Croatia's cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes make it a sought-after destination for tourists worldwide. In the summer, the country becomes a hub for numerous festivals that are perfect for sailors cruising the coast. Explore Croatia's vibrant festival scene while sailing along its beautiful coastlines.
Who wouldn't want to get to know a foreign country a little differently. As you cruise along the coastline on a yacht, you'll want to sample some local colour, experience authentic Croatia and simply drop anchor for a summer event you'll never forget. Croatia offers a whole host of them in the summer. Here we've picked out a diverse selection of some of the most popular summer festivals to visit in July and August. You'll find music, dance, theatre, film, outdoor and sports festivals , gastronomy and full moon festivals .
Music Festivals in Croatia
Let's start with the festivals that are the most well-known. Croatia hosts some of Europe's most popular music productions.
1. Zrće Festival
This is undoubtedly the most famous festival location. Located on the island of Pag, Zrće beach is a popular destination in Croatia, known for its vibrant nightlife and renowned summer music festivals. The beach boasts crystal-clear waters, soft white sand, and is surrounded by picturesque rocky cliffs, making it an idyllic location for visitors. Throughout the summer, Zrće beach is transformed into a music lover's paradise with an array of festivals catering to various music genres such as techno, house, and hip-hop.
One of the most famous festivals held on Zrće Beach is the multi-day Hideout Festival, which features international DJs and live performers. Other popular festivals held on the beach include the Sonus Festival, Fresh Island Festival and Barrakud. Besides the music festivals, Zrće Beach is famous for its clubs and bars that stay open late into the night.
The beach itself offers a number of common beach activities such as swimming, sunbathing, water sports and more. There are also restaurants, cafes and shops, making this the perfect spot to liven up your itinery.
Aerial view of the Zrće beach festival in Novalja, Croatia
2. Ultra Europe (Split)
This is one of the largest electronic music festivals in Europe, attracting thousands of visitors every year. It takes place in Split and features some of the biggest names in the music industry. The festival usually takes place in July and lasts for three days and is part of the Ultra Music Festival brand, attracting thousands of people from all over the world. It features the biggest names in electronic dance music, including DJs and producers such as David Guetta, Armin van Buuren, Afrojack and Steve Aoki. The festival features several stages with non-stop music from early afternoon until late at night. In addition to the main stages, the festival also features smaller stages hosted by various record labels and local DJs, and its spectacular light shows, special effects and pyrotechnics create a high-energy and visually stunning atmosphere. Festival-goers also have access to food and drink vendors, merchandise booths, and various other facilities.
3. The Full Moon Festival (Zadar)
The Zadar Full Moon Festival is an annual event held in the Croatian seaside town of Zadar, usually during the August full moon. The festival is a celebration of music, dance and art, taking place on the beach and creating a unique and unforgettable atmosphere.
The festival showcases a diverse range of music genres, including electronica, house and techno, with both local and international DJs and musicians performing late into the night. The festival also features various art installations and performances, including fire dancing, acrobatics and live painting.
Set on the beachfront under a full moon, the festival creates a magical and unforgettable atmosphere, full of people in unique and colourful costumes. The Full Moon Festival in Zadar is a great way to experience the vibrant music and art scene in Croatia and enjoy a unique and memorable evening.
4. INmusic Festival (Zagreb)
This is another popular music festival, and the fact that it takes place in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, only adds to its appeal. Featuring a variety of musical genres, including rock, indie and electronica, it attracts a diverse crowd of music lovers. Usually, it takes place in June and lasts for three days.
5. Rovinj Summer Music Festival
Nearby Rovinj come alive from July to September with a summer music festival featuring a variety of musical genres, including jazz, classical and rock.
Town of Rovinj, panoramic view of the colourful historic old town and harbour on the Mediterranean Sea, Croatia
6. Festival Sea Star (Umag)
First held in 2017, it has since become one of the biggest music festivals in Croatia, boasting a diverse lineup of international and local artists, with genres ranging from electronic dance music to rock and pop.The festival is usually held in May.
Croatia's summer programme is not just limited to music festivals. Visitors can also enjoy various cultural events such as theatre and film screenings, as well as participate in the wine and dance festival.
7. Split Summer Festival
Split turns into a cultural centre in summer and the Split Summer Festival runs from July to August, offering a range of cultural events, including theatre, music and dance performances.
The historic city of Split usually comes alive by mid-July to mid-August and the festival has become one of the most important cultural events in Croatia. The origins of the festival date back to the 1950s, when a group of artists and intellectuals in Split decided to organise a cultural event that would promote the city's heritage and traditions. Over the years, the festival has grown in size and popularity and today attracts artists and visitors from all over Croatia and beyond.
During the Summer Festival, various locations around the city, including historic palaces, squares and theatres, are transformed into stages for performances of all kinds. The festival's programme includes traditional and contemporary performances and features Croatian and international artists. Highlights of the festival include open-air theatre performances in the historic Diocletian's Palace, classical music concerts in the city's cathedral and contemporary dance performances in the city's theatres. A number of street performances, art exhibitions and other cultural events also take place during the festival.
