After two days of wandering the streets of the Old Town in Dubrovnik, we were keen to find a little nook away from the crowds. Our escape destination, suggested by the locals was the island of Lokrum. The lush green island is covered with olive groves and pine trees. There are crystal clear blue bays with calm waters. We loved the island – green trees, blue waters, peacocks that weren’t shy and a picnic basket with sandwich, chips and berry slush. What else could you possibly want on a bright summer day?
Lokrum has an interesting history and stories that back up the belief “Whosoever claims Lokrum for his own personal pleasure shall be damned!”. The curse was put on the island by the Benedictine monks who were asked to leave the island by the French. The monks circled the island thrice at night, cursing the place, and left the next morning, never to come back. Since then, legend has it, whoever has claimed Lokrum has succumbed to death by drowning, murder, mutiny or other unfortunate incidents. I am glad that we went there only for a day picnic – not that we had any intention to claim it!
Lokrum and Game of Thrones
For the Game of Thrones fans, parts of the series were shot in Lokrum. As we got closer to the island, it’s charm was evident. There is a reason why the rich and famous wanted to ‘own’ Lokrum and what caught the fancy of the producer of Game of Thrones was obvious – you need to spend a few hours here to be on the same page.
Peacocks… and more peacocks… and peahens… and their chicks
Lokrum has a lot of peacocks and peahens. July and August are hatching months and the cute little fledgings run after their Mama in a line. I went ‘aaaaawwww’ seeing the little ones; they were so cute!
The exciting part is that the birds are neither ‘camera shy’ nor ‘paparazzi shy’. They will merrily ‘catwalk’ around you and also strike a few poses for you get shutter crazy. We have seen a lot of peacocks, including those in the zoo, but have never seen the magnificent creature this close!
We love rocky beaches!
We love rocky beaches now! It was in Lokrum that our love affair with rocky beaches commenced. No sand, no wave breaks and blue waters – awesome! Like the rest of the Dalmatian cost, the beaches are rocky. There are no ‘beaches’, as per the conventional definition (sandy beaches). There is no powdery sand like the Maldivian coast. Anywhere that the Croats find a bay, they set a ladder from the rocks to the sea – and that my friends, is a Croatian ‘beach’. And we loved it! As there is no sand – nothing sticks and irritates your skin when you leave the water. I think our loyalties are changing from from sandy beaches to rocky and pebbled beaches.
At Lokrum, there is an area marked for FKK as well. The rest are family beaches. Come early (little before noon), choose your spot under a tree, spread your towel, get the bottle of wine out and some crisps and you are all set for a relaxing day.
Food for the vegetarians
We love carrying our picnic – a vegetarian sandwich, cheese pie, some salad – a beer for Ankur and some tea for me. The kindle and the iPad stayed in the bag forever. Like the Croats, during our entire trip, we were all set to enjoy the sea side anywhere and at anytime! But we found ourself on Lokrum without any food or water. Lacroma to the rescue – a quaint cafe that offers sandwiches, salads and ice cream and also packs up a picnic for you!
What to see in Lokrum?
- Botanical Garden: After disembarking from the ferry, we spent the next hour or so exploring the botanical garden. I ended up comparing it with the humungous Peradiniya Gardens in Sri Lanka and wasn’t too impressed.
- Benedictine Monastery Ruins: We just stumbled upon this place and had no clue where we were. But as they were ruins, I was in my usual avatar – all excited to click pictures. There is a pizzeria here as well – a good spot if you want to have some hot lunch.
- Olive Grove: After the seaside, this was our favourite place on the island. Shady green areas with cool breeze. And oh, don’t forget that the sea is just ten steps away.
There are plenty of other points of interest – a salt water lake, a fortress that lets you view the island and Dubrovnik from an altitude, a pine grove, Charlotte’s well and a few more, which I can’t remember. We ventured on the path to the fortress. It was so hot and humid that we just gave up half way and turned back.
Two cents from my end… some tips
- You can get the ferry to Lokrum on the pier in the Old Town at Dubrovnik. There are only return tickets available and it is illegal to spend the night in Lokrum.
- There is a tourist information centre near the pier when you disembark at Lokrum. It sells maps and a small tourism booklet for KN 25. Suggest buying it if you want to explore the island. The signs posted along the paths don’t do a great job at guiding you.
- You can rent bicycles to explore the island. Speak to the information centre or walk to the monastery ruins entrance of the pizzeria and speak with the concerned person.
- We did not see any sea urchins around Lokrum, though the rocks were jagged. Suggest having beach shoes. It is cheaper to buy them in Dubrovnik than buying them at Lokrum.
- Carry plenty of water when you start from Dubrovnik. Buying water bottles in Lokrum is an expensive proposition.
As always… send me an e-mail if you need any further details. Glad to help!
Let the travellers’ tribe grow!