Our day started very early and the relaxed coffee in the garden tasted a little special. A quick breakfast and we were ready to take off. Stephen called up soon and in a few minutes we were in our pick up car zipping towards Dubrovnik harbor.
I had finalized this tour even before our airline tickets and hotel bookings were done as island hopping has always been one of our favorites activities when on our sea side holidays. And today we were heading to Elaphiti Islands.
As we queued up to board our boat, there she was again. Joalene. We had met yesterday during another tour and had become good friends. An American solo tourist who plans holidays mostly the previous night, had missed a flight before finally reaching here, someone who loves writing about her trips, was always smiling, happy and excited when she spoke, we found her very interesting and a pleasure to talk to. Someone with whom you could talk, listen, listen and listen 😁
We rushed towards the upper deck, the three of us. And soon Derk, sporting a smile joined us on our table. From Germany, he loves alternating between work and his solo holidays. It was great fun making new friends, getting to learn more about each other’s countries, taking travel tips and discussing a bit of culture and public life.
The Elaphiti Islands or the Elaphites is a small archipelago consisting of several islands stretching northwest of Dubrovnik, in the Adriatic sea. Only the three main islands are permanently inhabited, each of which supports a modest tourist industry. They are connected with the mainland via daily ferry lines. The name comes from the Ancient Greek word “elaphos” for deer, which used to inhabit the islands in large numbers. The Elaphites have a total land area of around thirty square kilometers and a population of close to thousand inhabitants. The islands are covered with evergreen vegetation and attract large numbers of tourists during the summers due to their beaches and pristine views. We were on our way. A small group with more than enough space in the boat for everyone to move around comfortably.
Andrew, our captain soon arrived to brief us on the plans for the day, announce that the drinks counter with wine and soft drinks was now open and to welcome all of us with a traditional drink, Rakia. Rakia or Rakija as it is known in Croatia is a fruit brandy popular in the Balkans. The alcohol content varies between 40%-50% ABV and it’s known by different names in different countries. It is normally white in color and is served in 30 ml or 50 ml glasses. Our welcome drink Rakija had arrived and it soon vanished in a gulp. As we relish the after effects, come let’s enjoy the beautiful views.
The clouds, the sky and the sun were playing hide and seek with also a little bit of drizzle in between. The cool breeze was so refreshing as we soon arrived at the first island Kolocep, welcoming us with a blue sky and brilliant sunshine.
It is the closest island to Dubrovnik located five kilometers from the Dubrovnik harbor at Gruz and is one of the most indented and permanently inhabited Croatian island with a population of close to three hundred inhabitants. During the times of the Republic of Ragusa, Kolocep was an important shipbuilding site. Two members of Christopher Columbus crew on Santa Maria were sailors from this island. Archaeological remains of ancient European conquerors have also been found on the island from the ancient times of Greece and Rome to the Napoleon days. It has seven pre-Roman churches dating back to the times of the Croatian kings from the ninth to the eleventh century. Now it’s time for us to venture out.
Many locals from Dubrovnik come swimming on the beach on Kolocep island because it is really one of the most beautiful beaches in Dubrovnik area. There are two settlements on the island, each in sandy bay – Gornje Celo & Donje Celo, which is connected by a walking trail three kilometer long. From one settlement to another it’s a twenty minutes walk and there are also dozen kilometers long forest paths. There are many hidden bays in this indented island and in one of them you can find the Blue Cave, in which you can enter only by swimming. It was time to move.
We are now at Sipan Island. The farthest and largest island in terms of area and with a population of close to five hundred inhabitants. Come let’s explore.
While the main port in Sipan is Sudurad, it is connected by road to Sipanska luka, a larger town about five kilometers away. In between is a verdant valley composed of olive, fig, vine, carob, almond, orange and citrus groves. Sipan is famous for its wine and for its delightfully laid-back ambiance. The island is also famed for its numerous palm tree species.
We were feeling hungry now after all the roaming around. Food options though are limited in Sudurad with a few taverns in and around the wharf serving coffee, cake, ice cream and simple meals. For a special lunch experience, you could take a small walk to the delightful “Best of What’s Around” restaurant. This traditional eating joint or Konoba is right on the water next to a tiny beach. The fish and seafood here are the freshest you’ll ever eat.
While you have your pick from the vast menu, we are heading back to our boat for our salad, fish and chicken lunch to be served on board. We’ll be back with you soon after lunch, to take you to yet another beautiful island.
Dubrovnik. Come over and experience one of your most exquisite holidays ever, in this fascinating destination 🏖️