Dubrovnik Island Hopping Guide

Dubrovnik is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and rich history with its medieval Old Town surrounded by stone walls and filled with magnificent centuries-old architecture. But did you know that it can also serve as the perfect launchpad for visiting multiple islands? There are many within easy reach for those who plan to stay in the city. Or, you might visit them on a cruise. All you need is a Dubrovnik island hopping guide to make the most of your adventure. With so many enticing options, we've put together this list of the best islands to visit from Dubrovnik, ensuring you'll have a great time whether you're looking for spectacular nature, outdoor activities, history, or a little of it all.
View of Kolocep Island

Kolocep

A tranquil, car-free paradise, Kolocep is a nature enthusiast’s dream in the Elafiti archipelago, situated slightly northwest of Dubrovnik. Hiking trails lead to some of its highest points, offering breathtaking vistas of the sea and neighbouring islands. Idyllic beaches edged by crystal-clear blue waters, and picturesque coves for secluded sunbathing and swimming also await. If you like spending time in the sea, the water is calm with excellent visibility for snorkelling and diving. There are sea caves too, including a natural wonder called the Blue Cave with a sandy bottom. When the sun reflects off it, it’s illuminated in a blue glow. As you explore Kolocep, ancient churches, monasteries, and other historic sites can all be encountered.

Top Tip

Whilst the Blue Cave on Kolocep is the most well known, the island also boasts the Three Green Caves, known for their emerald hue, which you can swim and climb through on an excursion.

Sunj Beach Lopud

Lopud

Next on your Dubrovnik island hopping itinerary is Lopud, another small, car-free island in the Elafitis. There are less than 300 permanent residents but plenty of historic sites and unspoiled nature. Some of the oldest buildings here are ruins of early medieval pre-Romanesque chapels. You can also hike to the 15th-century Our Lady of Sunj church which includes a Renaissance-Baroque altar or visit the 16th-century ruins of a Spanish fort. Near the entrance to the harbour is a Baroque 16th-century church with Renaissance and Gothic elements. Like many of Croatia’s islands, you’ll also find beautiful beaches like Sunj, a sandy stretch with shallow azure waters for swimming. 

Did You Know?

With a beach bar serving snacks and drinks, Sunj is the only sandy beach in the Dubrovnik area, making this a popular place to relax.

Sudurad Town on Sipan

Sipan

Sipan may be the largest of the Elafiti Islands, but there are less than 500 living here year-round. Many noble families from Dubrovnik built their summer residences here in the 15th and 16th centuries, with remnants remaining from those days long gone by. There are also remains of a Renaissance castle in Sudurad, one of the island’s two main towns. The other is Sipanska Luka. While they sit at opposite ends, they’re only a few miles apart and connected by road. Both have an interesting history, eateries serving tasty authentic cuisine, and friendly locals. One of the best ways to explore it all is to hire a bike and enjoy a scenic pedal through the villages and the lush countryside. 

View of Korcula Old Town

Korcula

Not to be missed on any Croatia holiday, Korcula is just over two hours by ferry from Dubrovnik. Like much of the country, it’s jam-packed with natural beauty, including hidden beaches and forest so dense it gives the island a black appearance from afar, hence its name given by the Greeks, Korkyra Melaina (Black Korkyra). It’s also home to a rich wine culture and a stunning Old Town. Korcula Town’s historic centre is a must-visit, looking as if it came straight from the pages of a fairytale. The ancient streets and alleyways are lined with impressive historic sites like the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of St. Mark and grand 15th- and 16th-century palaces of local merchant nobles while surrounded by massive fortifications.

We Recommend

Steal yourself away from the coast and head inland to the small, rustic village of Smokvica, where you can sample locally-produced wine at family-run vineyards.

Aerial view of Mljet

Mljet

Known as the “Green Island,” Mljet is blanketed by dense forest, with Mljet National Park being its most popular attraction, covering nearly a third of the terrain. While visiting on your Dubrovnik island-hopping itinerary, you’ll want to immerse yourself in the natural beauty by walking, biking, or swimming. The park features two saltwater lakes in magnificent hues of brilliant turquoise and emerald, with the smaller lake home to a tiny islet that can be accessed by a short boat ride. It’s topped with a 12th-century Benedictine abbey, which now houses a cafe and gift shop. There are multiple places to hire a kayak and paddle around the lakes for a beautiful perspective from the water, along with beaches for sunbathing.

Explore Croatia's Islands by Cruise

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