Complete Guide to the Elafiti Islands in Croatia
Elafiti islands or Elahpiti are a small group of islands, situated north-west of the city of Dubrovnik. The entire size of this archipelago is around 30 square kilometers, spreading between Mljet island and Dubrovnik.
Usually this archipelago referrers to only three islands, three largest and only populated islands Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan but there are 10 more islands, Misnjak, Kosmec, Golec, Crkvina, Tajan, Olipa, Daksa, Sveti (St.) Andrija, Rude and Jakljan. A total of 13 islands.
The archipelago name comes from the Greek word Elafos, which means deer, therefore they are often called the deer islands, once heavily populated by those animals.
I heartily advise you to visit these islands while visiting city of Dubrovnik. During the top season a visit to Dubrovnik can be tiring and stressful and there is no better way to relax and recharge your batteries in pristine nature of these islands.
Getting to the Elafiti Islands
Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan are well connected by boat to Dubrovnik. Jadrolinija is the main company that keeps each way daily boat lines all with very convenient timetable for all planning to spend a day on on of these islands.
- Ship line 807 only for foot passengers runs four time a day from Dubrovnik to Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan in period from June 3rd to October 2nd.
- Car ferry Line 831 is the only car ferry between Dubrovnik and the islands. Two of three islands are only pedestrian, while the only island is Sipan where you can arrive by your car. You can take your bike one each of the islands.
- Another company G&V Line with catamaran Nona Anna keeps high-speed line No. 9807 from Dubrovnik – Luka Sipanska (Sipan) – Sobra (Mljet) – Polace (Mljet) – Korcula – Ubli (Lastovo). This line is only valid from 01.07.2016 until 04.09.2018.
- Keep in mind that this line connect on Sipan island, while to visit Lopud or Kolocep you’ll need a Jadrolinija ferry (see above).
Kolocep is the first in a series of three big Elafiti islands. It is only seven nautical miles from Dubrovnik. It is also the smallest of three islands, only 2.35 square kilometers with only 200 residents.
It has been a part of the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) since the 11th century. Its Slavic name was Kalamata, the name that derives from the Peloponnesian city of Kalamata, which is located in the Greek province of Messenia.
There are two villages on the island, Donje Celo and Gornje Celo, both nested in beautiful coves. Island is car free with 3 km promenade between two villages.
Kolocep offers two main sandy beaches – Dun Djivan and Donje Celo beach.
What to visit? The parish church, the Assumption of Mary (13th century) is located in Donje Celo. The church of St. Anthony (15 century), lies on the way towards Gornje Celo. The per-Romanesque church of St. Anthony of Padova (12 century), is worth visiting in Gornje Celo.
Lopud by its size, is the second island of the Elafiti islands, and it is located 7 nautical miles northeast from Dubrovnik, between Kolocep and Sipan islands.
The island can be reached by a boat from the Dubrovnik’s harbor Gruz in the morning during high season (June to August). Off season ferries operate only in the afternoon. Lopud is a car free island.
This island is the most developed tourist island, called sometimes the Island in the Middle. From the northeast side of the island the coast is very steep and inaccessible but along its western coast, visitors can enjoy beautiful sandy beaches.
In the wide horse shoe bay of Sunj, there is a 800 meters long sandy beach, accessible from Lopud village by a beautiful promenade which leads to the beach. Above the beach there is the 4 stars hotel Lafodia Sea Resort.
This beach is for those who prefer long sandy beaches. First half of the beach is for textile sunbathers and second part is for naturists. But there are some mixed people among the dressed ones, and vice versa. It is probably one of the best sand beaches on Elafiti islands.
It’s the biggest among Elafiti islands and the richest in the group of islands, called the island of sailors and rich Dubrovnik’s nobility.
It has an area of 16,5 square kilometers, with the the highest point of 243 meters. The fertile valley of Sipan field extends from the main settlements of Sipanska Luka in the west to the bay and harbor of Sudjuradj in the east. About Sipan island from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia!
Sipan island has been inhabited since ancient times due to its location, well indented coastline and fertile land. It is a real botanical garden. Among the plants which man has cultivated for centuries the most common are olives, grapes, figs and carob trees, pomegranates, almonds, rowan. There are also real forests of majestic pines, cypresses and palm trees.
As the biggest of three Elafiti islands, Sipan has the advantage to be connected with catamaran (only foot passengers) from Gruz, Dubrovnik harbor to Sipanska Luka village by catamaran Nona Ana. This service connects also the island of Mljet and in summer (July & August), it also continues on to island of Korcula.
Where to stay on the Elafiti Islands
This group of islands in the vicinity to Dubrovnik, can be seriously considered as an ideal place for tranquil holidays, without having to give up your visit to Dubrovnik at any time.
These small islands have only a handful of accommodation options being relatively untouched by tourism (compared to other coastal resorts and islands) but considered a real hidden paradise.
If you choose private accommodation, you will for sure pay less than in Dubrovnik (15-25 %).