The Adriatic coast has a typically Mediterranean climate with hot and sunny weather during the summer, and mild weather in the winter. Even during the coldest month (January), temperatures never really get below plus 5°C during the day. Except the days when the Bora (Croatian: Bura) wind is blowing down from the Velebit Mountains it suddenly feels like minus 10°C degrees.
Places to visit during the wintertime
The winter season is one of the most spectacular times to visit Croatia’s famous National Parks. Apart from avoiding the crowds, you will be treated with some wonderful sights.
One has a great chance to enjoy some of the traditional Croatian winter foods. Especially when you visit one of the Christmas Markets you can try them all. Grah (bean soup), Kupus (Cabbage), Bakalar (codfish) just to name a few, and various stews cooked over the fire. Christmas is a great time to also enjoy the number of sweets and desserts offered.
Two special dishes you shouldn’t miss
Sarma, the rolled cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat are one of the most popular winter dishes in Croatia. Sarma is minced meat, mixed with spices and rice, which is wrapped in fermented cabbage leaves, known locally as ‘Kiseli Kupus’ (sour cabbage) and in Germany called ‘Sauerkraut’ and then boiled in a spiced tomato sauce. A beloved family dish in Croatia served with mashed potatoes on a cold winter day.
Furthermore, also very famous, dated back to the 16th century, are the peppery gingerbread cookies ‘Paprenjaci’, one should not miss. Typically decorated with a stamped pattern, recipes vary, with some substituting honey for sugar, butter for fat, walnuts for hazelnuts and the inclusion of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg alongside pepper. In the past, when pepper was an expensive and valued spice, they were quite rare and just served during special days. Also you will find homemade ‘Vanilin kiflice‘, or vanilla half-moons during the wintertime.
St. Lucy’s Day
13th December is St. Lucy’s Day in Croatia, and the start of a wonderful tradition you can follow in the region Slavonia. People observe the weather starting on St. Lucy’s Day on each following day until Christmas, which falls on the 12th day from St. Lucia’s Day. It is believed that the weather on each of these days shows what the weather will be like on each of the following months in the upcoming year.
For example the 13th was cloudy and rainy in Dalmatia, so, according to the folk weather forecast, January 2020 will be just like that. Luckily the 14th is sunny and just perfect. Let’s see if February is just the same.
Let’s have some fun, just take a pencil and write down the weather of the 12 days before Christmas and see the next year how accurate this folk weather system is.
Yours Sandra Sachsenhauser