Kolocep Island, a hidden gem nestled in the stunning Adriatic Sea, has become a coveted destination for travelers seeking natural beauty, cultural enrichment, and tranquility. This lovely island, which is a part of Croatia’s picturesque Dalmatian Coast, provides tourists with a wide variety of experiences and activities alike.
Located conveniently close to Dubrovnik, this small island was one of my destinations in my journey along the Croatian coastline, which also included Zadar, Split and of course, Dubrovnik. I spent a little over a week in Kolocep and in this time I got to explore the island almost entirely. Now it’s your turn to plan a visit with the help of this comprehensive guide that will take you on a virtual tour, showcasing the best things to do and see. I’ll give you all the information you need to make the most of your time on this island, from exploring its pristine nature trails and sun-kissed beaches to learning about its rich historical and cultural heritage. Let’s dive into the myriad wonders of this beautiful island.
Getting to Kolocep Island
Arriving in Dubrovnik
To get to Kolocep Island, you must first find your way to Dubrovnik. There are many ways to get to Dubrovnik, Croatia, including flying, using a ferry, taking a bus, and more. Here are some common ways to reach Dubrovnik from both other countries and other places within Croatia:
- By air: The primary entry point for visitors from abroad is Dubrovnik Airport (DBV), which is situated about 15 km from the city center. It links Dubrovnik to other important European cities, including London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Rome. Seasonal flights are additionally accessible from multiple locations.
- By ferry: Ferries from Italy: Bari, Ancona, and Venice are just a few of the Italian locations from where you can board a ship to get to Dubrovnik. These ferry routes offer a scenic and leisurely way to arrive in Dubrovnik.
⛴️ I actually used the ferry to leave from Dubrovnik and go to Bari (with an overnight Jadrolinija ferry) and the experience was surprisingly pleasant – Soon I’ll write a new blog posts describing the details of ride, so make sure you follow me on Bloglovin to stay in the loop. Or, of course, follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
- By bus:
Domestic Buses: Split and Zagreb are only a couple of the major Croatian cities with good bus connections to Dubrovnik. Numerous bus companies run routes to and from Dubrovnik, offering a practical and affordable choice for domestic travel inside Croatia.
International Buses: Dubrovnik is connected by international bus lines to nearby countries including Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. For instance, you can go to Dubrovnik by bus from Kotor (Montenegro) or Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
- By car: You can rent a car and travel directly to Dubrovnik if you prefer to drive. Due to Croatia’s well-maintained road system, getting to Dubrovnik from different parts of the country is not too difficult. If you’re coming from a neighboring country, be sure to check the border crossing regulations.
- By cruise ship: In the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is a popular stop for cruise ships. Many Mediterranean cruise itineraries include a visit to this beautiful city, allowing passengers to explore its attractions during a day trip.
ℹ️ Note: If you’re arriving in Dubrovnik with a cruise ship and you only a day at your disposal, you might want to spend it in Dubrovnik instead of Kolocep island. You might feel differently if you already visited Dubrovnik in the past and you have no intention of doing it again or if you feel the need of a quiet day on the beach (or just a casual stroll), because Kolocep is much quieter than the crowded Dubrovnik.
- By catamaran: As an alternative to using the ferry, certain Croatian coastal cities provide catamaran services to Dubrovnik. If they are accessible from your departure point, these catamarans are quicker than conventional ferries and can be a practical choice.
ℹ️ Note: Due to its position, Dubrovnik does not have a direct train connection. The nearest train station is in Split, from where you can continue your journey by bus or other means.
Keep in mind that transportation options and schedules may vary by season, so it’s advisable to check with relevant transportation providers or websites for the most up-to-date information and availability based on your specific travel plans.
From Dubrovnik, travelers can reach the island mostly via ferry or boat, which provides a beautiful and picturesque route to their destination. Here are the key options for getting to Kolocep:
Ferry from Dubrovnik: Taking a ferry from the historic city of Dubrovnik is the most popular, practical and cheap way to get to Kolocep Island. Ferries frequently leave from Dubrovnik’s Old Town Harbor, and the trip takes 25 to 30 minutes. In addition to providing spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea and the nearby islands, the ferry trip itself is a lovely experience.
