With daily average temperatures ranging from 64 degrees Fahrenheit along the Dalmatian Coast to 54 degrees Fahrenheit inland in Zagreb, October makes for a pleasant time to participate in outdoor activities, like hiking or biking. Swimming too is still an option as the Adriatic Sea remains relatively warm until mid-October. Though the weather is cooler and the days slightly shorter, this time of year is certainly rainier than summer months—you'll want to pack your umbrella along with a couple sweaters.
Crowds & Costs
Outside the height of peak season, there are significantly fewer crowds to contend with and touring Croatia's popular attractions is certainly more peaceful. It is important to note starting in the shoulder season many hotels close for the winter, especially along the coast, and traveling between the islands will require a little extra planning as the ferries are operating on their winter schedule. Cities like Zagreb become a little livelier with the return of its residents from the coast.
Where to Go
While there are some definite advantages to traveling during the off-season, it's important to allow for a little planning, particularly along Croatia's coast as some of the hotels close for the season and ferry schedules pare down their routes. Most travelers will either start or end their trip with a few days in Dubrovnik, 'The Pearl of the Adriatic'.
A popular option to see as much as possible on your own schedule is to rent a car and head up the coast to the large, triangular peninsula of Istria. Enjoy the sweeping views of Istria's dramatic landscape, punctuated with medieval hilltop towns like Motovun and Grožnjan. While in Istria, consider a trip to the coastal town of Rovinj and spend the night on one of its 14 nearby islands.
A classic stop from Istria is heading inland to Zagreb, Croatia's capital and a central European walking city filled with cobblestoned streets, captivating architecture, and Maksimir Park, Zagreb's oldest park.
Here's the Dalmatian Coast Self-Drive Tour for more ideas.
What to Do
Take advantage of the mild weather and changing foliage with a visit to Croatia's number one natural attraction, Plitvice Lakes National Park. Enjoy sweeping views over the park's collection of 16 emerald green and blue travertine lakes, more than 90 foaming waterfalls, and numerous caves. Choose one of eight different hiking trails, ranging from three to eight hours in duration, to intimately explore the park through beech and pine forests. If hiking isn't your thing, there are well-placed boardwalks that serpentine throughout Plitvice Lakes bringing you to strategic lookout points.
Foodies will appreciate a stay in the Istrian Peninsula for all things truffles. The area is famous for this delicacy and offers both black and white varieties at a fraction of the price you would otherwise pay in France and Italy. Most of the truffle-related activities center around the medieval hill town of Motovun with the Teran and Truffle Festival or the Truffle Days in Livade. Both festivals showcase dishes featuring truffles, risotto, omelets, and a number of desserts as well as sell truffle oil and other products. You may wish to try your luck at finding your own truffles - the winning prize goes to the largest truffle found.
Events in October
Good Food Festival. Dubrovnik's week-long foodie festival with special restaurant menus, organized gastro routes, and wine tastings, as well as workshops offering participants the opportunity to learn how to prepare domestic dishes and style food.
Marunada. One of Croatia's food festivals not to be missed, this festival in Opatija focuses on the maruni, a unique species of chestnut grown in Lovran. Feast on everything chestnut, as well as look for your own in the nearby woods.
Split Film Festival. An eclectic film festival showcasing works personal, experimental, radical, and innovative media.
TeTa: Teran and Truffle Festival. Foodies will enjoy this festival in Motovun. Winemakers will gather showcasing Teran, the Istrian red, while local restaurants will serve dishes prepared with truffles to accompany the wine.
Zagreb Film Festival. Taking place usually in October (sometimes November), Zagreb hosts another film-related festival, this one covers nine days of 100 film screenings taking place all over the city center.
Traveling to Croatia in October? Check out these great itineraries.
Best of Croatia: Zagreb to Dubrovnik - 10 Days. Croatia is a country of stunning landscapes and rich, ancient culture—you'll experience the best of both worlds on this adventurous 10-day tour. Explore historic cities, kayak the pristine waters of the Pakleni Islands, and get to know Croatia by seeing and doing it all.
Cycling Croatia's Dalmatian Coast - 5 Days. Cycle around Croatia's Dalmatian Coast on this self-guided bike tour. Visit the ancient Roman town of Split, as well as the beautiful islands of Brač, Šolta, and Hvar. Choose from easy coastal rides, with optional longer rides and leg-busting climbs. Discover Greek, Roman, and Venetian heritage and learn about Croatian culture along the way.