This green peaked island about half a kilometer of the coast of Dubrovnik is now a nature reserve and major tourist attraction. Its thick, dark green covering of mediterranean forest is a riot of noise from the cacophonous cicadas. There are a few sights of interest, although none of them spectacular. There is an overgrown monastery ruin, a rather sad botanical garden, and a the remains of a great fortress atop a torturous hill.
Getting there is easy, if you can navigate the confusing crowds at the harbour. There are rides for everywhere, and it gets even more chaotic when the orange cruiser ferries are dashing back and forth. I didn't find the boat easily, and almost gave up. The tickets were sold by a bored attendant sitting at a wooden table under a plain sign. The best advice I can give you is to look for the traditional low slung boat with wooden deck seats, and avoid the distraction of the modern looking cruise ferries.
A botanical garden on a jewel of an island in the Adriatic might sound like something special, but in reality it's a bit sad, unloved and overgrown. That said there are some interesting items if you are prepared to overlook the drab, uninviting exterior. Inside you'll find climatically compatible plants from all over the world, something you'll notice from the overwhelming smell of eucalyptus from the donated Australian trees.
The island reaches up to almost a hundred meters in height, and at its peak the French built a great fortress. The views of Dubrovnik are rudely interrupted by the islands many trees, so the walk isn't quite as worthwhile as you might imagine. It might be better in winter, unless the trees are evergreen.
In summer the walk to the top is exhausting. You'll want to bring a change of clothes to replace those that become drenched in sweat climbing up. The locals must know what a challenge it is, which would explain the darkly humourous find when we reached the summit. At almost exactly one hundred meters above sea level someone had left a gift to sun stroked, sweat drenched, dehydrated, burned out, half dead tourists.
On top of the island, on top of the hill, on top of the fort, on top of a little circular platform someone had left a deckchair, a sunshade, a small transistor radio, and a bottle of ice cold water still dripping with cool condensation. They'd left it there with no way of getting to it. After climbing all the way to the top on a mindbendingly hot day, that was one mean trick. Bastards.
We did not take the ride because of time constraints, but it sounded nice thing to do. They say the island is pristine and well maintained for nature, and there are many peacocks roaming around. Shuttles from the harbor run every 1/2 hour, or so in summer, and cost is about $7 each way, and you can stay all day if you want.
The Island of Lokrum is only a short boat ride from the old harbour. This island nature reserve is a nice break from the crowds as it is so peaceful. On the island there is a botanical garden, a Benedictine abbey & an old french fort. The climb to the fort is quite steep, but once there at Fort Royal the views of Dubrovnik & the coastline are pretty spectacular. Near to where the boat docks is a cafe where you can have a drink & a meal, you may get interrupted by one of the islands peacocks though.
Nice small island just in front Dubrovnik, where locals use to go to take a bath.
I hardly recommended if you have half a day to spend and you just like to have a walk around the botanic garden, lay into the free hammocks on the cliffs, and take a bath in to the ocean by some of the stairs on the rocks that allows you to go down into the water.
There's a really magic place in the island, a very small lagoon with a small waterfall... just paradise.
You can take the picnic from hotel or there is a bar and a restaurant. Nothing spectacular, but not very expensive to be the only place to have lunch...
The island of Lokrum is a great excursion for anyone visiting Dubrovnik. You can catch a boat from the old port. It costs around 5 euros for a round trip ticket. The boat ride is about 15-20 minutes, and you can return whenever you'd like with the last boat heading back at 8. The boats come very frequently, and a map of the island is printed on your ticket.
Once you get to the island, there is a stand selling water toys and ice cream, a small outdoor restaurant nicely equipped with a live guitarrist, ruins of a monastery, olive groves, a "dead sea" saltwater lagoon that is great for kids to swim in, and a nudist beach as well. There are also DOZENS of peackocks on the island. We liked the area that you see to your left just as you pull up to the island, and spent the day swimming and sunbathing there. The rocks are a little bumpy, so bring an extra-cushy towel, and goggles. Its hard to tell how deep it is, even though the water is extremely clear, and its reassuring to be able to see that the urchins you can see below the water are actually 20 feet down. Plus there is a suprising number of interesting fish, and snorkling was a very relaxing way to pass the time.
Overall great! And we only covered about half of the island.
There are numerous islands to explore around Dubrovnik, but the easiest is a visit to the island of Lokrum. Head outside the old town wall to the harbour area and board one of the frequent boats that depart for the island. The journey only takes about 15 minutes and you have amazing views of the Dubrovnik as you leave the port. Once you arrive on the island, you are greeted by amazing blue waters, lush foliage and a destroyed park ranger building (a distinct reminder of the war). Further inland is a nice monastary and garden that were in the process of being restored. There are numerous trails, rocky coves ideal for swimming, a nudist beach, several snack bars and more than a few peacocks! It's a great little side excursion in addition to seeing Dubrovnik.
We had a few hours to spare and decided to take the ferry to the nearest island, Lokrum, which is located approximately 2 km from the old city. Ferries regulary service the island and a return fare was Kn 35. We set off in fine weather and had a fabulous view of the city walls, very impressive from the ocean and a great opportunity to practice our photographic skills. We were soon at the island which is a national park and has some beautiful, unspoilt beaches, several ruins and a medieval Benedictine monastery which is being reconstructed.
We were enjoying the island for a half hour when a huge storm came in and everyone converged upon the wharf awaiting the next ferry due in 10 minutes. A huge storm developed as we returned to Dubrovnik and a half hour later it was clear, however we were by then in a beautiful seafood restaurant on the old city waterfront.
For a tiny island there is a lot to see and do. The island is home to a Napoleonic fortress, Fort Royal, which affords tremendous views of Dubrovnik and its surroundings. There is also, a bombed out building from the war, some trails, an old benedictine monastery, a nude beach, a poorly maintained botanical garden and a peacock colony. To reach the island you only need to take a ferry from the old harbor. Well worth a look for a few hours or so.
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