ℹ️ Note: You can only board the ferries as a foot passenger. On Kolocep there are no roads that can accommodate cars, which makes it a car-free island. There are only allowed vehicles like bikes, ATVs and small baggage carriers used by the one big hotel on the island.
Private Boats: You can organize a private boat transfer to Kolocep if you want a more individualized and flexible experience. This service is provided by numerous local businesses, enabling you to travel in comfort and on a schedule that suits you to the island.
ℹ️ Note: There are also boats that run tours to nearby islands, starting from Dubrovnik. These boats also stop at Kolocep, but you’ll only have around 30 minutes to an hour to explore the island before the boat leaves for the next stop. Without knowing confidently which direction to be headed, you’ll probably just spend the time wandering through the woods, without seeing too much of the island or its best parts.
It’s crucial to remember that transportation options to Kolocep Island may change depending on the season. Ferry schedules are more frequent during the busiest summer months to accommodate the greater number of tourists. While planning your journey, it’s essential to double-check the current timetables and availability as ferry services may be less frequent during the off-season. Additionally, keep an eye out for any possible weather-related disruptions that could impede ferry services, particularly in the winter.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find Kolocep Island to be a haven of natural beauty and recreational options. Whether you enjoy the beach, hiking, or are just looking for adventure in nature, this island has something to capture your interest.
Hiking and Nature Trails
There are numerous hiking and nature trails on Kolocep Island that will take you through lush landscapes and unforgettable sights. Put your hiking boots on and go exploring:
Donje Celo to Gornje Celo Trail: This route offers breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea as it goes from Donje Celo village to Gornje Celo. You’ll pass through scented pine trees and tranquil coves ideal for taking a dip along the way.
The Blue Cave Trail: Take a walk to the secret Blue Cave to see the mesmerizing interaction of sunlight and glistening water. The underwater entry to the cave gives your journey an element of adventure.
Belvedere Overlook: Hike to the Belvedere overlook for stunning views of the entire island and beyond. It’s an ideal spot for sunrise or sunset photography.
Beaches and Water Activities
Kolocep Island is a good spot for water enthusiasts thanks to its quiet beaches and clear waters. Here’s what you can enjoy:
Šunj Beach: This beach is on the southeast coast of the island, is well-known for its sandy, shallow bottom, making it a great place for swimmers and families. Paddle-boarding and beach volleyball are additional popular activities there.
Sveti Ivan Beach: This lovely pebble beach on the island’s northern shore offers peace and seclusion. It’s a great location for snorkeling and seeing the aquatic life below the surface.
Kayaking Adventures: Rent a kayak and discover the secret coves and sea caverns of Kolocep. For those interested in getting expert insight into the island’s coastal beauties, guided kayak tours are also available.
Boat tours: There are a few tour options for going around the island in a boat. Booking a boat tour is a great way to reach the Blue Cave.
Discovering Kolocep’s beauty at your own pace is made possible by cycling throughout the island. Here’s what you can expect:
Bike Rentals: Bikes are available in a number of locations around the island, including electric and mountain bikes to suit your preferences.
Coastal Cycling Routes: Ride your bike around the island’s picturesque coastline paths, stopping at secluded beaches along the way to take in the breathtaking sea views.
Villages Exploration: Utilize your bicycle to discover the quaint towns of Donje Celo and Gornje Celo, where you can learn about the history and culture of this region.
Outdoor activities on Kolocep Island guarantee a wonderful fusion of excitement and unspoiled beauty, whether you’re cycling through stunning landscapes, sunbathing on pristine beaches, or hiking along scenic trails. Don’t forget to bring your camera so you can capture the stunning scenes you see on this idyllic Croatian island.
Historical and Cultural Sites
Despite being small, Kolocep Island is incredibly rich in culture and history. Discover the quaint churches, and authentic Croatian cuisine to fully experience the island’s rich heritage.
