Winds on the Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic is the northernmost part of the  Mediterranean Sea . There are over 1,300 islands in the Adriatic and most of them are located along the Croatian coast which is windy all year round what is a great for both professional and recreational sailors.

Surrounded by large mainlands and high land, its climate is significantly different and much more changeable than that of more open seas. On the Adriatic sea, as a true point of connection between continental Europe and the Mediterranean, weather and wind conditions are subject to sudden changes, especially in summer.

The bura (bora) and the jugo (scirocco) are the main winds on the Adriatic. They prevail in the winter period from September to May. The prevailing wind in the summer is the maestral (mistral).

Bura (bora)

The most characteristic and specific wind to the Eastern Adriatic - bura is a cold and dry north-easterly wind. It blows from the continent, from the eastern side of the Adriatic, towards the open sea and brings bright weather. It starts abruptly and blows in squalls toward the sea.

More than any other wind, the bura underlines the distinguishing features of this area where the Mediterraneans warm wathers reach their northernmost point and approach Continental Europe cold heart.

It is strongest in the Velebit Channel, between the continental coast and the island of Pag, where it reaches top speed. The bura most famous 'doorways' are the Gulf of Trieste, Kvarner Gulf, between Pula and Cres, Senjska Vrata, the strait between the islands of Krk and Rab, the valley of Cetina and the Omis cove.

In the summer the bora blows as a local wind and lasts only a few days. In the winter it may continue for up to two weeks. The bura my flare up completely unannounced; however, most of the time it is preceded by small cumulus clouds forming over the coast, a rise in air pressure and drop in temperature.

Jugo (scirocco)

The jugo is a warm, humid east-southeast wind. It is accompanied by heavy clouds and rain. It is not a sudden wind like the bora as it takes 36-38 hours to develop. It blows throughout the Adriatic. In the summer it may appear as a local wind and is more frequent in the southern part of the Adriatic. Between March and June it blows in the north Adriatic as well.

Jugo rarely blows in summer but when it dose it never lasts longer than 2-3 days . More often and for longer period with greater intensity it blows between October and May. During the summer Jugo blows over with the arrival of storm, when the wind abruptly changes and blows North-East.

Maestral (mistral)

The maestral is a local westerly wind which blows from the sea, mostly in the summer from North-West. It usually starts between 10 and 11 in the morning and reaches its greatest strength between 2 and 3 in the afternoon to die down at sunset. It brings good weather. It is usually accompanied by white clouds.

While bura and jugo each in their own way offer sailors excitement and challenge, maestral guarantees pure pleasure during which you can give yourself to the sea without fear.

To the north, along the Istrian coast and in the Northern Dalmatia strait, it usually weaker, whereas near the outer islands and south of Split it is stronger. In the channels between Hvar, Korcula, Vis and Lastovo it can easily exceed 20 knots.

Other winds

The burin, a north-easterly, blows in the summer from the mainland, usually in the morning. The tramontana is a type of bora; it is a northerly. Another type of bora is the easterly levante. Pulenat blows from the west and lebi? from the south-west.

The nevera, a violent westerly, comes as a storm or squall. In the summer months, storms in the Adriatic are sudden and violent and produce a short-lasting swell.

The Adriatic storms have an advantage: they do not last long and some of them leave behind pleasantly cool air. During periods of high pressure, the Adriatic also has the classical rhythm of winds: winds from the land during the night and from the sea during the day.

Weather Reports

The coastal radio stations broadcast weather reports in Croatian and English several times a day. The reports include a general weather situation report, messages and the forecast for the following 24 hours. Weather reports are broadcasted at the following UTC times (UTC + 1 h = CET; CET + 1 h = CE summer time):

  • Rijeka Radio VHF Channel 24 – 05:35, 14:35, 19:35
  • Split Radio VHF Channels 21, 23, 07, 28 – 05:45, 12:45, 19:45
  • Dubrovnik Radio VHF Channels 04, 07 – 06:25, 13:20, 21:20

The best weather forecast for the Easter Adriatic is provided by the Croatian Meteorogical Institute (DHMZ) – or

We also recommend you these weather forecast applications: