I know what you are thinking, an off-season wedding? Really?
I must admit as a sun-worshiper and someone who was married on August 30th in Portugal, the allure of the summer wedding is undeniable. However, when you live in a place like Split, Croatia, one sees the value of and beauty in an off-season wedding. Allow me to explain.
Having experienced my first full year here in Split, I can say without hesitation that the off-season weather is the best weather. It is true that July and August are very hot and sunny months. And don’t get me wrong, I love the heat and the sun. And if you are escaping the cold of northern Europe it may sound heavenly, but I can promise you it is not heavenly in a wedding dress nor in a suit. I have watched a host of brides, grooms, and guests sweat through summer weddings here in Croatian and it isn’t always pretty.
On the other hand, April was a beautiful month here full of sun and mild temperatures, as was May, June, September and October. Just to give you an example of how lovely it is, I took my first swim of the year in the Adriatic Sea in early May and my last swim in late October. And in a weird twist of events, November and December have also been equally beautiful, not a normal occurrence according to the locals. Below are all pictures I have taken in the month of December, when daytime highs have fluctuated between 13 and 18 degrees Celsius.
Unlike on the islands of the region, most of the hotels and apartment rentals remain open during the offseason and can be fare more affordable than during the high season. For example, a week in January at the Radisson Blu Resort will cost €90 per night, while a week in July will run you €183 per night. The same sort of disparities can be found throughout the city’s accommodations, see below for more examples.
1 week in July 1 week in January
Hotel Luxe €140/night €65/night
Hotel Vestibul Palace €192/night €77/night
Atrium Hotel €160/night €115/night
Hotel Peristil €159/night €66/night
Luxury 1bd AirBnB apartment €111/night €50/night
2bd AirBnB apartment €114/night €38/night
Not only are the accommodations more affordable, but venues are as well. Since demand is so low in winter months, any additional income that can be generated is welcome. This includes, renting out restaurants or more traditional venues for receptions. However, its important to realize that people are catching on to the shoulder season here in Split, so do not expect huge savings for a wedding in June compared to July.
Residents of Split bask in the glory that is the offseason. They endure the massive influx of tourists in the high season knowing in the back of their minds that they will have all left come come fall and the beauty of the city will be all theirs. No more packed palace streets, no more messy beachgoers leaving their trash, and no more all night discos. Though some of us lament the end of summer, we also appreciate the other, less crowded, version of Split for it is a more authentic version of the city.
We all know that Croatia has beaches and sunshine, but there is much more that the country has to offer and it is best on display outside of high season.
A great cool/cold weather honeymoon activity is visiting the thermal spas of Croatia. You may know the tale of why Diocletian chose the location for his palace, but if you don’t it is worth keeping in mind. As the story goes, Diocletian was looking for a location for his retirement home and wanted a place with the elements would ensure a healthy retirement. Furthermore, he went so far to make the substructures of the palace bathes for him to soak in the the thermal and mineral-rich waters of Split. It is not possible to follow Diocletian’s way in Split anymore, but other parts of the country boast extensive spa experiences based around thermal bathes. For a list of the top bathes in Croatia see this article.
Another great option is a skiing honeymoon. You may be a bit confused about how I can tell you of temperate weather and skiing in the same article, but its true. Remember Janica Kostelić, the Croatian four-time Olympic medalist alpine ski racer? Well she had to ski somewhere! I won’t lie to you and tell you it is the Alpes, but for the affordable price and ease of travel to the resorts from other parts of Croatia, it means you may be able to sip your morning coffee by the sea and take your afternoon coffee on the slopes. Check out this article and this website for more information.
Are you instead a self-described foodie? Well then your gastronomic awakening awaits you here in Croatia. Have you heard of Motovun, a medieval, hill top town known for truffles. Stop in anyone of the beautiful restaurants and all your truffle desires will be fulfilled. Truffle pate? Check. Truffle cheese? Check. Truffle olive oil? Check. Truffle ravioli, risotto, and pasta? Check, check and check. Craving lamb on a spit? Head to Klis, just outside of Split for lamb like you have never experienced it, but be sure to bring a friend to ensure you make your way home. Or maybe you are ready to discover peka – cooking under the bell – a method of cooking meat or seafood under a terracotta lid with high temperatures fueled by burning wood . It won’t disappoint! A wine lover, perhaps? There is the Malvasia white wines of Istria, the Pošip white wine found mostly on Pelješac Peninsula, there is the Grk wine found only on the island of Korčula, and the Plavac mali of the Dalmatian coast. And with various winemaking regions all over the country, you will be sure to find the perfect wine for your palate.
A final warning
For all my raving about off-season weddings in Split, I advise caution in the months of January, February and March. These months are typically the worst throughout Europe and Croatian and Split is not an exception. Here is one and then another article written by locals telling of their encounters with Bura, a very strong and icy wind that whips through Split leaving everything in its path frozen. These months also tend to be rainy and overcast more so than the rest of the year, so sweeping views of the Adriatic from the beach may not be as enjoyable.