Spring in Croatia: What to do in Croatia in April & May

Spring in Croatia: What to do in Croatia in April & May

Booking a spring holiday in Croatia? Perfect, as spring in Croatia (and other areas throughout the Balkans) is my favorite time of year – yes, even better than summer. Why? The streets are not yet bustling with tourists. The flowers, oh the flowers, they are beautiful. And most of all, it means being outdoors without our coats, scarves and woolen mittens.

While not yet warm enough to swim, a great way to spend a spring day is by the river or sea. The water is calm, and many of the businesses which close during winter, begin to open their doors. Drinking coffee or eating a seafood lunch, while listening to the soft, gentle movement of the water is a welcomed break from being cooped up indoors during winter.

It is not all about the water either; the mountains are a brilliant way to spend a Croatian spring day. Sure you’ll need your light jacket and maybe a scarf if it’s a little chilly or you feel the cold – but the air is crisp and clean, and you’ll feel so alive breathing in that fresh mountain air.

Holiday in Croatia #Croatia - Chasing the Donkey
Photo Credit Ilija Veselica

Our Croatia Spring Travel Plans

This spring we have a few activities locked away in the calendar. I enjoyed those winter days in Croatia by the fire (well mostly), but I’m now ready to shed my woolen socks, crack open the windows more often and enjoy the cool breeze blowing across my face. Most of all, I am looking forward to spending more time out in the warm sunshine before Baby Donkey number two arrives this summer and my days are spent washing baby clothes and doing 2 am feeds.

We spent the first few days of spring in in Mali Ston and loved our time by the sea eating oysters.

Last year we headed to Zagreb and will be there again next month. The magnolia trees are so breathtaking this time of year. Those flowers just make you smile from ear to ear. Boy, do I love Zagreb.

Though before we rush off to Zagreb for the trees, we are planning a trip to Istria, to Labin and Rabac to be precise- so watch out on Instagram for all of the live action late April.

What Should You Do On Your Spring Holiday In Croatia?

April and May are becoming more and more popular with travelers comings to Croatia, especially down south  – last May in Dubrovnik was already too busy for my taste – lucky there was good wine at the festival and we enjoyed an excellent stay at the Hotel Lapad and could escape the crowds poolside with a glass in hand.

Croatia is a country with a typical Mediterranean climate along its coastline, so for that reason, if you’re not the biggest fan of scorching hot temperatures, summer may not be the time for you to visit and if you don’t like the wind, rain and snow wintertime isn’t a good time to visit Croatia either. On the flipside, if you prefer something a little middle of the road in terms of weather, spring is the ideal time to head to our action-packed, beautiful, and historic country. So what Spring things can we suggest you do in Croatia? Well, how about:

Pick Wild Asparagus

Springtime is prime time for locals to head into the woods and forests and forage for wild asparagus – just ask Mr. Chasing the Donkey he is mad about foraging asparagus in Dalmatia. This delicious vegetable may be rather expensive in the shops, but picking it wild, first hand, is not only a cultural experience, but it will also save you cash on your shopping! You’ll be able to immerse yourself in nature, enjoy the sunshine, and take home some delicious wild asparagus for your efforts!

Cook Wild Asparagus

Once you’ve been out and about picking your own wild asparagus, find some interesting ways to cook it! Wild asparagus tastes fabulous and has a slight bitterness compared to the regular stuff. It’s definitely more delicious than anything you will buy from a supermarket.

Spring in Croatia - Wild Asparagus

Festiwine in Dubrovnik

From 17 April until 23 April you can check out Dubrovnik’s finest local wines and other local produce, all with a backdrop of the wonder and history of the Old Town. We went to Festiwine last year and thought it was and excellent festival.

Go to a Flower Show

Spring time is when the flowers bloom, and there are several flower shows happening at this time. The Flower Fair of Zadar returns on 20 April for three days, International Garden Show ‘Floraart’ visits Zagreb in May, and The Festival of Flowers visits Split from 4 May until 20 May.

Spring Things to do in Slovenia Tulips

Easter Weekend in Hvar

Easter in Hvar is a special affair, with the annual Following The Cross event. This is a big cultural deal, and takes place during the evening on Maundy Thursday and travels around the island and back to its starting point, at the end of Good Friday.

Find The Best Hvar Accommodation Here

Check out more ways to experience Easter around Croatia here.

Spring in Zagreb

Spend a morning wandering the Zagreb Mirogoj cemetery, which is filled with elaborate lanterns, tombstones and grand statues and monuments. After my first trip there back in 2014, I can now see why I was told it was something not to be missed! Don’t let the term cemetery put you off; it’s more like a park.

Zagreb in spring is delightful. The locals are all happy, as they enjoy the warmer days and the city’s cafes, bars and nightclubs are all open, and it’s a great vibe.

miragoj Holiday in Croatia #Croatia - Chasing the Donkey
Spring in Croatia. My Little Donkey wandering Miragoj

While in Zagreb. check out the Cest is d’best – International Street Festival in Zagreb. This International Street Festival in Zagreb has been pulling in visitors, with music, street art, sports, art, and basically everything fun-related since 1997! This year’s festival runs from 31 May to 4 June.  