A fire juggler performs during a street show at Diocletian's Palace in Split, Croatia.
8. Dubrovnik Summer Festival
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is an annual cultural event held in the historic Croatian city of Dubrovnik, usually from mid-July to mid-August. The festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious cultural events in Croatia and offers a varied programme of theatre, music, dance and other performances. First held in 1950, the event is aimed at promoting the rich cultural heritage of Dubrovnik and Croatia. During the festival, the city's historical monuments such as Dubrovnik Cathedral, Rector's Palace and the city walls are transformed into stages for various performances, including a mix of traditional and contemporary performances, where local and international artists showcase their talents. Highlights of the festival include open-air theatre performances, classical music concerts and dance performances. If you're planning to set sail there in the summer months, you'll definitely want to attend one of its events.
Street musicians in ancient costumes sing and play in Dubrovnik's Old Town
9. Motovun Film Festival
This festival takes place in Motovun and is dedicated to independent and alternative cinema. It offers screenings of films from around the world, workshops and other film-related events and is usually held in July. The first edition was held in 1999 and has since become one of the most important film festivals in Croatia, attracting both professionals from the film industry and film lovers from all over the world. The unique setting of the picturesque hilltop town of Motovun in Croatian Istria adds to its charm and appeal. The festival programme includes a mix of fiction, documentary and short films and aims to present innovative and creative works that challenge traditional film norms, as well as hosting discussions, workshops and other events that provide an opportunity for networking and exchange between filmmakers and film enthusiasts.
Evening film screening at the Motovun Film Festival.
10. Pula Film Festival
This festival in Pula is the oldest film festival in Croatia. Usually held in July, it offers screenings of Croatian and international films and other film-related events.
An aerial view of boats and luxury yachts on the docks at sunset in summer in Pula, Croatia.
11. Makarska Cultural Summer
The Makarska Cultural Summer is a lengthy festival, running from June to September. Spanning four months, you'll have a unique opportunity to attend a variety of cultural events, including music, theatre and dance performances.
Young performers in national costumes prepare for a street performance in the Croatian town of Makarska.
12. Salsa Beach Splash Festival (Pag)
Salsa and island lovers should be on the lookout for a unique festival on the island of Pag dedicated to salsa dancing. It includes workshops, performances and parties, as well as other activities such as swimming and sunbathing. The festival usually takes place in June.
Salsa is a dance full of passion.
13. Wine Days on the island of Krk
This annual event is the perfect opportunity to meet other connoisseurs and get to know the local varieties. Krk Wine Days is a wine festival held on the island of Krk, usually in late August and early September, dedicated to celebrating the island's rich wine tradition and promoting local wineries and vineyards.
The festival programme includes wine tastings, vineyard tours and various other events that showcase the island's wines and the people who produce them. Visitors have the opportunity to taste a wide range of wines, including local varieties such as Žlahtina and Vrbnička Žlahtina, and other Croatian and international wines. The festival also includes cultural events, such as traditional music and dance performances, and food stalls with local specialities that are the perfect accompaniment to wine.
The island of Krk is famous for its wine production.
Events for sports lovers and children
Two additional festivals, catering specifically to athletes and children, complete Croatia's diverse summer festival lineup.
14. Zadar Outdoor Festival
This is a relatively new festival that takes place in Zadar and is dedicated to outdoor activities and adventure sports. The festival offers activities such as kayaking, mountain biking and rock climbing, as well as live music and other entertainment. The festival is usually held in May, just before the summer tourist season kicks off, making it a tempting choice.
The famous port of Fosa in Zadar, Dalmatia
YACHTING.COM TIP: If you have never been to Croatia on a yacht before, you have a lot to look forward to! Croatia's long coastline is lined with hundreds of islands and is one of the most beautiful places for boating in all of Europe. Holidaymakers seeking sun and relaxation, groups of fun-loving friends, and the more discerning sporty sailors will all be in for a treat.
15. International Children's Festival (Šibenik)
The festival in Šibenik offers music, theatre and dance performances for children. It usually takes place at the end of June and the beginning of July.
A view of the old town during an art festival for children. The city is decorated with children's drawings.
Similar festivals can be found in almost every major seaside resort or island, including Hvar and Korčula. These festivals typically take place from June to September and offer a variety of cultural events. In addition to experiencing the local culture, visitors can also indulge in local specialties and fine Croatian wine. You can find out more about traditional local specialties and must-try dishes in our guide — Croatian cuisine: dishes and drinks you have to try. Whether you are interested in music, theatre, film, or other cultural events, there is sure to be a festival that will catch your interest.
When sailing along the beautiful Croatian coast, don't miss out on the chance to visit any of these exciting festivals. Attending these events is an excellent way to experience the country's rich culture and traditions while also having fun and meeting new people. With so many options available, you can easily plan your itinerary to include one or more of these festivals and create unforgettable memories.