Along the coast from Zadar to Dubrovnik, you can expect daily temperatures to average 77 degrees Fahrenheit with temps dropping to the low to mid-60s in the evening. The Adriatic remains inviting at 73 degrees, and with the high UV index, 12 hours of daylight, and as little as a couple inches of rain across seven days, September is a next-to-perfect time to visit. So pack your summer gear and bring light layers.
Crowds & Cost
Enjoy a little breathing room along the coast and on the beaches now that the visitors are down to a more manageable level and local tourists have returned home from the coast. Flights and tourist attractions are less costly than in peak season and hotel prices along the coast begin their six-month decline. Though prices drop, ferries continue to operate on a summer schedule adding to the lure of traveling to Croatia in September.
Where to Go
The weather is less stifling and the crowds are starting to thin (especially toward the end of the month), making September a smart time to visit popular attractions that would otherwise be cumbersome to explore. A classic route option is to begin or end in Zagreb, Croatia's capital, and work your way into the Istrian Peninsula to check out the medieval hilltop towns, like Motovun or Grožnjan on your way to the Istrian coast to explore Poreč, Rovinj, Pula, and Opatija. Head south to the Dalmatian Coast stopping in popular points of interest, Zadar, Plitvice Lakes National Park, and the historic port city of Split—a great jumping off point to nearby islands, including Brač, Šolta, and Hvar, before working your way southeast along the coast to end your tour in the 'Pearl of the Adriatic', Dubrovnik.
Consider exploring the area around Dubrovnik, southeast is Cavtat and the Konavle wine region, offshore are the mostly car-free Elafiti Islands, Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan, and northwest is a stunning drive through the Pelješac Peninsula.
For more on where to go, read this article on Top Regions in Croatia.
What to Do
There are endless options to take advantage of in September, from outdoor activities to cultural events and festivals. Explore cities like Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, and Zagreb for Croatia's best museums, restaurants, and cultural attractions with time dedicated to the islands for the beach and water sports, like sailing, kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling. Lounge on famous Zlatni Rat beach on Brač Island, sail to Šolta Island from Split and swim in pristine coves, or explore the Pakleni Islands by kayak. Mix things up and lace up your hiking boots for a day hike along Hvar's rocky paths amid vineyards and olive groves to discover abandoned villages and hidden bays (for faster coverage, rent a scooter).
Wine lovers will appreciate sampling wines native to Croatia. Join a cycling wine tour to discover Korčula's Lumbarda region and sample Grk, a white varietal native to Korčula, or Bogdanuša a white found only on Hvar. Other options are to rent a car and tour the Pelješac Peninsula pairing wine tastings with freshly caught seafood or tour the Konavle wine country and sample wines like Plavac Mali, a red grown only in South Dalmatia.
To burn off the calories from drinking, switch gears and head to the small village of Zadvarje for canyoning the Cetina River, ending with a three-hour zip-line excursion above the river canyon in Omiš. Or visit Croatia's most famous national parks, like Krka and Plitvice Lakes. Cool off in the shade of their many trees or take a dip in Krka's Skadrinski Buk. Each park offers stunning views and are great destinations for gentle walks amid forest, lakes, and waterfalls.
Events in September
Varaždin Baroque Evenings. Taking place over the course of two weeks every year in September, local and international orchestras play in the cathedral, churches, and theaters around town.
Labin Art Republika. Running from June to September, the town comes alive with street performances and studios open their doors. Additionally, every Tuesday at 9:30 pm free guided tours depart from the tourist office in the old town re-counting legends and myths of the area.
Festival of Subotina. The small town of Buzet, close to the Slovenia border, hosts a slew of truffle-related events, the top one being on the second Saturday in September to mark the start of the white-truffle season.
Outlook Festival. For five days in early September Europe's largest bass and dubstep festival takes place in Punta Christo Fort in Štinjan, just outside of Pula, with the opening event to take place in the Roman Ampitheater.
Supetar Summer. Supetar on Brač Island accommodates a two-month-long festival of folk music, klapa, dance and classical concerts in addition to exhibitions, talks, and outdoor cinema.
Puppet International Festival. Since 1968 Zagreb has hosted this notable festival showcasing puppetry, from workshops on puppet making to exhibits.
World Theatre Festival. Each September Zagreb hosts top-notch contemporary theatre for a couple weeks.
25 FPS Festival. An eccentric festival in Zagreb presenting experimental film and video screenings in late September (or early October).
Samobor Music Festival. One of the most prestigious classical music festivals in Croatia, this festival lasts for nine days, many of the performances held in the town's two central churches.
Truffle Days. This multi-day festival (September to November) takes place during the white truffle peak season annually in Livade, the center of the truffle region in Istria. Enjoy all things truffles, including a demonstration using specially-trained dogs to search them out.
Trash Film Festival. This campy festival in Varaždin celebrates low-budget action movies, from martial arts to sci-fi to horror.
Traveling to Croatia in September? Check out these great itinerary ideas.
Ultimate Guide to Brač. Brač is Croatia’s third-largest island, the biggest in Dalmatia, and among the closest to the mainland. It's also a great choice for active pursuits: stellar windsurfing, any type of watersport under the sun, cycling, and hiking.
Hike & Sail: Split to Dubrovnik - 7 Days. Explore Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik and discover why so many people fall in love with Croatia. You'll learn about Croatia's history, relax on beaches, sail around the Pakleni Islands, and hike to monasteries and forgotten villages.