My husband and I are thinking of planning a trip to Slovenia and Croatia in December. We would fly into Venice and rent a car. My question is will this be a good place to travel in December. Will the weather be ok and are most things still open this time of year?
Some people love to travel off season - fewer crowds, etc. Some of the places you'd visit would be pretty in the snow. (Skiing is popular in Slovenia.) On the other hand - you might have to drive in the snow and maybe ice. The days will be short. Some tourist stuff will be unavailable off season or have limited hours.
And some of the pretty coastal towns may be completely dead in the winter and maybe not very appealing. My Dubrovnik B&B owner told me he closes down ever winter and goes to Miami for a few months. I'm sure the towns are still open but how much fun will they be? Having been to them closer to high season, I'd actually be very open to doing a trip like this now myself - but maybe not for a first trip.
Check to make sure you would be allowed to drive a rental car from Venice to Slovenia and Croatia. If not, an alternative might be to take a shuttle to Ljubljana, rent a car there, take a train to Croatia, rent another car there and return it in say Dubrovnik and fly out from there, rather than needing to drive all the way back from Venice.
Be aware that there are mountainous areas (Slovenia especially) that are going to have some snow at that time of the year.
I'd avoid most of the coast during that time and plan for a more winter itinerary, sticking mostly to the northern, continental areas and adding Istria instead of Dalmatia for some coastal time. Like Andrew said, many coastal towns shut down and tourist services are limited, plus the lack of daylight (the sun sets at 4 pm) will shorten your sightseeing time. Prepare for snow in continental areas and strong bora winds on the coast. Zagreb and Ljubljana are lovely in December with all the Christmas decorations and there are plenty of winter activities in the mountainous areas of Slovenia you can partake in. You could also visit one of the many thermal spas, which are a particular draw during the chilly December days.
If renting a car in Italy, make double sure it comes with proper winter tires; snow chains will be useless in all but the heaviest snowfall. Rental cars in Slovenia come equipped with winter tires by law.
Thank you all for the input. We have been to Slovenia and enjoyed our time there very much. I think we have decided to go to Rome and Tuscany this trip and save Croatia and Slovenia for a warmer time of year. My husbands business only allows us this time in December this year. Not ideal but better than not going at all I believe.