The gorgeous islands around Dubrovnik became attractive in 2020 more than ever before: usually quite popular and crowded thanks to daily trippers from Dubrovnik, this summer the Elafiti archipelago was more like an isolated paradise, presenting the perfect opportinity to enjoy the local Mediterranean lifestyle on its unspoilt best, and at the same time avoid hords of tourists who mostly prefer the area around Dubrovnik Old City. These islands, strategically located between Dubrovnik and the Pelješac penninsula, might seem small and insignificant, but they were actually mentioned for the first time in the first century already by the famous Roman geographer Pliny the Elder in his Historia Naturalis. Pliny the Elder is believed to have given this archipelago its name „the deer islands“: elafos means deer in Greek.
The Elaphites were absorbed by the Dubrovnik Republic in the forteenth century, soon becoming a favourite summer retreat fro the local nobility. A good quater of the famous Dubrovnik fleet was stationed on Lopud and took part in a number of important expeditions. The island started to become increasingly depopulated in the late seventeenth century, after the disastrous earthquake of 1667. However when tourism rolled in, the islands became lively again, especially Lopud, the second largest of the whole collectivity of the Elafiti islands, which is definitely the most popular one. They say that during Dubrovnik's golden age the population of Lopud was somewhere near 4000. Now it's only about 350 people, making it a naturally socially distanced resort.
Lopud is an ideal place to rent a villa, or apartment, which will definitely give you a more authentic experience – but it will be a perfect one day escape as well, if you prefer to backpack in Dubrovnik. A good place to start exploring Lopud is the main settlement located on the northern side of the island. The place boasts a long sandy beach, a nice promenade with some eateries and several prominent monuments not to miss: the fortified Franciscan monestary from the late forteenth century, the private chapel of the Dubrovnik shipowner Miho Pracat and the lovely Đorđic-Mayner park. But if you are after some really great sandy beach – don't miss Šunj Bay, loctaed on the opposite side of the island. A walk through a narrow path with shade leads to one of the best under-the-radar beaches in the whole country. The Šunj beach is composed of fine, white sand which is actually extremely rare in Croatia. If you rent a speed boat, your skipper can take you directly to the Šunj beach, for soaking up some sun and take a dip in the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea.