Since we had seen most of Old Town Dubrovnik yesterday, we opted to explore the islands around Dubrovnik with a tour of the Elafiti islands. These were a series of small islands, some inhabited and some not, that were scattered off the coast of Dubrovnik. It was fairly easy selecting and booking a tour from the main tourism office outside of Pile Gate, although I’d advise arriving early since most tours take off first thing in the morning. Ours departed from the main harbor inside Old Town at 10:45am, after picking up other tourists from outside Old Town, although it was certainly a challenge figuring out which boat was ours, and almost missed it on its way out. Our first stop of the 3 inhabited islands was a small island of Kolocep – I believe the smallest of the Elafiti islands with only 150 inhabitants. With 45 minutes to explore, we went inland first up a few hills, stopped at a little roadside stand outside someone’s house that sold homemade olive oils (it tasted absolutely amazing) and fortified brandies, so we picked up a few flavors to take home as gifts. Since Kolocep was so small, the town’s landmarks also reflected this, with a hospital the size of a small house and what seemed like the world’s smallest church and cemetery.
Another half hour on the water, and then we alighted at Sipan, the second and largest island. Sipan didn’t exactly have the same small town charm as Kolocep, as there really wasn’t too much to see aside from people’s homes, but it was interesting to get a glimpse of everyday life on the island, with lime trees, pomegranate trees, grapevines, and some beautiful gardens. Lunch was served on the boat after, and was surprisingly delicious, with freshly caught and grilled mackeral, some homemade bread, and wine. Doug freaks out at fish heads and since most fish is served whole in Croatia, he opted for the curry chicken which was quite good as well.
We arrived at the last island, Lopud, in the late afternoon. Known for its beaches, Lopud was the island where we had the most time to wander and chill out. We wandered along the waterfront for a bit, stopping at a few shops and a hidden botanical garden with wild turkeys. To get to the beach, we actually had to wander inland and get to the opposite side of the island, which was a 25 minute walk filled with hills through beautiful gardens of tomatoes, grapes, limes, figs, and more. We took a little time to just relax on the beach which immediately led to a complete zonk-out, although thankfully we woke up just in the nick of time to walk back, pick up a beer, and board our boat.
Upon returning to Dubrovnik, it was still a bit early for dinner even though the sun had already set, so we stopped by Buza Bar as mentally noted yesterday. Even though the sun had set and the cliff jumpers were long gone, we were able to enjoy being 2 of the only 4 people there, enjoying a drink while watching the sea at moonlight, which was very relaxing. By this time, our hunger had set in, so we headed back into town and found an outdoor seat at Oliva Gourmet for dinner. Dinner was far better tonight, starting with bruschetta and a Dalmatian smoked ham dish (similar to smoked prosciutto, not as good as prosciutto). For our entrees, Doug ordered a traditional Dalmatian macaroni dish, with long macaroni noodles and a beefy broth, while I had a delicious spaghetti with lemon sauce and pine nuts. Even though we may have had a pre-dinner snack of gelato, we still satiated our sweet tooth with a panna cotta served with forest fruits before heading back to our hotel for the night.