Croatia’s 10 Best Festivals and Cultural Events in Summer 2014

Croatia is a country of exceptional diversity, with influences from Central Europe, the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Orient manifested in a rich variety of cultural events that run throughout the year. Music festivals, plays performed in historical locations and arts festivals guarantee a plethora of choices for every taste. Here are some of the best cultural events this summer in Croatia, from Dalmatia to Zagreb.

Korčula | © Silberfuchs/Pixabay

Dance | Croatian Summer Salsa Festival

23 – 30 June

Expanding in every corner of the town of Rovinj, from the main square to hotel pools, coastal alleys and narrow roads, the Croatian Summer Salsa Festival celebrates its 10th year of non-stop fun. 50 artists, five unusual locations, plus workshops, beach parties, DJ sets, concerts and club nights all combine to promise an unforgettable summer experience for the participants, who hail from more than 40 countries.

Event takes place in various locations across Rovinj

Culture | International Children’s Festival

21 June – 5 July

The festival, which is now at its 53rd year, celebrates children’s imagination and creativity and brings together a myriad of events in the town of Šibenik. The cultural event is spread all over the town, with every single square dedicated to children. Domestic and international children’s ensembles, creative workshops and aesthetic education programmes attract people from all over the world. Selected Croatian and international performing companies, drama companies and music ensembles offer the best works for the children. An array of cultural and educational workshops involve the children in the art of creation. Children’s films in open-air cinemas, plays staged by children, journalism workshops, comics, building, painting, architecture, information technology, drama and music arts, puppet theatre, film, literature, visual arts all contribute to an unforgettable and unique festival.

Event takes place in various locations across Šibenik

Music and Theatre | Rijeka Summer Nights

21 July – 15 September

Concerts of classical music, theatre productions, street theatre and pop concerts all feature in the Rijeka Summer Nights festival. The cultural events take place at the Trsat fortress, a former observation post built for defense against the Turkish army, and on the streets and squares of the city. One element of this year’s festival is the relationship between industrial architecture and theatre, so many of the productions are also staged in industrial parts of the city.

International Folklore Festival
Courtesy of International Folklore Festival

Culture | 48th International Folklore Festival

16 – 20 July

With the first festival organised in 1966, this year’s International Folklore Festival is dedicated to the folklore traditions of the beautiful Croatian region of Medimurje, in the north of the country. The festival celebrates diversity and local customs, traditional heritage and the globalised world through folk music, art and dance. Several local, national and international ensembles, wearing traditional costumes, participate with concerts of church-singing and contemporary international music. An abundance of exhibitions and craft workshops are also additional treats for the festival-goers.

Event takes place in various locations across Zagreb

International Folklore Festival
Courtesy of the International Folklore Festival

Film | Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival

27 June – 5 July

The three-year old open-air Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival returns to Zagreb with an array of excellent fantastic films, covering genres such as science fiction, horror, thriller and mystery. New films and classic cults will be shown in two different locations, the Tuskanac Summer Stage and CineStar Zagreb Branimir Center. The categories of the films to be presented at the cinema are divided into interesting categories, such as ‘Panorama’, ‘Orient Express’ (featuring Asian titles, such as the Sundance hit Killers), and ‘Midnight Madness’ for lovers of horror films.

Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival, Tuskanac, Zagreb, Croatia

Film | Pula Film Festival

12 – 26 July

Pula Film Festival, the largest film festival in Croatia, has been held every summer since 1954 at the Roman amphitheatre known as the Pula Arena, and in other venues in the surrounding area. This year, in its 61st edition, the festival will comprise a selection of Croatian and foreign films, and will present the national film awards, the Golden Arenas. Apart from Croatian and foreign films, this year’s programne also features a children’s programme, Pulica, and Europolis, a programme of European short films. A summer workshop for youngsters called CAMP Red, and the much-loved Professor Balthazar’s Adventure Laboratory will also welcome young enthusiasts of animated film for a tenth year

Pula Film Festival, Uspon na Kastel, Pula, Croatia, +385 52 393 321

Culture | 65th Dubrovnik Summer Festival

10 July – 25 August

During Dubrovnik Summer Festival a full programme of more than 80 music, ballet, theatre, dance, traditional and film events will take place in various venues of the city, from churches to central squares, from fortresses to the downtown streets. With approximately 2000 artists from all over the world descending on Dubrovnik for the event, the festival will put on drama such as Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and the theatre programme will include two premiers, Romeo and Juliet directed by Jagos Marcovic, and Uncle Maroje in Držić Square. The 17th century streets of the city will resonate with baroque music, and among the other events a commemoration exhibition called Creators of Memory – Photographers and Designers at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival will celebrate the city’s creatives

Event takes place in various locations across Dubrovnik.

Moreška, Korcula old town
Moreška, Korcula Old Town | © Luka Jacov/WikiCommons

Culture | Moreška, Korcula Old Town

July – August 2014

On the Croatian island of Korcula a traditional sword dance is performed every summer, recounting the battle of two kings and their soldiers for the love of a Muslim woman. The two opposing groups have changed during the centuries from Christians versus Moors to Turks versus Moors to the white versus blac,k with the Moors always losing the battle. The performances last 20 – 30 minutes, with sparks flying from the sword to sword collisions in an impressive choreography and physical performance.

Event takes place in various locations across Korcula

t williams dj
DJ T. Williams at Stop Making Sense Festival | Courtesy Stop Making Sense

Music | Stop Making Sense

31 July – 3 August

At a beautiful secluded bay with its own private beach, Stop Making Sense festival brings to the Croatian coast fantastic performances of underground electronic dance music and Balearic beats, organised by a collective of club and concert promoters. The ideal beach setting is enhanced by the label-curated trip boats which take artists and fans on board, for unique and intimate live performances. Some of the artists participating in this year’s fifth edition, are Aus, Sub Club, Croatia Calling, Abbatoir and Olando Boom.

The Garden, Tisno, Croatia, + 44 20 3487 0929

art jam croatia
Croatian Association of Artists | Courtesy Art JAM

Art | Art JAM

1 July – 1 August

Art JAM, held in Zagreb in the middle of the summer, is a relaxed event organised by NGO JAM, showcasing the work of up-and-coming Croatian artists in every field possible: art, fashion, food, music, promotion of cultural events and movies. Artists, photographers, filmmakers and designers promise to offer a month of interesting cultural vibe in the capital with their events and a series of excellent workshops.

Croatian Association of Artists, 16 trg žrtava fašizma, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1461 1818

By Alexandra Brannigan

See more of our Cultural Events Guides:

Europe | The 10 Best Art and Design Events in Europe

London | London Cultural Calendar 2014

Austria | Vienna’s Cultural Calendar 2014

California | San Francisco Cultural Calendar 2014

New York | New York Cultural Calendar 2014

Singapore | Singapore Cultural Calendar 2014