The Elaphites islands in Croatia

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General presentationGeneral information
Chart of the Élaphites islands. Click to enlarge the image.The archipelago of the islands Élaphites (Elafitski Otoci) counts thirteen islands: Daksa, Koločep, Sveti Andrija, Lopud, Ruda, Šipan, Mišnjak, Jakljan, Kosmeč, Goleč, Crkvine, Tajan and Olipa.  The thirteen islands, equipped with a luxuriant vegetation, conceal almost all of the architectural wealths.

Only three of these islands are inhabited, the islands of Koločep, Lopud and Šipan. Their small size lends itself to the excursions at the day (but one finds there some hotels and rooms of host).

Lopud, Šipan and Ruda. Click to enlarge the image.Lopud, Šipan and Ruda. Click to enlarge the image.
EtymologyEtymology
Élaphites comes from the Greek elaphos, “stag”, because of a large number of stags which populated these islands. It is the Pline author the Old one who, the first, indicated these islands under this name in his work Naturalis Historia.

SituationSituation

The Élaphites islands are in the immediate North-West of the town of Dubrovnik in Dalmatia of the south.µ

VisitsVisits

The Island of Daksa (Otok Daksa)
Island of Daksa. Click to enlarge the image.Daksa smallest of all the Élaphites islands, is located at the exit of the port of Gruž, the modern port of Dubrovnik. Sit at the 13th century of the Franciscan monastery Holy-Sabine, which was abandoned at the time of the conquest by the troops of Napoleon in 1808.

The island became later infamous like the place of the “massacre of Daksa”, in which the communist partisans assassinated 48 eminent citizens of Dubrovnik in October 1944.

The Island of Koločep (Otok Koločep)
The island of Koločep (to pronounce “kolotchep”) is closest - to 5 km hardly of Dubrovnik - and smallest to the Élaphites islands (less than 4 km length for 2.6 km²), rich person of some small beaches bordered of pines, of Romance vaults.
Koločep and Lopud seen since the botanical garden of Trsteno. Click to enlarge the image.Kolocep seen of the sky. Click to enlarge the image.Kolocep seen of the sky. Click to enlarge the image.
The island is covered with a luxuriant subtropical and furrowed vegetation paths favourable with the walk on foot.
Island of Koločep. Click to enlarge the image.Island of Koločep. Click to enlarge the image.Island of Koločep. Click to enlarge the image.
Koločep cuts out mainly in two modest distinct villages: Donje Čelo in north and Gornje Čelo in the south.

The northern part of the island, where the ferry of Dubrovnik arrives, offer of beautiful sand beaches. It is here also that one finds the only hotel of the area and a restoring good.

The southern part of Koločep is rich of a forest park of 12 hectares, primarily made up of pines and olive-trees, as well as charming wild splits. In Gornje Celo, one can still see the ruins of a fortress built after the Turkish attack of 1571.
Coast of Koločep. Click to enlarge the image.Coast of Koločep. Click to enlarge the image.Coast of Koločep. Click to enlarge the image.
Chapel Saint-Anthony de Padoue. Click to enlarge the image.Calaphodia of its Greek name, Koločep, also named Kalamota (of Italian Calamotta), preserves ancient vestiges and counts three vaults préromanes worthy of interest, Saint-Antoine-of-Padoue, Saint Nicholas and Holy Trinity, as well as a small church later but full with charm, Saint-Antoine-of-Desert.
Access by boat at the beginning of Dubrovnik. Duration of the crossing: 25 min. regular Connections.
Port of Koločep. Click to enlarge the image.Boat of excursion at the beginning of Koločep. Click to enlarge the image.
The Island of Lopud (Otok Lopud)
Plan of Lopud. Click to enlarge the image.The island of the medium, Lopud (to pronounce “lopoude”), Lafota or Mezzo (the island of the medium) in Italian, tourist and is visited than the two other inhabited islands of the archipelago, tradition inherited the great time of the republic of Raguse, when the noble ones had palaces there and that the trading vessels wet there. Vaster (more than 4 km length on less than 3 km broad) that its neighbor Koločep, Lopud is to some 12 km of Dubrovnik.
Lopud seen of the sky. Click to enlarge the image.Lopud seen since the botanical garden of Trsteno. Click to enlarge the image.Lopud. Click to enlarge the image.
Lopud was with the Middle Ages the seat of the palace of Summer of the Vice-chancellors of Dubrovnik; the palace is badly preserved, but what it of remainder lets imagine the ostentation of the residence. The island belonged to the Republic of the city-State since the 11th century and had, lasting of the centuries, the same maritime tradition. It still counts about ten medieval churches, whose Saint Mary church of the 15th century, and shelters the ruins of several villages of the 9th century.
Lopud. Click to enlarge the image.Lopud. Click to enlarge the image.Lopud. Click to enlarge the image.
Lopud preserves its traditional village and a pretty Dominican monastery (15th century); recently restored by German students, the church and the Saint Nicholas monastery are now splendid buildings, whereas they were seriously damaged a few years ago.
Its paths, its valleys covered with tropical and Mediterranean vegetation, its beaches, but also its village which knew to preserve all its traditions and its culture, are as many assets for an island which is only at a few minutes of Dubrovnik in ferry. The island has two bays:
  • one, on the north-western coast, facing the Dalmatian coast and including the village of Lopud, homonymous chief town of the island, shelters the only port of the island;
  • the other being reserved to the naturists.
Lopud. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).Lopud. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).
Lopud has two sand beaches end, of which most known is the beach of Šunj, considered like one of most beautiful of the Adriatic.

