Friday, 1 April 2022

Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls: 1. Island of Kolocep (Kalamota)

April 1, 2022 - Dubrovnik is perceived to be a 2-day destination with everything concentrated inside the UNESCO old town, but it is so much more than that. Find out what, in the first of a new TCN series - Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls. Meet the island of Kolocep, also known as Kalamota. 

Seeing things with a fresh pair of eyes is always instructive. Almost a year ago, at the conclusion of the Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence programme, A Dutch digital nomad gave an initial presentation to the mayor, tourist board, media and public on his group's findings after 4 weeks as guests of the city. Their brief was to look at Dubrovnik through the eyes of digital nomads and to work with Dubrovnik to create an effective strategy for future development. His presentation was simple, concise, in many ways obvious, and made the whole room pause to think. 

His first slide showed the first 30 images on Google Images of Dubrovnik, and they all showed the same thing - the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the old town of Dubrovnik. One nomad commented that prior to coming to the city, he was not even sure if Dubrovnik had anything of interest or substance beyond the walls. The perception that Dubrovnik was a 2-3 day destination is one that changed during his stay of four weeks, and he announced that after almost a month, he was still not ready to go home. 

The magic of Dubrovnik for all these nomads was not the gorgeous old town, stunning as it undoubtedly was, but what lay beyond the walls - the rest of living, breathing Dubrovnik and its surrounding area. In some ways it was an obvious point, but taking the focus away from the old town seems somehow innovative. And having thought about it, the perception of the reality of Dubrovnik as a destination can only change if we show Dubrovnik, the reality, rather than Dubrovnik, the Instagram poster child. 

Welcome to Dubrovnik Beyond the Walls, a new TCN series showcasing the magic of this incredible city, but away from its photogenic famous old town. There you can take in centuries of history, culture and tradition, but if you take a bus, boat, or short walk, there are many other Dubrovnik experiences to be enjoyed which complement the famous main attraction. 


Places like Kalamota, as locals call the island of Kolocep, the closest of the three Elaphite islands. I discovered the three jewels of Kalamota, Lopud and Sipan quite late in life, having heard so many wax lyrical about them over the years. My first introduction was to Kalamota 3 years ago, and it was that stay which introduced me to the diversity on offer in and around Dubrovnik. 

Kalamota is perfection for those wanting to escape the crowds and commune with nature. A car-free island (as is Lopud), time has stood still on the island, and the 120 locals still living there like it that way. A relaxed island lifestyle, but just 30 minutes by regular ferry to the Dubrovnik port of Gruz. It means that you can easily base your holiday in the chilled island atmosphere, while enjoying the charms of the old town as you wish. Two holidays in one. 


And if you like sandy beaches... 

There may be no cars, but the narrow island roads are not completely devoid of traffic, as golf carts and similar motors are used to move across Kalamota. One of the highlights of the trip was taking a hotel tour of the island in the back of a golf cart - it really was the best place to see the island. And there was certainly a lot to see. 


As I have come to realise after 20 years, each Croatian island has its own unique qualities, and Kalamota was full of surprises and rewards for taking a look further than the beach. The churches, for example, were incredible. 

There are no less than 15 churches on the small island - that is one per 8 inhabitants these days - and they are some of the most interesting in all Croatia. I particularly liked the Church of St. Nikola dating back to the 10th century - just how are people expected to squeeze through a main door like that?


Tourism is about people, and there were plenty of personalities to behold, including these two lovely ladies who gave us an impressive tour of the fields where they are growing ingredients to produce this magnificent array of natural (and very healthy) Kalamota products for tourists. 


Talking of people, it was great to meet the teacher at the school on the island a couple of years ago. For an island with such a small population so close to the city, I was beyond impressed at the infrastructure and community.  The full-time community of around 120 people has a school (with just two pupils), a resident doctor with his own surgery, and a fire station. 


And weddings. Although a little off the beaten track perhaps, Kalamota is a great secret venue for weddings, with Villa Ruza the preferred destination. And with sunset views like that, are you surprised? In 2019, Villa Ruza hosted no less than 57 foreign weddings. 


