Seems like everyone takes a holiday during the slow, languid days of summer.
July and August can be the most logical times to visit the sea..to avoid the heat, have fun with the family, or party till classes begin again. Trogir in the summer is wonderful.
But to visit Trogir after peak season, from September through Ocotober, is divine.
Ah, September in Trogir.
Now that all the partiers are leaving and kids are back in school, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy all of Croatia’s best: wine, olive oil, music, long, lingering lunches and café chats, and of course that gorgeous Adriatic water.
The energy of summer has passed its peak by September. It’s still there, but with a lovely, mellower vibe. What you will find is NOT a “lesser than” or watered down version of Dalmatia in peak season. In fact, you will find a few pleasant surprises you would not encounter during mid-summer.
Here’s my top 9 reasons to come to Trogir in the autumn:
1. Fewer Crowds
If crowds turn you off, (I’m not a fan) the off season is perfect for you.
You can find plenty of places to enjoy without the crowds in September, and even into October. (If you are staying with us, just ask and we’ll show you some of our favorite “secret” places.)
You don’t have to get up early to fight for a spot on the beach. even if you get a late start, sleep in, and stop for a morning coffee.
After your swim you can find an empty spot in a café and linger over coffee or wine with a friend without feelng rushed.
Lingering like this is one way to really experience the essence of Dalmatia, as opposed to a more touristic experience.
The streets of the city are also in perfect balance: It doesn’t feel like a ghost town, but you can easily walk around without feeling like you are in a sea of humanity.
2. The water is still warm
When I go for a swim, the water is still the perfect temperature. If you haven’t swam in the Adriatic yet.. do it. September is the perfect month for your first (or 100th!) exposure to these waters, which I swear have healing properties. I always feel renewed and refreshed.
The September bonus: The balance between the air temp and water temp almost guarantees that if the weather is cool.. the water will be pleasantly warm, and if it’s warmer, the water will feel comfortably refreshing, not shockingly cool.
Be sure to make plenty of time for lingering in the mellow September sun.
3. It’s the best time for dining out
During the winter, most of the restaurants in Trogir are closed. During the summer, they are open, but the wait to get a table can be long.
In the late summer and early fall, you can get the best of both worlds: Your choice of restaurants, and available spaces.
The marine traffic is getting heavier each tourist season, as Croatia becomes a more popular summer destination.
Docking and navigation is much easier in September.
Although the weather can sometimes be unpredictable, this is a good time of year to take advantage of the wind, which is generally consistent, strong, stable, and coming from the NW.
It’s also cheaper to charter a boat at this time of the year.
5. The vibe is perfect
The energy of the tourist season is beautiful in its own way, but toward the end of the season, it shifts. In my opinion, Dalmatia is even more beautiful in the late summer and early autumn.
I can’t quite put my finger on it.. it’s the overall effect. The light, the scent of pine and lavender, and the “harvest” vibe. Enough people to invoke a celebratory atmosphere, but not so much that it feels overwhelming.
Everything is more relaxed. You can choose to live in what I call “Dalmatian time,” which moves much more slowly than the frantic pace of other places. It’s amazing how much time there really is for savoring, relaxing, and enjoying leisurely moments when you are immersed in this mindset. I’m also more productive when I’m immersed in this perception of time!
Villa Pape has a unique combination of workshops, food, and both high season and off season accommodation in Trogir. It’s the perfect place for a relaxed September day.
Or you can choose to explore the energy of the season if you wish.. summer is NOT over yet here!
In the evenings, from the island of Ciovo, you may still see some nightlife pulsing on the Riva.
You could go for a walk towards it along the shore, and just gaze at the stars and the boats. From there you can decide whether to walk across the bridge into the heart of the old city, or just stay on that part of the beach you have claimed as your own, for this moment in time
It can be a challenge.. to decide what to do..
6. A More Authentic Experience.
Because I spend time in Dalmatia during the off seasons, (and because I stay for 3 months each time) it’s much easier to experience the region more “authentically” without giving it much thought. If you want to deepen your relationship with Croatia, September is the perfect time.
During the peak season, there is little time for such a relationship to develop with this place, or the people in it.
For those who are looking for more than a quick affair with beaches and restaurants, it’s worth it to wait till September or even October.
One of the things that makes Pape unique is that I felt so welcome from the beginning. As someone who is on the road a lot, it’s a wonderful thing to feel like part of a “family.”
I’m returning this September to Trogir, and one of the things I’m looking forward to is walking around and simply allowing myself to discover “what turns up” around the bend. This often includes live music.
Trogir has a tendency to keep these events a “secret” for reasons I can’t wrap my head around, but this is the time of year when I know the odds might be in favor of finding one of the things that makes this area so unique.. its music. Not just traditional Dalmatian Klapa, but also jazz, rock, pop, and music that defies any genre.
8. A photographer’s Dream
I’ve stayed here in the winter and the lighting and the mood is so different from that of the summer.. and I love it.
The lighting in September has a wonderful, mellow quality. You can capture this light in the old city, and it’s actually possible to get shots without people in it, which would be more difficult in the height of summer.
You can take advantage of the many vantage points in the city, which are much less crowded when it’s not high tourist season. It’s also much more pleasant to photograph without dealing with the midsummer heat.
This is one of the best times to photograph sailboats. There are still boats in the harbor, but not stacked several layers deep.
9. It’s HARVEST time!
We’re talking grapes and olives.
The peak of the grape harvest season is in September.
If you are a wine aficionado, autumn is the perfect time to visit Croatia! Some of the most famous wines come from the island of Korčula and Krk, but you can also find some fantastic wines between Trogir and Split.
For more information on grape harvests, in which you are an active participant in the process, feel free to contact us. Most harvests aren’t advertised or promoted, and truly are part of “secret” Dalmatia!
Staying a little longer? The olive harvest in October marks the end of a hard tourist season.
Olive harvests are almost sacred. This is when Dalmatian families are reunited, as many work on ships all season long.
It’s a time of gathering for friends and family, and often, tourists are invited, or can pay for a tour of one of the many olive oil producers in Central Dalmatia.
Sticking around for a harvest is one way to get that “authentic” Croatian experience.
Many farms have harvest gatherings which allow you to help with the harvest, and likely leave with your very own bottle of olive oil. Trust me, this stuff is abundant here, but when traveling to other places, I always try to take some with me. It’s called “liquid gold” for a reason!
Tips for visiting Trogir in September (and October):
Be kind to waitstaff, drivers, store employees, and other service staff, who may be tired or burnt out after a few months of being inundated by tourists. I have never had a problem as a tourist, but I can empathize.
Learn a few basic Croatian phrases, and take the time to learn about the culture. Now is the perfect time!
Be sure to check boat schedules, which typically change at the end of September.
Want more tips on how to experience a more relaxed and authentic Trogir? Keep reading our blog. We can’t wait to show you more about this city, off the beaten path Dalmatia, and the Slocro (slow Croatia) life.
And as always, Pape has the best vibe of any holiday Villa in Trogir!
See you in September!
Julie Odler is an American writer, digital marketing consultant for T&W marketing, and a former acupuncturist living in the Split/Trogir and Belgrade. She loves Croatia and writes about her experiences in her own blog, The Balkan Nomad.