Lokrum Island: The Perfect Day Trip from Dubrovnik, Croatia
Lokrom Island is just a stone’s throw from the Old Port of Dubrovnik Croatia, yet feels a world away. Instead of crowds of tourists, and the tan stone of the old city, on Lokrum Island you’ll find cool breezes, calm tide pools, and forests of evergreens shading your path. Bring your bathing suit, prepare to relax, and experience the perfect day trip from Dubrovnik.
We visited Lokrum Island from Dubrovnik as part of a visit to Croatia during our Family Year Out when our kids were 5 and 7. Check out our 2-week Croatia itinerary for the full details on Croatia with kids!
When in Dubrovnik, check out our guide to what to eat in Dubrovnik on a budget.
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Love Croatia? Don’t miss the best things to do in Split, our guide to the stunning Plitvice Lakes, the best of Zadar, things to do in the overlooked capital of Zagreb, and more!
Where is Lokrum Island?
Lokrum island is due south of Dubrovnik Old Town Port. If you hike the walls of the old city, you’ll see the forests of Lokrum just out to sea. The whole island is a nature reserve, just a 15-minute boat ride from Dubrovnik.
It is officially called the Lokrum Island Special Reserve of Forest Vegetation and has been preserved since 1948. The reserve protects sea caves, reefs, evergreen forests, pine forests, and more.
Is Lokrum Island Worth Visiting?
Yes, Lokrum Island is worth visiting! We debated whether to make the trip and are glad we did. The cool pine forests were a welcome change of pace from the crowded streets of Dubrovnik. The kids loved seeing wild peacocks and splashing in the tidepools.
A Note About Croatia: In January of 2023, Croatia officially joined the Schengen Region of the European Union. At the same time, they stopped using the Croatian Kuna, and officially adopted the Euro.
If you are traveling on a 90-day Schengen Visa, your time in Croatia now counts as part of those days. Croatia is no longer a useful country for jumping out of the EU while doing the “Schengen Shuffle”!
How to Get to Lokrum Island
There are two ways to get to Lokrum Island- by ferry (the easy way!) and by kayak (the adventurous way!)
The Ferry from Dubrovnik to Lokrum Island
The first ferry leaves for Lokrum Island from the Old Port of Dubrovnik (East side of the Old Town) at 9 am. If you miss this ferry, the next one is at 10 am. After this in high season, the ferries continually leave every half hour. Check updated ferry schedules, in low season, the ferries run every hour.
The ferry ride to Lokrum Island lasts about fifteen minutes. You’ll sail through water so clear and beautiful you’ll just want to stare down into it.
Return ferries leave each hour at the 15 and the 45 past in high season, with the last boat leaving at 8 pm. In low season, ferries return every fifteen minutes after the hour, with the last boat leaving Lokrum Island at 4:00 pm. You cannot stay on the island but must return on the ferry.
Buy ferry tickets from the ticket booth marked “Lokrum Ferry” to your left as you enter the port from the Old Town. The booth opens at 8:30 am.
Round-trip tickets for adults in 2023 are 27€. Children 5 to 15 are 5€ and kids under 5 are free.
Kayak Trip to Lokrum Island
Instead of taking the ferry, you can kayak to Lokrum Island!
On this three-hour kayaking tour, you’ll kayak out to Lokrum Island, then kayak around the island, with stops for snorkeling or swimming. This is quite a workout, travelers report kayaking up to 7 km, so be ready to paddle hard! This is a small group tour, with up to 7 boats, or 14 people.
Book Now: Kayak Tour of Lokrum Island
Things to Do on Lokrum Island
Once you arrive at Lokrum Island, there will be a large map you can use to see the different areas of the island. We recommend taking a photo of the map so you can reference it as you hike around the island. This map of Lokum Island is great for reference.
Visit the Monastery
One of the first places you can visit on Lokrum Island is the Benedictine Monastery. Just a 3-minute walk from the port across the island will bring you to the Monastery Complex.
First constructed around 915 CE, the monastery existed until some point in the 17th century when the monks were forced to leave the island. It is believed by the locals that upon being evicted, the monks put a curse on anyone who possessed the island.
A portion of the monastery has been converted into a restaurant and another part has been turned into a museum. You’ll find the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones in the Benedictine Monastery.
Sit on the real GoT Iron Throne
Dubrovnik was a major filming location for Game of Thrones, the popular tv series from HBO. Within the Benedictine Monastery, you will find an exhibit that shows the many filming locations, as well as the actual Iron Throne that was used in the filming of the series. HBO gifted the set piece to the city of Dubrovnik, who installed it on Lokrum island.