It is also a very popular restaurant for day-trippers, as well as Dubrovnik locals looking for a quality lunch away from the crowds. Dubrovnik, a 2-day destination which just has the old town?!? A perfect change of pace. 

Timeless. The only sound coming from the sea and the trees, the main activity watching the Jadrolinija ferry glide gracefully back and forth between the Elaphite islands and Dubrovnik. Always on time, the ferry has become a timekeeping point of reference for locals. 

The food was excellent, and don't miss this culinary piece of art if you like your fish with a little salt (order in advance). A sea-bream of 2 kilos, wrapped and baked in no less than THREE kilos of salt and egg white, then baked before being set on fire for show.

Some dining options from the Total Croatia Elaphite Islands in a Page guide:

Even though Kolocep Island is quite small, there are a few nice restaurants in both Gornje Celo and Donje Celo villages. In fact, Vila Ruza (Rose) in Donje Celo is hailed as one of the nicest restaurants in the Dubrovnik area. Its setting and beautiful terrace are reasons enough to visit. When you add to that great food and service you quickly understand why Villa Ruza is one place attracting guests from Dubrovnik year after year. In Gronje Celo, restaurant G Chelo belonging to Kalamota Beach House Hotel is a recent addition to the island’s dining scene. It features a lovely seating area and an imaginative menu. On the other side of the bay, Konoba Skerac is the local’s favourite.


There is even a cat hotel...

Most visitors to Kalamota come for one thing only, stay for less than an hour, and then move on. For Kalamota's most famous for its Blue Cave, perhaps not as well known as its namesake on Bisevo, close to the island of Vis, but very much a must-do on the various island tours sold in Dubrovnik. 

The Kolocep version is a small cave on the southwestern part of the island accessible by boat. Its name comes from the blue shade of the waters inside. You enter the cave by swimming or diving. It is wide enough to enter without difficulty, but the opening of it is only barely showing from the outside. It is an extremely popular stop for chartered boats and worth visiting for the ride to it as well.

Dubrovnik beyond the walls, a new way to look at the Pearl of the Adriatic. And with so many different options available, tailor your Dubrovnik experience to your specific needs. 

To learn more about the Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls series, follow the dedicated section

Sunday, 27 September 2020

City of Dubrovnik to Finance Kolocep Clinic Until Further Notice

The healthcare point on the Elaphite islands and the Kolocep clinic is set to be financed by the City of Dubrovnik going forward until the new Croatian Emergency Medicine Network is adopted.

As Morski writes on the 26th of September, 2020, the Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic and his associates held a working meeting with the director of the Dubrovnik Health Centre, Branko Bazdan, and the director of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Institute of Emergency Medicine, Luka Lulic.

It was pointed out at the meeting that the City of Dubrovnik has been fully financing the work of the health point on the nearby Elaphite (Elafiti) islands just north of Dubrovnik over the last three years, after it ceased to be part of the Emergency Medicine Network and thus the Croatian Institute of Public Health no longer financed it.

Since the development of a new Emergency Medicine Network is underway, Mayor Mato Frankovic will hold a meeting with the Minister of Health Vili Beros on this topic, all in order to re-finance the emergency medical service point by the Croatian Institute of Public Health, it was announced at the meeting.

Until the new Emergency Medicine Network is adopted, the City of Dubrovnik will continue to fund the emergency medical centre on the Elaphite islands, which includes the work of the Kolocep clinic.

Furthermore, given the excellent cooperation that the City of Dubrovnik has developed in recent years with the Health Centre, which is reflected in the provision of space use and funding for the pediatric clinic in Mokosica, funding for doctors and nurses in the pediatric clinic and much more, the City of Dubrovnik has provided for the purchase of two ambulances for the needs of the Health Centre, ie, the County Institute of Emergency Medicine. On top of that, a decision was made to continue financing the work of the doctor at the Kolocep clinic.

Although primary health care is not the responsibility of the City of Dubrovnik, but of the wider Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the City of Dubrovnik continues to develop many high standards in health care and aids the work of health care institutions in its area with continuous donations.

