Lokrum Island

Lokrum Island
Lokrum Island

A magical oasis of calm

Lokrum Island is a small island and nature reserve, located only a 10-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik. You can spot it from many points in the town, such as from the Old Town Walls, Old Port or Mount Srđ.

Once used as a quarantine, Lokrum Island is now a popular day retreat for locals and tourists, a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik.

This lush island is full of gorgeous gardens, rabbits and peacocks that run around freely, hidden coves and nude beaches. It is also covered in rich vegetation with numerous plant species, including very interesting specially imported tropical varieties. You will love the fact that Lokrum is entirely uninhabited! Beautiful place to hike around and explore.

On top of all that, Lokrum is famous as one of the filming locations from the popular Game of Thrones TV series, so many fans of the show head there for that reason too.

Important info before you travel

RULES: Since Lokrum is a nature reserve, there are certain rules when visiting it. It is not allowed to:

  • throw away any rubbish
  • bring dogs
  • smoke anywhere on the island
  • light the fire
  • stay on the island overnight

THERE ARE NO GROCERY STORES: There is a small kiosk on the island but the prices are astronomic. Make sure to BRING WATER, take some snacks and other necessities before going.

WHAT TO BRING: A swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, a hat, a book to read, snacks, water, walking shoes, a camera, some food to feed animals on the island.

LAST BOAT DEPARTURE: Make sure to check what time the last boat to the mainland departs so you don’t miss the last ride out.

NO NEED TO BOOK A TOUR: You don’t need any tour to visit Lokrum! If you’re interested to learn a bit of history, the visitor center sells a useful booklet with a map in which all sights are explained. You can also hire the audio guide, but I don’t think they are worth hiring. You have to hire them for a certain period, but there won’t be enough time to see all the areas pointed out.

THERE IS NO ACCOMMODATION ON THE ISLAND: The island is uninhabited, which means there are no houses or hotels on Lokrum. There are two reasons for that:

  1. The island is allegedly cursed for anyone who stays overnight on the island.
  2. As a nature reserve, there is no accommodation on Lokrum and it is forbidden to otherwise stay overnight on the island.

KAYAKING: You can join the tour and kayak around the island, but you’re not allowed to leave kayaks on the island.

SWIMMING TO THE ISLAND: For those of you wondering if it’s possible to swim to the island. In theory, yes, but technically, there are cruise ships, speed boats, yachts and jet skis going around and if you don’t want to die just stick with the boat.

Lokrum Island ferry

Lokrum Island Ferry
Lokrum Island Ferry

You can buy Lokrum Island ferry tickets at the desk in front of the boat on the day of departure. An employee will be standing in front of the boat selling them.

You can also buy tickets online, but I don’t recommend it, as there are no skip the line tickets, so you’ll have to wait in the line just like everybody else.

TICKET PRICE: An adult ticket costs 200 KN per person, a child ticket costs 50 KN, while children under 5 can travel for free. The tickets include entry fees to the Nature Reserve of Lokrum and a round-trip ferry ride.

Cash and Kuna only!

With a 3-day Dubrovnik Card you’ll get a 20% discount.
With a 7-day Dubrovnik Card you’ll get a 30% discount.

The public boat ticket price includes the entry fees to the Nature Reserve, but if you arrive with another boat, like a private one, you’ll have to pay 120KN at the information center on the island.

How to get to Lokrum Island

Lokrum Island is easily accessible from Dubrovnik via public ferry service. There are also people selling tours and private transport on the stalls inside the Old Port but I highly recommend public boat! The journey time is only 10 minutes.

The public boat to Lokrum departs from the big pier in the Old Town harbor. Just jump on it and 10 minutes later you’re on Lokrum.

Public boats run daily from April to November. In high season (June-September) they leave every 30 minutes, in low season they leave hourly. You can check out the timetable on the Lokrum Island website.

The boat leaving the Old Town gives a gorgeous view of Dubrovnik from the water. Lots of photo opportunities.

Lokrum Island map

Lokrum Island Map
Lokrum Island Map | Source: lokrum.hr

When you get to Lokrum Island you’ll see a big map showing out all of the points of interest on the island. Also, there are numerous markers all over the island showing which way to go for each of the sights.

