Explore the Elaphiti Islands - For those who know their sailing, Croatia is paradise. The Balkan state is home to over a thousand islands dotted along the coastline, offering an incredible range of routes and places to dock. The sweep of different civilisations across the various island chains has led to landmarks and cultural institutions that have a unique feel, and there's no better way to spend a holiday than sailing Croatia's bays, inlets and port villages. The sea has long played a vital role in the history, culture and commerce of the region, and even those without any maritime experience can easily take to the Adriatic in a hired boat. Here is a small selection of the highlights that visitors can expect to enjoy as they island hop in the region.
The Perfect Place to Set Sail
One of the best things about sailing Croatia's expansive coastline is the multitude of different islands that skip along the edge of the mainland. This almost continuous chain makes the area particularly useful for those who are new to piloting a boat over a reasonably long distance. The placidity of the Adriatic Sea is another of the elements that makes the coast of the country such an attractive place for seafaring, especially amongst those whose constitutions don't agree 100% with being away from the stability of dry land.
The Elaphiti Islands
Many people who spend a holiday sailing Croatia's coastline begin their trip in the south, around Dubrovnik. Away from the famous and beautiful historical city, the region is home to the stunning Elaphiti Islands, considered amongst the jewels of Croatia. The islands cover around 30 km2 and are home to just under 1,000 residents. The cool, green vegetation of the islands makes them very popular with tourists, who swell the population during the tourist season. There are three main islands that feature on the itinerary of most visitors: Šipan, KoloÄ ep and Lopud.
The largest of the islands, and the furthest from the coast, Šipan is perhaps most famous for the numerous species of flora that grow or are cultivated on the island. These include olives, almonds, oranges, figs, grapes and palm-trees.
The Southernmost inhabited island in Croatia, KoloÄ ep is surrounded by a network of tranquil coves, perfect for exploring by boat. The climate is one of the strongest selling points of the islands, with KoloÄ ep particularly popular for providing over 250 sunny days each year - probably as close as you can get to some guaranteed sunshine in Europe.
Another popular island in the Elaphiti chain, Lopud is most famous for its soft, sandy beaches and its tranquil seaside villages.