Escape the busy streets of Dubrovnik to spend a day exploring the natural and historical attractions of an island that lies just off the city’s coastline.
Just off the coast of Dubrovnik is the densely forested Lokrum Island, a fascinating place of great natural beauty. Visit to hike among pine trees, explore historical buildings and to swim in secluded coves. With no cars or overnight visitors permitted, this island makes for a relaxing day-trip.
According to local legend, King Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked on this island in the 12th century on his return from the Crusades. The king was saved by the citizens of Dubrovnik and as a gesture of gratitude he donated funds to build Dubrovnik Cathedral.
Tour the 11th-century Benedictine Monastery where some believe the English king took shelter. The complex encompasses the ruins of a 13th-century Romanesque-gothic basilica, as well as a 15th-century gothic-renaissance monastery. Just beyond this abandoned religious site is a meadow where you can relax under the shade of cypress and pine trees.
Follow the tree-lined paths that wrap around the northern part of the island up to its highest point, Fort Royal. From this early 19th-century defensive structure you can enjoy dramatic views over the island and Dubrovnik.
Many people come to Lokrum to swim. One of the favored spots is the Dead Sea, a small salt-water lake on the southern part of the island. A short distance east of the lake, find the rocky shoreline and a naturist beach. There are many more swimming locations on the island, including secluded rocky coves.
Don’t leave Lokrum without visiting one of its most attractive sights, the botanical garden. It was created by Archduke Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg in the late 19th century, and features more than 500 different kinds of trees, plants and flowers from all round the world.
As you travel around Lokrum, look out for Ferdinand’s other contribution to island life; free roaming peacocks. The nobles brought over the original population.
Lokrum Island is reached by a 15-minute ferry ride from the old town. The ticket price includes admission to this scenic location. Keep in mind that the island is only open from April to November.