Sailing to Šipan Island with Your Dog – Dalmatia – Croatia
Sailing to Šipan Island with Your Dog: Our first stop on our sailing trip along the Dalmatian coast was on the largest of the Elaphiti Islands, Šipan. The island is about a 17-kilometre sail northwest of Dubrovnik. We followed the Koločepski Channel to reach the small town of Sudurad where we anchored in the tiny marina for the night.
The entire island has maybe 500 inhabitants. Life on the island is connected to the sea and the land. People farm olives, figs, and grapes for wine. Almond, carob, and pomegranate trees dot the hills as well as orange and other citrus trees.
The air is heavy with the smell of herbs that grow without rhyme or reason in a prolific, chaotic profusion. Huge oregano and thyme bushes practically block the roads and are often used as unruly fences to define property lines.
We docked in the marina in the tiny, enchanting town of Sudurad. It was quiet and picturesque as the sun set on our arrival. While walking about waiting for the restaurants to open, we were greeted by a large and friendly St. Bernard who seemed to be the unofficial guardian of the local castle or fort!
We followed the path that sends you around the local ruins. None of the ruins are really structurally safe or open to the public, but you can get a good glimpse. The number of churches on such a small island is mind-boggling. Our Skipper, Toni said the island has about five churches or chapels per inhabitant. Near the marina, with just maybe twenty full-time residences, there are three churches and four chapels!
Mostly, it is fishermen who live in Sudurad. After a long day at sea, they come home, play a game or two of boule, and enjoy a few drinks at the bar before heading to their families for dinner.
Life has a different rhythm on Šipan. I could see this being the perfect spot for a recluse writer to spend a year writing his or her novel. The writer could walk the two or three tiny little streets or hike the hills in solitary peace for inspiration.
Although small, Šipan has tourists in the summer, a ferry that serves the island, and two restaurants and a bar. Choice of food is limited but the quality of what is served is absolutely amazing. The fish platter our group shared at our first meal as a team remained the dish we spoke about for the rest of the trip. The fish could not be fresher: the restaurant waits for the fishermen to return to buy the catch of the day in order to open.
The bar had been set! If you can, and do have time to eat at this little restaurant, DO!
The next morning, the skies were grey and we were all eager to head out and see more of the Dalmatian coast. But I am glad we spent our first evening in Šipan. It’s good to be where quiet resides. It’s a nice reminder that there are still places in the world where the rhythm of the tide dictates the speed that humans move. It’s wonderful.
In review: Sailing to Šipan Island with Your Dog is a good idea. It’s a very quiet and pet-friendly stop with a wonderful and safe marina for the night. A tiny stop offering up a GREAT pet-friendly restaurant, as well as a lovely wine tasting stop, fabulous hikes, ruins, and amazing sunsets. You can check out a few extra photos on my FB page.