average 11 rainy days in April in Dubrovnik.

In April, the town is in full swing with all hotels, restaurants, and bars open. Also, the majority of activities and excursions are available in April.

Dubrovnik Musical Spring is another interesting event starting in mid-April and going until early June. It’s a program of classical music concerts run by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.

If you are staying in Dubrovnik for more than two days, you might consider renting a car. Since it’s still a low season in Croatia, there aren’t many people on the roads and car rental is still cheap. You can do day trips from Dubrovnik.

If you don’t feel like driving in Croatia, why not book yourself on a coach tour to Mostar in Bosnia or Montenegro?!

Dubrovnik in May

May is one of the best months to visit Dubrovnik. All hotels, restaurants, and attractions are open, and the weather is already much better. However, weather-wise, it’s better to visit at the end of May than at the beginning. The weather is simply more stable.

The average sea temperature in Dubrovnik in May is 17°C (63°F) which the majority of people will find still pretty cold for swimming. The average air temperature in May in Dubrovnik is 18.5°C (65°F). During the daytime, these temperatures are, of course, much higher than the average. So, it is a perfect time for a visit. You can expect an average of 9 rainy days in May in Dubrovnik.

A good idea is to rent a car and visit the surroundings, especially the Peljesac peninsula and Korcula Island. You can also go horseback riding or wine tasting in nearby Konavle. You can also consider taking a coach tour to Mostar or Montenegro.

Dubrovnik in June

In June, the weather in Dubrovnik improves a lot and it is much more stable. You can expect an average temperature of 22.6°C (73°F), while the average sea temperature is around 21°C (70°F). The average number of rainy days in June is down to 7.

However, you can already enjoy some water activities, like swimming, sea kayaking, jet skiing, swimming, flyboarding, SUP, and the like. For this reason, you can consider staying in some of the accommodations close to Dubrovnik beaches.

June is also a month full of cultural and musical events, many of them appealing to locals and tourists alike. Midsummer Scene brings various Sheakspear’s plays onto the most dramatic stage – Dubrovnik’s Fortress Lovrijenac. Le Petit Festival du Theatre brings in Dubrovnik an interesting program by various international artists, poets, dancers, and actors over three days. Another popular cultural event that takes place in late June is the International Operas Arias festival.

The number of visitors to Dubrovnik already increases in June. And you will already need to deal with some crowds, especially as the number of cruise ships docked in Dubrovnik increases. In June, from Thursday through Sunday, you can expect 3 to 4 cruise ships a day in Dubrovnik, bringing in over 8.000 people.

Dubrovnik in July

In July, Dubrovnik is at the top of the season. The weather is hot and dry, crowds are pretty unbearable, and prices are skyrocketing.

All activities, restaurants, and accommodations are open and running, and there are queues everywhere. As many as five cruise ships sail into Dubrovnik daily bringing in over 10.000 people a day.

However, if you like swimming or other water activities, July, along with August, is the best time to visit Dubrovnik. Spend your days island-hopping, chilling by the beach, swimming, or cliff jumping on nearby Lokrum island, and keep town attractions for the late afternoon when cruise ships start leaving. In the late afternoon, the town is still full of people but a bit less than in the late morning or early afternoon.

Read our article on things to do in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik in August

Dubrovnik in August is similar to Dubrovnik in July. Expect hot and dry weather, with temperatures well above 30°C (86°F) during the day. The sea temperature is around 25°C (77°F).

The town is buzzing, there are people everywhere, beaches are full and active, bars and restaurants are jammed-packed and even the streets of the old town sometimes get blocked. Our advice is to avoid the old town from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Spend the day at the beach, sea kayaking, or visiting nearby Elafiti islands.

If you plan to eat out, make sure you have a reservation.

If you enjoy events, there is a lot going on in town. Dubrovnik Summer Festival has been held for over 70 years from July, 10 until August, 25. The program brings theater, classical music, dance, and other performances over the town’s various open-air venues.

Dubrovnik in September

September is, in our opinion, the very best time to visit Dubrovnik. And the second part of September even more so. Sure, there are still lots of people around, but it is nowhere near the July and August crowds.

The weather keeps warm and dry, but yet, it isn’t burning hot like in the midst of the summer. Nevertheless, the sea is warm, and you can swim in the Adriatic.

Accommodation prices aren’t dirt cheap but they keep decreasing, especially after the first week of September.

Cruise ships still sail into Dubrovnik daily bringing in a total of 130.000 passengers in September. The most loaded day in a week seems to be Thursday with as many as 6 cruise ships anchored or docked in the old town or the port of Gruz.

All attractions, restaurants, and bars are open. The International Late Summer Music Festival takes place throughout September. It brings to the town a number of internationally renowned artists and many classical music concerts.