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Sunday, 16 August 2020

Kolocep Boat and Buggy Island Tours, a Stunning Double in Blue Cave Heaven

August 16, 2020 - Continuing our look at the Elaphiti islands close to Dubrovnik, how the boat and buggy tours of Kolocep bring out the best of the island. 

It is just 30 minutes by ferry from the port of Dubrovnik, but a world away. 

Kolocep, better known locally as Kalamota, is the closest of the three Elaphiti islands to the Pearl of the Adriatic, and it was love at first sight when I arrived as a guest of the TUI BLUE Kalamota Island resort at the end of July.  

With its enchanting sunsets, sandy beach and pristine waters, it was pretty hard to move from the hotel. And many guests don't which is perfectly understandable, but also a missed opportunity to explore the real magic of Kolocep. The real treasures of the island can be explored in two 1-2 hour-long tours. One by golf buggy through the narrow streets of Kalamota (there are no cars on the island), and one by boat touring its spectacular coastline.  

First up, a tour of the island and its interior, and it didn't take long for the first surprises to show once we had passed the inviting sandy beach in front of the hotel. 

There may be no cars on Kolocep, but there are streets on the island. Very narrow, with the majority of them protected by immaculate stone walls on either side. Really impressive stuff. 


But the impressive sights were not confined to the stone walls. Some of the churches were incredible. The current population of Kolocep is just 120, on an island which has no less than 15 churches. None was as striking at this 10th-century beauty, with an implausible narrow front door. I will have to stay off the beer for a couple of months before contemplating entering. 

One of the things I have come to learn during my time in Croatia is never to judge a book by its cover. I have lost count of the number of times my jaw has hit the floor on walking through what seems to be an innocuous door. And so too on Kolocep - the parish museum was tiny, but mightily impressive - see the video above. 


The future direction of Croatian tourism should focus on authentic experiences in my opinion, something Croatia has in abundance. And the inland tour included an extended stop with these two fabulous ladies from OPG Matijevic. A tour of their family fields exploring the various fruits, vegetables and herbs that they grow, followed by an explanation of the production process, and finally a tasting selection. OPG Matijevic offers not only a wide selection of outstanding authentic products, but also a great connection between the visiting tourist and the local community. This escape to nature and traditional production methods is often taken for granted by locals, but many tourists find such connections among the holiday highlights. 

The tour includes a little bit of walking as well, to take in some of the wonderful clifftop views. 

A perfect backdrop for a spot of yoga. 

And after the yoga, a few more incredible clifftop views. 

All good things must come to an end, and what a way to finish, descending those tiny streets to the sea, that beach and the relaxation of the waterfront hotel. 

And, as one tour ends, another adventure begins. Time to explore the island from the water with a tour of the island by boat, beginning with a gentle pulling out of the picturesque harbour. 

 A chance to enjoy the magic of Villa Ruza from the sea. Learn more about this Dalmatian slice of heaven in Villa Ruza on Kolocep: Gourmet, Sunset, Wedding, Escape from Dubrovnik Heaven.

Around the lighthouse.

And a different perspective on those cliffs we had stood on top of earlier. The sheer cliffs of parts of Kolocep are quite unusual for Dalmatia, and one rarely sees such formations (Red Rocks on Hvar's southern coast is an exception). And the closer one looked, the more one saw the emergence of another phenomenon. 



With one very special cave in particular - the Blue Cave of Kolocep. Not as famous or as busy as the Blue Cave of Bisevo close to the island of Vis, Kolocep's Blue Cave is also free to enter. When we arrived, there were only four other boats around.


Leaving the cameras behind, the swim under what seems to be a very narrow entrance reveals a large cave penetrated by sunlight, which has the effect of turning the water (and all those who swim in it) a turquoise blue. An amazing experience, which is partially done justice in this YouTube video above. 


A refreshing swim and short transfer back to the hotel and time for dinner and another perfect timeless sunset to the sound of lapping waves and cicadas. 

The formula of Eat. Sleep. Beach. Repeat. certainly works as well if you are too lazy to explore on the two tours. 