Attend Spring Break Europe Festival (Zrče Beach)

Pag Island is home to the annual Spring Break Europe festival, if you are into the party scene this is a great way to kick od the electronic music season in the springtime sun. Spend the spring sun-soaked days dancing.

Nature Parks & National Parks in Spring Are a no Brainer – Right?

In my opinion, there is no better time to see a national park than in spring, and so we often head over to Paklenica National Park during spring. The national park is not very far from our house, so it’s an easy day trip to make from Zadar.

Plitvice Lakes or Krka National Park

Plitvice Lakes and Krka National Parks are the most commonly visited national parks. At Plitvice, the waterfalls are flowing at full capacity from the winter rains and with all of the snow that has just melted. They are both a real sight to be seen and can also be easily be reached from a day trip from Zadar.

Plitvice Lakes National Park CtD - 3

 

Croatia is blessed with eight national parks, spread across the country and each offering something different. In addition to those Spring is a grand time to make use of the 11 Croatia Nature Parks  – I’ll admit many of these are still on my to-do list (tut tut).

Spend Spring in Croatia on an Island

The end of spring is the greatest time to visit the islands if you like things quiet. With the hotels just opening up again, and not very many tourists you have the beaches and bars to yourself. That’s the way we like it, so that’s why we spent a spring weekend on Brač one year.

Balkans Travel Guide: Best Beaches in the Balkans | Zlatni Rat Beach
Balkans Travel Guide: Best Beaches in the Balkans: Zlatni Rat Beach. Photo Credit.

You can discover new islands to explore here, and next week we have a list of relatively unknown islands ready to share with you.

Be sure to check out the ferry timetable. Ferries are running, but nowhere near as many as there are in summer, and so your choices are more limited. On the upside, you’ll have many of the islands to yourself.

You can check ferry times and make booking using A Ferry here

Days of Asparagus & Cuttlefish in Labin & Rabac

We’ve mentioned that springtime means asparagus and all manner of beautiful spring-time gastronomy, and across the region, you will find a number of restaurants who offer set menus which incorporate two of the main spring ingredients – asparagus and cuttlefish.

Oyster Festival in Ston

Head to Ston for the annual Oyster Festival, and the chance to try some delicious seafood and local wines. The festival is not only to celebrate the delicious food of the region but also pays respect to the Saint Joseph holiday.

Even Condé Nast Traveller loved the place, writing: people have been harvesting oysters in the bay of Mali Ston (between the slender peninsula Peljesac and mainland Croatia) since Roman times. Their delicate flavor has been lauded for centuries. Wash them down with a glass of the local white wine, Pošip.

Croatia in Spring is a Great Time to Get Physical

How about white water rafting while on vacation in Croatia? Spring is a great time of year to raft. Head to any one of these rivers for a rafting good time. Cetina, Kupa, Zrmanja, Mrežnica, Dobra or Korana

The water is far too cold to swim in – for most of us anyway, but with the countryside returning to green & all of the flowers blooming, spring is ideal for cycling in Croatia. In Istria, northwest Croatia, there are dedicated cycling events starting in March that run all year. From professional races through to recreational options.

If an organized event is not your thing, high-quality cycling routes can be found in many towns across Croatia, including Zadar, Čakovec, Lika & Rovinj. Some of the newest and most panoramic tracks pass through the North Velebit National Park and the historic city of Senj, making cycling on your holiday in Croatia a top choice.

Holiday in Croatia #Croatia - Chasing the Donkey

Are you a mountain climber? Then you’ll want to think about Paklenica National Park. Located 270 kilometers from Zagreb or 60 kilometers from Zadar. Paklenica hosts an International climber’s meeting, where you can scale up the mighty Velebit.

If you’re in Omiš, you may want to consider zip lining. There you’ll go across the canyon of the Cetina River via eight wires with a total length of 2100 meters. Plus a new zip line just opened up near Lika – we are yet to try it (I plan to as soon as baby #2 pops out!)

Holiday in Croatia #Croatia - Chasing the Donkey
Photo Credit –  Zip Line Croatia

Get A Great Deal At a 5-Star Hotel

The shoulder months of spring (and autumn) are the ideal times to grab a cheap deal on a higher class of hotel. These hotels are way more expensive during the peak summer months, but during spring prices are lower, and you can enjoy the lap of luxury for less cash.

Many smaller hotels or those located in summer locations are still closed very in early spring, but by May they are all open. You will find great deals as the summer rates do not yet apply.

Here is a list of luxury hotels in Croatia that you can get low-cost spring rates from or if you are with kids, here is an extensive list of family-friendly hotels and resorts. 

Hire a Car And Go On a Road Trip While in Croatia This Spring

Again, car hire is much like hotels and is noticeably cheaper during the spring months, compared to summer, and the lower temperatures are ideal for hitting the road and enjoying a road trip. You will truly get to explore and enjoy the passing landscapes without the heat affecting you at this time!

Enjoy Fewer Tourists And Get a Better Photo

Finally, the fact there aren’t as many tourists around (because most people tend to wait until the school summer holidays and travel as a family), means that you can get the ideal uncrowded photo at the top tourist attractions. Think of your Instagram feed!

