The island of Koločep, also known as Kalamata is one of the three inhabited Elaphiti Islands in Croatia. Pick up the Jadrolinija ferry from Gruz Harbour in Dubrovnik and be sitting on the beach in under 40 minutes. The island is quiet and has one hotel which is only open to residents, three independent restaurants, and a couple of cafe/bars to keep you entertained.
There are a few Airbnb properties available if you want to spend a night on the island. There are no cars on Kolocep, so the ferry is the only way in or out unless you fancy the swim home! You need to make sure that you have a timetable to hand for the return journey, so you don’t end up stranded.
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Hiking in Croatia
We arrived on the early morning ferry from Dubrovnik, ready to hike Kolocep and enjoy a day with nature. Bring provisions with you as there are only a couple of small shops in the harbour and make sure you have plenty of water for the hike as there are no shops on route.
The 8km hike takes you through the pine forest, around cliffs and coves and past traditional Croatian villages. The views are constantly changing from dense forest to open views of the azure Adriatic waters that surround the island.
From the pebble beach, we headed up the steep track at the start of our hike, which passed traditional Croatian houses and a small church. Our reward was a beautiful panoramic view across the Bay of Kolocep.
Further along the track, there were two options to take. One path leads to a shingle beach, and the continuing path is the hiking route around the island. We took the hiking route and were rewarded with the pre-Romanesque Chapel of St Nicholas standing beneath the pine trees.
The chapel dated back to the 12th century and was a peaceful place to take a rest before continuing on our journey through citrus and olive groves.
Enjoy the Beauty of Croatia
The scenery was changing all the time from dense woodland to open views of the ocean but be aware that the walk is on unmade paths and fallen pine needles, so you need to have decent footwear on to be able to tackle it; flip-flops won’t be suitable!
We arrived at an open picnic area where we finally saw some locals and checked with them that we were heading in the right direction as our navigational skills left a lot to be desired.
Steps at this rocky outlet take you down to one of the numerous hidden coves scattered around the island, and it is here that you can swim to the “Blue Cave”, but we chose to sit and enjoy the view before continuing to the lighthouse. The aroma of pine as you criss-cross the paths through the forest is amazing.
The sky was changing from bright blue to overcast, and we hoped that it wouldn’t rain. By the time we reached the lighthouse, the sea was crashing against the rocks, and the sky had turned grey.
Sitting at the end of steep steps with no protection from the elements felt quite dangerous. I felt it was a little too precarious to try to reach the lighthouse with huge waves crashing all around the rocks and so on this occasion I admired it from afar!
Wandering through the forest, we passed a village consisting of a few houses, some chickens and a cat who seemed to be taunting us. Deja vu kicked in, and I’m sure we had doubled back on ourselves without realising it.
As we walked, the skies turned darker, and the rain clouds came in, it is incredible how quickly the weather can change. The rain came down hard, and we waited for it to ease before continuing our hike.
We passed another small fishing harbour before arriving back at our starting point, Donje Celo Beach. We abandoned our boots, cooled our toes in the water and enjoyed a crisp Croatian wine while watching the sunset. The perfect end to our hike in Croatia.
My honest opinion of Kolocep
What month did I travel? September
How was the weather? It was a mixture of sun, cloud and rain.
Would I recommend hiking in Kolocep? Yes, it is a pretty island, and a hike around it will immerse you in all nature has to offer. We only saw a few people during our hike, so it feels like you have the island all to yourself. It is a complete contrast to Dubrovnik and is worth the time to explore.
Where did we stay? We were staying on the mainland by Dubrovnik’s City Walls.