Holidays to Kolocep deposit you on one of Croatia’s most arresting islands, where the relaxed pace of life, the serene beaches, and the hidden ruins are just some of the highlights.
The Elaphite head turner
Of all the Elaphite Islands in the Adriatic Sea, Kolocep is surely the fairest of them all. With only 165 inhabitants at the last count, and not a single car, its charms are simple and its natural beauty abundant. It has 2 picture-postcard villages set around little bays. Donje Celo is on the north-west coast and Gornje Celo is to the south-west. Elsewhere, it’s all cove-spangled coastline, pine-cloaked hills, and crumbling Medieval ruins.
At Donje Celo there’s a large sand and pebble beach lining the bay, while at Gornje Celo there’s a smaller but no less beautiful beach. Both are family-friendly, with gently deepening water and natural shade. From the shoreline, kayaking and sailing are popular pursuits, and restaurants nearby serve leisurely lunches. More intrepid beach lovers can also explore Kolocep’s stash of secret coves along the southern coast, and get to the Blue Cave by boat. It colours everyone and everything in blue.
With its terracotta-roofed villas, 15th-century Ascension of Mary church, and shops and restaurants set back from the fishing harbour, Donje Celo is the island’s main village. In Gornje Celo, there’s also a pretty harbour and a church, but it’s an altogether quieter set-up. Between the 2 villages, there’s a pathway that cuts through forests of pine and carob, skirting past the ruins of pre-Romanesque churches that have been left to the elements.
Close to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik, or the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, is a 25-minute boat journey from Kolocep. As you approach Port Gruz harbour, the iconic Medieval city walls hove into view. Inside are fairytale palaces, churches and monasteries, plus a guidebook full of shops and restaurants. Stradun, the old town’s main artery, brims with stylish bars. This is where people head when night falls.
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