An easy ferry ride away from Dubrovnik’s Gruž harbour, the lush, vegetation-carpeted Elaphite Islands (Elafiti) present the perfect opportunity to savour the Croatian Adriatic at its unspoilt, get-away-from-it-all best. Strung out between Dubrovnik and the Pelješac peninsula to the north, the Elaphites got their name (literally the “deer islands”) from first-century-AD Roman geographer Pliny the Elder, who mentioned them in his 37-volume Historia Naturalis. The Elaphites became part of the Dubrovnik Republic from the fourteenth century, sharing in its prosperity and then its decline – by the middle of the eighteenth century many island villages lay abandoned and depopulation had become a major problem. Today, only three of the islands are inhabited – Koločep, Lopud and Šipan – each of which supports a modest tourist industry. Despite the daily influx of trippers from Dubrovnik, however, tourism on the Elaphites remains reassuringly low key, the almost total absence of cars contributing to the mellow feel: private vehicles are not allowed on any of the islands except Šipan.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Croatia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: a 1 minute guide to Croatia

Video: a 1 minute guide to Croatia

Croatia is one of Europe's most popular summer destinations, thanks to its superb food, fun festivals and string of beautiful islands. Whether it's beaches, nat…

12 May 2017 • Rough Guides Editors videocam Video
Split or Dubrovnik: where should you go first?

Split or Dubrovnik: where should you go first?

Split and Dubrovnik are the stars of Croatian tourism. Both have an ancient core historic enough to be listed by UNESCO yet vibrant enough to remain home to a s…

17 Apr 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month