Lokrum is an island in immediate proximity to Dubrovnik. In 1976 it was proclaimed a national treasure and a special reserve of forest flora, which makes it a favourite spot for walking, bathing and recreation of the people of Dubrovnik and their visitors. The botanical garden, Benedictine abbey and the Royale fort were built by the French in the 19th century, and now offer a cultural part of this island’s riches. It is great for bathing, and on the southern part of the island you will find the so-called Dead Sea, a small lake of sea water connected by underwater channel with the open sea, numerous rocky beaches and a nudist beach in the southeast of the island.
The Elafiti islands is an island cluster near Dubrovnik, named after the Greek word elaphos meaning deer. Even though deer don’t inhabit the island today, the islands are truly a typical example of a unique coastal area, the so-called Dalmatian coast. The island group consists of bigger islands: Šipan, Lopun, Koločep or Kalamota, Jakljan, Daksa, Sv. Andrija and Olipa; and several smaller islands; Mižnjak, Kosmeč, Tajan, Goleč, Crkvine and others. This almost intact natural wealth is located at only a few nautical miles from Dubrovnik and offers an unforgettable and utterly different experience of visiting Dubrovnik. The sea around Dubrovnik and the Elafiti is extremely clear, with a unique blue of the Adriatic, probably the safest sea for bathing in the entire world.
Šipan is the biggest island of the Elfiti islands, with the area of 16.5 square kilometres, at the same time inhabited but also most distant from Dubrovnik. It is connected with the Town by a daily shipping line, thus easy to visit. There are two small localities there, Šipanska Luka, with just over 300 people in the west, and Suđurađ in the east, with the population of around 200. These two localities are linked by a narrow 5-kilometer-long road. Historically, this island was of immense significance for the Dubrovnik Republic, which is why archives contain mentions of this island dating as far back as 1371. There are around 30 little churches dispersed around the island, all built in the Middle Ages, however, most of them are ruinous nowadays. Of other sights, one should visit a renaissance castle belonging to the Stjepković-Skočibuha family, the building of which started in 1529, as well as Kula Pakljena and the Church of the Holy Spirit in Suđurađ. The island provides minor hotel facilities and fish restaurants in Luka Šipanska.
Lopud is the second largest island of the Elafiti, with the area of 4.63 square kilometres and one inhabited locality of the same name with the population of around 200. The locality is situated on the north-western side of the island, between two hills with the view of Šipan, and a sandy beach. Lopud prides itself with several well-known quality fish restaurants, which are often hot spots of local and foreign visitors. Lopud also offers accommodation facilities and cultural-historical sights, such as the garden of the local park from the 19th century, Franciscan and Dominican abbeys, as well as ruins of many buildings from the Roman ages. On the other side of the island there is the only sandy beach in the entire territory of and around Dubrovnik, linked to the locality of Lopud by a beautiful walking path. The beach is called Šunj, and the very bay holds two restaurants offering simple food and refreshments to the visitors.
Koločep is an inhabited island closest to Dubrovnik; only three kilometres away, with two localities; Gornje čelo and Donje čelo. The island is also called “the island of knowledge”, because, according to the legend, a herd of the Greek god Helios was grazing the fields of this sunny island. The villages are located on the east and west of the island, linked by a 15-minute-walking path to the interior of the island, where you will find olive, lemon and orange trees. Donje čelo is the name of the place situated in the northern part of the island, which has a hotel with a sandy beach. It also offers two restaurants, of which villa ‘Ruža’ is most famous – its terrace built as a gazebo has had as guest many local and foreign visitors. Gornje čelo in the east is a favourite visiting place of the locals, for the beauty of the surrounding bays is further beautified by peace and quiet away from the Town.
Cavtat is the largest urban core in the south of Croatia, in Konavle. The town is located about 14 kilometres south of Dubrovnik, on the Rat peninsula, which together with the Sustjepan peninsula creates a well protected bay popular among the yachting guests. Cavtat, or the antique Epidaurus, was an essential Roman colony in this area, which perished after the Slavs and Avars penetrated these territories, followed by the fall of the Roman Empire. The inhabitants fled to the neighbouring Laus Rave Ragusa, from which Dubrovnik arose. In the historical records, Cavtat is mentioned also as Ragusa Vecchia, which describes the link between the two localities. During the Dubrovnik Republic, Cavtat was the second most important place and the port of the Republic, heritage of which are countless buildings available to all visitors. The Rector’s Palace in Cavtat, the Church of St Nicholas, the Church of Our Lady of Snow, the mausoleum of the Račić family are only a few of the amenities almost all our guests visit. Cavtat holds many hotels and restaurant with a long tradition of tourism.
