Elafiti Islands, Croatia
Looking for an unforgettable escape from the ordinary? Šipan is the perfect place for you. Lying in the beautiful archipelago of the Elaphite Islands near Dubrovnik, it is a timeless destination where nature and history unite.
On our Šipan travel guide, you can find out all about attractions, activities and hidden gems on the island. Plan a relaxing Croatian getaway and book your ferry tickets on Ferryhopper with ease.
View of the fishing port in the picturesque village of Suđurađ in Šipan
Vacation in Šipan
Šipan is one of the Elafites, an archipelago that stretches northwest of Dubrovnik. Out of 14 islands, Šipan is the largest (16.5 km2) and most charming - no wonder why it was a chic summer getaway for the Dubrovnik aristocracy.
Also known as the “Golden Island” because of its richness in olive oil, it has managed to keep its authenticity and magic, and makes a perfect escape from the summer crowds. Šipan is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty, rich history and delicious cuisine of Croatia. It will surely capture your heart, whether you’re traveling with your family or with your significant other.
How to get to Šipan
Getting to Šipan in Croatia is only possible by ferry from the mainland port of Dubrovnik. You can also get to Šipan from Mljet as well as the neighboring Elafiti Islands of Koločep and Lopud.
For more information regarding ferries to Šipan, check out our relevant section below.
What to do in Šipan
The island might be low-key and a perfect place for total relaxation, but that doesn’t mean that it’s short of activities. Active travelers can take advantage of the island’s unique beauty by hiking, biking, swimming, windsurfing, or kayaking.
Šipan has a marvelous network of nature trails. Head 243 m up at Velji Vrh for some of the most scenic views on the island. The routes are well-marked and quaint, but hiking to the top is challenging (it will take you 2 hours). Another option is to hike or cycle along the Šipansko Polje valley between Šipanska Luka and Suđurađ, and explore the quaint villages, olive groves and lush countryside.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a boating adventure around the peaceful and stunning archipelago of the Elafiti Islands. Hop aboard a boat, spend some time sunbathing and swimming, and enjoy a leisurely seaside lunch.
Interested in discovering more about Šipan’s rich history? Wander the ancient, cobbled streets, stroll down to the Rector's Palace, visit the summer residences of the Sorkočević and Katina families, as well as the parish church of Saint Stephen First Martyr.
Breathtaking view from a coastal nature trail in Šipan
Beaches in Šipan
Šipan is home to numerous wonderful coves, many of which are quieter and more serene than some of Croatia's other destinations, featuring stunning sapphire waters and lovely surroundings.
Here you can find 2 of the best beaches in Šipan:
- Šipanska Luka: this small sandy beach is located about 500 m from the center of the village. It’s particularly popular among families with small children thanks to its gently sloping shores. There’s not much natural shade, but lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for rent.
- Suđurađ: located in the small harbor bay in the center of Suđurađ, this pebbled beach is surrounded by shady trees, restaurants, cafés, old stone houses, castles, and more. Bathers can also rent canoes and boats.
Tip: all swimming spots are within walking distance from both Suđurađ and Šipanska Luka.
Sightseeing in Šipan
Of all the Elafiti Islands, Šipan has by far the most historic sites and monuments. With 42 old summer houses and noblemen’s villas, 34 churches as well as numerous chapels and Roman remains, it’s a must-visit destination for history buffs.
Some of the best sights and attractions in Šipan are:
- The Castle of Stjepović - Skočibuha, built in the 16th century and located in the town of Suđurađ, this is one of the largest and most significant preserved buildings on the island
- The Church of St. Mary that features the polyptych of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, it’s located in Pakljena and was built in the 14th century
- The fortified church of the Holy Spirit, containing several paintings that date to the 15th century
- The Pakljena tower, dating back to 1563 was built to help defend against invading pirates
- The Šipanska Luka Archaeological Museum, which exhibits the island’s history and culture
- The late-Gothic Rector's Palace
- The summer houses of the Sorkočević and Katina families
- The parish church of Saint Stephen First Martyr
The impressive Skočibuha Palace tower in the village of Suđurađ
Nightlife in Šipan
Šipan isn’t as lively as some of the other Croatian islands. This makes it the kind of location where visitors can unwind amidst a pristine environment at a laid-back cocktail bar or a top-notch seaside restaurant. Nothing compares to relaxing while watching the sun set over the stunning Adriatic Sea.