Kolocep Island Churches
The island is home to several old churches, each with its own historical significance and architectural beauty. Here are some notable ones to visit:
Church of St. Nicholas: One of the island’s oldest churches, it is situated in the village of Donje Celo and dates back to the 12th century. Admire the peaceful atmosphere and Romanesque architecture that surrounds it.
Church of Our Lady of the Snow: This church is known for its lovely location overlooking the sea and is located in Gornje Celo. It’s an excellent spot for contemplation and admiring the coastline.
St. Sergius Church: Visit this charming chapel dedicated to St. Sergius on the island’s eastern side. Its peaceful surroundings and proximity to the sea make it a serene place to explore.
Traditional Croatian Cuisine
Discover the flavors of Croatia by indulging in the island’s culinary offerings:
Local Restaurants: Enjoy authentic Croatian cuisine at local restaurants around the island. The menu frequently features grilled meats, fresh seafood, and dishes with a Mediterranean flair.
Specialty Dishes: Don’t pass up the chance to experience local dishes like pasticada (slow-cooked beef in wine sauce), black risotto, and octopus salad. For an authentic experience, pair up local wine with your favorite meal.
Local Produce: Try fresh produce, olive oil, and wines at the island’s markets. These are all essential elements of Croatian cuisine.
Relaxation and Wellness
Kolocep Island’s serene environment provides the perfect backdrop for relaxation and rejuvenation. This Croatian paradise offers the chance to unwind, whether you’re looking for a spa day, yoga classes, or simply a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle.
Spa and Wellness Centers
Because the island is so small, there is unfortunately only one spa and wellness center and it’s part of the BLUE Kalamota Island resort. It offers a full range of spa treatments, including massages, facials, and body scrubs. Relax in the tranquil setting while skilled therapists help you unwind.
ℹ️ Note: Please be aware that other accommodation establishments on the island might offer some spa services as well, but I might not be aware of them.
Yoga and Meditation Retreats
The tranquil atmosphere on Kolocep Island encourages mindfulness and inner calm. Take into account these choices for yoga and meditation:
Beachfront Yoga: Some accommodation facilities offer yoga classes in tranquil beach side settings, letting you discover balance while surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Yoga Retreats: Keep an eye out for any special retreats that the island may host for yoga and meditation. These retreats frequently incorporate everyday routines with holistic wellness activities.
ℹ️ Note: To check for upcoming yoga sessions on the island, just Google “yoga kolocep” and research the results.
Immersing yourself in nature is sometimes the best way to unwind. Kolocep Island offers the following natural retreats:
Hidden Beaches: Look for the island’s less frequented beaches so you can relax in peace and quiet, read a book, or just take in the calming sounds of the water.
Scenic Walks: Enjoy leisurely strolls along the island’s charming coastline paths while letting the soothing sounds of the waves and the sea breeze help you decompress.
Meditative Moments: Find a peaceful area to meditate, practice mindfulness, or just take in the peace and quiet of the island, possibly under a tree or on a rocky outcrop overlooking the water.
Kolocep Island is a great choice for people wishing to refuel their body and mind because of its emphasis on relaxation and wellness. On this Croatian paradise, there are plenty of possibilities to relax and discover your inner calm, whether your preference is yoga, spa treatments, or simply taking in the natural beauty of the island.
Kolocep Island comes alive through vibrant gatherings of cultural significance that invite visitors to immerse themselves in the local way of life.
Saint Nicholas Day: On Kolocep Island, this holiday, which takes place on December 6th, has special significance. It is marked with religious ceremonies, processions, and gatherings for feasts, providing a window into the island’s spiritual traditions.
Velika Gospa (Feast of the Assumption of Mary): The Virgin Mary is honored on August 15th during the religious festival known as Velika Gospa. On Kolocep, pilgrims from the mainland and nearby islands congregate for church services and processions, fostering a distinctively cultural ambiance.