What to see and do on Lokrum

Lokrum Island What To Do
Lokrum Island What To Do

People like to check out one or two points of interest, and then spend a lazy afternoon relaxing on the rocks by the sea and swimming.

Main attractions include:

Rabbits and peacocks

Peacock
Peacock

The main attraction on Lokrum are the tame rabbits and peacocks that roam jump around the island and entertain visitors. They are friendly and love having their photos taken. You’ll see peacocks with their chicks on every corner, there is no need to look for them.

TIP: Bring some food with you if you want to hand feed them, as they love to come around for food.

Lokrum beaches

Lokrum Beaches
Lokrum Beaches | Flickr photo: Yusuke Kawasaki shared under a CC BY 2.0 license

Lokrum is a popular swimming spot amongst local people.

Although there are no sandy beaches on the island, there are plenty of lovely places which offer privacy to take a dip in the sea.

Lokrum “beaches” are more like rocky areas with ladders into the sea, with no sunbeds. If you prefer sunbeds, you can find them on the grassed area.

One of the best places to swim is the Bay of Portoc, close to the embarkation dock.

You’ll see people chilling out and sunbathing on the rocks while marveling at the sea all over the island, it’s an absolutely zen experience you must have.

If you like adrenaline, there are cliffs that you can jump off which is quite thrilling.

Swimming around the Island is terrific, an absolute pleasure to swim in the Adriatic.

If you forget to take your swimsuit with you, have no fear, you can always go to the nudist beach to swim!

To reach the nudist beach, head left from the ferry and follow the signs marked FKK until you reach rocks at its far end. If you expect to see young and attractive girls don’t raise your hopes, it’s more like a 60+ sausage party.

Lokrum Island Dead Sea

Lokrum Island Dead Sea
Dead Sea

Another popular place for a swim is the small saltwater lake known as the Dead Sea – which is just an inland saltwater swimming hole but is an absolute blast! You’ll enjoy splashing around and floating in it.

Located on the southern part of the island, this crystally clear small lake is perfect for travelers who are looking for a swim in the calm and peaceful spot. There is also a popular bar right next to it.

Be warned, the rocks are slippy and be careful not to step on the sea urchins in the (Dead Sea) lake.

Lokrum Island Botanical garden

Lokrum Island Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden | Flickr photo: Jennifer Boyer shared under a CC BY 2.0 license

On the Lokrum Island, there is a botanical garden that features a collection of exotic plants, brought there as souvenirs from faraway lands.

The garden is home to a variety of plant life, including palm trees, cacti and eucalyptus trees, but the most striking plants are giant agaves and palms from South Africa and Brazil. The garden is managed by the University of Dubrovnik.

Lokrum Monastery

Lokrum Island Monastery
Lokrum Island Monastery |  Photo credit: KLOTZ  shared under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

The island’s cultural highlight is its medieval Benedictine Monastery, which houses a restaurant, an exhibit on the island’s intriguing history and a self-guided tour of Game of Thrones.

The Monastery was built in the 11th century when the Benedictines populated the island. The monks used to warn the mainland of approaching dangers such as pirates or storms ringing the bells from the island’s church or lighting the fire.

Due to the damage from the 1667 Dubrovnik earthquake, some parts of the monastery originate from the 16th century.

At the end of the 18th century, the monastery was deserted, until the 19th century when Maximilian of Habsburg bought Lokrum and transformed the monastery ruins into a summer residence in neo-Gothic style surrounded by exotic greenery.

Cliff jumping

Lokrum Cliff Jumping
Lokrum Cliff Jumping | Flickr Photo: Miguel Mendez shared under a CC BY 2.0 license

Lokrum is a great place to go cliff diving with cliffs starting at only a couple meters and going up from there to 10 meters.

There are a couple of spots to cliff jump on the island.

One of the popular spots to jump is the Dead Sea, located close to where the ferry drops you off.

Another, more secluded spot to cliff jump on Lokrum Island is off the cliffs near the nude beach. This spot has cliffs up to 10 meters and is never crowded. You can sunbathe on the slanting rocks, which are equipped with stair descent to the sea.

Lokrum Fort Royal

Lokrum Fort Royal
Fort Royal | Photo credit: Pudelek shared under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

This circular fort was built on the highest point of the island by the French (during the French occupation in the early 19th century) but it was mainly used by the Austrians.

