Ten years ago just the thought of selling one of the Croatian islands was perceived as a catastrophic and shameful sale of a national and family treasure mostly to the world's billionaires, but the final result was not so impressive – only five of 1,224 Croatian islands were sold within 14 years.
Among the first islands that were sold was a small island of Smokvica near Primosten in the Sibenik-Knin County which was sold for 9 million Kunas to a domestic buyer in 2003. The islands Frasker and Fraskeric in the Istria County were sold to the Russian tycoon Vladimir Jevtusenko for 1.1 million in 2000 , whilst a small island of Jakljan near Dubrovnik was sold to the Croatian businessman from London, Goran Strok for 6 million Euros in 2005.
Although Croatia has 1,244 islands, only 65 islands are inhabited, whilst 85 percent of them are the property of the state and are thus not for sale.
To buy an island in Croatia is not as easy as it may seem. If the owner decides to sell his island, he must first offer the pre-emption to the municipality, county and state. In the case that they are not interested in purchasing the island, then it can be offered to private individuals. If the potential buyer purchases the island and becomes the island owner, his newly acquired property will not guarantee him, or her, complete isolation and enjoyment in pristine nature because a minimum of 6 metres of the coastal strip remains as “common good,” meaning to be open to the public. Thus the owner would own the island but not the beach. In order to become the owner of the whole island, the buyer has to get a concession for 6 metres of the coastal strip, and that isn’t so easy.
According to the words of Jasminka Biliskov, the director of a Croatian real estate agency, they have 15 islands ''in stock'' of a total of 20 Croatian islands on sale. ''To own your own island is a sign of prestige among members of the world's elite, but the Croatian legislation and bad infrastructure conditions on the Croatian islands have a negative effect on their intention of buying. That's the main reason why such buyers as Bernie Ecclestone and the Princess Caroline of Monaco were put off. The thing is that if there is no infrastructure built on an island, then it is not allowed to build any, only the adaptation of the existing infrastructure is allowed. This means that new island owners can only lay their beach towels on the island's beach'', says Jasminka Biliskov.
She also emphasizes that there are always potential buyers who are interested in purchasing Croatia's Adriatic gems but not all the islands are equally attractive thus the price ranges from 11 to 70 Euros per square meter. ''Croatian owners are not always in the mood for selling their islands because they consider them a part of their family treasure unless they have some financial problems. But when rich foreigners buy an island with old infrastructure, they adapt it in accordance with legal regulations and take care of the environment. We don't have to worry, Croatia's islands will always be Croatia's, the new owners can't carry them away'', concluded Jasminka Biliskov.
Here is the list of some of the Croatian islands on sale: