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We want to go to North-Eastern Mediterranean (Greece, Croatia, maybe Montenegro) next August. We would like to book hotels in advance, to get better prices and wider choice. However, it is obvious that booking, for example, now is too early. When it is optimal time to book hotels in advance?

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    it is obvious that booking, for example, now is too early. Actually, the only reason for not booking as early as you can would be if you are not sure that you will still want/be able to go on holidays when planned. Once you are reasonably sure, the earlier you book the better. In many places and events with great demand it is not unusual to book a year in advance, or even earlier. – SJuan76 Dec 10 '16 at 18:44
  • @SJuan76, I would generally expect booking not available too early in advance. Is this wrong? – Petr Dec 10 '16 at 19:01
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    Checking over the internet (bookings.com) places at Dubrovnik during Setember 2017 I get 42; checking again for May 2017 I get 42 as well. Hotels and other turistic places know their schedules well in advance; and once they have that set, booking is just a matter of filling an electronic record and receiving the money. Before internet it could be some issues if the hotel was closed during low season, but nowadays there is no actual need for the hotel to be in operation to process the bookings. – SJuan76 Dec 10 '16 at 19:09
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    Of course, there may be the old, small, family managed hotel that still does not accept bookings from internet, but I guess that if they are not in internet you will not be able to find them anyway. – SJuan76 Dec 10 '16 at 19:14
  • Please split this question per country, otherwise it's a bit too broad. – JonathanReez Dec 11 '16 at 15:18
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Seem like general hotel booking rules apply here too:

  • Book as early as possible (as soon as you know the schedule). Now is NOT "too early". You will get better availability. The only exception is if there are NO hotels which you can book with free cancellation. You will get better availability. You might also get better pricing too (mostly because good and cheaper hotels are booked early).

  • Book with free cancellation, of course - even if you have to pay premium. It might still be possible to book into non-refundable rate within a week before checkin (depending on how busy they are);

  • Check the prices and availability periodically (especially in last two weeks), and check the reviews too periodically (especially recent). New hotels might open right before the tourist season starts. New reviews might indicate your chosen hotel is turning into a dump.

  • If you are unsure between two nice hotels, book both for the same dates and decide later based on above.

  • If you're unsure about dates (i.e. whether you gonna stay in that city for 3 or 4 days), then make several separate bookings, each for one day if needed. Some websites (Orbitz, for example) do not allow reservation modifications, only cancellation.

For a more specific answer you might want to provide exact dates and cities (booking in Santorini in June is a bit different from booking in Athens in December), but even there I don't see anything specific or why the rules above wouldn't apply.

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