While Lopud is just an hour by boat from busy Dubrovnik, it’s worlds away from the hustle and bustle. Part of the Elaphiti archipelago which is explored on many Croatian cruises that include Dubrovnik on the itinerary, the car-free island has just one town, also named Lopud, but its panoramic vistas are practically endless. Take in views of the glistening blue waters, the mountains and the mainland while enjoying a tranquil atmosphere, with just 220 year-round residents. While it may be small, it has a lovely waterfront promenade with restaurants for dining with a view, along with tiny boutiques and ice cream shops. Discover a 15th-Franciscan monastery that has a church still in use, and take a stroll along the narrow path from town to enjoy a beautiful sandy beach on the other side of the island – it only takes about 20 minutes to get there as the entire isle is around three square miles. There are fascinating ruins of palaces, churches, monasteries and more to be found across Lopud, many of which date back to Greek and Roman times.
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Kornat, covered with sage, fig and olive trees, is one of around 90 little islands in the Kornati archipelago, a national park which lies just south of Zadar. Croatia small-ship cruises that include Zadar may bring you to explore this magnificent region where you’re likely to see few others with the land and waters that surround it strictly protected. For anyone seeking the sea, sun and silence, outstanding swimming, snorkelling and hiking, there are few better spots.