Whatever you decide, Kolocep is an enchanting place of total relaxation just half an hour from Dubrovnik. Learn more in Arise Kalamota! Kolocep, 30 Mins from Dubrovnik But a World Away.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Villa Ruza on Kolocep: Gourmet, Sunset, Wedding, Escape from Dubrovnik Heaven

August 14, 2020 - Looking for the perfect chill zone with the ultimate sunset and fantastic Dalmatian gourmet classics? A romantic wedding location perhaps? It is all happening at Villa Ruza on Kolocep. 

I know that most good stories should start at the beginning and finish at the end, but this story is an exception. 

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So let's ease into the story and one of its many themes - the sunset. 

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We can take it slowly, for there is no rush. For we are in a place which is truly timeless.  

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Where the sun has been setting and calming locals and visitors for centuries.  

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A sunset seemingly in the middle of nowhere in Dalmatia. 

A sunset which can be enjoyed in pictures or by video.  

A sunset which takes place on an idyllic island of just 120 people, an island with no cars and no stress.  

And yet an island which is just 30 minutes away from the port of Dubrovnik by regular ferry, 30 minutes from the Pearl of the Adriatic, but truly a world away. 

For those - and there are many - who feel that Dubrovnik is a destination which begins and ends once you enter the city walls, think again and then hop on the Postira ferry to the island of Kolocep, the closest of the three Elaphite islands, better known locally at Kalamota. 

You can take a boat directly, or walk 500 metres from the ferry to one of the true jewels of the Adriatic, and one of several incredible discoveries that has been a privilege to uncover in these last few weeks. If, like me until 3 weeks ago, you have never visited the islands of Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan, a short ferry from Dubrovnik, I encourage you to take a closer look next time. For here are three heavenly islands with so much history, heritage and Dalmatian charm to match their natural beauty, chill factor and fantastic gourmet offers. Easily the discovery of 2020 for me. 

And one of the main jewels, 500 metres along the coast from the ferry to Kolocep, is Villa Ruza. Decide on what kind of idyllic experience you want to have, and it is yours to enjoy.  

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Chilling by the sea with a book perhaps, watching the world go by? Your comfy sofas and beanbags await, you Villa Ruza attentive waiter on hand to cater to your every need. 

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A place for a business meeting away from the crowds, immersed in the finest Dalmatian nature and accompanied with the freshest seafood delicacies.  


A place for romance. Villa Ruza hosted no less than 57 foreign weddings in 2019, the majority of them from the UK, and it is not hard to see why. Location, sunset, location, and all that short ride from Dubrovnik. A perfect contrast to the busy historic centre, and a chance to relax, celebrate and party without the neighbours. 

My love affair on Kalamota was something entirely different, however. I found myself falling for a Jadrolinija ferry called Postira.  

Now faithfully serving the Elaphite islands for over 55 years, Postira is a dignified old dame who has become an established part of island life, as well as one of its unofficial timekeepers. Never late, and gliding gracefully in and out of the Elaphite harbours four times a day, Postira is magnificent, and a fabulous highlight of watching the day go by. 

There are many places where time stands still in Dalmatia, but few can be as relaxing or hypnotic as Villa Ruza. 

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It is a story which started with romance and continues with romance every year - from those ubiquitous weddings, love affairs with ferries, sunset and gourmet heaven. It is all here at Villa Ruza. 

The first love affair, however, was a very personal one, dating back almost 100 years. 

Villa Ruza (literally 'Villa Rose') was a gift to his loved one from a rich (and romantic) Dalmatian merchant back in the 1930s, a symbol of love and intimacy away from the crowds. It has been inspiring romance ever since, first as a private villa and these days as a restaurant. Its remote, but accessible location (it is less than 10 minutes from Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, for example) makes it a popular destination for those looking for great seafood at an affordable price outside the city.  


The mixed seafood platter with complimentary waterfront view is a delight. 

But for something truly authentic and rather unusual...  

... a burning sea bream! 

A traditional local dish which has to be ordered in advance, but is totally worth it, especially if you are looking for unique and authentic gourmet experiences. 