The access to Lopud is done by boat since the wearing of Dubrovnik. Duration of crossing 50 min. Regular connections.

Lopud. Click to enlarge the image.Port lopud. Click to enlarge the image.
The Small island of Ruda (Otočić Ruda)
Island of Ruda seen of the sky. Click to enlarge the image.Island of Ruda. Click to enlarge the image.Ruda seen since lopud. Click to enlarge the image.
Ruda seen since Šipan. Click to enlarge the image.
The Island of Šipan (Otok Šipan)
Šipan (to pronounce “chipane”), Italian Giuppana, is, of the three inhabited Élaphites islands, most distant from the Dubrovnik, and also vastest of the archipelago (it extends on 16.5 km² with 9 km from length and 2.5 km broad), most broken and quietest. But like each one of its neighbors, it has her own charm.

If the vestiges of old collapsing palaces recall that Šipan was also appreciated Ragusains rich person, it is divided today between two peaceful villages: Suđurađ and Šipanska Luka.

Plan of Šipan. Click to enlarge the image.Šipan seen of the continent. Click to enlarge the image.Island of Šipan seen of the sky. Click to enlarge the image.
Suđurađ, in south-east, is the first port where stopover the ferry makes, kept by the gray stone tower of an old palace (15th century).

Suđurađ, with its many residences patricians (alas often in sorry state), looked like Dubrovnik in miniature. One counts there to 40 residences of summer built between 16th and the 18th century by the families patricians of Dubrovnik, among which Skočibuha-Stjepović. To visit (when that is possible): a castle of the 16th entirely renovated century which belongs to a private owner.

Sudurad, sipan. Click to enlarge the image.Suđurađ. Click to enlarge the image.Suđurađ. Click to enlarge the image.
Sudurad, sipan. Click to enlarge the image.Turn with Suđurađ. Click to enlarge the image.
In 7 km of Suđurađ, the hamlet of Šipanska Luka, one of the two small ports of the island, fact appears of small capital (the ferry also goes there). Šipanska Luka is nested at the bottom of a bay vis-a-vis the Harpoti channel. At the time Roman, he was baptized Porta Pompeiana the fleet of Pumped had escaped with that of César to broad of bay. The Palace of the Vice-chancellor and the Saint Stephen church are visited there.
Between the two villages, the road crosses a thick maquis, intersected with vines and many orchards with olive-trees. Many paths make it possible to survey the island and to join points of bathe (rocks and small pebble beaches).
The Island Saint-Andrew (Sveti Andrija)
Uninhabited rock island having a rich fauna, the Saint-Andrew island, Donzella in Italian, has the ornithological statute of reserve.

The island has a headlight built in 1873 under monarchy Austro-Hungarian, with the site of an old monastery Benedictine given up in 1799. About the middle of the 16th century, the monk Benedictine and poet Mavro Vetranović (1482-1576) there lived as a hermit.

Saint-Andrew was also, at the beginning of the 15th century, a center of forty for the victims the plague.

History and traditionsHistory, literature, arts, traditions, legends, religions, myths, symbols…

HistoryHistory
Old chart of the Élaphites islands. Click to enlarge the image.Occupied as of prehistory, the Élaphites Islands pass to Xe century under the supervision of the republic of Raguse.

InformationPractical information

General information
Boat of excursion. Click to enlarge the image.Boat of excursion. Click to enlarge the image.Boat of excursion Tirena. Click to enlarge the image.
New wearing of Dubrovnik, many boats propose an excursion in the Élaphites Islands: Koločep, Šipan and Lopud.

Ship of the Jadrolinija company at the beginning of the port of Gruž for Koločep (30 min), Lopud (50 min) and Šipan (65 min). 4 departures per day; Sunday and bank holidays: 2 departures per day, 1st departure at 9:30 Sunday, 10:00 in week. To envisage the day for each visited island.

The island of Šipan is served once per day by the ferry towards Mljet (an additional ferry Wednesday). The two other islands are prohibited with the cars.

Another company, International Nova, propose also a departure starting from the port of Gruž: 6 departures per day, 1st departure with 7:30 but its tariffs are raised and the tickets can be bought only on the port of the old city.

Boat of excursion. Click to enlarge the image.Boat of excursion. Click to enlarge the image.
Boat of excursion. Click to enlarge the image.

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