Calendar of Events
The festivals mentioned in this section, unless otherwise specified, fall on different dates every year. Inquire at the Croatian National Tourist Office (www.croatia.hr) or at local tourist offices for event contact information and for an updated calendar. For an exhaustive list of events beyond those listed here, check Frommers.com, where you’ll find a roster of what’s happening in cities all over the world.
New Year. Croatians enter the new year with massive firework displays in major cities like Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik, followed by partying until dawn.
Rijeka Carnival. This pre-Lenten celebration begins in mid-February and ends at midnight on Shrove Tuesday. Although celebrated all over the country, Rijeka has the most lavish event, with parades, masquerades, and merrymaking similar to New Orleans’s Mardi Gras. www.rijecki-karneval.hr.
Feast of St. Blaise. Catholics all over the world honor St. Blaise on February 3 with the blessing of throats. In Dubrovnik, where St. Blaise is the city’s patron saint, the celebration is more elaborate, culminating with a parade.
Easter. In Catholic Croatia, Easter is a major religious celebration. On Hvar, the night before Good Friday locals stage the Procession of the Cross, walking a 25km (16 mile) circular route from village to village following a heavy wooden crucifix, concluding at sunrise.
Music Biennale Zagreb. An international festival of contemporary music, the Biennale is held in April in odd-numbered years in Zagreb. Contemporary classical musicians are the focus. See www.mbz.hr.
Sudamje. In Split, May 7 is a public holiday to celebrate the day of Sv. Duje (St. Domnius), the city’s protector. Stalls set up along the seafront sell wooden handicrafts and a solemn mass is held at the cathedral.
Croatia Boat Show. This annual five-day event sees some of the world’s smartest yachts mooring up along the seafront in Split, attracting nautical professionals and amateurs alike.
Contemporary Dance Week. Zagreb is the main stage for this dance and choreography showcase, but parallel events are held in Rijeka and Karlovac. See www.danceweekfestival.com.
Animafest Zagreb. This world festival of animated film is a six-day celebration of cartoons. See www.animafest.hr.
International Children’s Festival. Šibenik is the setting for this annual festival encouraging creativity in children. Programs showcasing youthful talents are presented in venues across the city from mid-June to early July. See www.mdf-sibenik.com.
Pula Film Festival. The Arena, Pula’s ancient amphitheater, hosts this annual two-week festival of film, which was founded way back in 1953. See www.pulafilmfestival.hr.
Valamar Jazz Festival. In Poreč, this five-day event sees internationally acclaimed jazz musicians performing in the atrium of the basilica and on St. Nicholas Island. See www.valamarjazz.com.
INmusic Festival. Staged at Lake Jarun in Zagreb, this three-day fest attracts big names from the worlds of rock and urban music. See www.inmusicfestival.com.
Motovun Film Festival. The tiny medieval town of Motovun, in the heart of Istria, hosts an annual five-day festival in late July to celebrate independent films. See www.motovunfilmfestival.com.
Musical Evenings of Sveti Donat. From early July through mid-August, this festival stages classical music recitals in the Church of St. Donatus in Zadar. See www.donat-festival.com.
Split Summer Festival. From mid-July to mid-August, this festival takes over Split’s historic core with exhibitions, concerts, dance, theater, and opera performed in the Peristil of Diocletian’s Palace. See www.splitsko-ljeto.hr.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Well-known international artists perform during this annual event, held from early July to late August. Dubbed “Libertas,” the festival has gone on every year since 1950, even during the war. See www.dubrovnik-festival.hr.
Jazz Is Back. In the Istrian hill town of Grožnjan, this festival finds world-class jazz musicians playing under the stars. See www.jazzisbackbp.com.
International Folklore Festival. For a week in mid-July, Zagreb comes alive with dancing, song, musical performances, workshops, and exhibitions in celebration of folk culture in Croatia and surrounding countries. See www.msf.hr.
Vukovar Film Festival. Founded in 2007, this annual five-day festival brings European art house cinema to seven locations around the town of Vukovar. See www.vukovarfilmfestival.com.
Avvantura Festival Film Forum Zadar. Held the last week of August, this festival focuses on European film, with projections at open-air locations in Zadar’s old town. See www.filmforumzadar.org.
Faros Marathon. On the last Saturday of August, this 16km (10 mile) swimming marathon attracts international athletic stars to Stari Grad on Hvar. See www.farosmarathon.com.
Korkyra Baroque Festival. This one-week event, staged at various locations in Korčula’s Old Town, attracts international performers from the world of Baroque music. See www.korkyrabaroque.com.
Varaždin Festival of Baroque Music. Listen to baroque music in one of Europe’s most baroque cities from mid-September through early October. Performances are mostly in Varaždin’s churches. See www.vbv.hr.
Marunada (Chestnut Festival). For three weekends in October, the tiny town of Lovran near Opatija celebrates everything chestnut. There’s food, merrymaking, and even cook-offs, all in honor of the chestnut and its many culinary uses. See www.tz-lovran.hr.
Zagreb Marathon. A full and half marathon are run each October in Zagreb. See www.zagreb-marathon.com.
Zagreb Film Festival. This one-week movie festival focuses on short, feature, and documentary films, with projections at various indoor locations around the city. See www.zagrebfilmfestival.com.
Martinje (St. Martin’s Day). Besides being a church feast day, November 11 is also the day in Croatia when the new wine is blessed and “tested” in unlimited amounts. The ceremony is conducted in the grape-growing regions of north Croatia, around Zagreb, and begins with a song in honor of St. Martin. It ends with a prayer for a good year for all. When possible, the blessing is in a vineyard, but wherever it is held, it is followed by a party that includes eating, drinking, and singing well into the night. Most Croatian restaurants mark the occasion by offering special dinners (much as the French do when celebrating the Beaujolais nouveau).
St. Nicholas Day. Komiža, on the island of Vis, honors the town’s patron saint on his feast day of December 6 with a huge party that opens with the burning of an old fishing boat in front of St. Nicholas Church in Vis Town. Go to www.dalmatia.hr for more information.
New Year’s Regatta. This year-concluding event (December 28 to December 31) features small-boat races off the island of Hvar.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.