The Elaphiti islands are a precious treasure of the Dubrovnik cruising area. Once a favorite summer spot of the Dubrovnik upper class, the archipelago is only growing in popularity, with many locals escaping the city heat to the respite of the Elaphiti islands
Only the three largest islands are inhabited – Koločep, Lopud and Šipan. These three spots on the blue Adriatic have a lot in common, yet differ in many ways as well. On all three islands ports are located on the north-western side, with smaller coastal towns and villages south-east. All the islands are lush and green, dotted with summer palaces of the wealthy Dubrovnik folk, some of them centuries old.
Elaphiti Islands tour
Elaphiti islands cruise is breathtaking and all the hidden gems with important yachting suggestions are in this Elaphiti Islands Luxury Yacht Charter Guide. The Koločep channel, located between the Elaphiti islands and the mainland, isn’t exactly protected from the wind, but the waves are almost non-existent, as they all break well before reaching it – crashing against the shores of these astonishing islands. The Elaphiti islands are and have always been a peaceful haven of these waters.
Dubrovnik boat trip
The most visually stunning Croatian city, Dubrovnik, is a masterpiece that some believe rivaling the Mona Lisa. In the warmer half of the year, the city is an active beehive, buzzing with tourists and the only tourists that are truly able to completely capture the timeless beauty of this Adriatic pearl are those lucky enough to visit the city by boat.
Smaller yachts are mostly moored in the nearby ACI marina Komolac, in the Ombla which is the shortest river canyon in Europe, while larger yachts regularly visit the port of Gruž, which includes one of the most glamorous Croatian marinas – Marina Frapa Dubrovnik.
Cavtat: Starting point for luxury yachts
After leaving Dubrovnik you can set sail for the southernmost Croatian town Cavtat. This lively, small, typically Mediterranean town is the popular starting point for Croatian cruising for numerous luxury yachts.
Your second option is to explore the magnificent Elaphiti islands with our Elaphiti Islands Luxury Yacht Charter Guide. Elaphiti islands cruise from Dubrovnik is an extremely popular excursion as well as the most desirable mission of the yachtsmen that are sailing in this area.
Koločep Island in Croatia
The closest to the coast is the smallest island of Koločep – which also happens to be the least popular among yachts that enjoy Elaphiti islands cruise.
There are two villages on the island, Gornje and Donje Čelo (Upper and Lower Čelo), named for their relative position toward the sun – Upper Čelo is on the eastern side of the island (the sun going up from there), and Lower Čelo on the western (the sun going down behind it). Both villages are fronted by lovely coves and have pleasant enough beaches, somewhat disturbed by large waves created by numerous tourist boats.
Lower Čelo cove is located on the western side of the island of Koločep and is well protected from southern winds, yet completely unprotected from the mistral. The northern part of the cove is the loveliest: drop anchor in front of the large pier and enjoy a view of the ragged rocks, turquoise waters, cypress woods, palm trees and the village.
Lopud is the most beautiful island of the Elaphites
The isle of Lopud is considered to be the prettiest of the Elaphiti islands and is the tamest of them all. The harmony of nature and man-made give the island a special atmosphere. The weather in Lopud island in Croatia is the typical Mediterranean which implies many sunny days. The best time for the Elaphiti islands boat tour and visiting Lopud is from April until October.
Lopud Franciscan Monastery
In the Lopud bay, there aren’t available moorings along the coast, so it’s popular among those not afraid to drop their anchor – while others are deterred by a sometimes strong mistral. The lovely little town itself is gorgeous, decorated with sand and palms it reminds many of the Caribbean.
Once on this part of Croatian island Lopud, don’t miss visiting the innovative Art pavilion Your black horizon and beautifully-restored 15th century Franciscan Monastery Lopud 1483 that has been transformed into luxury accommodation for up to 10 guests.
Discover Šunj, best beach in Dubrovnik area
Šunj cove on the south-eastern side of Lopud is protected from most winds, only with southern ones it becomes dangerous. South winds are also responsible for the many underwater sandbanks making the close approach to the coast a risky feat. Still, that beach is probably the best-known and most beloved beach in the entire Dubrovnik region.
During the day the cove is swarming with swimmers, boats big and small as well as with worshipers of sandy beaches and turquoise colors. In Šunj, there is also a beach bar Cima in which a popular DJ-es guarantees good fun.
The island of Šipan in Croatia is gladly visited by yachtsmen, and it is extremely favored among local sailors. In the Elaphiti islands luxury yacht charter guide, Šipan is the most popular figure. It is an island of many summer houses, greenery, excellent olive oil and many fishermen. There are two yachting destinations on this attractive Elaphiti island – Šipan and Suđurađ. Both of them have small marinas where boats can moor and the island is popular as a magnet for gastro hedonists.
