Airport and transport – ferry to Dubrovnik (around 5 km) and to surrounding Elaphiti Islands; airport in Dubrovnik.
History – inhabited during the Iron Age; afterwards by Greeks than Romans; from 10th century became a part of the Dubrovnik Republic, and afterwards an important shipbuilding site; in 15th century had its golden age; in 16th century the island was fortified with defense towers at all the major strongholds.
Interesting to see: ruins of several pre-Romanesque little churches (9th-11th century; church of St. Nicholas; foundation walls of St. Michael’s Church); church of Saint Anthony of Padua (Gornje Celo; with a dome; 11th-12th century); church the Assumption of Mary (Donje Celo; 13th-15th century); church of St. Anthony (Gornje Celo; 15th century; valuable altar piece); remains of defense towers (16th century); many summer manors (16th century).
Info – locally known as Kalamota; the smallest settled island in the Elaphiti archipelago; free of cars; rich in fertile soil and Mediterranean vegetation (100-year-old pine groves, olive groves, and gardens full of orange and lemon trees); SW coast is very steep, stony and without vegetation, while SE part is very afforested; no water sources or streams, only subterranean waters are used; island is made up of limestone and dolomite rock; highest peak is 125 m; 150 inhabitants; two settlements (Gornje and Donje Celo) situated in 2 largest bays; more than 250 sunny days per year; indented coastline of 11.3 km; sandy, pebbly and rocky beaches; many secluded coves and the Blue Cave (which can be accessed only by swimming from the cove on the S side of the island); surrounding sea abounds in fish, lobsters and shellfish.
Where to go out: restaurants.
Inevitable to see: in the Church of St. Anthony (15th century) there is a Polyptych (painted by Ivan Ugrinovic in 15th century), one of the finest works of the “Dubrovnik school of painting”.
Inevitable to taste: lobsters and fish.
Good to know: the dwellers of Koločep used to be the best-known coral divers in the Mediterranean (but today they seldom dive and only for pleasure); in 1492 when Christopher Columbus set off to the new world, two crew members on the boat of „Santa Maria“ were from the island of Koločep; one of the richest Croatian emigrant, Pasko Baburica, was born in Količep (in 1875, died in Chile in 1941; major industrialist and ship-owner who worked and lived in Chile); Koločep today is one of the favorite excursion spots for the citizens of Dubrovnik; in the past was a place for summer manors of aristocratic families from Dubrovnik Republic.
For sailors: in Koločep Channel are blowing very strong winds bura and jugo, but they don’t cause large waves;
Donje Čelo – cove is open on the W and NW and those winds cause big waves in the cove; near the coast of capes Ratac and Mačus are shallows; smaller boats can dock near bigger mole (around 40 m; depth 4 m); depth on the head of smaller mole (100 m S) is only 1m; anchorage is situated NE under the cape Ratac (recommendation: mooring to a shore);
Gornje Čelo – berth along the head of the mole with short pier (depth around 3.5 m); depth from the inside of the pier is from 1-2.6 m, and from the outside 0.7-2.8 m. Anchor is possible in S part of the cove;
Warning (Bezdanj): around 70 m NNW from the lighthouse there is a dangerous wreck with mast (only 1m under the surface).
Kolocep Island, called by locals ‘Kalamota’ belongs to Elafiti Archipelago, the group of Dubrovnik’s islands. The nearest to Dubrovnik, the island is located just 5 km away from Gruz, the Dubrovnik’s main ferry port. This is also the smallest of the three inhabited islands in the archipelago with an area of just 2.6 sq km (1.1 sq miles) and just under 160 permanent inhabitants. Two small villages, Gornje Čelo on the southeast side and Donje Čelo on the north side of the island are the only settlements.
Kolocep is one of the few, if not the only, Croatian island with two names. The locals almost exclusively call it ‘Kalamota‘ and talk about themselves as ‘Kalamotezi‘. Note, the island’s name is pronounced ‘ko-lo-chep‘ as č in Croatia is pronounced “ch” (as in ‘church‘).
Conveniently connected with daily ferry boat line with Dubrovnik, the island is ideal for a day trip from Dubrovnik.