When thinking about what to pack for a summer trip to Croatia, focus should be on classy but comfortable outfits that can take you from lunch to sunset drinks, from walking in cobblestone streets to visiting a winery or going to the beach, and that can adapt to the hot temperatures.
When it comes to footwear, Croatia is filled with old cobblestone streets, narrow alleyways and stairs, and this means wearing the the right shoes is essential.
If you plan to participate in adventure activities such as rafting, hiking in the mountains or the like, add the necessary outdoor gear.
What to expect in the summer months in Croatia
Summers in Croatia are warm and the sun stays up until late. However, not all summer months are made equal.
June sees long days where the sun is up until past 9pm and summer solstice celebrations abound. It is a wonderful month with warm temperatures, beautiful evenings, but slightly cooler sea temperatures. It is a month we love because it is the beginning of summer and spirits are high with anticipation.
July and August are hot and sticky and temperatures can make sightseeing unpleasant in the heat of the day. To add to that, the never ending stream of cruise goers will make visits to smaller towns like Dubrovnik, a challenge.
September is similar to June in temperatures and the days are still long, rains are low and it is the wine harvest season. The sea remains warm from the summer and the crowds start to dwindle.
Weather in Croatia in the summer
Summertime in Croatia runs from June to September, officially, from the 23rd of June until the 23rd of September but each month is slightly different.
The weather in July and August is hot, with temperatures well above the 30 degrees Celsius and humidity levels approaching 100%. In the peak hours of the day, you can’t do much, which is why everyone heads to the beach or takes a break.
Although both June and September share a similar weather outlook, there are also some differences; one is at the beginning of the summer while the other is the end of it, so the atmosphere varies and the climate is slightly different.
The weather in June and September in Croatia
June is a beautiful month to visit Croatia, perhaps my favorite, and September is a close second.
Temperatures in both months are mild and range from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius or 64 to 77 Fahrenheit. Rainfall is lower in June though, which is why we prefer it. Both months have plenty of sunshine with 12h and 10h respectively a day.
Evenings can get a bit chilly so a light jacket is welcome if you plan to eat at the many terraces or enjoy a stroll back to your accommodation. The sea temperature is lower in June than September.
The weather in July and August in Croatia
In July and August, temperatures rise considerably approaching 30 Celsius and 85 Farenheit, which make sightseeing during the peak hours of the day unpleasant.
Days are longer, the humidity goes up, rainfall drops and there is a bit more sunshine than in June and September.
The probability of rain remains very low and showers are quick and short and the sea temperature is higher than in June.
Packing tips for summer in Croatia
With the above weather conditions in mind, it is important to pack accordingly for a trip to Croatia in the summer, not so much for cultural reasons but to make sure you are comfortable.
Footwear for stairs and cobblestone streets
Almost all the towns and villages you will visit in Croatia are old and made of uneven cobblestone streets that are shinny and slippery from the constant foot traffic walking on them.
The are also lots of stairs in narrow alleyways, and buildings in the old towns do not have lifts, that means more stairs.
Some of the sightseeing, like the Dubrovnik Walls, means more stairs, ramps and rock surfaces and the beaches are not sandy, but rocky or made of pebbles.
What this means for your trip to Croatia and your packing list:
- Lots of stairs, ramps and streets that may be hard to climb but even harder on your knees to descend.
- Cobblestone streets with uneven surfaces and rocky, sometimes slippery, surfaces that make it easy to sprain an ankle or slip and fall.
- Hiking gravel paths with lots of stairs to get to hidden beaches, around fortified walls, to monasteries, etc.
- Rocky coast and pebble beaches.
High-heels or very flat shoes without grip or support will make your feet tired and walking the wonderful villages more challenging, even dangerous.
A pair of cute sneakers like the ever present Italian brand Superga or any other pair of sturdy shoes that provide support (aka holds your foot in place) and cushion (for the long days of walking) are a great idea.
