When you hear the words, “Croatian vacation” more often than not, thoughts of the sun and the sea immediately flood your mind. But, if you’re visiting Croatia during the off-season, chances are you’re going to run into some rainy days. Even during the summer it’s likely that the weather can put a damper on things. Never fear, for you don’t have to stand there drenched and disappointed. Proper Croatia is here to hold your umbrella and suggest some rainy day activities so that your vacation doesn’t fall victim to the rain.
Last Minute Cooking Courses
Spend a rainy day cooking and you’ll learn to prepare mouth-watering dishes with local chefs. Mediterranean cuisine is well known for its healthy benefits, but it’s much more than the mere ingredients that make this food such a good choice. If you’re looking for unique experiences to last the entire day, you’ll get an early start with a trip to the farmer’s market where you’ll indulge your senses and purchase the core ingredients for the meal you’ll prepare later. Go and get to know a side of Croatia that is reserved for folks truly interested in exploring the people and the food behind the culture. You’ll feel like a true Croatian by the time you’ve finished your lunch.
Learn to cook like a local with Ola and Christine in their home overlooking the Kvarner Bay. In Croatia, as in other Mediterranean countries, the sourcing, preparation, and partaking of the meal are equally as important as the food itself, which is why they include their guests in the entire process. They will help you discover that there is pleasure to be found in peeling shrimp or cleaning mussels, not least of which lies in having good company and a glass of wine nearby but also in the realization that eating these delicacies at home is easy as pie!
Don’t forget, you are in spa country!
Seek out a wellness center and take a day to relax at the spa. Toplice is the Croatian word for spa, and there are numerous thermal spas located throughout the country. This is the perfect destination for a rainy day, or any day that isn’t part of the sweltering summer heat. Take some time to focus on improving your health through relaxing and therapeutic massages, facials, mud treatments, baths, and more. After a long flight, train ride, or drive, it’s the least you can do for yourself!
Terme Tuhelj, 40km from Zagreb
The ‘World of Saunas’ covers an area of 1000 sq metres and has three Finnish saunas, (bio-ionizing with crystals, extreme and marble sauna with chromotherapy), three steam saunas (salt, mud and dual effect steam), whirlpool, cold-water pool, ice pit and a nudist terrace!
Falkensteiner Acquapura Spa outside Zadar
Thalasso & SPA Center spans 2,500 sq metres with indoor pool and heated outdoor pool, whirlpool, cold-water canal, Kneipp treading pool and sauna complex (aromatic steam bath, Finnish sauna), cold plunge pool, facials, wrap-baths, and innovative massage packages.
Opatija the Spa Town
The small sea-side town of Opatija in North-Western Croatia has historically been known as a spa town and the title still rings true today. Do a little research and find what suits you: maybe indulge in a caviar facial, or a ritualistic green-tea bath (with anti-oxidant properties)…
Wine and dine… lavishly
This doesn’t mean it has to cost a fortune. We’ve got the insight into which wineries encourage tastings that seem to last hours and glasses longer than expected. What’s more, in many of these wineries you’ll be given a tour by the wine makers themselves and you’re sure to learn a thing or two about the passion and dedication behind the bottles. In knowledge there is power and in vino veritas. Most wineries also only serve cheese and nuts but if you are making a day out of it, go big and choose a winery that includes a full meal. Here’s a firsthand account of wine touring in the rain. Who knew that rain and wine were such a perfect pair?
Join the Slow Food movement
Rain got you feeling a little sluggish? Seek out a restaurant that bears the symbol of the red snail. It might be just the right time to familiarize yourself with the Slow Food movement. Slow Food is an international movement that began in Bra, Italy in 1989 as a way to preserve the tradition of local cuisine and small business in opposition to globalization of agricultural products. The movement has reached over 150 countries and ensures that millions of people are still receiving good, clean and fair food. Local groups are called, convivia and they organize events in communities worldwide. Croatia has six convivia throughout its different regions. A Slow Food meal can last for hours and it’s sure to fill up your rainy day in a special way. Check out these slow food restaurants in your area. Kaštel in Zadar, Pet Podruma in Zadar, Rossini in Zagreb, Korkyra in Zagreb, Kukuriku in Kastav Zardin in Poreč, Draga di Lovrana- Opatija Riviera, Bartulovic winery on Peljesac peninsula, Koraceva Kuca in Dubrovnik, and Gabi patissiere in Dubrovnik.
What better way to escape the rain than in an actual escape room? They’re all the rage right now. You’ll be locked in a room where you’ll have one hour to solve puzzles and riddles, decipher codes and discover clues that will unlock the room. It’s a challenging and exciting experience if you’ve never been to an escape room before and if you’re a seasoned veteran, you’ll have a brand new room to escape your way out of. You can find Enigmarium in Pula, Room Escape in both Zagreb and Split, and ParaPark in Zagreb. Treat yourself to a challenge as you literally escape the rain.
Check out a film at the local movie theatre
You may be able to find a small theatre chain around like the Art Film Center in Rijeka, or head to the ever faithful, CineStar Cinemas. These multiplex theatres can be found in Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar, Šibenik, Split, Osijek, Varaždin, Slavonski Brod, Dubrovnik, and Vukovar. Most of the films are shown in English with Croatian subtitles, unless it’s an animated feature or a film originally in a language other than English. With state of the art technology you can catch a film in IMAX, 3D, or 4D. If you’re feeling adventurous, 4D is like 3D but with added physical effects that occur inside the theatre. Think vibrating seats and smell-o-vision. If you’re feeling luxurious, CineStar offers VIP seats. If you’re feeling romantic, nothing says, “I love you” quite like reserving a Love Box for you and your significant other… or you and yourself. Who doesn’t love extra seat room?
Just get wet (museum hopping!)
When all else fails, if you can’t beat the rain, join it! You can purchase a cheap umbrella if you don’t already have one, then go about your day almost exactly as you would if it wasn’t raining. Rain is a beautiful thing if you just embrace it. You can still walk around and check out the sites- museums, churches, castles, the mall- whatever you choose. There’s always public transportation to hop on and off of if you don’t feel like walking as much, or you can take advantage of the fact that the streets are less crowded. If you want a unique experience, just sit by the sea and listen to the raindrops and the waves. Sometimes the simple things leave the biggest impact on your vacation.
Top Museums in Croatia
Embrace Croatia’s “Café-Culture”
Grab a drink at the café and feel like a local. Croatia is big on the café culture and meeting up at the café is a social activity, not just a way to grab a drink and run. It’s also guaranteed that you can find a café open in Croatia at almost any point in time. On a cold day, it’s wonderful to sit inside a warm café and chat for a few hours. Or bundle up a bit and sit outside underneath a covered patio. Listen to the rain and people watch. You’ll never run out of things to talk about. Bring a book and you can relax and read. Bring a journal and you can relax and write. If you’re friendly enough, spark up a conversation with some people nearby and you just may find yourself some new rainy day friends.
Written by DeeAnne Ferraro