istria, sailing

Winds in Croatia

The winds in Croatia

Our short guide
Croatia, known for its picturesque Adriatic coastline and countless islands, is not only a paradise for tourists, but also a mecca for sailors and water sports enthusiasts. An important factor that makes Croatia’s coastal waters so special is the different winds that influence the region. In this article, the most important winds in Croatia, their characteristics and their effects on sailing and weather are described in detail.

The Bura: The strong north-easterly wind

The Bura is a cold and dry downslope wind that comes from a north-easterly direction and is particularly common in the winter months. It is known for its sudden and violent gusts that can reach speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour. The Bura occurs when cold air masses from the Dinaric Alps flow over the Adriatic coast. The Bura poses a particular challenge for sailors. Its unpredictable nature and strength require careful planning and constant weather monitoring. While the Bura is strongest near the mainland, its intensity decreases the further away from the coast.


  • Sudden onset with strong gusts
  • Dry and cold air
  • Good visibility due to dry air
  • Duration: from a few hours to several days

The Jugo: The Moist South Wind

The jugo, also known as the sirocco, is a warm and humid wind that blows from the south. It mainly occurs in spring and autumn and can last for several days. In contrast to the bura, the jugo brings with it damp weather and cloudy skies, often accompanied by rain. Although the Jugo is less dangerous for sailors than the Bura, it still requires caution. The combination of wet weather and poor visibility can make navigation difficult. In addition, long periods of strong jugo can lead to high waves, making the sea rough and unpredictable.


  • Constant, moderate to strong winds
  • Warm, humid air
  • Reduced visibility due to fog & rain
  • Duration: often several days in a row

The Maestral: The Friendly Summer Wind

The maestral is a favourite wind among sailors and mainly occurs in the summer months. It is caused by the thermal warming of the mainland and blows from a north-westerly direction. The maestral usually starts in the late morning, peaks in the afternoon and dies down again towards the evening. The maestral offers ideal conditions for sailors and other water sports enthusiasts. Its consistency and predictability make it perfect for day trips and sporting activities on the water.


  • Regular and predictable winds
  • Pleasant, moderate wind speeds
  • Clear skies & sunny weather
  • Duration: Daily cycles during the summer

Further winds in Croatia

In addition to the three main winds, there are other, lesser-known winds in Croatia that also have an influence on the weather and the sea:

  • Tramontana: A cool northerly wind that often heralds the Bura. It brings with it clear and dry weather.
  • Levant: An easterly wind that is usually mild and ensures calm weather.
  • Pulenat: A westerly wind that rarely occurs but can bring strong gusts.

Influence of winds on the weather and nature

The different winds have a significant influence on the climate and nature in Croatia. While the Bura and the Jugo can drastically change the weather, the Maestral provides the typical sunny summers in the region. These winds also influence vegetation, marine life and even architecture, as many buildings near the coast are built specifically to withstand the strong gusts of the bura.

Tips for sailors and watersports enthusiasts

  1. Observe weather forecasts: Knowledge of upcoming weather and wind conditions is essential.
  2. Take safety precautions: Boats should be well secured and excursions carefully planned, especially during strong bura.
  3. Exchange experiences: Local sailors and fishermen often have valuable tips and can provide up-to-date information on wind conditions.

Our summary

The winds in Croatia play a decisive role in the climate, weather and conditions at sea. While the Bura and the Jugo pose challenges, the Maestral offers ideal conditions for summer activities. A deep understanding of these winds is essential for anyone wishing to explore Croatia’s Adriatic coast, whether on water or on land.

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