Sunday, 24 April 2016

BACKPACKING EUROPE: Elaphite Islands, Croatia

Kolocep, Elaphite Islands

Tuesday 5th May, 2015

The boat left Dubrovnik at 10:30am. It was a perfect day to sail across the wonderful waters of the Adriatic Sea and visit the unspoilt, and evergreen wonders of the Elaphite Islands (a group of islands north of Dubrovnik). As the boat drifted alongside the city walls, Dubrovnik looked even more impressive from the outside. Jack and I were visiting three different islands today, Kolocep, Sipan and Lopud and I was looking forward to ticking the Elafiti's off my list. Ideally, I would have liked to have stayed overnight on each island but as Jack and I had spent almost two weeks in Croatia, it was time to move on. The excursion (purchased in Dubrovnik) was totally worth blowing our daily budget for, we paid 230 Kuna (roughly 30 Euros) each for a trip to three islands, which also included a meal and unlimited drinks (including alcohol).

It took just over half an hour to reach the first island, Kolocep. As the boat pulled up to the harbour, the shallowed water below was crystal clear and the view in front was magnificent. My eyes tried to focus through the blur of greens and blues, and the vegetation covered cliff tops in the distance. We were only given one hour to explore before the boat set off for the next island so off I went to embrace the Croatian lifestyle and it's hidden charm. I wandered around the tiny village and through the harmonious fields, enjoying the flora and fauna and the Mediterranean architecture.

The next island we visited was Sipan, which took just over and hour from Kolocep. We were given a short time to explore again so Jack and I swiftly departed the boat and ventured off on our separate ways.

Although they shared the similar characteristics, Sipan was a little different to Kolocep, it felt livelier and more inhabited. I enjoyed roaming along the laid-back fishing ports and rocky coastline. The village itself seemed quiet but enchanting. Crumbling houses and ancient ruins decorated this small town, showing off Sipan's originality.

After an hour or so of exploring, Jack and I met back up to have lunch on the boat. I had fresh sea bass, a huge mixed salad and lots of bread, which was delicious. Jack had same but with chicken instead of fish, which was also just as tasty. After the group had finished eating the boat set off again for the final island of the day, Lopud.

Lopud was just as beautiful as Kolocep and Sipan. It had white sandy beaches, sparkling turquoise waters and even more vegetation. Although, Lopud felt more like a tourist spot compared to the other two islands, it has the smallest population. This natural paradise was also car-free, which made it even more pleasurable. I really enjoyed walking along the seafront, with the Adriatic on my left and an abundance of green and archaic beauty in front.

After a dip in the sea and a little bit of sunbathing, Jack and I took a short walk around the village. It was pretty hot though so we ended up grabbing a beer on the beachfront. We only had a couple of hours to explore Lopud and there was quite a lot to see so we didn't venture off too far ahead, incase we missed the boat going back.

The journey back to Dubrovnik was tranquil and pleasant. As I sipped on my white wine with my bare feet dangling out of the boat, I couldn't help but feel hypnotised by the horizon and the majestic sun, which was slowly beginning to set. Before I knew it, it was 7:00pm and we were back in Dubrovnik.

If you visit Dubrovnik, I really recommend a boat trip to the Elaphite Islands. It's a good price, you get enough time to explore (without the worry of finding accommodation) and it's great a chance to island hop across the hidden jewels of Croatia. Don't miss it!

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