For the beach, the coast and the boat trips, reef shoes or closed waterproof sandals are useful. A proper pair of sneakers will come in handy for hiking, more technical hiking shoes are probably not required unless you plan on a hiking trip.
Croatias are not big fans of AC
While the weather will be hot outside, many restaurants and bars are open air and rely on the sea breeze.
Public indoor spaces such as hotel receptions, restaurants and museums, will have AC, though it is not something readily available and when it is, it will not be as strong as in the US or parts of Asia.
Beware of pickpockets
Europe is generally a very safe continent for solo female travelers but popular tourist destinations such as London, Paris, Milan or Florence are magnets for pickpockets who, believe me, are absolute pros.
When walking the many touristy towns or wandering the streets of Dubrovnik, you should be extra alert to anyone trying to distract you, asking something from you, etc. who may have hidden intentions. Never leave belongings unattended or in plain sight and keep everything inside a zipped handbag.
Slash-proof bags designed for extra safety are highly recommended in Italy. Alternatively, a cross-body bag that is always zipped and in front of you should work.
There are so many easy targets available in crowded places that, as soon as you make yourself a more difficult one, you raise the barrier for the average thief.
Everything goes, but locals like it stylish
In Croatia you can dress however you like with the weather and geography in mind. There are no restrictions, cultural or otherwise, on what clothes you should or should not wear.
Modesty is only required in religious buildings where you should cover knees and shoulders and a shawl is usually enough.
Croatians dress up nicely and are very tall, in fact, some of the tallest in Europe. Large brim hats, flying dresses, oversized earrings, accessories, and outfits that are well put together are the norm in the fashionable marinas, the higher end hotels and restaurants and the stylish bars.
How to dress at the beach
While comfort trumps style at the beach, people still dress nicely, and good appearance will get you far, especially at the posher beach and pool clubs.
Cut denims, flip flops and oversized clothing that doesn’t fit your shape easily distinguishes tourists from locals.
Croatian men are known to favor Speedos and you will see many older men wearing them. Women prefer bikini although fashionable one-piece swim suits are more common these days.
Going topless is not frowned upon and you’ll see plenty of bare chested women. Nudism is not usually allowed but on the nudist beaches, and there are plenty of those.
While you can pretty much put on whatever on the beach and adjacent areas, do not take the beach attired to a restaurant unless it is one on the beach. Covering up, even if just throwing on a dress, is expected.
What to pack for summer in Croatia
Now that you understand the weather and the fashion sense in Croatia, it’s time to have a look at what to wear in the summer.
The best thing to wear during a Croatian summer is a light, comfortable, flowy dress. It can be long or short, mini or maxi, in a solid color or patterned, but generally, it is loose and not tight.
Think wrap-around dresses, spaghetti strap dresses, florals, etc. if they are below the knee you’ll be sure to be allowed into churches so bear that in mind.
You should carry a cardigan in the evenings, even in the summer months, in case it get chilly.
Skirts, of all lengths. Long skirts with a cute top, three quarter length with a blouse, tule ones, lace skirts, plated, etc. Skirts are a girl’s best friend in and all the skirts from ChicWish are the PERFECT chic style. I have and wear three of them in all our summer European trips to Barcelona & Costa Brava, Tuscany, Amalfi Coast, Venice and Croatia & Montenegro.
I am a big fan of crop pants because they can be really cute, come in a variety of materials and are fun yet conservative and cover me from the sun, plus they fit my silhouette.
Linen shirts and slacks
Linen is a great material for the hot summer weather and I love to wear it, especially in loose fitting shirts over leggings or as a pair of long trousers.
The main issue with linen clothing is that it requires ironing and I don’t like to iron when I am on holidays. To minimize creasing, check out our packing hacks and roll the clothes.
Whether you prefer a bikini or a swimming suit, you can’t visit Croatia in the summer without bringing appropriate swimwear with you, not just for the beach but for the hotel’s pools and boat rides.
