Croatia is home to more than one thousand islands scattered along the country’s sprawling coastline. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the Elaphiti Islands in southern Croatia. The Elaphiti Islands are thirteen islands northwest of Dubrovnik, easily accessible by ferry from the city. They are composed of small traditional villages, nature reserves, beaches, and hiking trails, offering many activities for both locals and tourists.
I visited the islands of Koločep, Lopud, and Lokrum. Of Koločep and Lopud, Koločep is the closer of the two islands to Dubrovnik. I only stayed on Koločep for an hour, and was unable to fully explore. Based on first impressions, Koločep has a few beaches (with sand, a rarity in Croatia) and beautiful scenery. While I enjoyed Koločep, I wouldn’t spend more than a day at there. It’s a good stop for beach-lovers (beware of the sea urchins), but there aren’t too many activities away from the coastline.
The next island I visited was Lopud, one of the most popular Elaphiti Islands. The beaches on Lopud aren’t as secluded and picturesque as Koločep, but there are more opportunities for shopping and eating out. Golf cart taxis are the easiest (and cheapest) way to travel across the island for 3 euros. Lopud is easy to spend a day or two exploring.
Sunj Beach was one of the best beaches I’ve visited while in Croatia. It’s relatively shallow, which makes it super easy to cool off and swim when the sand (yes, it even has sand!) gets too hot. Lopud also has some cool shops, like the one below with the hand-painted anti-Trump shirt.
It’s debated whether Lockrum should be considered an Elaphiti Island, but it’s a 10-minutes ferry ride from Dubrovnik’s Old City, and therefore just as easy to visit as any of the other islands. Lokrum is famous for its appearances in the HBO show “Game of Thrones” and eerie history.
According to legend, the monks living on the island were forced to leave during the 15th century after the island was sold. For their last night on Lokrum, they gathered in their hoods and walked around the perimeter of the island three times, each holding an upside-down candle. They cursed Lokrum and anyone who inhabits it. Visitors are warned not to remove anything from the island (rocks, feathers, souvenirs), and are required to leave by the final ferry at 6PM. You are not allowed to stay overnight on the island, and volunteer firefighters will call any remaining guests an expensive taxi if they are found after the final ferry leaves.
Despite this strange past, Lokrum was my favorite island to visit. It hosts a beautiful garden, two museums, and a fort. There are also hundreds of free-range rabbits and peacocks roaming the island, which you can hand-feed bread and carrots. Lokrum is the perfect island to visit for anyone who loves swimming, scuba diving (through Blue Planet in Dubrovnik), and exploring. There are also a few food stands and restaurants on the island, although it’s way cheaper to pack your own lunch from Dubrovnik.
Places we've gone, things we've seen, stories worth telling