The Elaphiti Islands

Today we booked a boat to take us all day around the Elaphiti Islands.  The Elaphiti Islands or the Elaphitesis a small archipelago consisting of several islands stretching northwest of Dubrovnik, in the Adriatic sea.

Our original plan was to book a boat with more people, but because we had to take a ferry to Split that evening, we had to book a private boat! Not a bad deal, for about $50 per person we had unlimited wine, a meal, and a captain to follow our orders! aye aye captain!

After getting picked up by a van, who dropped us off in the middle of nowhere with the instructions of “wait for the pink boat!”. We didn’t have to wait a lot for our captain to arrive in the Pink Panther’s boat.

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Our boat was so luxurious and our captain’s name was Europe!!

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Our first stop was the island of Lopud – Second in size and best known for its sandy beaches, it is located between Šipan and Koločep islands.

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We got a couple of hours to spend here. There is really not much to do, so we just walked around the town until we reached the monastery at the tip of the island (it was closed though). This Franciscan monastery with a cloister, founded in 1458 was abandoned under the French occupation of 1808.

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The main settlement is the port of Lopud which has a number of cafes, restaurants and hotels, but inland there is little development–just luxurious vegetation.

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The name, ‘Elafiti’ or ‘Elaphitic islands’ was introduced by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century who named the islands after the Greek word ‘Elaphos’ which means ‘deer’… which we saw not even one.

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The island had two monasteries, 30 churches and a number of noble palaces. Like the rest of Dubrovnik, it was wrecked in the earthquake of 1667 and was never again able to attain its former glory. From the 18th to the early 20th centuries, the French, English and Austrians took turns commandeering the strategically located little island.

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We had some extra time to kill, so we swam for approximately 3 minutes because the water was freezing.

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The ships from the Elaphiti islands once formed part of the Dubrovnik navy and many residents rose to become Admirals and wealthy shipowners.

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We had the best view of Lopud once we left the island.

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After the first island we made a quick stop at one of the blue caves for a quick swim.

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The boat cannot really get that close so you have to swim a little bit. When you reach the cliff you need to swim underneath the rock to reach the cave.

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This is what you see when you are inside the cave but above the water. Once you sumberge, a whole new perspective comes to life.

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When you are underwater, the reflection of the sun into the cave makes everything blue!!  It was incredible having our own private cave to swim in!

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When we got back into the boat Europe cooked us an absolutely delicious meal including fresh fish and cabbage salad.  It was probably one of the more delicious meals we have had and it was on a boat!

The second island was Koločep – It is the closest island to Dubrovnik, located 5 kilometres from the Dubrovnik harbour at Gruž. It used to be an important shipbuilding site in the Republic of Ragusa period.

It is one of the most indented and the southernmost permanently inhabited Croatian island with a population of 294 inhabitants. It has seven pre-Romanesque churches dating back to the times of the Croatian kings, from the 9th to the 11th century.

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Most of the island is dense forest interspersed with vineyards, olive groves and citruses.

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We decided to hike to the top of the island to see the view. It looked exactly like the other islands, very beautiful too.

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No cars are allowed on the island but a network of paths connect the villages with the coast. The walled lane that links the two settlements is bordered by remains of ancient chapels.

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Šipan was our last stop of the day! The farthest and largest island in terms of area (15.8 km2) and population of 436 inhabitants. This island, fully habitated by great-grandparents was extremely boring. We were the youngest in the island by at least a 70 year difference. During the 15th century it was a chic summer getaway for the very best Dubrovnik families, many of whom built palaces on the island.

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Sipan is famous for its wine and for its delightfully laid-back ambiance. After walking for a few minutes, we found nothing to see but to enjoy the beautiful pristine water.

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Sarah was having a blast!

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Part of the deal with the private boat, was that the captain was going to drop of us at the port where we were going to take our next ferry. We felt super VIP as the guy parked right at the ferry line.  But we were sad to leave our private boat, we truly recommend what we did today.  It was so fun and a great deal!  Sarah said how this was one of the days of the entire trip that stood out as extra special.

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We boarded the nice ferry. This is by far the best way to get to Split from Dubrovnik.

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Here we go! bye bye Dubrovnik!

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