I am wondering if I need to make hotel reservations for Hvar and other areas of the coast such as Split and Dubrovnik in September, or are the crowds thinned out by then and would I be able to find a place to stay when I arrive.
It really depends where you want to stay. Popular and upmarket small hotels may well be booked but you shouldn't have any trouble finding somewhere to stay in any of the places you mention in September as long as you're prepared to be flexible and don't have your heart set on a particular establishment. As\well as hotels of all sizes, there are oodles of small apartments and rooms in private houses in towns and villages up and down the Croatian coast, and every town has an accommodation office you can go to to find them. The ones they list are registered with prices and standards set by the government tourist offices. There are also any number of unlicenced places, the owners of which often meet the buses and ferries offering rooms to disembarking passengers, and you will see signs for Sobe/zimmer/rooms everywhere.
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