Snow on Hvar! And the Truth Behind ‘Free Hotel When It Snows’ Legend

Total Croatia News

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Photo: Miranda Milicic Bradbury
The most impressive snowfall in recent years was February 4, 2012. The morning view from the Total Terrace back then
The most impressive snowfall in recent years was February 4, 2012. The morning view from the Total Terrace back then

One of the first things I heard when I came to Hvar for the first time was that it had the best climate in Europe. And over the 13 years I lived there full-time, I certainly had no complaints (but then I am a Manchester boy, born in the rain, whose boarding school is in the Guinness Book of Records for most rainy days in one year – 332 days…).

Apparently, the hotels would give you a free hotel room if it snowed, so confident were the hoteliers in the island’s unbeatable weather. A great marketing trick, I thought to myself, as snow only falls in winter when there are no tourists. 

Of course, the moment I got off the ferry having driven all my stuff to my new home from Oxfordshire, some funny white stuff started falling from the sky around Stari Grad. I have been blamed for any bad weather on Hvar ever since. 

But nothing was like February 4, 2012 (see lead photo) when we awoke to find Jelsa covered in a blanket of white. We had business in Hvar Town that day. Driving in 4-wheel drive through the snow on the main road was surreal, but not as surreal as watching a snow plough coming in the opposite direction. On Hvar!


People even skied from the top of Hvar to the beach at Dubovica – read the full story

I was amazed. How was it possible, with Dalmatian covered in snow and ice, that someone could spare a snow plough to send to Hvar? Upon investigation, it turned out that the sunshine has its very own snow plough, which is operated by the chap who owns the restaurant in Vrbanj. He must have less work than Santa Claus.


(HVAR Facebook page)

Snow fell once again today, as in much of Dalmatia, a moment which always causes excitement with the local kids, and locals mark the event in their own special ways. 

So are the hotels actually free? It was something I decided to chase up back in 2012 and I asked Suncani Hvar Hotels what the official policy was. The reply was that if it had been snowing for 7 days then guests could get the 8th day free. 

Not quite the same thing. 

Some years later, I chanced upon what appears to be the origins of the claim, in a 1960s video of Dalmatia. Here is what was advertised on Hvar. 


(YouTube screenshot)

1. 50% reduction if it rains more than three hours between 7 am and 5 pm 

2. Free stay for each snowy day

3. Free stay for each foggy day

And a free stay if the temperature drops below a certain temperature (0 degrees). 

I wonder if they are still valid in 2021… 


(A sunny day in Varazdin – Photo by Taliah Bradbury)

Meanwhile, the morning started wonderfully in Varazdin this morning. People thought I was crazy to move from the sunshine island to the cold and forbidding north of Croatia. 

For more news about the island of Hvar, follow the dedicated TCN Hvar section






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