The first month of the year is also the coldest month in Croatia. Climate conditions may vary depending on location – such as the usually snowy Zagreb in the north or the sunny but still cold Dubrovnik in the south.
With fewer crowds and interesting activities that one can still do despite the weather, Croatia remains to be a fabulous January destination.
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From the usual winter sports to venturing off-the-beaten paths and the start of Carnival season — your holiday is bound to be a memorable one.
Read on and find out what it’s like to be in Croatia in January.
- What is the weather like in Croatia In January?
- What to pack in Croatia for January
- Things To Do In Croatia in January
- Travel Tips for Croatia in January
What is the weather like in Croatia In January?
Temperature in Croatia in January
The average January temperature in Croatia is between 3.7°C and 9.7°C, with extreme possible lows as -20°C and highs as 20°C.
Rain in Croatia in January
Rain: January in Croatia still gets rain that averages at 89 mm over 9 to 13 rainy days.
Wind in Croatia in January
Wind: In January, Croatia gets varying wind speeds depending on location: around 5.7 to 6.3 miles per hour in the north and 10.2 to 10 7 miles per hour down South.
Sun in Croatia in January
Sun: Croatia usually gets about 9 hours of daylight in January, with sunrise usually before 7 am while sunset is between 4:30 to 5 pm.
What to pack in Croatia for January
Winter in Croatia is not so cold, the temperature is pretty stable and the lowest can go to just above the freezing level. Not so cold but not quite tolerable either so it’s best to bring clothes that you can easily layer, comfortable and warm.
Here are a list of winter essentials for both men and women when going to Croatia in January.
Long-sleeved shirts — these are items you can easily layer and best for keeping you warm. They also go well with just about anything. Just like these Hanes cotton long-sleeved shirts for him or long-sleeved shirts for her. Have at least two in your suitcase or backpack: one in either a bright color or print (stripes, floral, plaid) and another in a muted / earth color.
Jeans that are not too tight — snug fit/comfort fit jeans like these Rekucci comfort fit jeans are best, straight cut is good, too. These types of jeans leave enough space if you want to layer with leggings or pants in a thin fabric when the temperature drops to almost freezing level.
A warm parka — best if it’s hooded, long enough to cover your hips and almost all your fingers. This is the best cover for all those layers of clothes you’d have if it’s really cold, and a versatile jacket when out to explore the city or going out for dinner.
Light down jacket — easy to roll up and pack and a great layer under your parka, this is also something you can put on your day bag when out exploring the city or parks. This easily keeps you warm as well as dresses up a long sleeve shirt and jeans combo. You can check this light down jacket for men and this jacket for women.
Leather ankle boots that are waterproof and slip-proof — yes, you must look for all those features as this is your go-to shoes when walking around town that can also take you to more rugged paths and even a quick hike up a hill or fortress. Make sure that they’re already broken in when you bring them to Croatia so your feet won’t hurt and you can really enjoy your stay. Check out this cute Teva leather ankle bootie.
Things To Do In Croatia in January
1. Enjoy the attractions by yourself
January is a great time for anyone who enjoys savoring each place they visit. This month is also winter in Croatia so there are excellent opportunities to really enjoy most attractions either by yourself or with only a handful of other tourists.
Enjoy a leisurely walk along Dubrovnik’s old city walls, explore neighborhoods in Istria or pick a good spot in the sand gaze at the crystalline waters of the Adriatic.
Croatia seems like an entirely different place in January, with less crowds and more vivid colors everywhere from sun up to sundown.
Take your time and see as much of it as you can. Every item in your list of things to do in Croatia in January should all be marked with a check.
2. Go on scenic road trips
With fewer tourists and reduced transport services, there’s less traffic on most major roads in Croatia.
If you’re visiting in January, this is a great time to go on a scenic road trip. Check the weather forecast first before setting out on this amazing journey.
Considered in itself as one of Croatia’s attractions, the breathtaking Adriatic Highway is often compared to the equally gorgeous Highway 1 in California.