Dubrovnik in October

Things are getting tranquil in October with some businesses already closing, mainly those that are directly connected with the sea activities. The average sea temperature is around 18°C (65°F). Not really optimal for swimming.

However, the majority of the attractions, restaurants, and bars are still open. October is also a great time to make day trips from Dubrovnik. Because, in Dubrovnik in October, the weather is still warm but not burning hot.

The average temperatures are around 18°C (65°F) with daytime temperatures well above 20°C (68°F).

So, it is actually a great time to explore the town and the surroundings. We highly recommend the following day trips: a visit to Mostar, wine tasting on the Peljesac peninsula, a visit to Korcula, and a visit to Montenegro. It is also a good time to take on activities like horseback riding or cycling in Konavle Valley.

The accommodation prices are super-affordable, and you will have a lot of choices. Don’t shy away from shopping around. The only time in October when prices can go up is if there is a big conference in Dubrovnik. However, to find the best dates to stay in Dubrovnik, use Google’s booking calendar. It shows daily prices and you can pick the cheapest dates if your travel dates are flexible.

Cruise ships are still in a full season bringing in as many as 155.000 passengers in October. This is more than at any other time of the year, including July and August.

Events worth joining are the Dubrovnik Triathlon held at the beginning of October, and The Good Food Festival, a 7-day food and drink festival that has been going on for 9 consecutive years. You can find last year’s program on Dubrovnik Tourist Board’s website. The highlight of the festival is Dubrovnik Table, a table full of delicacies prepared by various Dubrovnik restaurants, hotels, winemakers, and hospitality schools that stretches along the entire Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main street.

And if you are already visiting Dubrovnik in October, work your itinerary around other great European fall destinations. This way you can combine a visit to Dubrovnik with a visit to other destinations in Europe.

Dubrovnik in November

This is when things get really quiet. Many hotels close down for the winter, as well as restaurants and bars. The weather gets colder with more rainy days, and the days get really shorter. The sunsets are as early as 4.30 pm.

The average temperature in Dubrovnik in October is 14°C (15°F). And you can expect as many as 13 rainy days on average for November.

You can still expect some cruise ships docked in Dubrovnik, but not more than one cruise ship a day, and certainly not every day.

Many restaurants, bars, and activities are closed. However, main attractions like city walls, town museums, etc. are always open albeit with a shorter schedule.

Lots of hotels and private accommodations remain closed. And the ones that are open are cheap compared with their summer rates. You can stay at the Hilton Imperial Hotel for as little as 170 € per night for a double room with breakfast. For that same room in August, you’ll pay at least 500 € a day.

This is a good time to rent a car and explore around. The car rental is cheap, and a car gives you more freedom to move around.

Dubrovnik in December

Dubrovnik in December is similar to Dubrovnik in other winter months. The average temperature is around 10°C (50°F), and the days are short with the sun setting at 4.15 PM.

By this time, even the cruise ships abandon the town. So, yay, for having the town for yourself!

However, with Christmas and NYE approaching so does the number of visitors to Dubrovnik. You can expect some Asiatique tour groups in the old town in the late morning and early afternoon.

Along the entire span of Stradun, Dubrovnik’s Main Street in the old town, you will find a Christmas market mostly offering food, like sausages, sauerkraut, and burgers, but also some typical Croatian food like cabbage rolls or Swiss chard pie. The mulled wine is the main drink although you can have any other drink if you prefer, like wine, beer, or a coke.

The Dubrovnik Winter Festival takes place throughout December.

Best time to visit Dubrovnik old town

From May through October, the best time to visit Dubrovnik old town is early morning or late afternoon, especially in the high season. In summer, from 10 AM to 4 PM, the town is overcrowded and super-hot.

In winter months, the days are shorter and generally, there aren’t too many visitors to the old town, so the best time to visit the old town in winter is actually in the late morning or early afternoon.

Best time to visit Dubrovnik city walls

The city walls open at 8 am (April through October) or 9 am (November through March) and depending on the season they close at 3 pm (November through March), 5.30 pm (October), 6 pm (mid to end September), 6.30 pm (April, May, August until mid-September), 7.30 pm (June and July).

The best time to visit Dubrovnik city walls from April through September is either in the early morning or late afternoon. Early morning means from 8 AM to 10 AM, and late afternoon means after 4 PM.

From October through March the best time to visit Dubrovnik’s city walls is in the late morning or early afternoon, so from 10 AM to 1 PM. There will always be people visiting the walls. However, in wintertime, the mornings can be a bit chilly and the town is not so lit yet for nice photos. This is why we think it is better to deal with some visitors. However, if you would like to have the walls for yourself, then even in the winter, the best time to visit is early morning, from 9 am to 10 am when the walls open.

When are you visiting Dubrovnik? Have a question or a suggestion? Please let us know in the comments below!

Plan your stay in Dubrovnik with our post on the best Dubrovnik accommodation

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