To complement that, bring a pair of water / reef shoes that will make it easier for you to walk on the pebble beaches and the rocky bays.
Channel your inner goddess and Crotian chic style with a flowy kaftan for poolside chilling, we will have many occasions to wear them, at beach and pool clubs, at our hotel and on our private yachts.
Cute t-shirts and tops
European women we like to wear comfy but cute tshirts, sleeveless tops and blouses that may be floral, with a design or have details that make them a bit more than just a white tshirt. Materials such as cotton and silk can dress you up and are light and fresh, linen works great in the summer.
Crop tops, spaghetti strap tops and other clothes that show a lot of skin are certainly worn by teenagers (like everywhere else) but you will not generally find a local woman dressed like that.
Pretty and comfortable sandals
As we said, comfortable shoes will be your most important item in your packing list. During the day, when wandering the colorful villages, a cute pair of casual sneakers such as the omnipresent and Italian-made Superga, are a good idea.
You can also wear espadrilles, like these flat ones, these flowery summery ones or these ankle wrap strap ones that can go from day to night, but they are less comfortable for all day walking and could be slippery on the cobblestones, so they are for shorter evening walks.
Flip flips or other open sandals that do not keep your foot in place will not protect your feet from twisting you ankle and are a bad idea. They are also not good at the beach where all the small pebbles and rocks make walking painful.
A pair of sneakers
A pair of sneakers are a must for hiking Dubrovnik’s walls or walking in general. You do not need to bring hiking shoes but a good pair of sports / tennis shoes that have grip and are comfortable are strongly recommended.
A cute evening outfit
Croatians like to dress up, we’ve mentioned that, and for dinner, they dress up extra nicely with pretty accessories, nice flowy dresses and perfect hair and makeup. You don’t have to follow local attire but if you like to, this is when you should bring out your most elegant and fashionable outfits.
One of the best ways to take an outfit from day to night is by accessorising it. Pack a couple of pieces of jewellery, a cute clutches or tote bag, earrings, a scarf or even just an oversized pair of sunglasses or hat to show off your style.
A light jacket
Even though the temperature during the day is warm, it does drop at night and having dinner outside, and in front of the sea, means the sea breeze can make you feel chilly, bring a light cardigan, jacket or pashmina for the evenings.
Other things to pack for Croatia
Besides clothing, there are a few other things worth packing for your trip to Croatia in the summer.
|A sun hat: As mentioned, the sun will be shining all day long so a hat is a great way to protect eyes and face from the sun exposure. Locals like straw hats. Check out this wide brim one.|
|A strapless bra: For all those tops and dresses, or if your outfit demands it, a stick-on one so you look perfect. Find a comfy wire free strapless bra here.|
|European / universal plug adaptor: Croatia uses standard two round prong European plugs. We like the ones which come with USB ports so that we can charge phones, cameras and everything else with just one adaptor. I love this one because it has USB ports for all the electronics i carry.|
|Power bank: Because the days will be long and we will spend many hours in the car, making several stops along the way, a power bank will ensure you can continue taking photos. We use the incredible Anker 30,000 AMP which is the real deal and can even charge your laptop, but you don’t need something this big, a power bank that can recharge your phone twice is enough.|
|Sunglasses: We expect sunshine, so a pair of sunglasses is an essential travel item in Croatia. We like Oakley sunglasses as they are polarized and protect your eyes from any damaging sun rays. I alway wear them. Yes, they are not fashionable, but I have sensitive eyes that don’t like bright days, so they are a lifesaver for me. Lately, they have been launching more modern and stylish models. Check out their store on Amazon.|
|Waterproof mobile phone case: This comes in handy to take with you in the water in case you go to the beach alone as you can stash other belongings like credit cards or money in it and make sure they are safely with you even if you go for a dip. This one is a commonly purchased one by our guests to Iceland who take it to the Blue Lagoon for pictures.|
