In the immediate vicinity of Dubrovnik, on the west side, the most beautiful Dubrovnik archipelago, called the Elaphiti Islands, closely associated with Dubrovnik and its entire past. Although deer no longer live on them today, the islands owe their name to them (Greek Elaphos, translated deer). The Elaphite or Deer Islands under this name are the first to mention Pliny the Elder in the 1st century in his work Naturalis Historia. Islands of unprecedented beauty, eternal guards of the Dubrovnik sea and coasts, islands of captains and seamen of the Dubrovnik Republic and Dubrovnik to this day. These are: Kolocep, Lopud, Sipan, Jakljan, Olip.

Let yourself be taken away by the unseen beauty of Elaphiti islands. Personally, the best way to discover all of their beauty is with a speedboat. That way, you can really sneak into most beautiful and remote bays and beaches. The largest islands of the Elaphiti archipelago: Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep are also the only inhabited islands. The story of its past, indistinguishable from that of the Dubrovnik, weaves in old stone houses, mansions and castles.

Kolocep or Kalamota as the locals call it, it the closest to Dubrovnik and has two small settlements called Gornje and Donje Celo. Most of the island is covered with vineyards, olive groves and citruses. Only 165 inhabitants and no cars on the island rule makes this island a true paradise on earth. In Donje celo you can find a few small bars and restaurant. There is a story roaming around the island about its history with the sailors. Locals say that a long time ago, when Dubrovnik was a republic, rich man used to sail to the island with their lovers to enjoy some romance and privacy. They chose Kolocep and the Donje Celo because it can’t be seen from Dubrovnik shore so their wives would never find out about their little affairs.

Sipan Island is the largest island of the Elaphiti Islands, as well as the most populated island. During the Republic of Dubrovnik nobles and rich people built summer cottages as a pleasant hiding place from the summer heat. The island is rich in small covenant chapels and churches, as the island has been inhabited by numerous sailors for centuries. Today, most of them are just ruins. This is the only one of Elaphiti islands where you can drive a car.

Lokrum is the island of mysteries and amazing history. When you arrive to this small island, you can enjoy many historical sites, beautiful gardens and beaches, and a story that put a vail of mystery around this island.  According to some records, as early as 915 AD, the Basilian monks lived in Lokrum. The last Benedictines left the monastery in 1798, after the sale of their possessions to a few wealthy Dubrovnik people. The story goes that the monks gathered the night before departing, stuffed their hoods deep in the face, set fire to the waxes, turned them upside down and bowed their heads, muttering prayers and muttering songs, going for a night walk around their estate with an ancient promenade, mourning their loss and forgiving from the beautiful residence. It is said that if one stays overnight or takes anything from it, will be hit by a terrible tragedy.

Olip is the westernmost of all the islands, islets and rocks in the Elaphites. It is almost oval in shape, except for the cape facing north. The islet is uninhabited, rocky and partly overgrown with forest. On the south coast of the islet is a square stone tower with a gallery that serves as a lighthouse. The lighthouse is used to navigate important maritime passageways.

Jakljan is the last of the Elaphiti islands and is located very close to Sipan. It is covered with forests and there you can find a small children’s playground. This island has a dark history, it was the site of a mass execution of 204 German and Croatian prisoners of war by Yugoslav Partisans in May 1945.

When discovering Dubrovnik and everything surrounding it, make sure to visit these wonderful islands that will surly take your breath away.