Lokrum was my one of my favourite islands that we visited during our time in Croatia. It’s located just a stone’s throw away from Dubrovnik that you can even spot it from the city walls. This beautiful island is also really easy and cheap (40 kuna) to get to, with ferries leaving every half hour, seven days a week in high season, making it an ideal last minute or spontaneous day trip from Dubrovnik. Simply head to the Old Town Port where you can purchase your ticket on the spot and in a short 15-minutes you’ll have arrived in Lokrum.
Alternatively you can also rent a kayak at the Old Town and make your own way there. Organised kayak tours are also available that make a stop at the island for a few hours.
The earliest records show that Lokrum was inhabited since prehistoric times by monks, with the founding of the Benedictine monastery which ruins have been preserved and can still be visited today. In fact, the entire island of Lokrum was owned by the monastery, while the abbey also served as a hospital. This is until the infamous curse…
The Curse of Lokrum
The story of Lokrum’s curse is two centuries old and dates back to when the island was originally home to monks. The monks lived peacefully in solitude in the Benedictine monastery for 600 years, until two centuries ago when local authorities decided to move them to a nearby island so that they could sell Lokrum to the Austrian emperor’s family as a summer residence.
As we can imagine the monks weren’t happy with this decision and legend says that on their last night they walked three times around the island, with candles held upside down in their hands, chanting latin prayers to conduct a curse on every future owner and seller of Lokrum.
In turn the emperor’s family vacated the island as their summer residence for almost 100 years. However in that time a lot of tragical deaths happened in their family including the assassination of his wife, execution of his brother and suicide of his son. After World War One Lokrum island was returned to the town and later split into three properties and sold to families.
Peacocks and Bunnies
Legend aside, in the mid-1800s during the residence of Maximilian of Habsburg (the Austrian emperor’s brother), Maximilian brought over some peacocks from the Canary Islands – which of course over the years have taken over Lokrum island.
These magnificent birds really add character to the island and are so interesting to observe. There’s also countless bunnies around. It was such a crazy sight as they’ll be an open green space filled with tourists, children and sunbathers, then around seven bunnies and even more peacocks in-between them all.
Tip: Bring bread and carrots.
Lunch and Snacks
After spotting the large armchairs and ocean view, we knew we just had to stop for lunch at Rajski Vrt. The restaurant offers a mediterranean/international menu with dishes including pizza, beef, salads and sandwiches to choose from. Whilst tucking into lunch we even made friends with Peter (I named the bunny). He was honestly the most adorable thing and at one point even had his paws on my plate (which I know may sound disgusting to some people, but I love animals and I didn’t exactly stop him).
If you’ve brought a packed lunch with you and are only looking for refreshments then head to Snack Bar Lacroma. My boyfriend and I became slightly obsessed with banana splits after this, but luckily (and randomly), they’re a popular dessert all over Croatia.
Where to Swim
There’s a fair bit of walking and wandering to be done on Lokrum, however if you’re more so looking for a bit of R&R then the island’s got you covered for that too. Opt for a swim at Mrtvo More (the Dead Sea), a 10m deep salt water lake, popular among visitors for it’s calm waters and peaceful forested scenery.
Alternatively take a dip in the Adriatic sea at either the main beach (pictured above) that’s rather rocky, but equally beautiful and peaceful, or HKK beach. I have just realised though that this second choice is actually a nudist beach… but we were there for a while and I didn’t notice any bits or bobs. What I liked about nude beach though was that it had steps which entered directly into the deep part of the ocean.