Have you ever thought about visiting Split in winter? The city offers enough things to do and places to see to deserve a winter visit. If you’re lucky with the weather, you get even a nice beach day.
If you follow what the most of the guidebooks recommend you, probably you’ll change your visit for the summer period. I’ll show you how wrong it will be not to be there even in winter. If you’re looking for a fairy tale Christmas with big snow falls, Split isn’t going to guarantee it. On contrary it is moderately fresh with crisp air, and a beautiful sea to take a look at even in winter.
What is a winter like in Split? What kind of weather conditions you can expect in this period? Split has a mild climate and the weather is generally good throughout the year. Winters can be fairly unstable or unpredictable. It snows sometimes but not so often.
On the map above you can see average temperatures for three winter months, December 9 °C (48 °F), January and February have the same average temperature 7 °C (44 °F). The wettest season with average 12 to 15 rainy days is in December while in January and February from 9 to 12 days.
Snow is rare but it could happen to have a day or two snowy day during the whole winter season. In recent years, climate conditions have changed, and therefore, the snow will not be so rare. Split has a bad experience with snow. People here are always surprised when it is snowing heavily as it happened on February 2012.
One of the main advantages for visitors who decide Split in winter is the fact that city is rather free of crowds that distinguishes Split from summer period. It his period visitors will have more time to dedicate to city sightseeing and some daily tours to nearby destinations.
If you decide to travel to Spit in this period prices will be considerable lower. Unlike the hotels on the Dalmatian islands that are mostly closed during the period from December to March, all Split hotels will be opened. Besides hotels, many privately owned rooms and apartments will offer a great discount prices.
One of the biggest disadvantages is how to get to Split. This refers only to flights as in winter period will be significantly reduced from European destinations. But still some companies will keep international air connections throughout the winter like Croatia Airline flights to Frankfurt, Munich and Rome, or Germanwings’ to Cologne and Stuttgart, or Lufthansa to Munich.
Ferry connections with Italy operate on winter times schedules. The only winter line is Ancona- Split-Ancona. A new updated winter schedule will be available on this website from January 2019.
During the winter period there are several important events worth taking part when visiting Split city. In December the city is very proud of some traditional happenings:
Saint Nicholas Day
On St. Nicholas Day (December 6th), the city celebrates the local saint (Sveti Nikola), the protector of sailors and fishermen. It marks the first real day of the getting into the Christmas spirit. The many legends of the saint’s openhandedness (he used to leave a coin in the shoes of people who were impoverished) gave rise to the contemporary ‘Santa Claus’.
Throughout the month of December, the streets of the Old Town district are transformed into a festive Christmas market. It’s a good occasion for vendors to sell traditional Croatian handicrafts and gifts. The Riva promenade revives with festive stands selling everything from Dalmatian specialties to children’s books.
Christmas in Split. like in all parts of Croatia, has become the most important Catholic celebration. During the communist period celebration of Christmas was forbidden. The time when Christmas was celebrating secretly has gone forever. But today everyone can celebrate customs and traditions during Christmas time. Christmas Even starts with people going to church to confess.
That day people don’t eat meat but it is a tradition to prepare fish. On of the traditional fish meal is dry codfish (bakalar) prepared in two ways ‘on bianco’ or ‘brudet’ (fish stew). As a traditional desert people prepare ‘fritule’. At midnight starts holly mass and many people go to one of Split’s churches.
Split is very proud of having some of the most elaborate New Years celebrations on the Dalmatian Coast. Many locals head to the Riva promenade to watch a spectacular firework show and listen to live music performances from local bands.
The traditional winter February carnival is celebrated all the way through the streets of Split with colorful processions and live music from local bands. A number of masked balls also take place in the evening. The main carnival is normally proceeded a few days before by a children’s carnival in which the little ones take part in their own procession.