A Short Guide to the Elaphiti Islands

The Elafiti Islands comprise several islands, of which Kolocep (also known as Kalamota), Lopud, and Sipan are notably inhabited. Esteemed for their tranquil ambiance, these islands serve as a quintessential day trip destination, offering a serene reprieve from Dubrovnik’s lively atmosphere. 

Despite their proximity, these islands transport visitors to another world, characterized by a distinctly mellow vibe, minimal vacation rentals, and almost no vehicles besides the boats bobbing in the harbor. The islands remain predominantly tranquil year-round, save for the lively presence of day-trippers from Dubrovnik, seeking revitalization in the islands’ natural beauty.

The islands’ lush greenery set against the backdrop of the Adriatic’s crystal-clear waters and splendid beaches epitomizes the idyllic Croatian seascape. Such scenic beauty, coupled with the islands’ preserved nature, marks the Elaphiti Islands as a veritable paradise, awaiting the footprints of those eager to explore its untouched splendor.

For visitors yearning for a retreat from the hustle and bustle, the totally car-free islands of Lopud and Kolocep present an ideal sanctuary. Whether opting for a focused visit to a single island or a comprehensive tour capturing the essence of all three, the Elafiti Islands offer a versatile getaway, promising an escape into tranquillity that’s merely a stone’s throw from Dubrovnik.

We hope the following guide provides you with inspiration and plenty of useful tips. Please browse our Private Dubrovnik Boat Tours, including day and half-day trips to the Elaphiti Islands, before you go.  

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Overview of the Elaphiti Islands

Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan are the only inhabited islands in the Elaphiti archipelago and serve as the main destinations for tourists making the visit. These islands offer a refreshing departure from the crowds of the mainland. 


Often referred to as Kalamota by the locals, Kolocep is the closest island of the Elaphiti to Dubrovnik. It’s a haven for those seeking peace, with lush forests and inviting beaches. The island has no cars, enhancing its quiet idyll. Highlights include exploring its captivating caves and relaxing at its scenic beaches.

We visit Kolocep as part of our Half-Day Trip to the Elaphiti Islands from Dubrovnik, which includes a visit to the island’s famous Blue Cave, a natural wonder that has to be seen to be believed. 


Lopud is famed for Sunj Beach, one of the few sandy beaches in the region, making it perfect for families. The island is also car-free, allowing for leisurely walks along its paths. Wander peacefully around the island and get to know its fascinating history; its ancient churches and grand medieval Franciscan Monastery provide perfect photo opportunities.

If you love wine and fresh local produce, we recommend our Wine Tour to Elaphiti Islands from Dubrovnik, which features a delightful stop on Lopud. 


The largest of the three main islands, Sipan offers a glimpse into the traditional island lifestyle, with its historic sites, olive groves, and vineyards. It’s less touristy compared to its counterparts, providing a truly authentic experience of the old-fashioned nature of island living.

Sipan is the final destination on our popular All Day Tour of the Elaphiti Islands.

How To Get To The Elaphiti Islands

Reaching the Elaphiti Islands is straightforward. Guest primarily travel from Dubrovnik, which serves as the gateway to these idyllic spots.

By Ferry: Regular ferry services connect Dubrovnik to the islands, particularly focusing on Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan. These ferries are a reliable and scenic way to reach the islands, offering a glimpse of the Adriatic Sea’s beauty. Tickets can be purchased at the port in Dubrovnik.

By Organized Tour: For those who prefer a structured itinerary, numerous tour operators in Dubrovnik offer day trips to the Elaphiti Islands. These tours typically allow visitors to experience each island’s highlights, which can be done in a day. This option is perfect for travelers short on time or those looking for a hassle-free way to explore. As outlined above, at Rewind Drubronik, we have several Boat Tours from Dubrovnik that visit the islands, each one guaranteeing comfort and convenience. 

Private Boat Hire: For a more personalized experience, visitors can opt for a private boat hire. This choice allows for flexibility in exploring the islands at your own pace, visiting secluded spots, and enjoying the serene environment away from the crowd. While this option is more costly, it offers an unforgettable adventure tailored to your preferences.

