Accommodation in Croatia: Finding a Place to Stay on Hvar
From hotels to campsites, there is a wide choice of accommodation on Hvar, either pre-booked or off the ferry. Just make sure it is legal.
Heading to the beach is all very well, but most tourists prefer to sort their accommodation before they jump into the Adriatic. There is a good selection of accommodation options on Hvar, and it is worth learning about how to avoid some potential problems.
Hotels on Hvar
The quality of the hotel accommodation on the island is very variable, with room prices to match. After decades of a Communist approach to mass tourism resulting in generally soulless and ugly hotels, things are beginning to change.
The main driving force was the acquisition in 2005 of the majority share in Suncani Hvar, the company running the hotels in Hvar Town, by ORCO Group. The resulting multi-million facelift to the portfolio has certainly upped the quality (with prices to match), and a higher level of luxury is now available for those willing to pay the prices. The hotels of Jelsa and Stari Grad have not seen the equivalent investment, so expect a less modern facility with prices adjusted accordingly.
Private Accommodation: Booking on the Internet
As elsewhere, the power of the Internet has changed the dynamic of finding accommodation. Where previously it was the norm to go from apartment to apartment looking for availability, most tourists now book online. Many local renters are not comfortable with Internet marketing in English, and the descriptions and outdated photographs reflect that, but there are more professionally produced offers every year.
Private Accommodation: Sobe, Sobe, Sobe
The Sobe lady has been a common sight on the Yugoslav tourist scene for decades. Sobe means 'room' and bus stations and ferry terminals have long been filled with grandmothers with their cardboard signs hustling for some business.
Despite the Internet boom, the practice is very much alive today, and there are usually a number of sobe offers on arrival at the ferry terminals. It is worth being at least a little familiar with the geography of the island before accepting a room. 'Five minutes from the beach' can mean on foot or by car...It should be noted that peak season short-term rentals of less than three nights usually incur a 30% surcharge.
The cheapest price for accommodation is free, and the Couchsurfing concept has a number of members on Hvar. The basic concept - members host other members for free as part of a cultural exchange - has been a global phenomenon, and beds are available on Hvar, although it should be borne in mind that most islanders depend on tourism to some extent, and so beds may only be available out of the peak season.
There are numerous campsites on the island and most offer excellent facilities, also catering to the naturist market in Vrboska. Backpackers may prefer Jelsa as an entry point for camping, as it is the most accessible without transport, with the Mina campsite a short walk from the daily catamaran, which arrives at 1730 from Split.
Registering Your Stay and Rental Licences
Tourists are required to register their stay with the authorities and are liable for a daily tourist tax of one euro, and they must also de-register on departure. In practice this is done by hotels and apartment owners (hence the reason guests are required to briefly surrender their passports), although tourists should check this on arrival.
The tax is usually (but not always) included in the cost of the rental. A more serious issue to investigate is the owner's licence to rent out the property, as the authorities are starting to clamp down on the grey economy, and inspectors have been known to evict guests in unlicensed properties, although this is rare.