When visiting Dubrovnik in the south of Croatia, it’s pretty hard to not see the big ole green island in the sea, laying just a short distance away from the Old Town. This is Lokrum, a protected nature reserve reached by a ferry that leaves the Old Town harbour several times a day. There are no vehicles on the island and there’s absolutely no staying on the island overnight. It was also used as a set location for the Game of Thrones (the throne can be seen in the visitor centre). I didn’t really know what to expect when visiting the island, so here are my tips for visiting Lokrum!
A nice little stroll through a forest? Don’t be fooled, I was tempted to wear flip flops thinking it was going to be a bit of a day to relax, but was SO glad I opted to wear my Sketchers. All the tracks around the island are rocky, cobble stoned or bouldery. I saw a few people in flip flops or regular sandals (not hiking sandals) and they were walking like they had pooped their pants, they just couldn’t get a grip and offered no support for their feet. I LOVE my Memory Foam Skechers, I can literally walk all day in them and my feet are fine, but even they didn’t seem suitable for a day trekking round Lokrum, I actually slipped over on some loose rubble and grazed my knee and hand…although I always fall over so it doesn’t really say much!
Be prepared for hills! They can be avoided if you plan on staying central, but the Fort is up a HUGE hill… *TIP*: Use the Path of Paradise to go up to the Fort and back, this is more like bricks. If you use the hills behind the fort, they are made of rubble and are quite steep. It’s a really slow walk down as you have to concentrate on not sliding down on your bum!
One of my favourite things to do on the island, was exploring each of the stairways down to the different ‘boulder beaches’. Going back to the footwear point, doing this in flip flops would have been a death trap. The boulders are big and it involved clambering over them and leaping across rock pools etc.
The island is also home to loads of peacocks and GIANT rabbits!
There are plenty of places to escape other people and enjoy the peace.
Take Swim Gear
Make sure you take swim gear!…or not if that’s what floats your boat, there’s even a nudist beach tucked away on the island! Otherwise for people that do like to wear clothes the ‘Dead Sea’ salt water lake can be swum in or I was quite happy to pitch up on a rock next to a ladder that went straight into the sea! I found the ladders a life saver when it came to swimming in Dubrovnik. The sea was quite chilly and the beaches are all stoney, when I decided to shuffle in, I usually gave up, the stones hurt my feet and it was just too cold. I found that leaping off the ladders was the equivalent of ripping off a plaster (band aid), once you were in the water was fine, obviously just choose a ladder that looks like the water is deep at the bottom or where the tide isn’t likely to smash you into the rocks! Sitting on the rocks could get a bit uncomfortable, even with a towel. Some people took Foam Yoga Mats (like this), these can be bought in various places in dubrovnik too.
Getting Your Bearings
It’s quite easy to navigate around the island. When you first get off the ferry, there’s a giant map showing the paths and the different points of interest. I took a photo of this on my iPod to use as a reference if I needed to. However there were map boards at various places on the island and as well as sign posts labeled in English as well as Croatian and the ‘point of interest’ number that related to the map (for example the Port was number 1…the dead sea was number 4…the Fort was number 15).
One sign post pointed to ‘Pigeon Cave’, I decided to follow it but it wasn’t labelled on any of the maps, after the first sign, there were no other directions to find it. I followed several narrow tracks that required ducking under tree branches and eventually came out on the cliff above it. I had previously read that there was access to a cave via the path that goes by the nudist beach, but the sign that said no clothes after this point kinda put me off! Again, this wasn’t advertised anywhere on the island.
Don’t Forget to Keep Hydrated!
I visited at the start of May when the weather was in the low 20’s and sunny. I spent my first 2 hours just wandering around the island and in this time I drunk nearly my whole bottle of water (500ml). It’s not the end of the world, there are a few snack stands on the island but they are all mainly around the port, it’s a fair distance to walk if you are on the far side of the island and run out of water! There are plenty of places to stay in the shade thanks to all the trees, however the Path of Paradise is in full sunlight for most of the day it seemed, part of my back got sunburnt while walking this route.
In the centre of the island was a big flat grassy area that is perfect for kids to play on. I saw some families that had taken footballs and frisbees with them as entertainment. There is also a playground and outdoor gym equipment.
Tickets can be bought in front of the ferry boat in the Old Town harbour. It leaves for the main jetty and the guy sits under an umbrella at a desk half way down it. It’s past all the other sellers offering other island trips or glass bottom boat rides. Return ferry tickets and entrance to the island costs 100kn (around £10/$15). The ticket is on a giant postcard of the island which also makes a nice souvenir!
The ferry in May left once an hour, starting at 10am and took around 10-15mins. Each boat holds 200 people. The last ferry off the island was 6pm.
Have you ever been to Lokrum? What did you think of the Island away from the craziness of Dubrovnik’s Old Town?!
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