If all you want this summer is to get away from it all then you could do worse than a holiday on the Elafiti Islands, just off the coast of southern Croatia. These islands offer great opportunities for hiking, lovely beaches, superb seafood, fantastic snorkelling and beautiful sunsets, yet visitor numbers remain reasonably low (though day trips are increasingly popular due to their proximity to Dubrovnik) and most of the islands are uninhabited.
Watersports on offer include kayaking, paddlebording, snorkelling and sailing, making this archipelago a fantastic destination for a watersports holiday or a multi-activity break.
The accommodation on the islands is fairly low key, with a smattering of guest houses and bed & breakfasts, and only one of the three inhabited islands (Šipan) allows cars.
This island is the largest in size and is the farthest from Dubrovnik. It has a population of around 430 inhabitants. With its quiet bays, beaches, cypress trees, groves of orange and lemon trees it is a true haven from city life. The island is full of old churches and former summer residences of the landowners, dispersed throughout the forested slopes. Thanks to its long history interwoven with many stories and legends, is one of the pearls of the Dubrovnik region.
The main port on Sipan is Sudurad, 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 get around easily by bike, which 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 gothic Rector's Palace and ruins of archbishop's palaces.
When you arrive in to the port you’ll be welcomed by little stalls selling beers on the beach. There are many small pebble beaches with taverns where the seafood is the best you’ll eat!
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 (highly recommended). You can make the 20 minute walk yourself, or take a golf cart (again, recommended), it’s not overly expensive, and a 20 minute walk can become seriously demanding in 35 degree heat when you’re closed in with walls on each side…
The closest island to Dubrovnik, located just 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, and its beautiful beaches make it a popular day trip destination.
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 the 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).
This is one of the best locations for sea kayaking in the archipelago, and you may even sport some dolphins!
It’s a very quiet place to visit, but there’s a cracking ice-cream shop in the harbour.
You can travel to the Elaphiti Islands with ActivityBreaks.com, be it a short sailing holiday (a great short break on its own or can be part of a longer travel itinerary), a multi-activity holiday with plenty of watersports, or a walking holiday, we have you covered.
If you have any tips on what to do in the Elaphiti Islands or Dubrovnik then let us know in the comments below, otherwise come back next week to find out more under the radar destinations for 2018!