Temperatures start warming up in April, with average daily temperatures ranging from 52 degrees Fahrenheit inland to 57 degrees along the coast. The days are longer, sunnier, and warmer with only 10 days of expected rain, and though the Adriatic is still too cool for swimming, you'll want to bring your sunscreen and swimsuit just in case it's hot enough for a lie out on a beach (particularly on Hvar Island).
Crowds & Costs
April is the tail-end of winter, and while visitors are beginning to trickle back, this is a great time to enjoy Croatia in relative solitude. Ferries remain on their reduced schedule and many hotels, especially along the coast, will still be closed. Though there will always be something available, it's best to err on the side of caution and book in advance. Airlines and hotels haven't yet upped their rates, making April a good time to visit. Many Croats will be traveling within the country during this time for Easter celebrations, as well as hitting up the numerous festivals across the country, though locals are relaxed and welcoming to tourists as they're preparing for the pending summer season.
Where to Go
April's warming weather and longer daylight hours make it a great month to explore Croatia by foot with plenty of outdoor options for hiking, biking, and sightseeing. Most travelers begin or end their stay in Dubrovnik to check out its many imposing walls as well as filming locations for the popular Game of Thrones series. Popular points of interest along the Dalmatian coast include visiting Korčula and Hvar, before stopping to check out the historic port city of Split. En route, its worth a visit to national parks like Krka and Plitvice Lakes, as April's rise in water levels give the parks' many waterfalls an added dramatic flair.
While on the coast, consider a trip to the Istrian peninsula to tour compact towns that dot the coastline before venturing inland to the disarming beauty of the many medieval hilltop settlements and stone-built villages. A classic endpoint is to finish your Croatian adventure in its capital, Zagreb. Its many parks will be chock-full of blooms and there are plenty of restaurants to try and cultural events to check out.
What to Do
Though the weather boasts mild temperatures along the coast, the Adriatic is too cold to swim in (though not unheard of) and better suited for outdoor activities like hiking or cycling. Visit Istria for stellar cycling routes, like the Parenzana trail through inland Istria. Enjoy a recreational ride along the old railway line that has been turned into a cycling and walking path, showcasing unforgettable landscapes. Bonus: reward yourself with wine and join the many cycling wine tours on offer. For more information, check out The Secrets of Croatia's Wine Country or Cycle the Wine Routes of Istria. Kayaking and rafting are other great athletic options to do in April when the rivers are at their highest creating more thrills.
Fewer crowds to contend with means touring popular attractions like Dubrovnik's fortified walls, Zadar's Sea Organ, and Split's Diocletian's Palace will be mostly to yourself.
April kicks of festival season with a plethora of events taking place all over the country, from cultural to athletic. Into mountain biking or running? The 4 Islands MTB Stage Race might be of interest, taking place over four islands (Krk, Rab, Cres, and Lošinj) or the 100 Miles of Istria Ultratrail where competitors have nothing but the panoramic views for motivation. Also taking place in Istria is the Days of Asparagus festival that has restaurants incorporating wild Istrian asparagus into their regional dishes. Music lovers will appreciate the number of music festivals popping up across the country. You can take in the new stylings of the Music Biennale Zagreb, the more traditional Aklapela Festival in Dubrovnik and listen to the klapas from all over Croatia as they serenade passersby, the International Festival of Wind Music in Split.
Events in April
Following the Cross. At 10 pm on the night of Holy Thursday (the day on which Catholics commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus Christ), this 500-year-old procession starts concurrently from Jelsa and five other nearby towns on Hvar Island. Following a cross bearer, participants walk through the night on a near 16-mile, eight-hour circuit, stopping in each parish along the way.
Holy Week. The entire week leading up to Easter is devoted to ceremonies and processions, Korčula offering one of the most solemn and elaborate of Holy Week celebrations.
Spring on the Zrmanja River. Known as the "European Grand Canyon", this three-day event sees rafters and kayakers paddling along the crystal-clear river. Join the cheering (or competition!) and hike the area, paddle or enjoy a boat ride.
Coffee Festival. Opatija's restaurants and bars indulge visitors in their secret coffee recipes and the whole town puts on concerts, exhibitions and workshops celebrating everything coffee.
Dubrovnik FestiWine. An annual week-long celebration showcasing wines of the Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Bars and restaurants feature local wines and along with sampling a wide selection, you can attend workshops and exhibitions throughout the city.
Traveling to Croatia in April? Check out these great itineraries.
Best of Dalmatia: Split to Dubrovnik - 7 Days. Enjoy walking along centuries-old trails while discovering local culture and gastronomy in Dalmatia, one of Croatia's most beautiful regions. Visit the famous Diocletian's Palace in Split, and get acquainted with the dreamy islands of Brač, Hvar, and Korčula before finishing your coastal tour in charming Dubrovnik.
Mountain Biking on the Croatian Islands. Whether you enjoy the adrenaline rush of a whitewater rapid or the sheer face of a rock wall, Croatia can deliver a satisfying active vacation.