Flights to Croatia were growing in popularity, with 2019 being the busiest year yet for Croatian airports. But, then things took a turn, and it’s still very unclear what the future will bring. Here is everything we know about flying to Croatia in 2021.

Flights to Croatia in 2021 – an overview

Before the pandemic and the unfortunate 2020 tourist season, the announcements of new flights to Croatia are coming in daily. Croatia was officially IN!, and 2019 was a record-setting year for Croatian airports.

However, a lot has changed now and many of those flights have been cancelled in the last year or so. As we write this in March of 2021, not many of the companies have announced their plans to revive their flights to Croatia.

Flights to Croatia are highly seasonal even during the best of times. Come in August and Split was serving over 100 destinations. Come in January, and your choice will be a lot more limited. And there’s no way of knowing what this season will look like. We can only take a bold guess and say that it probably won’t start in late March – as was the case during the best of tourist years. It might, with some luck, end up lasting much longer, if the epidemiological situation allows it to.

The info in this article regarding the epidemiological situation is current at time of writing (Feb 2021) and will be updated periodically. For the latest news, please refer to COVID-19 in Croatia Travel Update or get an answer in real time from the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community (you will need to download the app).

Check the world’s leading website for airline traffic, Skyscanner, to find the flights and the deals to and from Croatia!

Latest news on flights to Croatia from Total Croatia News

The dedicated TCN flights page has all the latest news regarding flights to Croatia:

A Croatian holiday does not always mean a Croatian airport

But having said all that, do be aware of Croatia’s neighbours. For we live in the Age of the Millennial, and we have to keep on moving… The days of a two-week holiday in the same location are becoming increasingly rare.

Many tourists these days want to cram in as much as possible, and that often includes flying into one country and out of another. As such, when planning your holiday to Croatia, do check out the airports in neighbouring countries – you might just find a much cheaper combination. In 2021, you need to make sure you’ll be able to cross the borders if you want to do that. Luckily, it seems that the measures on most borders with our neighbours are similar, so having a recent PCR test will probably be enough.

Suggested airports to look at after years of living in the region? Venice and Trieste (Italy); Ljubljana and Maribor (Slovenia); Graz (Austria); Budapest (Hungary); Belgrade (Serbia); Tuzla, Banja Luka, Mostar and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Hercegovina); and Podgorica and Tivat (Montenegro).

Boom times at Croatia’s airports

Before the pandemic, we certainly were living in the boom times at Croatia’s airports. More than 10 million passengers in 2018, and around 11.5 million in 2019. New terminals in various stages of development in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, and Brač were a testament to the growth. The trick we thought should come next was how to spread that traffic into the shoulder months and beyond. Now what needs to happen is for tourists to come back to Croatia (and Croatian airports)

For an overview of the surge in passenger traffic in recent years, as well as the catastrophe which was 2020, check out the chart below.

Split – a hot destination breaking all records

The new terminal in Split was opened in July 2019 and not a moment too soon! While the tourist season 2020 was not great, it was high time for Split Airport to have a modern passenger terminal.

The Dalmatian capital welcomed over 3 million passengers in 2018, about double the traffic just five years ago. For the latest news and an overview of Split Airport, check out the Total Croatia summary.

The Pearl of the Adriatic – flying to Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a classic example of a regional airport which serves its neighbours well. The Montenegrin tourism business has been grateful for the presence of Dubrovnik Airport on its doorstep for some time now.

A new terminal opened in 2017, and expansion continues. The upgrade was matched by increasing interest in flights to Dubrovnik – which lasted up until the start of the pandemic. Learn all you need to know about Dubrovnik Airport (and more).

A capital city transformed by the new Zagreb Airport

The opening of the new terminal at the Franjo Tudjman Zagreb Airport in March 2017 finally brought Zagreb in line with its regional neighbours on the aviation front.

The new, futuristic terminal is almost a symbol of the city which was named as Lonely Planet’s best city destination in 2017, and which has been Europe’s top Christmas market three years in a row.