You can easily expand your horizons with these day trips ideas:
Elaphiti Islands Tour: Consider taking a boat tour to the other Elaphiti Islands (one of them is Kolocep) – Lopud and Sipan. Every island presents different sights and experiences.
Dubrovnik Excursions: Kolocep Island is conveniently located close to Dubrovnik. Take the ferry to Dubrovnik and spend the day touring the Old Town, the city walls, and all the other famous sightseeing opportunities.
To guarantee a smooth and pleasurable visit, it is important to have useful information at your fingertips before setting off on your journey to Kolocep Island. Here’s what you need to know:
Hotels&Resorts: There is only one luxury resort on the island (TUI Blue Kalamota Island), but there are also a few other small apart-hotels that are very chic, like Kalamota Beach House.
Villas: There are a lot of beautiful villas on Kolocep. Many of them have sea view and others are even beachfront. My recommendations would be Villa Sea Dream Koločep (beautiful terrace where you can have your coffee and breakfast every morning) or Villa Đardin (located in Donje Čelo, this option is suitable to a larger group because the villa is book entirely – oh, and it has a private beach!)
Apartments: Are you ready for the best apartments on the island? If you’re looking for something with a more modern vibe than the other options in here, check out Apartments Elica. If you’re looking for an alternative, try Apartment Iva&Andro or even better – Apartments Miskovic.
Guest Houses: Here I can only recommend you the guest house where I stayed during my island vacation – Guest House Oreb. My host was such a nice lady, who went above and beyond to offer us an amazing stay. There was a bit of a language barrier between us, because she spoke German and almost no English, but we manged just fine :)
🗣️ If you also need help in overcoming language barriers while traveling, give this a read.
Dining and Nightlife
Local Cuisine: Kolocep Island is home to small eateries and pubs that provide traditional Croatian food. Don’t pass up the chance to indulge in delectable local specialties like pasticada and black risotto as well as fresh fish and grilled meats.
Cafes and bars: On the island, you can relax with a morning coffee or an afternoon beverage. Even though Kolocep’s nightlife is very discreet, there are bars that open in the evenings and serve local wines and beverages.
Currency and Payment
Croatia uses the Croatian Kuna (HRK) as its official currency. While some places might take credit cards, make sure you always have some cash on you. There is at least one ATM on the island if you want to withdraw money on the spot.
The official language of Kolocep Island and Croatia is Croatian. While English is commonly spoken in tourist areas, it’s helpful to learn a few basic Croatian phrases to enhance your travel experience.
What to pack
A vacation on Kolocep is no different than any other vacation on other islands. Don’t forget your flip flops, sun hat, basic toiletries or your book/e-book for the beach.
🌴 For a complete checklist on what you need to pack for an island vacation, check this article.
Safety and Health
Services for Emergencies: In Croatia, dial 112 in case of an emergency. There is a medical facility on Kolocep Island, however if you’re facing a more serious condition, you might need to travel to Dubrovnik to have it checked.
Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to shield yourself from the sun’s rays because the Mediterranean sun may be very strong.
Water Safety: Drinking the water from the tap on Kolocep Island is safe, although bottled water is also easily accessible if you want it.
You can make the most of your trip to Kolocep Island if you keep this useful advice in mind. This information can ensure a memorable and trouble-free time spent on this Croatian paradise, whether you’re looking for lodging, food alternatives, or general advice.
As our virtual tour of Kolocep Island comes to an end, it is undisputed that this lovely Croatian paradise has a multitude of experiences to suit the needs of any traveler. Kolocep Island welcomes exploration, leisure, and learning thanks to the natural beauty of its surrounding landscape and the rich tapestry of its cultural legacy.
Kolocep Island guarantees to leave a lasting impression on your heart and spirit, regardless of whether you decide to stroll along its picturesque paths, enjoy its pristine beaches, or explore its historical and cultural treasures. The island’s peace and tranquillity offer the ideal setting for unwinding, wellness, and mindfulness, making it a top choice for travelers looking for a revitalizing getaway.