Dubrovnik islands are among the region’s top attractions and, even though most of them are small and uninhabited, they are very popular both with locals and tourists, as they provide a breath of fresh air during the crowded summer season.
Lokrum is usually the first stop for travellers looking to do some island hopping during their stay in Dubrovnik. Only a short boat ride from the Old Town, Lokrum is an oasis of natural wonders, well known for its Botanical Garden and a small salt lake known as the Dead Sea. The island is also home to a deserted Benedictine monastery dating back to 1023 and Fort Royal, a fortress built by the French in 1806 that offers a spectacular view of the island and Dubrovnik Old Town. Today, Lokrum is a Nature Reserve and a Special Forest Vegetation Reserve.
The Elaphiti Islands are an archipelago stretching just to the northwest of Dubrovnik, and easy to reach from the old city. With a total population of 850 inhabitants, the islands draw large numbers of visitors during the summer season with their pristine scenery, lush Mediterranean vegetation and stunning beaches. Only three of the 13 Elaphites are inhabited – Lopud, Šipan and Koločep – and each has a well-developed tourism infrastructure.
Koločep and Lopud are car-free, offering a perfect getaway from the city and plenty of places to enjoy a tranquil day out. Koločep is known for the Blue Cave, easily accessed by swimmers, and a number of old buildings and churches, some of which date back to the 9th century. Lopud also makes an excellent destination for a day trip, with a number of 15th and 16th century churches and plenty of opportunities for long walks along the island’s paths. Šipan, the largest of the Elaphiti Islands, is also known for its old churches and remains of summer houses built by Dubrovnik aristocrats over the centuries.
Dubrovnik island tours
Several larger islands that are a bit farther away are also popular with visitors who stay in Dubrovnik for a week or longer. Hvar, Mljet, Korčula and Brač are well connected with the old city by ferry routes and offer plenty of stunning beaches, natural and historic attractions for visitors to explore. Hvar, the fourth largest of all Croatian islands and sunniest island of the Adriatic, is known for its vineyards and fields of lavender, sage, rosemary and thyme, as well as for its rich cultural heritage and historic buildings. Mljet is best known for its National Park, which covers more than two thirds of the island, and the Odysseus Cave, where the Greek hero is said to have found shelter after surviving a shipwreck.
Korčula is one of the country’s most treasured islands, but not quite as overrun by tourists as Brač and Hvar. The island’s Old Town is known as mini-Dubrovnik because it looks similar and is also very well preserved. Brač, the single largest Croatian island, is known for its wine and agricultural products, as well as for the famous Brač stone, used to build many historic buildings, including the White House in Washington and Reichstag in Berlin. The island is also home to the Golden Horn (Zlatni Rat), one of the best known beaches in the Adriatic.
Accommodation on the Dubrovnik Riviera
Guests looking to explore the charms of the islands around Dubrovnik can find comfortable accommodation at Villas Mlini, a complex of modern apartments only 10 km from the old city. Located in Mlini, an idyllic small town with a rich cultural and historic heritage, the complex offers a cosy alternative to hotels for tourists who prefer a more homey setting, with a special discount for those who book a minimum stay of seven nights.
Villas Mlini is part of the Dubrovnik Riviera Hotels complex, which offers a variety of options to ensure that guest make the best of their holiday, from day trips to Dubrovnik and other popular destinations along the coast to excursions to Lokrum and the Elaphiti Islands.
Images: Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons/Karel Hrdina (Korcula Town), Jaganjac (Great Lake on Mljet), Jerrye and Roy Klotz (Lokrum monastery).