While low-cost carriers are rare, Zagreb Airport has started (before the pandemic) to welcome a growing number of inter-continental carriers with schedule flights: Korean Air from Seoul; Qatar Airways from Doha; Emirates/Flydubai from Dubai; and Air Transat and Air Canada from Canada. Learn more about Zagreb Airport.

The spring of 2021 has brought the exciting news all travellers to and from Zagreb have been waiting for: Ryanair has finally come to Zagreb! Some connections, like the one to Brussels, will start as early as June 2nd, 2021, but most of the lines will be operational as of the late summer 2021 (beginning of September): Dortmund, Frankfurt, London, Milan, Paris, Podgorica, Rome, and many more!

Ryanair and the Zadar love

Of all the airports and destinations in Europe which have been transformed by Ryanair, Zadar must be close to the top of the list. The arrival of the Irish budget carrier back in 2007 opened up the former Dalmatian capital to the world. And it has never looked back. Ryanair have made public their plans to return to Zadar airport in 2021 in style, as they will connect the Dalmatian hub to 37 destinations on as many as 78 weekly flights, starting in July 2021. Aarhus, Bari, Bologna, Bremen, Bucharest, Budapest, Edinburgh, Gdańsk, Liverpool, Maastricht, Naples, Newcastle, Paris, Rome, Vaxjo, Warsaw, and Wroclaw will be connected to Zadar for this tourist season and probably after that.

Zadar and their cooperation with Ryanair allow it to keep its title as a top destination. Lonely Planet named it in the top 10 cities in Europe, and New York Times put it on their list of 52 must-see places in 2019. Just as many people who fly to Zadar, however, do so for onward journeys to Split, Dubrovnik and the islands. All you need to know about Zadar Airport.

An airport reinvented – meet the Istrian diversity of Pula

Back in 2013, life at Pula Airport was good. The airport was busy in season, and about 40% of passengers came from Russia.

With EU entry on July 1, 2013, things changed. An EU visa requirement for Russians killed a very lucrative business. Pula was forced to diversify, and diversify it has! Almost double the traffic of just five years ago, and with a much more diverse destination portfolio. All of that happened before the pandemic, and these days Pula Airport is struggling to get their schedule set for the 2021 tourist season. Here is how you will find Pula Airport these days.

Meet Rijeka Airport

Three of Croatia’s nine official airports lies on islands, and that includes Rijeka Airport, which lies on Krk.

Just 20 minutes away by car from the city, Rijeka Airport is growing in importance (and routes!). Rijeka held the title of the European City of Culture during the first half of 2020, during the most unfortunate times. All you need to know about Rijeka Airport.

The heartbeat of Slavonia and open for business – Osijek Airport

Eastern Croatia is served by Osijek, the main city in Slavonia, which lies on the Danube halfway between Zagreb and Belgrade.

Flights to Croatia may be booming in general, but Osijek is lagging behind. There was a lot of hope when Ryanair started a connection from London, which was supposed ot be all year. But the airline has since pulled out of Osijek, and today there are only a few flights.

There is SO much potential. All you need to know about Osijek.

A Croatian island to Europe direct – welcome to Brač!

Another Croatian airport success story in recent years is the island of Brač. The small airport almost closed down just three years ago, but new investment and a fresh strategy has transformed everything.

The airport has recently underwent its second recent runway extension. And in 2018, it hosted direct flights from no less than seven countries. We still don’t know which of those connections will be returning for the 2021 season. Find out more about the Brač Airport revolution.

The island of vitality and improving air connections – Lošinj

Passenger traffic on the island of Lošinj may not match that of the bigger airports in Croatia, but the Island of Vitality is building up a nice luxury niche. Connected by air to various destinations within Croatia, it was also possible to reach Lošinj Airport from both Lugano and Venice in 2019. Find out more from Croatia’s smallest commercial airport.

Looking for the latest flight news from Croatia? Follow the dedicated TCN flights page.