Lopud Island is the most charismatic of the Elaphite Islands, dotted around 17 kilometres off the coast of Dubrovnik. Once the summer getaway for aristocratic families from the mainland, these days it’s an up-and-coming destination for holidaymakers, drawn by its superb beach and relaxed pace of life. There’s just one village on the entire island. It’s little more than an enclave of pretty stone houses framed by citrus groves and a picture-postcard bay.
Follow the trail through the pine forests and you can reach the other side of the island in around 25 minutes. The walk finishes at Sunj Beach, which is something of a celebrity in Croatia. It dominates the whole width of a scenic horseshoe bay with its pale sands unfurling for almost a kilometre. It’s ideal for families with children as the Adriatic stays knee-deep for almost 100 metres out to sea. You’ll find a generous helping of sunbeds and umbrellas, a pair of reliable restaurants, and a welcoming atmosphere.
Set around a fishing harbour, Lopud has a motley collection of Dalmatian stone houses and rustic, waterfront restaurants, bolstered by an old fortress, an ethnographic museum, and a Franciscan monastery. The main boulevard – car-free, like everywhere else on the island – curls around the bay, and the little side roads climb up the hillside to give terrific views of the coastline.
Close to Dubrovnik
A 55-minute ferry ride away is the city of Dubrovnik. Built in the Middle Ages, it’s crammed with luxurious palaces, dormouse-quiet churches, and a harbour where merchants once landed with exotic treasures from foreign lands. You can walk a circuit around the Medieval ramparts, vaulted above the azure sea, or unwind at the street cafés along Stradun, the old town’s main thoroughfare.