As you enter the courtyard of the monastery, head to your left to the inside rooms where you’ll find the Game of Thrones display. You can sit on the throne and take pictures. This can become quite crowded in the afternoons, so if this is of interest, plan to get there early.
Take a Game of Thrones Tour
If you are a fan of the HBO series Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik and Lokrum are great places to take a tour of many of the filming locations.
On the Total Game of Thrones Experience, you’ll spend a full day not only seeing the filming sites in Old Town Dubrovnik, but you’ll also take the ferry to Lokrum Island, as well as a bus to Trsteno Arboretum, and Srdj Mountain.
What travelers have to say:
“This is a must do for all GoT fans! It’s like being in the show. What’s real and what’s CGI is really hard to tell on the show. Ana is a great and very detailed guide! I love how she describes the scene and makes us excited about GoT all over again!”
“Our tour guide, Ana, was fantastic! She was incredibly informative, not just on Game of Thrones, but Dubrovnik history in general. We were shown many various locations used for GoT filming and were given anecdotes from the filming, actors, extras etc. It was wonderful to go to the Arboretum as this is somewhat out of the city and we probably wouldn’t have visited it otherwise.”
Check Availability: Total Game of Thrones Experience Tour
Swim in the Lokrum Dead Sea
Mrtvo more, commonly called the Dead Sea, is a small saltwater lake on the southwestern side of Lokrum Island. It is fed by small caves and openings from the sea; the water is saltier than the ocean and it’s easy to float, but not nearly as much as the actual Dead Sea.
The sun warms the water and it is quite pleasant to take a dip. There is not a lot of beach area here, and it can become crowded in the afternoons as more people arrive on the island. The best time to explore is in the morning when it’s warm, but the area is still quiet.
There are sea anemones in the Dead Sea, so swim with caution. There are Snakelocks anemones, girdle anemones, and Beadlet anemones. These anemones look like plants, but they sting. Once our kids saw the sign detailing the anemones they were no longer interested in swimming there!
Take a Dip near Stigene Rocks
The Stigene Rocks are on the west side of the bottom of the island and are great for exploring and climbing over. Just north of these, beyond the gardens next to the monastery, you will find a wall with access on either side down to a beach. This is a great place to take a dip and relax.
You can make your way through the rocks out to more open water, or enjoy this relatively protected cove. The water is so clear and our girls loved looking for rocks and shells of different colors and stripes.
Travel Tip: The beaches here are quite rocky, we recommend water shoes for swimming.
Check Out the Wildlife
Getting to Lokrum Island early is also great for seeing the wildlife. Peacocks freely roam the island, first brought to the Island by Maximilian (brother to Franz Joseph, Hapsburg Emperor) from the Canary Islands. As we walked across the island from the ferry, we found a peahen and her three babies out feeding in the underbrush. We found many others throughout the day.
At some point after 2014, European rabbits were illegally introduced to the island. While people love seeing them, they have wreaked havoc on the island and the Botanical Garden and destroyed some 200 plant species there. There was a plague that severely affected the rabbit population. I am not sure what the current situation is but when we were there, we did not see any rabbits.
Visit the Botanical Garden
Just north of the monastery is the Botanical Garden, founded in 1959 to research the adaptation of exotic plants in the Lokrum climate. It was heavily damaged during the Croatia War for Independence between 1991 and 1995 and more recently by the illegal introduction of the highly invasive European Rabbit. However, you can still find some 800 species of flora.
There are picnic benches just across from the botanical garden, many of which are in the shade. This is a great spot to stop for lunch if you are exploring the island.
Hike to Fort Royal
Fort Royal is at the highest point on the north of Lokrum Island. The fort’s construction was begun in 1806 when it was occupied by the French under Napoleon and completed in 1835 by Austria.
To get to the Fort, you’ll hike across the island, past some water cisterns, and uphill. You’ll quickly lose any crowds, and find the ruins of the round fort with several levels you can explore. It is not a large structure, you can check it out in just a few minutes.
From the top, you will find picturesque views of the surrounding island and sea, as well as Dubrovnik beyond. This is a great place to stop and take in the landscape.
The Legends of Lokrum Island
A monastery has existed on Lokrum Island since at least 915 CE. Legend holds that after the monks were forced off the island by the Romans, they cursed the island.