Food in Šipan
In addition to tranquility, another reason why Šipan is becoming an increasingly popular destination is its gastronomic offer. In fact, Šipan is home to some of the yummiest cuisine in Croatia, with local, fresh ingredients.
Visitors will be able to sample a wide range of traditional Croatian delicacies as well as some fusion dishes that incorporate elements of other cuisines. The island is particularly famous for its figs and melons, wine and herbs, and of course, its olive oil, which is not surprising considering that Šipan holds the record number of olive trees per square meter.
Tip: two of the most popular places to eat in Šipan are Bowa Restaurant and Kod Marka.
Useful information for Šipan
Šipan is the largest but least developed island in the Elafiti archipelago. It’s easy to reach for a day trip from Dubrovnik, but we highly recommend staying here for at least 1 night.
There are just 2 main villages on the island of Šipan - Suđurađ, on the southeastern tip of the island and Šipanska Luka, on the western side, which are connected by a road about 5 km long. While there are only 2 hotels on the island, there are dozens of smaller apartments where you can hide away.
Keep in mind that the island does not have a petrol station, nor a pharmacy, but there are a few grocery stores and a clinic. The nearest hospital to the island is in Dubrovnik.
The idyllic village of Šipanska Luka with old villas and palm trees
Important phone numbers for your stay in Šipan
Take a look at some phone numbers that may prove handy during your stay in Šipan:
- Suđurađ ferry port: +38560321321
- Clinic: +385917856651
- Šipan Tourist Office: +38520758084
- Police: 192
- Ambulance: 194
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Šipan
Unlike the islands of Koločep and Lopud, Šipan isn't car-free. However, it is still relatively peaceful and small enough to be enjoyed without a car. There is only one main road that goes from the port at Suđurađ to Šipanska Luka (it would take you about 1 hour on foot).
Biking and kayaking are generally the most popular ways to explore the island of Šipan and its hidden gems.
Ports in Šipan
Šipan provides 2 ports: Suđurađ and Šipanska Luka.
Šipanska Luka (Porto Gippana) is the main port in Šipan. Located at the end of a deep inlet, it is a very popular destination for sailors being a well protected harbor.
Suđurađ (San Giorgio) is a smaller harbor lined with stone houses. Buses, mainly timed around the ferries, connect the two villages.
Island hopping from Šipan
Šipan Island is often visited whilst on an island-hopping holiday. A quick glimpse at our interactive Map of ferries is enough to show you the islands you can visit from Šipan by ferry! This includes boarding the TP-Line ferry from Šipan to Mljet, as well as the Jadrolinija ferry to the neighboring Elafiti Islands of Koločep and Lopud.
Tip: be aware that depending on the time of year and the weather, the frequency and availability of some ferry routes between the Croatian islands may vary.
Šipan ferry: schedules and tickets
Šipan is one of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik. You can find multiple daily ferry departures from the port of Gruž in Dubrovnik to both ports of Šipan all year long. Dubrovnik - Šipan ferry tickets cost around €3-€6, while the trip lasts 45 minutes to around 2 hours.
Tip: if you want to travel from Dubrovnik to Šipan with your car, you’ll have to take the Jadrolinija ferry to the port of Suđurađ. Alternatively, we recommend leaving it at a parking lot close to the port of Dubrovnik.
Boats resting around the port and village of Suđurađ in Šipan
Book ferry tickets to Šipan online
Ready to explore the breathtaking natural beauty of Šipan? Browse all ferry schedules to the enchanting Croatian island on Ferryhopper, compare companies, timetables and prices, and book your Šipan ferry tickets step-by-step.
Useful info: interested in discovering more Croatian islands? Have a look at our blog about the top islands to visit in Croatia.