My husband and I are planning a trip to Croatia/Slovenia (including Dubrovnik) for 2 weeks sometime next year. We just talked with someone who was in Dubrovnik and the rest of Croatia this September. He warned us that the large crowds, especially in Dubrovnik, make it difficult to walk in the narrow lanes and otherwise navigate. He suggested beginning the trip in mid May. Someone else suggested beginning the trip around the first of October. I know this is probably a foolish question, but does anyone have any suggestions about a time of year to visit when crowds throughout Croatia/Slovenia may be at a minimum and most services open? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
It was the cruise ship shore-leave crowd that clogged up the lanes of Dubrovnik. I seem to remember a ship being in port from 10 to 3, making the crowds swell from 11 to 1:30. We just got an early start, then took a luchtime siesta,... had the place mostly to ourselves again in the evening.
Nowhere else was too affected by crowds. The only other exception being to make reservations in advance if you want to stay in the top hotels near Plitvice Lakes. But we were quite happy in the 'third-best' choice. I would suggest booking ahead for top spots near Lake Bled as well.
We were there in September for peak of grape and fig season. But artichoke and asparagus season would likely be fun too.
We went to Croatia and Slovenia the first couple of weeks of July 2014. We were bracing ourselves for the infamous Dubrovnik cruise ship crowds. But as a previous poster noted, the crowds were really only bad in the middle of the day, which was usually time that we were resting in our apartment or out at the beach. We stayed at a WONDERFUL sobe that was within the walls but was up the stairs from the main strip. http://apartmentskovac-dubrovnik.com/ The location was excellent, in that we got to be in the old town but had the ability to escape the crowds and not hear any evening noise. There are restaurants and shops everywhere, so even despite the crowds we had no problem getting into a place to eat. It's also so wonderful to be in Dubrovnik when it's warm. Even though I too am not a fan of crowds, I don't think I would want to go in May as a way to avoid the crowds but not get to enjoy the beaches and warm weather.
Slovenia was no problem in July. The only place we went that was a bit crowded was Lake Bled. But the crowds were not too bad. Not more than you'd imagine at any lake on a summer's day. Slovenia was absolutely wonderful. We can't wait to go back.
We had an amazing trip. I hope yours will be great as well!
We took RS Eastern Europe Tour with included stops in Croatia and Slovenia. We used a copy of his guide book for those two countries that was very helpful. I hope you have a copy of a good guide book already. If not I would highly recommend the RS one that is for sale elsewhere on his web site. During our tour I also remember the "cruise ship assault" that we were encouraged to avoid at all costs which we did. There are other places to be and see while those folks are in town. I hope you have had a chance to see what the weather is during both times you are considering. If you click on the RS tour for Eastern Europe you can see some very general average weather for the different months of the year. Happy travels.
Cruise ships are a wild card to put up with, but really only in Dubrovnik, and as others have said, easy to work around. The tried and true advice I think is still valid...May and into June, the weather will be nice, the water cold to cool, as summer builds, so will the crowds and the water temp, crowds will peak through August, as many Europeans take their vacations then, and in September the crowds drop, the water temp is at it's peak, October the weather is still nice, but the season is winding down, so maybe some places are closing up, or at least activity is subdued...this may be nice to you, or a bit boring to some.
Thank you very much for the information. We do have a copy of RS Croatia/Slovenia! Thanks again for your time.
I visited Croatia from September 22 thru October 4 a few years ago. Weather was still nice but crowds had thinned. Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar weren’t crowded, so it was easy to visit sights and get seating at restaurants. High-season sailing schedules end September 30, so I had to plan my visit to Hvar around that. I visited Rovinj and Istria last. Evenings were cool and windy, and shops and restaurants in Rovinj were starting to close for the season, but days were nice and hotel prices were off-season, so it was still very enjoyable. I visited Plitvice on a different trip in late September, and it too wasn't crowded. I've found late September/early October to be a nice time of year to visit Croatia.
I live in Split, Croatia and I would recommend visiting Croatia from the 10th of May to the start of June or from the 10th of September. The crowds are less and the weather is perfect not too hot and ideal swimming conditions. All services are open in these periods and crowds are by far less. What other cities are you visiting in Croatia apart from Dubrovnik?
I was in Croatia and Slovenia from October 7th thru October 24th last month. I went with a travel company via bus. The weather in Dubrovnik from October 8 thru 12th was wonderful, high 70's low 80's and sunny. Like everyone previously said the cruise ship traffic in Dubrovnik was busy during the middle of the day. A walk on the walls around the city was a beautiful view ($20 US), do that early or late in the day since it can be very congested mid-day and hot. We took the tram to the top of the mountain across from the city (about $20 US ) The view was great but hard to take good pictures because the cables were hard to keep out of the pictures. The small cafe's were fun to visit and most had good food. I took the boat over to Locrum Island and it was a good 3-4 hour side trip. Most of the cruise ship folks don't have enough time in their agenda to do that.
Other stops on our trip were Monternago Kotor Bay, Mostar in Bosnia. Split, Opartija, Rovenia, Pula, and Zegreb, all in Croatia. In Slovnia Lake Bled middle of October was beautiful, weather in 60's and delightful. Our trip ended in Zegreb Oct 20th -24. It was rainy and low 60's. Everything was opened, most of the other town were having end of the season clearance sales. Had a wonderful time and thought October was a great month to travel