Richard the Lionheart was reportedly shipwrecked in 1192 on his way back from the Crusades. He washed ashore safely on Lokrum Island and vowed to build a church on the spot where he was saved.
He was later convinced to build the church in Dubrovnik, rather than on Lokrum Island.
The Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I (and thus King of Croatia and Hungary) later owned the island. Franz’s brother Maximillian took a great interest in the island and was responsible for much of the building upon it. A series of unfortunate deaths in the family reinforced the legendary status of Lokrum Island.
Interested in Franz, Maximillian, and the Hapsburgs? Check out our articles on Vienna, the seat of the Hapsburg empire. We’ve got details on getting around Vienna, Is Vienna Safe, a 3-day itinerary, and more!
How Long Should I Spend on Lokrum Island?
You can easily spend a whole day or a half day on Lokrum Island. We took the first ferry over and returned on the 2:30 ferry. We could have easily spent more time swimming and splashing in the water but decided we’d had enough sun for the day.
You can easily see the sites of the island in a few hours, you can then return to Dubrovnik, or settle in for some relaxing time at one of the island’s swimming holes.
Can I Swim at Lokrum Island?
Yes, you can swim in many places at Lokrun Island. With small children, we prefer the shallow, sheltered tide pools close to Stigene Rocks, but we saw many other people swimming off the side of the island close to the ferry port.
There is also rumored to be a nude beach if you head left off the ferry, but we didn’t go looking for it.
5 Tips for Visiting Lokrum Island
Here are our best tips for visiting Lokrum Island as a day trip from Dubrovnik.
1. Start Early
Try to start as early as possible. We took the first boat over, at 9:00. The ticket booth opens at 8:30. Which means that you and the people on your boat will have at least an hour on the island before other tourists join you.
This quiet time is great for seeing the more popular spots on the island. You’ll be past the monastery and hiking deeper into the island by the time most tourists are getting off the ferry.
2. Pack a Picnic
There are a few cafes on the island, but they are clustered together. You will have more flexibility if you bring a picnic. There are picnic tables set up in the olive grove, or you can choose a bench or other scenic location to have your own picnic.
Especially when traveling with kids, it means you can choose when to eat lunch without worrying about trekking back to a cafe.
3. Bring Cash
You will need cash for any drinks, snacks, or meals that you purchase on Lokrum Island. Vendors on the island only accept Euros.
4. Hats and Sunscreen
Lokrum Island can be hot. While some trails provide a bit of shade, you’ll want to be prepared for lots of sun.
5. Swimming Gear
Bring swimming gear and water shoes. The areas around the island are great for taking a cool dip in the water but mostly consist of pebbly or rocky shores.
FAQ: Visiting Lokrum Island, Croatia
Yes, it is worth visiting Lokrum Island! It makes an easy, relaxing day trip from Dubrovnik. With its shady spaces, cool places to take a dip in the ocean, and wild animals, it feels a world away from the noise and crowds of Dubrovnik.
There is no fee to enter Lokrum Island, but you’ll need to buy tickets for the ferry from Dubrovnik to Lokrum Island. You must buy return tickets, as you are not allowed to stay on the island overnight.
Ferry Tickets are 27€ round trip for adults, 5€ for children. You can buy tickets on the dock just before boarding the ferry.
Yes, the Iron Thron is real! HBO donated the original Iron Throne that was used while filming the series to the City of Dubrovnik, who chose to locate it on Lokrum Island. There are replica thrones in the city of Dubrovnik and in Split, Croatia, where many other scenes from the series were filmed.
While you can spend a pleasant, relaxing day on Lokrum Island, you can also explore much on the island in a few hours. We recommend having at least two hours on the island.
No, it is illegal to stay on Lokrum Island, you must take the ferry back to Dubrovnik at the end of the day.
No dogs are allowed, no smoking is allowed, and no starting fires on Lokrum Island. You must depart by the last ferry, you are not allowed to sleep on the island.
Game of Thrones, the popular HBO series, was partially shot on Lokrum Island. In Season 2, the island was used for the city of Quarth near the Jade Sea.
Lokrum Island has a moderately warm humid climate- it is buffeted by three different winds, and gets substantially more precipitation than Dubrovnik.
There You Have It: Everything You Need to Know to Visit Lokrum Island from Dubrovnik
Lokrum island is a great day trip from Dubrovnik, and a fun way to get a change of scenery and away from the crowds of Dubrovnik. It’s also a great location for fans of Game of Thrones! We highly recommend adding a visit to Lokrum island to your Dubrovnik itinerary.
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