• Photo: OPIS Zagreb / Shutterstock


Sometimes you need a break from the city crowds, and the lush, laid-back Elafiti Islands are happy to provide a retreat. Historically, the 13 tiny islets have always been under Dubrovnik's control; the local aristocracy kept summer villas here (which are now scattered in various states of ruin around the islands). Today only the three larger ones—Kolo?ep, Lopud, and Šipan—are inhabited, with a total population of around 1,000.

Lopud is best equipped to deal with visitors, with one main settlement made up of old stone houses built around a sheltered bay, plus a handful of shops and restaurants. The main sights are a 15th-century Franciscan monastery which has been converted into a luxury villa, the ruins of 30 chapels built during the golden age of the Republic, the 16th-century Sutvrac Fortress located on the highest point of the island, and family-friendly Šunj, one of Croatia's rare sandy beaches. Lopud is a wonderful place for hiking along the herb-scented paths that crisscross the island.

Šipan is the largest of the three islands and the only one with cars, although the best way to experience it is to ride a bicycle along the 5 km (3 mile) long road between the two main settlements (Su?ura? and Šipanska Luka), enjoying the views of the olive groves and vineyards along the way. If it's a slower pace of life you're after, Šipan is most likely to be your favorite.

Read More


Find a Hotel


Fodor's Essential Croatia: with Montenegro & Slovenia

View Details

Plan Your Next Trip