The aim of this study was to analyse trends of malignant melanoma incidence in Croatia for men and women of different age groups by birth cohorts and time periods, and to interpret them in the context of national socioeconomic changes over time and the possible implications for future prevention in South-Eastern European postcommunist countries with high mortality rates. We used the Croatian National Cancer Registry data to analyse incidence trends of malignant melanoma of the skin (ICD-9 code 172 and ICD-10 code C43) in men and women aged 25–79 years by age–period–cohort modelling. Over the 25-year period, the incidence was increasing by 5.0% annually in men and 4.6% in women. The age–period model provided the best fit for data in both sexes, with steeply increasing incidence rates, followed by a stabilization after the 2000s. On the cohort scale, incidence rates increased in successive generations of men, whereas in women, the risk of malignant melanoma attenuated in recent cohorts. Even if some progress has been achieved in recent years, the increasing melanoma incidence without concomitant declines in mortality would indicate a need to rekindle prevention efforts in the country taking the specific socioeconomic context into account.