Ston is a small town on the Pelješac peninsula with an immense historical heritage. The town of Ston is surrounded by the longest wall in the whole world, the Walls of Ston, 4.5 kilometres long. They were built with the purpose of defending the town and its famous 3000-year-old salt pans, which even today manufacture salt in the traditional way. In antiquity, Ston was first an Illyrian and then a Greek colony, after 167 BC it became a Roman locality, and in 877 a diocese of Croatian territories, which makes it the oldest diocese and the centre of the Zahumlje rulers. In 1333 the Dubrovnik Republic bought off the Pelješac peninsula and Ston from the ruler of Zahumlje, thus beginning the building of the walls. Nowadays, Ston is a gastronomically famous fish and seafood destination just a 40-minute drive away from Dubrovnik. The Noah’s ark and oyster shells are considered one of the most delicious globally. Numerous restaurants offer traditional Dalmatian cuisine to visitors from all over the world.
Trsteno is a village not far from Dubrovnik with the only arboretum on the Adriatic coast. In 1948, at the Gučetić’s family estate a monument of garden architecture of Trsteno was established. These renowned gardens of the Gučetić family from 1494 are recognizable for most visitors, as they offers countless exotic plants and wonderful natural flora such as indigenous oaks, Aleppo pine, cypress and dense evergreen underbrush. This amazing garden was the favourite spot of many a philosopher, poet and musician of Dubrovnik, who sought their inspiration in the beautiful nature of the Gučetičs’ gardens just next to their summer mansion, a symbol of the architecture of the Dubrovnik coast.
The central-Dalmatia island of Korčula stretches towards the west, from the very tip of the Pelješac peninsula. It is 46.8 kilometres long, has an area of about 270 square kilometres and is the sixth largest island on the Adriatic Sea. It is divided from the Pelješac peninsula by the Pelješac canal, the shortest distance between the two being 1270 metres, daily crossed by ferries, thus enabling car transportation. There are a series of protected ports on the island, most famous of which are Korčula in the north-eastern part and Vela Luka at the farthest west part of the island.
The island of Kočula has been inhabited since pre-historic times, and the traces of this ancient life have been discovered all around. The oldest findings are stone knives from the Neolithic on the little island of Badija near the town of Korčula. The most abundant Neolithic finding is Vela Spilja (the Big Cave) in Vela Luka. In the 6th century BC, the Greek started populating the island, first near Vela Luka, naming the island Corcyra Melaina (black). Korčula is well-known for their wine, olives and the rich cultural-historical legacy of many nations and generations.
The town of Korčula was first mentioned in the work of the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphirogenet in the 10th century, as a town defended by walls; however it owes its contemporary appearance to the rebuilding conducted in the 15th century, when it acquired a renaissance stamp. Furthermore, Korčula is the birth town of Marco Polo, whose house is a must-see museum in the old town core. One of Korčula’s many specificities which makes it recognizable throughout the world s the renown knighthood game of ‘Moreška’, during which a white and a black king, Osman and Moro, have been fighting for the love of a girl, ‘bula’, for 500 years now. Nowadays, ‘Moreška’ is played in Korčula exclusively. Even though it is not originally from the area, it has become a symbol of Korčula, alongside its shipbuilding, olive growing, wine and stone-mason’s trade.
Mostar – A town globally known as ‘the blend of the East and the West’ was built around the Old Bridge erected in 1566 close to the former chain bridge. Today, it is the biggest town of the Herzegovina region with the population of about 130, 000. The central building is the Old Bridge, the most famous tourist attraction of contemporary Herzegovina, representing the blending of the Roman Catholic part of the town with the Muslim part. Unfortunately, during the latest war, in 1992, the bridge was demolished in the Croat-Muslim conflicts, however, after the war, thanks to immense efforts of the European Union, it has been rebuilt, today again presenting the beauty and harmony of Oriental culture. Jumpers are famous as well, providing entertainment with their 25-metre jumps from the bridge into the Neretva river, so in the summer months you can often hear clapping and exhilaration of the viewers. Mostar is made even more beautiful by numerous mosques, Islamic places of worship symbolizing the religion of the Muslim part of town. The craftsmen of Mostar are also widely known, offering traditional souvenirs with symbols of both the eastern and the western cultures. There are many restaurants holding original Bosnian delicacies, which contribute to the entire feeling of the three-border point of religions and climates in this unique town.
Montenegro is one of the smallest countries of the Southeastern Balkans. Its total area encompasses 13, 812 square kilometres, and its capital is Podgorica. With the population of just over 650, 000, it is one of the European states with the least inhabitants. What make this country interesting are first and foremost its mountain ranges pressing the narrow strip of coast, thus creating a very special scene. Apart from its natural beauties, Montenegro offers an interesting historical heritage; the heritage of a country which has never completely fell in the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The heroic battles from the times of fighting the Turks have on many later occasions fallen under the shadow of different options and alliances primarily with the Serbs under diverse historical circumstances, however, all of the said above makes the history of Montenegro – the country which you definitely should and can visit on a one-day trip from Dubrovnik. The most well-known tourist destinations are coastal towns Kotor and Budva. Both are walled towns containing numerous historical buildings, and in the inland you could visit Cetinje, which is a historical royal city.