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Climate and WeatherBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Croatia - Climate and Weather
Croatia is slightly smaller than Ireland. It has a complicated shape, rather like a lowercase letter ‘r’. On its western side lies thousands of miles of coastline, sitting across the Adriatic sea from the coast of Italy. Above it lies Slovenia, which is next to Hungary, leading to Serbia against the eastern tip. The rest of the eastern border meets with Bosnia Herzegovina.
Although Croatia isn’t a large country, it has three types of climate and gets warmer the further south you go.
Istria, the peninsula in the Adriatic sea, the islands and the Adriatic coast enjoy a mild Mediterranean climate. The mountain chain of the Dinaric Alps is, unsurprisingly, much cooler and prone to cold, snowy winters. Meanwhile, the interior plains have a continental climate, with very hot summers and cool winters.
However, all areas of Croatia are linked by wet weather. The Dinaric Alps have lots of thunderstorms, whilst the interior plains receive rainfall throughout the year. The coastal areas enjoy drier periods during the hot summers, but autumn and winter bring a lot of rain. All areas can be prone to snowfall, which is at its lightest near the coast and heaviest in the mountains.
What To Wear In Croatia
Layers are the key to your wardrobe in this country. The temperatures will vary throughout the year according to the season and your location. Even in late September or early October, Dubrovnik can be warm enough for T-shirts and light trousers, but the evening will be cool enough for you to need a sweater.
During the hot summers, many homes and businesses will have air conditioning on. So you may find you need to keep putting a cardigan on when you step indoors.
In winter time most properties will turn up the heat. So whilst you have been battling the snow outside in thick winter coat, hat, scarves, gloves and boots with a firm grip, once you come inside you may warm up pretty quickly!
There are few rules that apply with regard to your wardrobe. Local Croatian people wear westernised clothing, so you will not cause offense by wearing shorts, summer tops or sandals. It is normal to wear a skirt and jacket, or smart dress, for an evening meal or party. Individuals are free to express their identity through what they wear.
Do be sensitive about where you are though. A bikini or a bare chest for men is fine on the beach; in a shop or café, this is not OK. Whilst this sounds like common sense, Dubrovnik has been forced to introduce fines to stop people walking about its city streets in bikinis and trunks.
It’s normal to dress smartly at work in Croatia. If you are meeting clients, then a business suit and polished shoes will be expected.
There are no formal barriers to women taking up work in any industry in Croatia, and they are accepted and respected in senior and management roles.
Protect Yourself Against Sun Damage In Croatia
During the summer, you should take care not to get sunburnt or dehydrate. It’s easy to overlook how strong the sun can be in Croatia, especially on cloudy or variable days. A large hat, sunscreen and light, long sleeves will protect your skin.
Sunglasses which protect your eyes against UVA and UVB rays, including wraparound glasses, can be inexpensive to purchase. Darker lenses do not provide this protection, so look for the 100 percent UVA/UVB sticker or description.
Make sure you always have access to drinking water. Luckily Croatia has clean and drinkable tap water throughout the country.
Croatia Has Clean Beaches
During the hot summers, the coastal areas are a big draw for locals and tourists alike. The swimming waters and sunshine are too good to miss.
A pair of aqua or water shoes are useful if you are visiting the rocky Croatian coast. Sea urchins, rocks and stones can make entering and exiting the beautiful swimming waters somewhat uncomfortable on bare feet.
The Adriatic sea is said to be one of the cleanest in the world, and Croatian beaches are noted for their cleanliness.
July and August are particularly busy on Croatian beaches, which is also the hottest time of the year. Be careful not to leave items unattended on the beach while you go for a swim.
High Temperatures Bring Environmental Risks
The heat of the summer in Croatia is an ideal environment for snakes. Most are harmless. However, if you are bitten by the Common European Viper (Vipera Berus) or the Meadow’s Adder (Vipera Ursinii), it will sting, and you should seek medical attention. The bite of the Horned Viper (Vipera Ammodytes) can be fatal, so prompt treatment is essential.
Croatia is also home to scorpions. These are very small, and their bite will do no further harm than sting.
The black widow spider (Latrodectus Tredecimguttatus) lives throughout the Mediterranean and is the most venomous spider in Croatia. However, bites from this spider are rare, and only a small percentage of those bitten will die. Prompt medical attention should prevent this.
What you are more likely to be affected by are wildfires. These are common, and are usually caused by human neglect or intent. Whilst the fires rarely cost lives, they cause hazardous driving conditions on local roads and can quickly engulf property. Be aware of any alerts in your area, and be careful not to cause any wildfires yourself. For example, put a BBQ fire out completely before you leave it.
Croatia Suffers Earthquakes And Tsunamis
Croatia regularly experiences low level earthquakes. Sometimes a powerful one will cause damage. Seismic activity frequently occurs around Dubrovnik, which suffered catastrophic damage in 1667; the buildings in the Old Town there are kept internally strong with modern reinforcement techniques.
Sometimes Croatia will experience a tsunami or meteotsunami event, where the waves can reach three metres high. These rarely cause fatalities; however, the flooding can cause substantial amounts of damage to properties.
Danger From Military Mines
The Croatian War of Independence was fought between 1991 and 1995, and left about 20,000 people dead. As part of the hostilities, tens of thousands of mines were planted at numerous locations.
Once the war ended, mine clearance and the removal of unexploded ordnance started. However, this programme is ongoing almost three decades later. More than €450 million has been spent so far, and a further €500 million is needed to complete the process. Removal was prioritised to tourist areas and other sites where the risk of harm was greatest.
However, by 1st August 2017, more than forty-two thousand land mines still sat in 433.5 square kilometres (167.4 square miles) of territory across nine counties as well as 61 cities and municipalities. Most of these are in forest areas, with about a quarter on agricultural land and just over a tenth on shrubland.
More than five hundred people have been killed and almost fifteen hundred people have been injured by landmines after the war ended, but education and signage has reduced the death rates significantly. In excess of 13,000 warning signs have been placed at minefield sites and 409 warning signs at locations with unexploded ordnance.
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