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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of Croatia

Geography

Croatian Geography - Plitvice National Park
Plitvice National Park

Croatia is located in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula and stretches along much of the eastern Adriatic Sea coast. It is bordered by Slovenia (northwest), Bosnia & Herzegovina (south and east), Montenegro (southeast), Serbia (east), and Hungary (northeast).

Geographically, Croatia has a number of differing features. The country has an incredibly long coastline along the Adriatic Sea and this land, along with the many islands, tends to be fairly flat, but in many areas the land rises fairly quickly into hills. This coastline is ideal for cities, but due to the quickly rising hills most cities are limited in size. Further inland there are a number of mountains stretching northwest and southeast along the Bosnian border, making settlements here small. In the far northeastern part of the country, there are a number of rivers as this area is ideal for living and is home to much of the population.

Weather

Croatian Geography - Path in the forest
Path in the forest

Croatia's seasons are very distinct and the coast gets an incredible amount of rain. Winters (December-February) can be cold in the mountains, but fairly temperate on the coast. Dubrovnik averages about 50˚ F (10˚ C), while Zagreb stays right around the freezing point. The mountains get a fair amount of snow, but not as much precipitation as the coasts get rain. This snow can last into May or June in the mountains.

The spring and fall (autumn) are much nicer on the coasts as temperatures are warmer, but often times the waters of the Adriatic Sea are still cool as the air temperature may follow suite.

When summers arrive the snow in the mountains should be gone and temperatures rise along the coast, with Dubrovnik boasting daily average temperatures of 78˚ F (25˚ C) and daily highs a few degrees warmer.

Wildlife

Despite its small size, Croatia has a huge diversity in wildlife, but that is a result of their geographic diversity. Most of their large mammals live in the mountains, including wolves, lynx, and bears. There are also sheep, goats, and hundreds of smaller mammals as well.

Along the coast there are also numerous mammals, but the birds and sea life here are what really stand out. There are hundreds of bird that live or migrate through the country including the eagle and many water fowl, including storks, pelicans, heron, and ibis. In the Adriatic there are numerous fish species, but also sea turtles and mammals like dolphins as well.

This page was last updated: March, 2013