5 Jul 2015
After coming back from Värmland in Sweden, we began looking for another adventure that was a bit different. We found an island hopping holiday in Croatia that seemed to do the trick. Consisting of Kayaking, Cycling and Hiking, it looked to contain the adventure we wanted in an area of the world that is new to us.
The trip was arranged by Huck Finn Adventure Travel and I would highly recommend them. We opted for a few nights in Dubrovnik to do our tourist duties in the beautiful old city before beginning.
Day 1 and 2
Dubrovnik is from another world, the type of place you see in films or read about in books. Due to this, there are a lot of tourists and this does detract from the enjoyment a little. If you can ignore the crowds, or go during a quieter season then you will enjoy it even more.
We walked the walls, the streets, rode the cable car to the top of Mount Srd and visited Lokrum. The streets are pleasant to explore, like a less confusing Venice. The walls are full of tourists, but are a great way to see the city.
Lokrum is worth the short boat trip, it gave us a taster of the week to come. There are areas of the island that the tourists flock to, but the vast majority was quiet. They have done a great job of preserving the spectacular nature on the island.
We walked around most of the island, even finding ourselves on the nudist "beach" by accident! Keep an eye out of FKK signs, or naked people. The Dead Sea lake looked like a gorgeous place to relax and swim, but we weren't in a swimming mood.
Lokrum is a great place to visit, and gives a nice contrast to the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik.
Before leaving, we noticed one of the TV channels had a camera of the Stradun (main street) that looked live. Thus, we did what anybody should do in that situation; I filmed the TV and my dad went running and waving along the street. Turns out that it is actually live.
On to Lopud, and the Elaphiti Islands. We found the boat after a bus journey that took us a bit too far (our fault), and we were on our way. The Elaphiti Islands consist of 13 islands, with only 3 having permanent residents. Lopud was to become our home, with us visiting several of them during the week.
The boat stopped of at Kolocep on the way, which we would visit at a later date. On arrival in Lopud, we were greated by Paula and shown around. She explained that the way Huck Finn arrange the trip, is that we decide each morning what we want to do and they arrange it.
After settling in, we grabbed the bikes and went for a ride across the island. Starting off on a cycle track, but ending up on rocks and steep gradients that left us stopping for breath a lot. We pushed it though, and we saw a lot of Lopud, which is a gorgeous place. We came back on a nice tarmac path, which turned out to contain a stream of golf carts trying to kill us. These we found out were for the tourists in the hotel, so they didn't have to walk to the beach.
The next day we took the Kayaks and decided to go around the island. The sea was very calm so we made our way around to the Sunj beach on the other side. We stopped to have a look around some rock pools and to admire the scenery. Lopud really is idyllic.
As we rounded the edge of the island towards the beach, the wind had picked up. We found ourselves pushing against the wind and riding the waves, which was tough going. We pulled into a small cove on the way, a very good decision on our parts. Here we stopped, dried ourselves in the sun and had our lunch.
On to Sunj beach, which is a beautiful beach. Shallow waters, calm warm sea and hundreds of tourists. We stopped for an ice cream, but tourist beaches aren't for us, so we set off again.
We attempted to continue circling the island, but after rounding the edge of the bay we decided against it. The wind was strong and combined with the waves, we were going no where. So we paddled back home the way we came.
We decided to take a break from the water today and take the boat across to Šipan. The weather started off looking like it would rain, but soon became perfect again. Paula arranged for us to take the bikes across and soon we were on our way.
Šipan is the largest of the Elafiti, with two towns and enough land for Farms/Vineyards. It even has a few roads and some cars. As soon as we got off the boat, we had a quick cycle around Sudurad before setting off to Šipanska Luka.
Šipan has a very different feel than Lopud, it's less tourist orientated and much quieter. Cycling along the main road across the island, you go past vineyards, farms, ruins and amazing scenery.
Šipanska Luka was very quiet, with only a handful of people walking around. Even so, the restaurants were open and we had a nice meal in the harbour and enjoyed the peace.
After cycling back we chilled watching different shoals of fish in the crystal clear sea before getting the boat back.
Today seemed a good day to do some more Kayaking, we were told Kolocep had some good caves to explore. After crossing on the boat, we met up with a Huck Finn guide for the Kayaks and advice on the best way to paddle around.
We set off around the west side of the island, and started exploring inlets and caves. This is a phenomenal place to paddle.
We came to a place where a boat was anchored, and it was roughly where we were told about a well known "blue cave". We pulled up at the rocks and jumped in to explore. Immediately we found out why it's well renown. From the outside we could just see an inch of the entrance, after swimming in it opens out and is simply staggering.
The cave is surprisingly bright, due to the sunlight shining through the clear blue water. We spent an hour snorkelling and sitting on the rocks before continuing.
We found some more caves we could paddle into on our way, which was a lot of fun.
We hit some wind and big waves around the south end of the island, but we pushed through and it calmed down. We decided to not stop on the way and made our way back to wait for the boat. As we circled the north end of the island we saw the boat leaving, oops, although this proved to be a good thing. We ended up spending a few hours waiting for the next boat whilst watching the sunset, which was spectacular.
Today we decided to hike Lopud, our home island for the week. We had done a bit of exploring on the bike, but had yet to go to the highest point or see the south side much.
We first went to Sutvrac, the Spanish Fort near the top of the highest point. This was highly recommended and it's easy to tell why. As soon as we got into the ruins we were greeted by goats.
The view from here is spectacular, it's worth visiting for the view alone. we spent an hour having our lunch, fending off goats and trying to take in all the view.
After giving the goats some water, and attempting to give them an orange, we set off. We scrambled over the rocks to another high point, before walking back down. Making our way to the south of the island, we went through forests, fields and lot's of ruins.
The walk was very enjoyable, and we ended up at Sunj beach again where we grabbed a drink. We then made our way back across the Golf Buggy death lane before spending an evening in Lopud.
For the final full day we took the recommendation to go to Mljet national park. The day started grotty, with plenty of rain but it was still warm and rain never stops the English. We took the boat and Catamaran to Polace, where we rented some bikes from a woman who thought we were mad. Cycling off into the rain we made our way to the renown Salt Lakes.
The rain stopped and the sun blazed after 10 minutes and we spent an enjoyable day cycling around the park. The park is beautiful, and we agreed we could easily spend a week hiking around it all. The lakes are calm and serene, and you could lose hours just sitting and chilling by them.
On the way back, we decided to go down another path that was very steep and a lot of fun. After taking the bikes back, we sat with an ice cream and waited for the Catamaran whilst working out how to pronounce Mljet (mil-yet?)
The final day was a day of travel, we were up early to catch the boat back and enjoy the final few hours of peace before home.
We left the Elaphiti Islands having loved our time there, and wanting to return. The relaxed and friendly nature of the locals, along with the beauty of the landscapes is a perfect combination. We managed to have a relaxing holiday but have adventures at the same time.