As the waiter explains in the video above, 2 kilos of fish baked in 3 kilos of salt and egg white. Unforgettable.  

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Most stories start at the beginning and finish at the end. And some, like this one, start at the end and end at the end. 

With that unforgettable sunset. 

Learn more about magical Kolocep in Arise Kalamota! Kolocep, 30 Mins from Dubrovnik But a World Away.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Arise Kalamota! Kolocep, 30 Mins from Dubrovnik But a World Away

July 26, 2020 - How to combine easy access to the historic old town of Dubrovnik with the timeless beauty and the relaxed nature of the true Dalmatian lifestyle? An enchanting visit to the island of Kolocep, courtesy of the hospitality of TUI BLUE Kalamota Island Resort. 

There are many perceptions about Dubrovnik, also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic by some, more recently as Kings Landing by others. It is undoubtedly beautiful, a fiercely independent historic stone walled UNESCO World Heritage Site jutting out into the Adriatic. A city which has more personality, culture and history than entire countries. 

But a city which these days is perceived as too crowded in summer, expensive, and one where there is not that much to do once the main sites have been visited. A 2-3 day destination.

I decided to visit Dubrovnik this week to see for myself how this majestic destination is coping in the corona era, and to see what kind of destination it is in this most unusual tourism season. After yesterday's look at the luxury option of Rixos Premium Dubrovnik, time for a complete change of gear, as the transfer team from TUI BLUE Kalamota Island Resort arrived at the hotel reception to take me to their hotel on the island of Kolocep. Along with Lopud and Sipan, Kolocep is the closest of the three Elafiti islands which lie just a short ferry ride from the historic city. 

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As an adopted island boy after 13 years on Hvar, I find that every Croatian island I visit has a unique feel to it, and I was looking forward to discovering what Kolocep had to offer on this, my first visit to Elafiti. 

I knew little about the island and deliberately did not research it before arriving, as I wanted to discover it properly. I knew only that there were no cars on the island and it was the last inhabited island in Croatia to the south. And as soon as I mentioned I was going there in Dubrovnik, I realised I was not even sure I was calling it by the right name. 

"Ah, Kalamota is really beautiful and relaxng. You will have an excellent time."

Kalamota? Kalamota, I quickly learned, is the local name for the island, whose origin is in the island's fishing tradition. And it is much more common to hear it called Kalamota than Kolocep (pronounced 'Kolochep'). But locals refer to both. 

It mattered not - look at those enticing waters as we approached. This was going to be quite a stay.  

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Although there are no cars on Kalamota, there are roads - narrow ones - and golf carts. The welcoming committee was awaiting my arrival, and we were soon on our way. 

"We have to go very slowly here," explained General Manager Ivo, "for there are six little kids playing." 

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And so there were. 

I liked that. This was a community island, where everyone was looking out for the other. 

And just 30 minutes by regular ferry - four times a day in season - from the port of Dubrovnik in Gruz.  

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 There were some rarities - a sandy beach in front of the hotel, a reasonably rare sight in Croatia. 

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And something even rarer in the hotel grounds - a cat hotel, put together by the hotel to keep the cats away from the hotel, as well as a place that guests could come to feed them. 

A nice touch, and nice touches were everywhere on Kalamota. I was already in zen mode and I had only been here 10 minutes.  

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And so the sun set on another perfect day in Dalmatia. Only this time, I had a view like this, a view I posted on Facebook with the words - If you don't hear from me for 3 months, I will be here.

And a slight moment of panic set in. How would I possibly be able to tear myself away from this idyll for a long drive back to Varazdin in two days?

But that was a concern for later, for it was time to enjoy the present and the truly fabulous views, comprehensive buffet and barbecue, with some relaxing live music provided by the hotel. 

I was amazed that it was 40% full in these challenging times, with Dubrovnik essentially a flights only destination. Even more so when I learned that its almost exclusive client is part-owner TUI UK. TUI UK is not sending anyone to Croatia this summer, so full credit to the Kalamota team to be able to reorientate and get any guests at all. Even more so when I learned that the average stay in the hotel so far is an astonishing 8.5 days. But then, how could you possibly think of leaving this paradise once you enter? And several guests had already prolonged their stay. 

