If there is one area of Croatian tourism which has been totally transformed by the Internet, it is the booking habits of tourists looking for holiday accommodation. Ten years ago, when I came to Dalmatia, the three main strategies were to find a local renter with a sign saying sobe, sobe (rooms, rooms) at the ferry or bus terminal; to head to the local tourist office and find accommodation through the list of registered renters, or simply to walk around the preferred neighbourhoods looking for apartments with the signs – Sobe, Camare, Zimmer and Rooms.
Times change. I do not have the statistics, but the vast majority of bookings are done online, and many in advance. New smartphone technology means that internet-savvy renters can get their last minute availability out there, meet a guest at a ferry and take them to the apartment, while the ‘sobe ladies’ look on.
There is the added change that the authorities have clamped down a lot on illegal renting in recent seasons, and spot checks are not uncommon, with unlicensed renters being fined and even some unfortunate guests being evicted. You are strongly advised to use a licenced agency for booking.
Depending on the time of year, it is not uncommon for some owners to require a minimum seven-night stay, and there is often a 30% surcharge for a stay of less than three days.
Split in season fills up quickly, and peak season in mid-July is going to be even crazier than normal with the arrival of an expected 60,000 party goers arriving for Ultra Europe on July 12-13. You are strongly advised to make your arrangements in advance.