With Rewind Dubrovnik, you can organize your own Custom Tour of the Elaphiti Islands, focusing on the highlights that appeal to you most, or you can book one of our Speedboat Transfers from Dubrovnik if you want to journey out to a particular island in style! 

Things to Do on the Elaphiti Islands

Visit the Kolocep Blue Cave on an Underwater Scooter

Exploring the Kolocep Blue Cave is an enchanting experience, where the dance of iridescent blue light upon the water’s surface creates an other-worldly effect. The cave, accessible solely by sea, unveils its magic most spectacularly when visited with the aid of an underwater scooter. 

This innovative approach not only adds a thrill to the adventure but also enables visitors to glide alongside fish, navigate through the cave’s intricate formations, and perhaps even encounter the elusive octopus among the Elaphiti Islands’ underwater wonders. 

This unique experience, part of our Elaphiti Islands Underwater Scooter Adventure, transforms the way one interacts with the marine environment, offering an intimate glimpse into the aquatic treasures hidden beneath the waves.

Sample Elaphiti Wine and Olive Oil

The Elaphiti Islands’ reputation for exquisite wine and olive oil is well-deserved, with local vineyards producing the robust red Plavac Mali and the fragrant white Posip. A visit here is incomplete without indulging in a wine tasting, where these flavors can be enjoyed in their full complexity. Sipan Island, in particular, boasts a remarkable density of olive trees relative to its population, a fact that local restaurants take pride in by using home-grown olive oil to enrich their dishes. If this sounds like your kind of adventure, consider our Wine Tour of the Elaphiti Islands

Explore Ancient and Contemporary Elaphiti Culture

The Elaphiti Islands are not only a haven of natural beauty but also a cradle of rich cultural heritage. From the thriving monasteries of medieval times to the vibrant contemporary art scene, these islands have plenty to offer visiting culture vultures. The Franciscan Monastery on Lopud, still home to a community of friars, invites visitors to explore its historic church, cloister, and old library, offering a moment for reflection. 

The cultural journey continues with the Lopud Summer Festival, where music, dance, film, and exhibitions showcase both traditional and contemporary arts.

Find out more about what you can do on the Elaphiti Islands by reading 10 Things to Do When Visiting the Elaphiti Archipelago

How Long Do You Need to Explore the Elaphiti Islands?

Deciding how much time to allocate for exploring the Elaphiti Islands depends largely on your interests and the depth of experience you desire. For a brief introduction to each of the main islands (Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan), a well-planned day trip can provide a snapshot of their unique features, especially if you opt for an organized tour. 

However, to truly soak in the tranquil atmosphere, engage deeply with the local culture, and explore the natural landscapes at a leisurely pace, consider spending two to three days.

If you’re drawn to the idea of immersing yourself in the slow island life, enjoying leisurely walks, and sampling the local cuisine without rushing from one place to another, extending your stay to a week would allow you to experience each island’s distinct character. This timeframe gives you the flexibility to relax on the beaches, partake in outdoor activities like kayaking or cycling, and perhaps even revisit your favorite spots.

Practical Information About Elaphiti Islands

Accommodation: The Elaphiti Islands offer a range of accommodation options, from private apartments and villas to the few boutique hotels located on Lopud and Kolocep. Booking in advance is advisable, especially during the peak season (July and August), to secure your preferred choice.

Dining: The islands are home to a variety of dining establishments, ranging from casual seaside cafes to more formal restaurants. Local cuisine, particularly seafood, is a highlight. Many restaurants pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients, including freshly caught fish and home-grown olive oil.

Transport on the Islands: Given the car-free nature of Lopud and Kolocep, getting around is primarily on foot, by bicycle, or via electric golf carts that some accommodations may offer. Sipan, being larger, does have roads and a more traditional transport system, though it’s still very much geared towards slow, leisurely exploration.

Best Time to Visit: The ideal time to visit the Elaphiti Islands is during the late spring (May and June) or early autumn (September and October). During these months, the weather is pleasantly warm, and the islands are less crowded than in the peak summer months, allowing you to enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. However, if you’re interested in experiencing the islands’ cultural events, summer is the prime season, with various festivals and performances taking place.
We hope you have enjoyed this short guide to the amazing Elaphiti Islands. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

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