Winding along limestone mountaintops, this road is located in the eastern part of the Adriatic Sea, and offers sweeping views of the sparkling blue sea below.
Roads in Croatia are known to be safe even during winter, and the twists and turns of the Adriatic Highway is no exception.
3. Visit Trogir
Maybe not just a ‘visit’ but stay for at least a couple of days. Savor a more grounded local feel in the small coastal town of Trogir.
Start your mornings here with a cup of coffee at the main square while chatting with the locals. Spend the whole day exploring neighborhoods or checking out local markets.
Cap off your day by hanging out at the harbor with a glass of local wine as you watch the sunset.
Trogir gets really busy during the summer months but in winter, it turns into a quiet, almost magical place that you’d love to have to yourself. This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Croatia in January for that authentic local experience alone.
4. Eat Mandarins
Harvest season in Croatia is on autumn to early winter so expect an abundance of citrus fruits in January. A great source of essential vitamins, fruits like mandarins should be a staple in your winter diet while you’re here.
You’ll also find these as part of salads, desserts and certain savory dishes. Mandarins are of course, just as good when eaten on its own.
You may also visit places where these zesty fruits are grown and harvested, such as the Neretva valley, known as the largest mandarin producer in Croatia.
Head over to the villages of Oputzen and Metkovic in the area where you can even join the locals in harvesting them. These places are also quite stunning and among the best places to see in Croatia.
5. Relax in Croatia’s hot springs
Take a break from exploring and enjoy a relaxing day in one of Croatia’s hot springs that definitely stays hot even in January.
The natural thermal springs are called Toplice, and most are found in the Zagorje region. These hot springs have been around since the Roman times and known for their healing and soothing effects.
From Zagreb, the Toplice is just an hour away by car or bus (if available) up north and are popular retreats throughout the year.
One of the best that you might want to check out are the Krapinske Toplice, with its outdoor pool and waterfalls.
There’s also the family-friendly Tuheljske Toplice that offers wellness packages and is adjacent to a gorgeous countryside area with great biking and hiking trails.
6. Enjoy Some Winter Sports
A winter holiday isn’t complete without enjoying a few sports like skiing, sledding, and snowboarding.
Croatia is known for its scenic old towns and stunning beaches. During winter, a number of its mountainous areas are turned into hot spots for winter activities.
Among the best places to visit in Croatia is the Mèdvednica mountain north of Zagreb, with its highest point at 1,035 meters.
There’s also Platak Ski Resort near Rijeka and Velika, which is on the southern Papuk Mountain, which are also regarded as among the best places to go when it comes to winter sports in Croatia.
Travel Tips for Croatia in January
1. Croatia is more expensive than the rest of the countries in the Balkans during peak season.
However, if you’re traveling during the low season which includes January, everything is definitely a lot cheaper.
Go ahead and book fancier accommodations closer to popular attractions as they’re a lot less expensive even if you book at the last minute.
2. Since winter is considered as the low season in Croatia, expect reduced schedules in their bus and train services.
Check the schedule changes in advance and plan around it to maximize time and see as much as you can.
3. Regarding tour options, there’s definitely less of them during winter in Croatia. The ones that continue to offer tours are most likely less crowded, which means you get to talk more to the guides.
Ask them more about the places you visit and you might even score a few useful local tips. It’s also a great opportunity to speak their language and learn more.
4. The annual Night of the Museum happens every last Friday of January in Croatia.
This means that on this one special might, museums all over the country are open until around 1 in the morning and visitors get to enter for free. Take advantage of this fantastic event and visit a museum after dinner.
Be sure to take part in free museum activities such as workshops and exhibitions.
5. January remains to be a great time to visit Croatia despite the weather, but it’s also a month where you’ll be more prone to sickness or accidents.
With the diverse weather in different parts of the country and fun winter sports to enjoy, it’s best to avail of good travel insurance.
It’s important to have that security and peace of mind that you have something to rely on in the event that you get sick or injured while on vacation.