We're looking at the RS Best of the Adriatic tour for 2020. Spring is out so this will be a fall trip. We've enjoyed European travel in September in the past, but on our most recent September trip, to France, the weather was too hot, in the low 90s many days. Like most people, we prefer 70s and low 80's. We've not yet done any European travel in October. Besides a little cooler weather, we think we might like the crowd sizes better. It would be helpful to see some comments on tourist crowd levels at Plitvice National Park in early to mid Sept., and some comments on those crowds in early to mid Oct. Re weather, I'd rather be hot than have my vacation ruined by lots of cloudy, rainy weather. Has anyone traveled to Croatia and Slovenia in Oct. and found it to be too cool or rainy? Or traveled there in early Sept. and found it to be too hot and crowded?
I would recommend going to timeanddate.com and checking the day-by-day historical weather statistics for several of your planned destinations in September and October 2018, 2017, 2016, etc. I'd go back at least 5 years. That will provide a more reliable picture of the range of expected weather than anecdotal reports from folks who visited your target area, possibly only once and briefly.
My personal anecdotal evidence is that the weather began to change when I was in Bulgaria in late September 2015. It became a bit cooler and there were days with some rain. The rainy pattern intensified--but was not generally a problem for sightseeing--as I traveled in Montenegro and to Zadar, Croatia. There was a fair amount of rain while I spent about a week in Zagreb, culminating in a day that was really unpleasant--very chilly and raining from morning to night. I believe the dreadful day was October 10 or 11.
I have not researched weather data for Ljubljana and have only been there in the summer, but I would expect it to cool off at least as early as Zagreb does. The coastal locations may have moderate temperatures a bit later in the fall, but in my (limited) experience there will be rainy periods after the fall pattern sets in.
Don't forget that the days will be getting shorter as you get later in the year.
I was in Croatia a couple of years ago and the weather broke (much colder and rainy) on the day I returned home, 23 September. Friends were still out there and said it was lucky that we went when we did. Of course, each year is different.
Many places on the islands close at the end of September.
My first visit to Croatia was in October, 2009, and the weather was great until near the end (mid-October). It was still very warm in Dubrovnik, and I remember being glad I brought shorts with me to walk the walls of Dubrovnik, it was so hot! I went swimming briefly down in the cove below my B&B, with the owner of my B&B - water was plenty warm.
The day I left Dubrovnik for Korcula, the weather cooled and it rained on and off (next four days) the rest of my time in Korcula and Dubrovnik. A friend who had stayed behind in Dubrovnik said that the Buza Bar closed for the season as soon as the weather cooled...
But, that was 2009, and Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian coast have become much more popular thanks to Game of Thrones.
Korcula Town was pretty quiet and dead atnight when I was there the two nights in early October. Restaurants were open but you couldn't tell unless you walked up to them, because there weren't any people out. But again, this was ten years ago.
I returned to Croatia in May 2015. The weather was pretty good - a little rain, but not most days. But the skies weren't clear like they had been most October nights, where I got to see the sun set into the ocean a few times, which was really spectacular. I saw the sunset in May only once. Most other nights it was just clouded over. And of course, it was too cold to swim.
If I were going back, I'd probably go in mid-September or early October - fewer crowds by October even if iffy-weather. Naturally, the weather is different every year.
It would be helpful to see some comments on tourist crowd levels at Plitvice National Park in early to mid Sept., and some comments on those crowds in early to mid Oct.
We went October 5th in 2017, a weekday, arriving about 1 in the afternoon. There was no line for tickets and no wait for entry. (It was also before the new-this-year online ticketing system.)
It felt very uncrowded. There were stretches where we were walking by ourselves with the closest groups several hundred paces away.
There were some sections where we were shuffling along in a stream of people - possibly tour groups. It was at those times that we could well imagine that same level of crowdedness throughout the park in the summer. For us it was an occasional thing and then long stretches where we could walk freely at our own pace.
Towards the end of the afternoon there were areas where we felt we had the place to ourselves and maybe just a small number of other groups.
Vickie, I'm a little late to this thread, but I will add our experience early September last year. The weather was pleasant. Not too hot. We too, enjoy 70's to low 80's. As far as Plitvice Park, we started our hike first thing in the morning. We avoided the crowds by starting In the upper area. Apparently the day trippers start at the lower level. It was great to be part of this wonderful tour. Hope you choose to take the tour. One of our favorites!