|Water bottle: Single use plastic bottles are terrible for the environment so we recommend you bring your own reusable bottle as part of our efforts towards zero-waste and responsible travel. Tap water in Croatia is safe to drink and you don’t need to bring a water filter, just your regular bottle will do. Replenish it in your room or at breakfast, or use any of the public fountains.|
|Sunscreen: Perhaps the most important item in this packing list for Croatia is sunscreen. The sun is very strong in the summer and you will be under its powerful rays for many hours, protecting your skin is key. We like using Japanese Biore SPF 50++++ because you can wear it under makeup and it is non-sticky and silky smooth. Living in the tropics, this is an everyday item for me I never leave the house without.|
|Mosquito repellent: Yes, mosquitoes are brutal in the summer, especially in the evening, so bring repellent and dose yourself at night. I have been using the Repel brand for decades.|
|A travel umbrella: We discussed the weather in the summer months earlier and you know that there is alow chance of showers at this time of year. We will be spending a lot of time outdoors and if showers appear, a travel umbrella will come in handy. This one weighs less than 500 gr. And is wind-resistant. Ponchos scream tourist and are not very stylish, if practical.|
|Lip balm: The sun makes it particularly tough for the skin and lips so you should bring a lip balm to stay moisturized. We find these are essential to not end up with completely ruined lips or even blisters. We like Neutrogena for their Nordic formula that tends to heal battered lips overnight and comes with SPF.|
|Sleep mask: Although hotels have proper blinds, you will be sharing the room with another traveler who may be a late owl. Bring a sleep mask like this one to block the light. Or upgrade to Manta Sleep, I have been using the sound mask for months now and it is INCREDIBLE both for the flight as well as to sleep at night and get over the jetlag. It is magic when paired with my Calm app.|
|Pajamas: As mentioned, you will most likely be sharing a room so don’t forget to pack your pajamas! Here’s a comfy choice from Amazon.|
|Ear plugs: It is never a bad idea to have a pair of earplugs handy, for the flight, a noisy neighbor or an antsy roommate. Check out these from Amazon.|
|First aid kit and medication: Available medications, brands and products in Croatia may not be the same back home so it’s always best to bring everything you are used to and of course, all prescription medication or vitamins you take. We also recommend packing a basic first aid kit with items such as plasters, an antiseptic ointment, eye drops, hydration powder, etc. Have a look at our suggested first aid kit here. Make sure that you read the tips for traveling with medication to Croatia mentioned in our Croatia Travel tips article.|
|A shawl: Some religious buildings such as churches will require that you cover your shoulders and knees so a shawl or sarong comes in pretty handy in those situations. This beautiful one is very similar to the “manton de Manila” shawls worn by flamenco dancers.|
What not to pack for summer in Croatia
There are also a few things we do not recommend you bring to Croatia if you are coming in the summer, mainly, because you won’t need them.
- Hair dryer: Most hotels have them and if yours is old, you’ll also need to carry a converter or make sure it works with double voltage so that it does not get fried by the Croatian 220V.
- Hand bags that don’t close: You know the ones, the basket-style ones that don’t have a zipper to close them are a big no-no in Croatia’s most popular tourist sights, unless you want to make pickpockets happy.
- Explorer clothing: I find it hilarious when I see tourists dressed like they are in the Serengeti, with khaki clothes, trousers that unzip to shorts and trekking boots, everyone will know you are a tourist and didn’t get the memo on dressing up. Plus it is completely unnecessary.
- A big suitcase and lot of luggage: Most if not all the tourist destinations in Croatia are in old and almost all pedestrian towns that taxis can often not get to. That means you will have to walk with your luggage on cobblestone streets and then, most likely, up a few flights of stairs as many hotels don’t have lifts. I would not recommend overpacking or bring suitcases that you can’t easily pull yourself.