Lokrum (or Lacroma) Island is the closest island to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Beyond its proximity, there are several reasons to consider visiting during a trip to Dubrovnik. Lokrum is home to a large national preserve where local wildlife runs free. Well, if you consider hoards of bunnies and peacocks wildlife. Particularly after the many years and many visitors who have taken countless selfies with them while sharing a bit of bread or whatever else is on hand.
We had actually read about this trend and stocked up with fresh carrots for the bunnies before boarding the ferry and taking the short 10 minute trip to the island.
Getting the Views from Fort Royal
There is a walking path that extends around the circumference and through the center of the island. In the center at the highest point of Lokrum sits Fort Royal or The Tower of Maximilian. The tower’s construction was begun by the French during their occupation of Dubrovnik in 1806. It is possible to make a short climb to the top and get the best views from the Island.
Swimming in the Dead Sea
Lokrum contains a small lake, formed after years of erosion. The shallow salty Dead sea, or “Mrtvo More” is a favorite swimming hole for visitors. Perhaps because of its calm crystal clear waters, or maybe because it lacks the nude bathers present on other sections of the Island’s shores. The nude beach is located on the south-eastern section, in case you want to get in a skinny dip during your visit.
Exotic Botanical Gardens
The island’s name come from the Latin word acrumen, which means “sour fruit.” A little misleading, as it actually refers to the practice of growing exotic plants from all over, beginning at the time of the Benedictines. The tradition was continued by former island owner, Maximilan Ferdinand of Hapsburg.
He built a magnificent mansion and equally impressive gardens on the island in 1859. Despite bombings during the Croatian/Serbian Civil War in the 1990’s the botanical gardens remained intact. The entire Island is now a nature preserve where overnight stays are not allowed.
The Curse of the Benedictine Monks
The first written mention of the island dates back to 1023 when Benedictine monks established an abbey and monastery on it. They were expelled in 1808 after the French took possession of the island. Legend has it, on their last night the monks marched around the island clutching upturned candles and leaving a trail a wax in their wake.
All the while the monks chanted “Whosoever claims Lokrum for his own personal pleasure shall be damned!” There does seem to be some evidence of ill-fated demises of future owners, including suicide, murder, drowning, and impoverishment.
Moral of the story: never cross a Benedictine Monk, which seems like good advice to follow in any situation. It is possible to visit the ruins of the monastery and old protective walls, which were heavily damaged in an earthquake in the 1600s.
Peacocks and Bunnies
Is there any occasion that isn’t elevated by the presence of peacocks and bunnies? None that I can imagine! The resident peacocks were originally brought over from the Canary Islands by Maximillian and now roam freely around the island.
During our visit they seemed to be perturbed by their over-fed bunny neighbors and were often spotted chasing them off. Perhaps to have a better chance of getting the hunks of bread being offered by tourists without rabbit competition. Luckily for the bunnies we became acquainted with, the peacocks weren’t so into the carrots that we brought along.
Restaurants on Lokrum Island
There are two restaurants on Lokrum Island. Lacroma Restaurant, and Rajski Vrt, which is close to the monastery. There is also a small snack bar near the boat landing. But don’t expect any bargains on Lokrum Island. Many people opt to bring a picnic lunch which is ultimately shared with the bunnies and peacocks. Who could resist?
Game of Thrones Filming Location
Getting to Lokrum Island
There are tourist boats that provide a ride to the Island at Dubrovnik’s Old Port (Porporela). They leave every 1 1/2 hours in low season and up to every fifteen minutes in high season and cost about 40 Kuna (5 Euros) as of this writing. Be sure to ask the time of the last boat offered by the company that you choose, as over night stays are not allowed. If you need a place to stay, check out these recommendations about where to stay in Dubrovnik (by a local).
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Here are a few additional articles to inspire or help you plan your visit to Croatia (including enjoying some amazing Croatian Cuisine to sample during your visit).