It offers a magnificent view of Dubrovnik, Cavtat and the surrounding islands.

You will have a great time with amazing views and photo opportunities.

Lokrum Island Game of Thrones

Lokrum Island Game Of Thrones
Lokrum Island Game Of Thrones

Lokrum Island doubles as the city of Qarth. You’ll most likely remember the garden party scene in season 2 episode 5, where Daenerys attends the party and meets the warlocks.

Lokrum Island appeared in Season 2, Episode 5 ‘The Ghost of Harrenhal’ when it was visited by Daenerys Targaryen as she socializes with the city’s finest. The scene is set in the cloister of the island’s former Benedictine monastery.

Lokrum Visitor’s Center (located in the Benedictine monastery) has a special Game of Thrones exhibit/ self-guided tour of Game of thrones. You can watch interviews with the cast and producers about how they logistically film in Dubrovnik. Most people weren’t watching the videos, but I highly recommend sitting in on 1 or 2. They were fascinating.

There’s an interesting interactive map showing all the filming locations in Croatia and the number of panels specifies which Dubrovnik monuments were used in particular scenes.

The Visitor’s Center is also home to the infamous Iron Throne, which you’re free to sit on.

Also, the Iron Throne (replica, the real one is in Belfast) is located in this building and you can take a picture on it! You can also take a picture for free on the iron throne.

Fun fact: Peacocks roaming around Lokrum Island inspired the directors of Game of Thrones to include them in the decorations of Qarth.

Lokrum restaurants and bars

Some visitors prefer to pack their own food and make a picnic on the island, which is a great idea. However, if you prefer to sit in a restaurant these are your options:

  • Lacroma Restaurant– If you want a proper meal this is the best choice on Lokrum. Situated by the monastery.
  • Snack Bar Lacroma – As the name says, this is a place for a quick bite to eat, drinks or dessert. It is located close to where the ferry drops you on the island.
  • Konoba Rajski Vrt– Also a good option for a proper lunch. Situated by the monastery.
  • Lake Cocktail Bar – A relaxed place for a coffee or a drink. Situated by the Dead Sea.

Lokrum Island Curse

Lokrum Island Curse
Lokrum Island Curse

According to legend, Lokrum is a cursed island.

In 1023. the Benedictines established an abbey and monastery on the island, where they lived peacefully for centuries until Napoleon Bonaparte came to the scene and imposed high contributions to the Dubrovnik Republic. In need of money, Dubrovnik Republic accepted the proposal of three Dubrovnik nobles whose words were highly valued who suggested the sale of Lokrum and ejecting the Benedictines from the island. The monks begged to prevent this, but they failed.

Angry with that decision, before they left, they put a curse on the island:

They hold the last mysterious procession, walking around the island in their hooded cloaks with lighted candles turned upside-down, as they shouted the horrifying words: “Whosoever claims Lokrum for his own personal pleasure shall be damned!”.

Here comes the interesting part, the deaths…

The curse started to work soon after, first killing three of those Dubrovnik nobles who suggested that the Benedictines should leave Lokrum. One was killed by his servant, the other drowned in the sea, and the third jumped into his death from Lovrijenac fortress.

A few years later, Napoleon was exiled to St Helena where allegedly he had been systematically poisoned, after which he died in severe pains.

One of the owners was Maximilian I of Mexico, who was executed in Mexico by a firing squad. His wife Archduchess Charlotte of Austria (princess of Belgium), went completely insane. Maximilian’s nephew inherited the island and drowned already on the first day of his arrival after a very strong wind overturned his boat between Dubrovnik and the island.

After that, the island was sold and bought so many times by so many people, and something brutal happened to each and every one of them. Over time, being the witnesses of these harsh events, people became superstitious and refused to spend the night on the island, believing that the curse will get to them.

The last owner of Lokrum was the Habsburg princess Windisch Grätz. In 1919, Lokrum was sold to the Government of Yugoslavia. But the curse did not stop. A whole family just disappeared on Lokrum in the 1930s. Because of these unpleasant events, the superstition of the cursed island lingers to this day.

This superstition still lives, even after centuries that passed by, as not so many people would dare to stay on the island and spend the night there.

Today, Lokrum is a gorgeous destination to enjoy only during the day.

It is said that the curse will be lifted when all the wax from the candles is picked up.

 

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