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One nice touch at the end of dinner is that the (very talented) singers go from table to table, serenading each guest with a song from their own country. 

A lovely start to island life, and I went to bed in good cheer, to the soothing tunes of the abundant cicadas.  

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The breakfast view. Nothing more to add.  

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GM Ivo, a man with over 30 years experience in tourism in Dubrovnik, was fast developing into my favourite new best friend, and he suggested an island tour. An island tour on an island with no cars - this should be interesting. 

I had no idea just how interesting it was going to be, as my golf cart and chauffeur awaited. 

A carefree start to the day, the wind in my hair (if I had any hair) and we were off, passing the sandy beach initially, and greeting the friendly locals as we passed.  

The level of maintenance for an island with no cars is INCREDIBLE - the stone walls which lined most of the route were painstakingly and very professionally erected. It was so neat and tidy, like nothing I had experienced on other islands. I was hooked - what a way to travel.  

And then the surprises started.  We stopped at a church. There are 15 on Kalamota, one for every 8 inhabitants these days. 

"Let me show you inside the parish museum," said my excellent guide. I wasn't expecting much, but then THIS, above. 

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The churches on Kolocep are sensational. What was that Bible quote - it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than enter the Kingdom of Heaven? 

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I have never seen a church door that narrow. Thankfully, we didn't have the key, or we may have had a fat, pink blogger calling the emergency services to be set free .They must have drunk less beer in the 10th century.  

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The Church of St Nikola was my favourite without a doubt, with a very impressive graveyard, whose permanent inhabitants had lived there for centuries.  

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Not all churches were in such a good state of repair, but there were others which also dated back 1000 years.  

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And they were all beautiful in their own way, including this one on the descent to Donje Celo, the second of two settlements on the island. 

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The Church of St. Antun, which is still used every Sunday.   

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Tourism of course is about the local experience, meeting local people, learning their ways and trying their cuisine. I will write a lot more about these two fabulous ladies in due course, as their tireless work to grow and produce local products - and they have a VERY impressive range - was one of the most enjoyable parts of the tour. A full article on the fabulous OPG Matijevic coming shortly. 

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Including an extensive tour of their fields, which I can imagine is a fascinating part of the tour for those of us who come from cultures where food grows in supermarkets.  

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Kalamota is a great hiking destination, and the hiking trails are well marked-out. The resident fire brigade keeps paths clear, and the island is very, very tidy and well looked after. And you need to catch your breath, check out a view like this one. They are everywhere.  

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Another village, another sandy bay for swimming. Idyllic for young families.  

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Just 30 minutes from Dubrovnik by ferry. Enjoy the big city perhaps twice a week, then chill. The perfect combination. Many locals do the same.  

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There may be no cars, but that doesn't mean there are no traffic jams. Rush hour on Kalamota.  

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And the car park at Donje Celo was almost full as we arrived.  

All good things come to an end, and I invite you to join me on the last minutes of the tour, as we descend back to Gornje Celo and the hotel, whence we had come. Absolutely delightful.  

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More characters. Despite being a community of just 120 people, Kalamota has a school with just two pupils, a resident doctor with surgery, and a fire station. 

I REALLY wanted to meet the teacher, and she kindly agreed to come to our next destination, Villa Rose.  

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What a setting to interview the teacher (which will also be a separate article in the coming days). 

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While researching for this article, I came across a very rare TCN article indeed - in fact I think it might be unique. TCN's editor Lauren is an amazing human, 20 times more capable than I, but one thing I have never see her do is write about a restaurant or food. It is just not her thing. 

But Kalamota is a special place which makes people do things they might otherwise not - here is Lauren on Villa Rose (Villa Ruza) was back in 2016 when she was a Dubrovnik resident - Villa Ruza, Kolocep's Quiet Escape.

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There were 57 foreign weddings here last year alone - I wonder why.  

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Just 30 minutes from Dubrovnik's port by ferry.  

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And yet a world away.  

