Hvar Pub Crawl, the New Mayor, and What Locals Can Do

Total Croatia News

Updated on:

Hvar Pub Crawl Vimeo Screenshot

A closer look at the Hvar party issues in the wake of new mayor Riki Novak’s interview on June 24, 2017. 

One of my favourite of the many Facebook pages I follow is called Zveljarin. Its name translates as ‘alarm clock’ in local dialect I am told, and the page has  – for me at least – been something of a moral conscience for the town of Hvar during the last four years. I, along with many others, was saddened when the page announced that it was stopping, with one of the reasons cited as:

“During these last four years, we have tried to stay current, objective, brave, transparent, and rise above the Hvar apathy and opportunism. We did not succeed, so we are closing down the page and moving on.”

Thankfully, and I do not know why, the page admins seemed to have a change of heart, and the page is once more functioning and providing a vital online meeting point for the people of Hvar Town. 

Apathy and opportunism. Words used by local people to describe what is happening in Hvar Town. And very accurate. 

I had to laugh at one of their latest posts, as it would appear that, although I am a foreigner and live far away, the Total Hvar and Zveljarin inboxes are very similar. Here is the post, and I must say that I loved it:


“This page has been active for about four years and we are used to the fact that, starting right about now and ending when the season is over, citizens will be sending us photos of inappropriately dressed or drunk tourists, early morning scenes of sleeping tourists after a night of partying, improper parking of cars and motorcycles, piles of waste not disposed properly…

“Members of our society spend most of their time on social networks. We are more willing to photograph or make a video of an incident than to prevent it or warn somebody about the consequences of their actions. We have turned into passive bystanders of what is going on in the city. Let’s try to react and be more active for a change. 

“Somebody is walking around half-naked in the centre? We can warn them kindly that that is not allowed. Our city, our rules.

“We complain about the work of our municipal services monitoring officers and it stops there? We can call them, be persistent and boring. We can make them do their jobs. Their contact information can be found here: http://www.hvar.hr/portal/kontakti/.  Accumulated waste is bothering you? First of all, let’s all try to stick to the schedule. A huge part of the responsibility is our own. The collection schedule for bulky item pickup is as follows:

Monday: Bukainka, Glavica, Lučica, Dolac and Vira
Tuesday: Križni rat, Križna luka, Vrisak and Ograde-Pais
Wednesday: Sveta Nedjelja
Thursday: Šamoretov dolac, Podstine, Pod Forticu, Zastup, Majerovica and Sv. Katarina
Friday: Brusje and Milna
Sunday and holiday: outside of the summer season, bulky items are not collected.

“The public utility company will be happy to collect waste out of schedule. Feel free to contact them at: http://www.komunalnohvar.com/cistoca/raspored-odvoza-otpada/.

“The police station can be reached at: 741 100, 021/307 565; 504 239.

“If you think that they are not doing their job properly, you have a legal right to file a complaint at: http://splitsko-dalmatinska.policija.hr//main.aspx?id=104.


(Hvar’s shiny new promo brochure with astonishing logo for a destination not wanting to be the Croatian Magaluf – Genuine Hedonism. Yes, really – and for locals who may not understand the difference between the perception of hedonism in English and Croatian languages, simply put the word ‘hedonism’ into Google Images, and then realise that this is what your tourism geniuses are doing to promote your cultured destination – photo credit Vivian Grisogono).

It is one of the curious realities about Hvar Town that while people clearly see the destination going downhill, the majority are not prepared to do anything about it. They are too busy making money, and as long as the foreigners don’t hear about it, the money will continue. In terms of trying to do something about it, no action is taken, apart from the sending of photos of drunken tourists to my inbox (and, so it seems, to Zveljarin’s), as though by doing so makes them feel better that they are actually doing something to protest. I often wonder what they are most worried about – the decline of one of the Adriatic’s top destinations, or the threat to their short-term income. 

Apathy and opportunism. 

Hvar Pub Crawl from Hvar Pub Crawl on Vimeo.

One of the debates now that The Sun has described Hvar as the Croatian Magaluf and Booking.com included it in the top 7 stag destinations in the world (wtf?) is that these British tourists are total undesirables (I don’t disagree) and that they are ruining the destination. Little attention has been placed on why Hvar Town has been chosen over, let’s say, Korcula Town, an equally spectacular old town with a similar abundance of heritage. 

And Zveljarin summed it up beautifully. Apathy and opportunism. The page also shared a video recently, called Hvar Pub Crawl. You can watch it above, and I encourage you to do so, especially if you are a local. For this is how your elite destination is being promoted to the world. By local people. Your own. A nightly tour which takes up to 60 people on a tour each night, a tour which includes an hour of unlimited booze on a boat, free welcome drinks at other bars and then VIP entrance (I can just imagine the class inside when these VIPs arrive) to an exclusive club. All in a fantastic, historic and waterfront setting. The price? Prices starting from just £20 per person, including club entrance. That is the price of four beers back home. No wonder the Brits are coming in their masses. 


Last year, two drunken Australians were arrested for climbing onto the roof of Hvar Cathedral, causing 5000 kuna of damage. During my interview with them, one admitted that he had come to Croatia for the party, as he had heard there were no rules, it was just a great place where anything goes. How to make a difference? Stop sending in photos and address the people directly. Here is a tiny, but very symbolic example of how this can be achieved, but none other than new mayor Riki Novak. Thanks to Marija Petričević for the photo and text:

“Actions speak louder than words! Our new mayor stood in front of a man who was not wearing a shirt and told him that he had to put one on because this is a town (I couldn’t hear the rest of the conversation), shook his hand and when he left, even though the man protested, he put his shirt on.”

In my opinion, not that the opinion of a foreigner means anything in Croatia, as we have already established, the most effective way to bring Hvar Town back to the destination it should be (and it could, very simply) is to concentrate on those two aspects mentioned by Zveljarin – apathy and opportunity. 

I have been asked by several people to post photos of the drunkenness to raise awareness, and although this would be great clickbait, I am reluctant to do so, and do not know how effective it would be. All that is known by local people. What is not known, or to a lesser extent perhaps, is how badly Hvar Town’s image has been damaged in recent years. Top 7 stag destinations in the world, and the Croatian Magaluf. And speaking of Magaluf, it seems that the notorious destination has grown tired of Brits vomiting and having sex on the streets, and it has now introduced 64 rules this summer, that could well see a lot of boozed up Brits looking for another destination. Locals have the power to make the change, if only they can deal with that apathy and opportunism.

And with the way that Hvar Town is marketed at the moment, from fabulous pub crawls for just £20 to the media perception and official branding as Genuine Hedonism, I can think of no more attractive option than Hvar Town. 

The destination needs regulation – urgently – but also an urgent rebranding, otherwise locals will soon learn the true meaning of genuine hedonism. 

Apathy and opportunism. The route to change in a nutshell. 


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment