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Elaphite Islands: Day Trips and Tours from Dubrovnik

Some people visiting Croatia’s stunning coastline along the Adriatic Sea don’t realize that the country boasts its own archipelago with uninterrupted views and electric blue water.

The Elaphite Islands, also referred to as the Elaphiti Islands, span over 30 square kilometers just outside of Dubrovnik. The archipelago is made up of 13 islands, but the most notable ones include Šipan, Lopud and Koločep.

Šipan is the farthest and largest island that hosts two permanent settlements. Lopud sits between the two other major islands. It is the second-largest island but boasts a well-developed tourism infrastructure and sandy beaches. Koločep sits closest to Dubrovnik and was once a prominent shipbuilding site.

Some of the islands remain completely uninhabited, but less than 1,000 inhabitants call the archipelago home. The islands remain an undiscovered gem in the world of tourism. That said, take advantage now of the hidden gem by booking a day trip on your next journey to Croatia!

How to get to the Elaphite Islands from Dubrovnik?

The Elaphite Islands only sit about 20 kilometers northwest of Dubrovnik, but it takes a significant amount of time to reach them. The travel time you need to budget for also varies based on which island you would like to visit.

The fastest way requires you to take a boat directly from Dubrovnik to the islands. You can also drive yourself to the islands, take public transportation or book a guided day tour.

From Dubrovnik to the Elaphite Islands by car and ferry

You can travel on your own from Dubrovnik to the Elaphite Islands by car. Keep in mind that this route also involves taking ferries.

Let’s say you are keen to go to Šipan Island. You must drive from Dubrovnik to the port of Gruž. From there, you will take the ferry to Lopud Island. Then you can catch the last ferry directly to Šipan. The overall jaunt takes about two hours each way.

From Dubrovnik to the Elaphite Islands by boat/public transportation

Unfortunately, you do not have any bus or train options to travel from Dubrovnik to the Elaphite Islands. If you can make your way from Dubrovnik to the ferry port, you can easily catch the boat to the islands. The islands are very walkable and do not require transportation after you arrive.

Guided tour to the Elaphite Islands from Dubrovnik

You can save your time and energy when you have someone else plan your day trip to the Elaphite Islands for you. Booking a guided tour gives you peace of mind and lets you sit back, relax and enjoy the trip! These tours typically include entrance fees, round-trip transportation and a professional guide.

How much does the entrance ticket to the Elaphite Islands cost?

Entrance to the Elaphite Islands is free for tourists and locals alike! You must pay for your transportation to the islands and entrance fees for any attractions that you would like to visit.

What is the typical itinerary of a day tour to the Elaphite Islands from Dubrovnik?

The duration of your Elaphite Islands excursion will depend on which tour you select. They typically last anywhere from four to 10 hours. You will spend the day island-hopping, soaking up the sun, taking in the Croatian scenery and cruising around the Adriatic Sea.

Each tour offers participants a unique experience, so the itinerary varies from tour to tour. You will start the day by meeting at a designated location in Dubrovnik or with the tour company picking you up from your accommodation.

Your group will then make its way to the Dubrovnik port to catch a boat heading for the islands. You will spend the day swimming in the crystal clear waters, snorkeling, kayaking, cruising around the area, exploring hidden caves, soaking up the sun or sailing on the waves.

The tour guide will also take you to some of the best restaurants and shops that the islands have to offer before returning to Dubrovnik. They may drop you off directly at your accommodation or a designated spot. Confirm with the tour operator in advance to avoid any issues!

Each tour follows a unique itinerary depending on how long it lasts, what stops it makes and what activities it includes. In general, you can expect something along these lines.

What kinds of tours are available to go to the Elaphite Islands?

Full-day tours to the Elaphite Islands from Dubrovnik

Full-day tours provide you with the most bang for your buck! You can spend the whole day island-hopping, exploring the waters and enjoying the Croatian weather. You will join other visitors from all over the world while exploring the archipelago.

Your guide will take you on a boat tour of the Elaphite islands and the surrounding areas for a day of fun. Most of these day tours include lunch, a guide and round-trip transportation.

Half-day tours to the Elaphite Islands from Dubrovnik

If you are pressed for time, consider booking a half-day tour. You still get the opportunity to explore some of the islands, but your tour may not stop at all of them. These tours typically only include a guide and round-trip transportation.

Private tours to the Elaphite Islands from Dubrovnik

You can always book a private tour to explore the Elaphite Islands in a more intimate setting. These tours are limited to the people that you choose to bring. You typically pay a flat rate per group, not per person.

Private tours tend to offer more flexibility because they have fewer time constraints. You may be able to choose which activities you would like to do and places you would like to visit.

Kayak tour in Elaphite Islands from Dubrovnik

If you are feeling a bit adventurous, you can explore the Elaphite islands on a kayak tour. You will receive your own kayak, and a professional guide will take you all around the area. These tours are a great way to get up close and personal with the water.

Multiday trips to the Elaphite Islands from Dubrovnik

The Elaphite Islands provide the perfect destination for a day trip from Dubrovnik, but you may need a few extra days to explore all that the archipelago has to offer!

How much does a tour to the Elaphite Islands from Dubrovnik cost?

The cost of day tours from Dubrovnik to the Elaphite Islands varies greatly depending on how many stops the tour makes, how long the tour lasts, whether or not you book a private tour, how you travel to the islands and which tour operator you select. The tours cost anywhere from €40 to €1,178.

What will you see and do in the Elaphite Islands?

The Elaphite Islands are known for their blue waters, outdoor activities, endless views and unique culture. One of the best ways to explore the entire area is by island-hopping on a boat. You can take advantage of the stunning scenery while making stops to swim, snorkel, sit in the sun or visit the islands themselves.

Most day tours give you free time both in and out of the water. If time allows, we recommend stopping at each island.

Koločep

On Koločep, you can walk through lemon and orange groves, wander through endless pine forests, visit Placet beach or see the medieval Chapel of St. Anton.

If you’re up for an adventure, you can swim or snorkel to the Blue Cave on Koločep.

Šipan

On Šipan, you can walk through the marina, admire the 15th-century architecture or walk along the coastal paths.

Lopud

On Lopud, you can visit Beach Sunj, see the old Franciscan monastery or enjoy authentic Croatian cuisine from one of the many restaurants.

You should also dedicate part of your day trip to exploring the area by water. You can book a kayaking tour, go snorkeling or take a wild ride on a speedboat.

When are the Elaphite Islands open over the year?

The Elaphite Islands remain open to visitors throughout the entire year. Depending on your weather preference, some months may be better to visit than others.

What are the opening times?

You can visit the islands at any time of the day since there are no opening or closing times. Select attractions will open and close at specific times, but the islands themselves remain open around the clock.

Most tour operators only run excursions during the daytime to take full advantage of the island’s outdoor activities. Swimming, kayaking, snorkeling and cruising around on a boat become more challenging when it gets dark.

If you want to explore the islands at night, consider planning your own stay outside of the day tour.

When is the best time to visit the Elaphite Islands?

The Elaphite Islands are seasonal and follow similar weather patterns as Dubrovnik. You can expect cold winters, warm summers, and moderate spring/fall.

If you prefer warmer weather, the best time to visit the archipelago is from July to August. Average temperatures reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. The water is also the perfect temperature to take a dip.

You can avoid extremely hot weather by visiting in the spring or fall. You can expect average temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius. Visiting the islands during the winter is not ideal because you can’t take advantage of all of the outdoor activities.

Travel tips

  • Pack a jacket if you visit during the spring, fall or winter!
  • Bring sunscreen for those sunny summer months.
  • Try and visit all three islands, if possible.