Šipan bay is deep-set and safe, whether you choose to moor here or drop anchor a little further from the shore, but beware during westerly or north-westerly winds. Furthermore, as the sun starts to retreat for the evening, it magically transforms into a peaceful haven, making many one daydream about buying a nearby villa to enjoy the golden years in this heavenly corner of the world. Šipan bay is also popular with foodies, who can count on parking spots (buoys) near the legendary restaurant ‘Kod Marka’ on the shore.
Suđurađ: An actual fishing village on Šipan
On the island of Šipan, a fishing village Suđurađ is known as the place where most of the seafood sold in Dubrovnik is caught.
The well-protected cove is safe in all conditions, except during southern winds. Boats can be moored ashore and relax while watching the daily comings and goings on the water. The village is quite busy during the day and visited by many tourists that opt for Elaphiti islands cruise from Dubrovnik.
Bowa: fine dining restaurant on Šipan
Nearby Suđurađ, on the east side of the island of Šipan is Bowa, one of the best restaurants in Croatia to visit by boat. In addition to being surrounded by authentic jungle and wooden huts, stands out with the food served that will surely charm all the senses.
Jakljan island: A favorite among Robinson Crusoe types
The island next to Šipan is the small and uninhabited Jakljan, a favorite among Robinson Crusoe types. The unwelcoming south-western side of Jakljan is not recommended, but the north-eastern side is safely approachable: drop the anchor and in the shade of pines bordering the water’s edge, enjoy the view of the almost-black green and midnight blue sea.
The largest cove on the island is Veli Jakljan, well protected from southern winds and popular among yachtsmen on Elaphiti islands cruise.
Furthermore, this Elaphiti islands luxury yacht charter guide would be incomplete if we did not mention the deep bay of Slano with the ACI marina. In addition to providing a safe berth, as Slano is located on the mainland, it is a good starting port for cruising the Elaphiti islands and the southern Adriatic.
Before returning to Dubrovnik, many yachts take a detour to visit the deep-set bay of Zaton. An intimate, secluded place ideal for those in search of privacy and peace, Zaton is a mere twenty minutes away by boat from the glitz and hubbub of Dubrovnik. The bay is mostly safe, with chilly – or cooling, if you came prepared – local northern wind rushing down from the nearby hills, but still a very popular spot among yachts and even mega yachts.
Marinas and anchorages in the Dubrovnik region
ACI Marina Dubrovnik (+385 (0)20 455-020)
In the beautiful ACI marina Dubrovnik settled in in the canyon of the shortest river in Europe – Omble, you will find 380 berths. This well-protected marina, as one of the most beautiful on the Adriatic, can accommodate yachts up to 45 meters long. The key features of ACI Dubrovnik are the amazing Sorkočević castle, innovative golf range as well as outside swimming pool.
Marina Frapa Dubrovnik (+385 (0)20 455-020)
Marina Frapa Dubrovnik is a glamorous marina located in the vicinity Gruž port and the old town of Dubrovnik. She has 220 berths for the yachts from 10 to 50 meters and offers berths for yachts up to 100 m. Key features of this marina are fully covered piers decorated with LED color-changing diodes as well as a tank emptying service at every berth.
ACI Marina ‘Veljko Barbieri’ Slano (+385(0)20 441 721)
This marina has ‘nested’ in the bottom of the deep and well-protected bay of Slano. It represents an ideal starting point for the Elaphiti Islands cruise, as well as for the trip to Dubrovnik. The newest Aci marina in Slano has 193 berths for the yachts up to 50 m. The key features of this gorgeous marina are wellness, a swimming pool and a calm environment.
Popular anchorages on the Elaphiti Islands
The hot anchorage spot of Elaphiti islands cruise is the turquoise bay of Šunj on the island of Lopud. Other popular anchorages are the bay of Donje Čelo on Koločep, the Lopud bay on the island of Lopud and the bay of Šipanska luka on the island of Šipan. In Šipanska luka (+385989563080) about 10 smaller yachts can be moored on the waterfront. The uninhabited bay of Veli Jakljan on the island Jakljan is an attractive anchorage among yachtsmen, especially during southerly winds.
Featured Yachts in Elaphiti Islands
When choosing a yacht in charter, you first need to decide whether you want to feel the meditative power of silence on board sailing boat and catamaran, or whether you appreciate speed and comfort, with interest to rent a motorboat or luxury yacht. After that, leave all the ‘details’ to us. We will pay special attention to all your needs, to select the boat up to your wishes, to feel safe and comfortable with the crew that will make your time special, organize provisioning and prepare the route that will leave you breathless!
Upon request, our team will visit the yacht (s) you are interested in, with special care to your wishes – and make sure that we ‘pamper’ you with beauty while sailing!
Text Josipa Vlahović Cikatić
Photos I. Pervan, B. Kačan, M. Romulić, ACI