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What are the Elafiti Islands

July 11, 2016

Some of our Croatian Watersports Holidays involve activities on and around the Elafiti Islands of Croatia. The Elaphiti Islands is a small island chain consisting of several islands stretching northwest of Dubrovnik, in the Adriatic Sea. The Elaphites have a total population of around 850 inhabitants and so are largely untouched. The islands attract large numbers of tourists during the summer tourist season due to their beaches and pristine scenery.

Although there are over 10 islands, only 3 of them are permanently inhabited and are connected with the mainland via daily ferry lines operated out of Dubrovnik:

Šipan

This island is the largest in size and is the farthest from Dubrovnik. It has a population of around 436 inhabitants. With its quiet bays, beaches, cypress trees, groves of orange and lemon trees it is a true haven. The island is full of old structures; churches and summer residences of the landowners, dispersed throughout the forested slopes. With a long history interwoven with many stories and legends, is one of the pearls of the Dubrovnik region.

The main port on Sipan is Suđurađ. It is a sleepy village stretched along the harbour, dominated by the 16th-century castle of the wealthy Stijepović-Skočibuha family from Dubrovnik. Sudurad is connected by road to Sipanska luka, a larger town around 5km away. The island is small enough to be appreciated without a car. Bikes are easy to rent from either Sipanska or Sudurad and one-way rentals are possible. On the road between Sudurad and Sipanska luka, you can't miss the late -Gothic Rector's Palace and ruins of archbishop's palaces.

Beaches and dining on Sipan is simply. Many small gravel beaches with taverns where the seafood is the best you’ll eat! When you arrive in to the port you’ll be welcomed by little stalls selling beers on the beach, definitely a much needed refreshment!

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Lopud

Second in size and best known for its sandy beaches, it is located between Šipan and Koločep islands. With lush gardens and beaches, Lopud is one of the most developed islands for tourism in the Dubrovnik region.

According to the Dubrovnik historian Razzi, Lopud had 30 churches in the 16th century, as well as numerous summer residences, several monasteries and many more inhabitants than today. Visible on the island are the ruins of early medieval churches, summer residences and fortresses. You’ll pass by loads of these if you choose to go to the southern side of the Island to visit Sunj bay. I would recommend making this journey. You can make the 20 minute walk yourself, or take a golf cart. I would seriously recommend the golf cart. It’s not overly expensive, and you remove the risk of being flattened by one cause you’re actually on it. Also, a 20 minute walk can become seriously demanding in 35 degree heat when you’re closed in with walls on each side…

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Koločep

It is the closest island to Dubrovnik, located 5 kilometres (3 miles) from the Dubrovnik harbour at Gruž. It is a green island with an abundance of olive groves and gardens filled with oranges and lemons, with beautiful beaches it is one of the more popular excursion destinations from Dubrovnik.

There are two settlements on Kolocep, Donje Celo and Gornje Celo, one on the east coast and the other on the west, and they are connected by a windy road through olive groves and gardens. Many remnants of old architecture have been preserved, and are dispersed throughout the island (an old pre-Romantic chapel, ruins of the basilica, summer homes, guard tower and more).

It’s a very quiet place to visit, but there’s a cracking ice-cream shop in the harbour. We took the time at this island to relax… and take advantage of the quiet harbour.

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I stayed in a little place just off Kolocep Island called Zaton Bay. If you have time I would stop off and explore this little area. There’s some water sports activities and a great Pizzeria! The many bays and beaches many the Elafiti Islands ideal, so why not check them out for your next water sports holiday in Croatia!!

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