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 Island, 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 before I visited, so here are my tips for making the most on your day trip to Lokrum Island including things to do on the island and where and how to catch the ferry to Lokrum!
Lokrum Island Croatia
First things first, let start with how to get from Dubrovnik to Lokrum Island!
Lokrum Island Ferry
Tickets for the ferry to Lokrum can be bought in front of the boat located in Dubrovnik’s Old Town harbour. It leaves for the main jetty and a guy sits under an umbrella at a desk half way down it. It’s the only official ferry from Dubrovnik to Lokrum and is 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 Lokrum Island 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. As mentioned above, there is no overnight accommodation on Lokrum Island. You are expected to leave on the last ferry, so don’t miss it!
How to Navigate Around Lokrum Island
It’s quite easy to navigate around Lokrum. 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 Royal was number 15).
(View from inside Fort Royal looking back towards the mainland)
Pigeon Cave Lokrum
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 (read below!), but the sign that said no clothes after this point kinda put me off! Again, this wasn’t advertised anywhere on the island.
(The view from the cliff ABOVE Pigeon Cave Lokrum)
If you really want to get there, the best way to reach Pigeon Cave would be by kayak. When I was standing on top of the cliff there were a couple of kayakers down below that were checking it out.
Be prepared for hills! They can be avoided if you plan on staying central, but the Fort Royal 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!
(Path of Paradise)
Make sure you take swim gear!…or not if that’s what floats your boat, there’s even a nudist beach tucked away on Lokrum (when you get off the Lokrum Island ferry, take the left hand path that is parallel to the sea)!
The main beach known as ‘Lokrum Beach’ is actually in-land in an area that resembles more of a swimming hole called ‘The Dead Sea’. Even though it’s surrounded by rocks and forest, I believe it is still connected to the sea in some way. The water is really salty, similar to the Dead Sea, although it’s not a ‘floatable’! This was a really popular area for people to hang out during my visit, despite there not actually being that much water there!
Lokrum’s beaches aren’t exactly beaches so to speak so don’t expect to go and find a sandy beach. One of my favourite things to do on the island, was exploring each of the stairways down to the different, what I like to call, ‘boulder beaches’. The boulders are big and it involved clambering over them and leaping across rock pools etc. I was quite happy to pitch up on a rock next to a ladder that went straight into the sea! There are plenty of places to escape other people and enjoy the peace.
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, which can be bought in various places in dubrovnik too.
Things to do on Lokrum Island check list
- Float in The Dead Sea
- Explore the ‘beaches’ and go swimming!
- Hike up to Fort Royal and enjoy the views
- See the GIANT Lokrum Island rabbits and peacocks…the islands only permanent residents (along with a few other shy animals)!
- Visit the church and Benedictine Monestery which dates back to the 11th century!
- Enjoy the Botanical Gardens
- Try and find Pigeons Cave!
- Sit on the Iron Throne from ‘The Game of Thrones‘
Practical tips for visiting Lokrum 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 (and more expensive than those on the mainland), 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.
Wear Sturdy Footwear
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. As there are no vehicles on Lokrum, you’ll have to do a a bit of hiking!
All the tracks around Lokrum 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!
Lokrum Island For Kids
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.
For more infomation, visit the Lokrum Island Nature Reserve website!
Other Day Trips From Dubrovnik:
Have you ever been to Lokrum Island? What did you think of the Island away from the craziness of Dubrovnik’s Old Town?!
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