Now, I probably could go on and on, with all of the sights and activities you could enjoy here in Croatia during spring, but I’ll stop. My last piece of advice is to bring a jumper or light coat with you; it gets chilly in the mornings and evenings. No need for hats, scarves, and gloves – you can leave those at home.

You can find more Croatia packing tips here.

With many of the low-cost carriers now starting to fly back into Croatia at this time of year, cheap flights from Europe and the UK are available. If you see one, you should book it, and come and enjoy your holiday in Croatia this spring.

Have you been to Croatia in spring? What would you suggest for things to do in spring?

Main Photo Credit: Mario

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Comments (34)

  1. it’s beautiful, I had come to Croatia, It always looks so beautiful, The National Parks are to die for. It would be a great fun to drive all the way.

  2. I would definitely prefer Spring and next time we make a visit, with all these great ideas we’ll be set for a great time. Thanks

  3. Chilly today, so some extra time to scroll your pages.
    Damned SJ, wish my English were a (tiny) bit better, as I envy how you do what you do the way you do it 🙂
    Simply said: your pages rock like hell !!!!!
    If this aint sharing luck, what is ?
    You’re doing a fantastic job on an ever growing database of Dalmatia at its best.
    Question: how was the stay/food/service in Hotel Villa Dvor ?
    Poz., Pimkovic.
    (Ps. it was a true pleasure to meet the three of you overhere).

  4. Oh wow a 2100 meter zipline! I’ve done a 1000 but that sounds fabulous. All these Croatia spring posts are so lovely and it all looks very beautiful

  5. It sounds great!! Although, I would probably have to wait until the end of Spring, I hate cold weather. I love your instagram photo of the pretty tree – I felt like I was looking at cherry blossoms in Japan.

  6. Croatia in the Spring is one of my favorite places to be. We will be in Crikvenica in a couple weeks again. I went to a funeral in the same cemetery in September. It is a very beautiful place.

  7. So many great things to do in Croatia in the spring – everything is just coming alive and looking beautiful. I would love to go ziplining.

  8. Wow, I am honored to have made your spring calendar! We’re looking forward to it just as much as you are. I just am floored by how many things there are to do in your adopted country. This map is giving me more and more ideas! Here’s to narrowing them down into a do-able plan this week. Btw, I so wish I had a moment to join the link-up this week. Soon 🙂

  9. I first visited Croatia in the spring and I think it’s the perfect time to go 🙂 Just looks so beautiful and the crowds are quite tolerable!

  10. I want to hear and see that Sea Organ. I’ve never heard of anything like it. Love the flower photos, too.

  11. Seems like a perfect time to visit the Plitvice Lakes – I have seen so many incredible photographs from that area. And never a bad time to visit Zagreb!

  12. First, super jealous you’re meeting up with TTM this spring! I thought I was going to meet her at the end of the month, but sadly no 🙁 I still have to get to Croatia. Since spring is such a lovely time- maybe I should plan (in stone) a trip for next spring? Hm. Thoughts.

    1. Hell to the yes! And I do hope by then my house will be finished (don’t hold your breath), absolute best time for me is May. It’s my ALL TIME fave month here. We could look up what festival are on, and plan a big family vacay 🙂

  13. I love going places in the off-season – it’s so much better when the tourists don’t clog everything!

    (I say, as a frequent tourist. . . )

    Those flowering trees are amazing – I wish spring here looked more like that.

    1. Yeah, I am always whining about those damn tourists… yet I wrote I blog shouting from the rooftops to come and visit. II’ll send you a postcard ad you can stick that on your window.

  14. I haven’t been to Croatia at all, but it looks beautiful in Spring! I can’t wait for Spring – it hasn’t arrived yet where we are (Toronto, Canada) but hopefully soon!

      1. This year has been unusually chilly. Usually by now, it is quite nice out, but we are still waiting for the cold to go away. I think this week might be the last chilly week and we will be onto spring weather. Normally, it is quite nice – great temperatures for walking around outside, lots of flowers in bloom, the snow melting away 🙂 The snow is almost all gone but no flowers just quite yet! To give you an idea… this year on the first day of Spring, it was -2 degrees Celsius. Usually it is around 5 degrees. Two years ago, it was 21 degrees! So these days it seems unpredictable!

  15. Beautiful! Come rain or whether its spring,summer or autumn I will have to drop by Croatia next year.

  16. So many great ides! And many great travel plans too. So glad that the winter is finally over and we can all start enjoying outdoors a bit more. Have fun on your travels, SJ!

  17. Beautiful We so have to come to Croatia! It always looks so beautiful and so much fun! The National Parks are to die for and your pics always make me want to book a flight today! Thank you for sharing ~ every week we find out more interesting great things about Croatia!

    1. Thanks Stacey. Your boys would love the ruins and castles – we could get them swords and play make believe!

  18. Thanx again for the wonderful tips and the #SundayTraveler, I am linking to you on my linkpartner page. This week I’ve done a first interview with an insider on my blog and I’m very excited about it. I believe I will have more of them 🙂
    Have a great Sunday,
    Esther.

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