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Owning Your Own Croatian Island

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There are more than 1,000 islands in Croatia, some of which are privately owned. So how does one go about purchasing their own Croatian island? and who are these people splashing out on their own island?

Jasminka Biliškov, owner of agency Biliškov Real Estate and Vice President of the Real Estate Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, told portal Telegram.hr that a nearly half a dozen Croatian islands have sold in the last 13 years.

“A very small number of people are able to purchase a whole island,” she explains, before adding that those people are mainly extremely wealthy business people, members of royal families, and rich famous stars.

Which islands are possibly for sale are kept in a register of all small islands, which is regulated by Croatian law. Between 15 and 20% of Croatia’s small islands are privately owned. If one is interested in purchasing an island they must register their interest first. The island is then offered to the town, county and finally the state for first rights to buy. If there is no interest from the town, county or state, then a private buyer may make an offer. A rock-bottom price which the island can not be sold under is then set.

Before negotiations for the sale of the island starts, a coastal belt, from 6 metres or more, is determined. “That is a zone where everyone has the right to come and swim,” Biliškov told Telegram.hr, adding that in that zone the island’s owner can not control access. However, it is possible to get concessions for such zones, and then the owner can control this area.

Current laws also prevent new construction on small islands. Renovations of standing objects, such as houses and lighthouses, are permitted. Biliškov believes that certain construction should be allowed, but only if it fits into the surroundings and is not harmful to the environment.

In the last 13 years 5 Croatian islands have been sold.

“We sold one in 2002. Smokvica island near Pimošten. Since then 3-4 islands have been sold along the whole coast,” concluded Biliškov.

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