One of my favourite moments of this wonderful stay, was new BFF Ivo expressive his love for the Jadrolinija ferry, which is more than 50 years old. As precise as a Swiss watch and Japanese train, this ferry is the lifeline for the island. It plies its trade four times a day from Dubrovnik to the three Elafiti islands, and it is never late.  

Locals know exactly what time is it when they look up and see the ferry arriving and departing. 

Perhaps this is why guest are staying longer here - for Kalamota is timeless, and it is easy to get lost in the laganini lifestyle.   

"Why do we need music?" asked Ivo. "We have our music from the sea and the trees."

There was time for a leisurely siesta before dinner at Villa Ruza, and a chance to capture the waves hitting the sandy beach in front of the hotel as we wandered over for dinner.

In time to watch the sunset.  

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So we did.

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For quite some time. 

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And we didn't get bored. 

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Did I mention this is just 30 minutes from the port of Dubrovnik, but a world away? 

"We decided to order dinner for you," announced Ivo. After some delicious prsut and cheese, followed by octopus salad and scampi washed down with the local Dubrovacka Malvazija, time for the main course - and a burning and very baked fish was presented in front of me.  


A sea-bream of 2 kilos, wrapped and baked in no less than THREE kilos of salt and egg white, then baked before being set on fire for show. 

But that was just the start. Now see how the salt is removed and the fish served. And yes, it was well worth the wait. 

Do you have to stay in Dubrovnik to enjoy the Pearl of the Adriatic? Absolutely not. 

There are some real gems very close by which offer the perfect combination of culture and sightseeing on demand, against a backdrop of an idyllic Dalmatian lifestyle experience. Kalamota is right up there with the best of them. 

To learn more about the island of Kolocep, visit the hotel website

Paul Bradbury was an invited guest of TUI BLUE Kalamota Island Resort in July 2020.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Cash for Croatian Islands as Donje Čelo on Koločep Receives Funds

Excellent news at the very dawn of the brand new year for Donje Čelo on the island of Koločep (Kalamota) as a huge cash injection for port infrastructure is on its way. Getting enough cash for Croatian islands is something in the forefront of the minds of many, and this move will work to ensure higher quality for all.

Koločep is one of a group of islands close to the mainland known as the Elaphite (Elafiti) islands, made up of Koločep, Lopud and Šipan, which lie just north of the City of Dubrovnik. The islands attract many visitors on the numerous excursions which leave from the popular Pearl of the Adriatic on a daily basis during the warm summer months.

As Morski writes on the 11th of January, 2019, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure has decided on allowing the financing of a massive 24 million kuna's worth of renovation and reconstruction works for Donje Čelo's port on the southern Dalmatian island of Koločep, in a move conducted by the County Port Authority of Dubrovnik. 

This is otherwise one of the eight local and regional port projects that Dubrovnik-Neretva County is preparing for owing to very welcome funding from non-refundable European Union funds, meaning that while standards are still not matching those on the mainland cash for Croatian islands is no longer just a pipe dream.

More cash for Croatian islands will be channelled through further projects currently planned for the Perna port in Orebić, Polačište on the island of Korčula, Trpanj harbour in the Trpanj Municipality, Prigradica in the Blato Municipality, a ferry-passenger terminal in Vela Luka and Luka Ubli on the island of Lastovo. The total value of the aforementioned projects stands at about sixty million euros, as has been reported from Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

Stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page. If it's just Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia you're interested in, don't forget to give Total Dubrovnik a follow.


Saturday, 12 May 2018

New Additions for Island of Koločep

The island of Koločep (Kalamota) is in for a change or two.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Sailing in Croatia: The Adriatic Alphabet - K Is For...

Continuing with our alphabet series, a love letter to islands sprinkled with some local history on April 27, 2018

Friday, 6 April 2018

Postcard from Croatia Arrives in Italy After 29 Years

Snail mail is very much alive in the modern age as a postcard from Croatia takes almost three decades to arrive to... Italy.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Dubrovnik and Konavle Walking Festival Begins Next Month

The Dubrovnik & Konavle Walking Festival will take place from October the 2nd to the 7th, 2017.

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