For those who think Croatia has become too touristy, Lastovo will come as a pleasant surprise.
This small island is one of the furthest from the mainland among the inhabited Croatian islands and was for many years an off-limits territory for international tourism because it was the site of a military base. The two factors combined have meant that Lastovo remained unknown to tourists until just a few years ago, and even today, few decide to come here.
The remote and isolated Lastovo is mainly visited by yachtsmen, the lucky few who manage to access its enchanting beaches, hidden within secluded bays. However, it is not necessary to have a boat to experience a dream holiday on Lastovo: along its 48 km of coastline there are also beaches that can be reached on foot and, more rarely, by car.
In addition to refreshing dips in the clean sea and hours of well-deserved lazing on the beach, the island offers the possibility of numerous outdoor activities. It is a small natural paradise and as much as 70 per cent of the territory is occupied by forests; its waters are part of a national park that protects its biodiversity, to the delight of divers who dive into a blue sea full of life.
To prolong your stay, you can add a visit to some of the neighbouring islands: Lastovo is part of an archipelago of 46 islets and rocky promontories, almost all uninhabited but beautiful to admire during a boat trip.
The most important event on the island is Carnival, commemorating the victory over the pirates; in August there is a jazz festival, but apart from that little else. Lastovo is not the right destination for those looking for nightlife or for those who want to combine days at the beach with visits to important cultural attractions. It is an island for those who like simple things, for those who need to completely unplug, for those who want nature and no worries.
Lastovo’s attractions are small wonders of nature and local history. Explore the island slowly and unpretentiously and you will be rewarded with breathtaking views and treasures you never expected to find, including the oldest lighthouse on the Adriatic.
The best way to explore Lastovo is on foot or by bicycle: the mountainous part of the island, which occupies almost the entire hinterland, is criss-crossed by well-marked hiking and cycling trails.
The highest point on the island is Hum, from which it is possible to see the islands of Palagruza and Mljet; on clear days, one can even see the Gargano in Apulia. Hum is also an excellent vantage point for viewing the starry sky: keep this in mind for a romantic night or to indulge your passion for astronomy.
As you explore the island, pay attention to the fireplaces and terraces of the houses and you will notice some particularly beautiful or original ones. They are a legacy of a tradition from the 17th and 18th centuries, centuries when the inhabitants of Lastovo competed to have the most beautiful fireplace. Traditional fireplaces and terraces are known as ‘ fumari ‘ and ‘ sulari ‘ and are one of the peculiarities of the island of Lastovo. Arm yourself with a camera and go hunting for the most beautiful ones!
Not to be missed is a visit to the village of Lucica, a cluster of houses built close to the sea, clustered around a narrow bay.
It was once a fishing village and the houses we see today were used as fish warehouses; today it is considered a site of historical interest: it is forbidden to build new buildings and existing houses must adapt to traditional Mediterranean architecture. It is a highly evocative place, an oasis of peace and romance.
If you like long sandy beaches, Lastovo is not the island for you. Lastovo’s beaches are mostly rocky, with a few pebble beaches nestled between high cliffs. They are ideal for those who love deep sea with spectacular depths and plenty of fish.
Many beaches are difficult or even impossible to reach by land, which is why you should take a boat trip around the island during your holiday. Even fewer can be reached by car: be prepared to walk along forest paths if you want to get to the most beautiful beaches.
Bear in mind that with the exception of a few town beaches, e.g. Pasadur, the beaches on Lastovo are generally not equipped. In some you will find shelter from the sun under the pine trees, but often the beaches are completely exposed to the sun. Don’t forget sun cream and a plentiful supply of water at home; rock shoes are also very useful.
The most famous beach on Lastovo is in Skrivena Luka (also called Red Port), the most beautiful bay on the island. It is a deep inlet covered with olive trees and Mediterranean vegetation and washed by a beautiful blue sea. In this stretch, the coastline is dotted with flat rocks, so you will have no difficulty finding a corner where you can lay out your towel.
Calm, transparent waters also await you at Prezba, the small island connected to the town of Pasadur by a bridge. For a bit of variety, you can move on to the neighbouring island of Saplun where you will find a lovely sandy beach, generally very quiet.
Other beaches not to be missed on Lastovo are Zace, Mihajla, Zaglav, Uska, Pionir, Korita and Borova.
Lastovo is little known to international tourism and a hotel industry has not yet developed.
There is only one hotel on the island (at Pasadur) and only one campsite (at Skrivena Luka), so booking a flat or a room with a private individual is almost a must. There are enough of these, of various prices, but it is still advisable to book in advance so as not to risk a sell-out.
There are not many places to choose from where to stay. The island’s capital is a good option for those who want to have shops and services close at hand, but don’t dream of booking a house by the sea: the town of Lastovo is a picturesque cluster of small stone houses and old churches perched on the slopes of a hill inland.
Tourist accommodation is concentrated in Pasadur and Skrivena Luka. The former is located on the western side of the island, has a convenient beach and beautiful bays and diving sites nearby. Essential services are present. The second is located along the south coast and is probably the most enchanting area of the island.
Ubli is the only port on the island and is recommended for those who travel by public transport because buses connecting all the main locations on the island depart from here to coincide with ferry arrivals and departures.
It is not possible to get to Lastovo by plane because the island has no airport. Connections by sea are only with mainland Croatia: ferries and catamarans to/from Lastovo operate daily in the summer season, with less frequent runs in the winter months.
The port of departure from the mainland is Split, the port of arrival on Lastovo is Ubi; some ferries are direct, while others stop at other islands before arriving on Lastovo. The duration of the sea crossing can vary from 3 to 5 hours.
Those staying on Korcula can visit Lastovo on a one-day boat trip. There are many tour operators who organise them, and prices vary depending on the duration and services offered (e.g. lunch or an aperitif on board the boat, number of stops for swimming, etc.).
Lastovo is located in the southern part of Croatia, about 45 km south of Split and the same distance west of Dubrovnik.