Croatia, Europe, Travel
Comments 21

A tour of the Elaphiti islands from Dubrovnik

The Elaphiti islands, or Elaphites, are several islands stretching out just northwest of Dubrovnik. The three main ones are Koločep, Šipan and Lopud, but there are many smaller ones as well. They are accessible by boat, and there are many tours that start in Dubrovnik and take you around them.

If you have some time to spare while in Dubrovnik and you already checked out Lokrum, the Elaphiti islands are definitely something you will not want to miss, whether you want to see just one island or check out many different ones. During our 3-day trip to Dubrovnik, we dedicated a whole day to a boat tour that took us to the main islands, and it was one of the best parts of our stay!

Our tour from Dubrovnik:

A view from the cliffs of Koločep

For our day of island-hopping, we chose a tour that would take us from Dubrovnik to the three main islands, dropping us off on each island to wander about freely and then come back to the boat. A lunch was also provided on board and I can safely say that the fish that I ate there was one of the best I’ve ever had!

So, on a beautiful morning, we hopped on the Regina Maris and started our trip. Our first stop was the beautiful island of Koločep, that we could discover for one hour and a half, then came Šipan, where we only had 45 minutes to have a quick dip in the sea, and we finished off with Lopud with a full three hours to wander about as we pleased.

First stop: Koločep

The turquoise water of Koločep , see also this post’s featured image

Koločep is the closest Elaphite island to Dubrovnik and also the smallest one on the tour, as it only has two small towns and absolutely no car! It is surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches and there are also many hiking trails that will take you from one part of the island to another through fragrant pine forests and breath-taking views of the cliffs. It is also possible to discover the island from the sea thanks to the many diving and snorkelling possibilities, which will also allow you to explore the fantastic Blue Cave.

I think Koločep was one of my favourite islands because we started off by following a hiking trail that lead us to stunning cliffs that overlooked the turquoise water. It is probably one of the best viewpoints that I have ever seen and we were only surrounded by the sound of cicadas and the scent of pine trees and salty water. Afterwards, we went back near the harbour and stopped to swim a bit in crystal-clear water to cool off from the hike.

Second stop: Šipan

An intimate little cove in Šipan, surrounded by fragrant pine trees and the sound of waves

After a fantastic meal on board, we headed towards the biggest of these Islands: Šipan. Sadly, we only had 45 minutes of free time to enjoy this other small portion of heaven. When we got off the boat, we stopped for an ice cream near the harbour and started walking around the seafront. We had the possibility to go up a tiny hill for some wine or olive oil tasting and also to visit a 16th-century church, but we decided we would enjoy the sea instead.

We found a beautiful nook surrounded by pine trees where we could sit on rocks in front of the water, but the descent to said water was harder than we thought, as we only had flip-flops and the rocks were a bit sharp, so we just enjoyed the peace and quiet of that place, slowly making our way back to the harbour when the time came.

Third stop: Lopud

A view from Lopud’s waterfront, featuring the monastery in the back

Located between Šipan and Koločep, Lopud is the most developed of the Elaphiti islands, despite its small size and 200 inhabitants. It used to be a Roman settlement and then followed Dubrovnik’s rich history, so it also has many historical sights to visit. However, Lopud is mostly known for its sandy beaches, and particularly for the bay of Šunj with its crystal-clear and turquoise water, that is located on the other side of the island, a 25-minute hike away from the harbour.

When you arrive in Lopud, you can see a beautiful monastery overlooking the sea, and that is where we started our 3-hour stop, walking up to the monastery then swimming right in front of it. It was beautiful and very peaceful, as many tourists didn’t stop there. After that, we decided to check out the famous “golden sand” of Šunj beach and started the hike towards there, which proved to be quite difficult in the scorching sun and while wearing flip flops.

The beautiful though quite busy Šunj beach

Once we reached the beach, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed: yes, the water was this beautiful turquoise colour, but the beach was quite crowded compared to all the other places that we saw before. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of sandy beaches… but well, it was still a gorgeous place!

When we got closer to departure time, we went back to the harbour, slowly walking past all the cute shops and restaurants on the seafront, then grabbed a nice ice cream and hopped back on the boat to go back to the mainland. We came back to Dubrovnik in the late afternoon, tired but happy from this refreshing tour where we felt like we were on a completely different world for a day.

Island-hopping through the Elaphiti islands truly is a unique way to spend a wonderful day around Dubrovnik, if you have some extra time on the area or if you want to discover another side of Croatia!

Other posts about Croatia:

3 days in Dubrovnik: an itinerary
The Dubrovnik City Walls
Things to do on Lokrum island near Dubrovnik
This entry was posted in: Croatia, Europe, Travel


Hey, I'm Juliette! I'm starting this blog to keep a record of and share my adventures. I love everything sweet, sunny days, fluffy kittens and people who smile. When I don't work I like to discover new places and try to learn languages. I hope you will find something that you like in here! ☼


  1. That wateeeeeeeeer everywhere – so pretty and inviting. 😍 You’re making me want to travel soon. Although why would they only give 45mins to explore Sipan? I’d have loved to do both of the options available – the wine tasting and the Church!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, the water was unlike anything I had ever seen before: at the same time perfectly crystal-clear and this deep blue and green shade! I agree for Sipan, I think they only allowed 45 minutes because it is too big so if we had more time people would have gone too far away? It is really a shame, but there are also boats that only go there from Dubrovnik! 😊


  2. I didn’t go island hopping in Dubrovnik, but I did in Split. It definitely pays to fork over some extra cash to see more of Croatia than from just the mainland, as it’s essentially a nation full of islands to explore and enjoy the laid-back vibes. Glad you had the opportunity to do so!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree, and I am sure the tour from Split was as beautiful as this one! Croatia is really a stunning country in all its forms, and the chilled vibe of the islands is perfect to wind down and relax! Thanks for reading 😊


  3. I could easily do with a day or two at such a beautiful and sunny destination – we are already halfway through the year and there’s still no sign of summer. Island Hopping from Dubrovnik sounds like a great idea – especially if there are good direct ferry connections – as it would be a fantastic way to explore the beautiful islands of the Dubrovnik archipelago and experience the real Mediterranean island life. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, one day was definitely a short time to properly enjoy these islands, but getting a glimpse of them is still better than nothing! I could spend days there with a nice book and only the soft sound of waves in the background! The Mediterranean island life sure sounds like a dream! Thanks for dropping by 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • They are really worth a visit! I loved island-hopping because we got to see many islands, but going to just one from Dubrovnik is also possible!


  4. I like how you often seek out places with a lot of water on the premises. Island-hopping does sound a lot of fun with what you got to experience! This does make me wonder: would you enjoy walking around deserts/tropical environments or is it something you’d rather stay away from? 😛 Great post, Juliette!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never noticed this actually, but I do enjoy water and think that it always makes a place nicer – maybe that’s because of my natal chart ahah! I think I’ll enjoy tropical places for sure, but deserts, not so much I think 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Those are some seriously beautiful islands! And this is coming from a person who lives in a tropical country with so many idyllic islands peppered with pretty beaches and nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These islands are stunning for sure but I just can’t imagine how dreamy they actually are in your country too! I guess the surrounding nature is very different too!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s