For such a small area of land, you’ll be surprised at how much there is to see and do on Lokrum Island. Here’s how to spend a half day trip from Dubrovnik seeing natural beauty, historic sites, and the stunning views!
After a 10 day trip through Croatia, we had a bit of time to spare on our last day in Dubrovnik. We’d done the city walls and hiked Mount Srd, so what else was there to do? Without wanting to spend a fortune on museum entry fees, we looked to Lokrum Island to fill our time.
What is Lokrum Island?
Lokrum Island is a nature reserve just 600m off the coast of Dubrovnik’s Old Town.
The island is home to a wide variety of lush flora, including some important tropical plants. Although uninhabited, the island has a monastery built from the 11th Century which was later abandoned. Lokrum Island was then bought in 1859 by the Austrian archduke Maxilimilan of Habsburg who built a mansion on the island.
After some back and forth of ownership within the Austrian royal family, a botanical garden was built in 1959.
How much does it cost to visit Lokrum Island?
A return ferry and park entry ticket for Lokrum Island costs 150 kuna.
For children aged 5 – 15 the cost is 25 kuna.
Make sure to check the prices ahead of time, and don’t always trust the internet! We were quite surprised to find that blog posts and information sites only written 2 years ago had the incorrect cost of just 40 kuna per person. At the time of our visit in September 2019, a ticket to visit cost 150 kuna per person (£17) which is significant increase in a short amount of time.
Digging around the internet, the price was increased from 120 kuna to 150 in 2018 too.
You can buy your ticket at the ferry port, but the stall holder only takes cash so be sure to stop by an ATM beforehand if you need.
Keep hold of your ticket as you might need to show it on arrival to the island or for the return journey.
Nature Reserve Entry Fees
The ticket states that the cost covers the 15 minute ferry ride (there and back) as well as the nature reserve entry fee of 120 kuna. It doesn’t take a maths whizz to realise that the bulk of the cost of your ticket goes towards the park itself.
During your visit you’ll quickly see what this money is going towards. Restoring the monastery and the continual upkeep of the island are essential for visitors to enjoy this nature reserve for years to come. Once you realise this is what you’re paying for the price seems much more worthwhile! I do think that they could be more forthcoming with explaining this, though.
We were shocked at the price too initially, and I’ve seen multiple complaints that the cost is too high for just a ferry ride. Which it totally would be. But it’s not, so people should know where their money is going!
That being said, a lot of the island feels like a building site at times. If you’re expecting pristine gardens and untouched lawns, you won’t find it here. We also found a few areas that were closed off to the public. Whether that’s permanent or temporary is yet to be seen but it could be worth noting to avoid disappointment.
Given the entry fee for the park, in the event you arrive on Lokrum Island independently from the ferry service you will have to pay the 120 kuna nature reserve fee on arrival.
Alternatives to on-the-day tickets
There are also some websites that offer you to book ferry and admission tickets to Lokrum Island in advance. However, I couldn’t rely on these as there is just one ferry company operating visits to Lokrum Island. Plus these tours are often more expensive (£25 or more).
Secondly, you could also get a group of 10 or more people together to qualify for a reduced cost of 120 kuna per person. This small saving might ease the blow to your budget and get you chatting to fellow visitors for the day!
You can also get a discounted ticket by purchasing the Dubrovnik Card. This 1, 3, or 7 day card gives free entry to various Dubrovnik attractions as well as discounts for activities in and around the city. You can save 20-30% off the full price of entry with either a 3 or 7 day card.
How can I get to Lokrum Island
As mentioned, catching the ferry from Dubrovnik Old Town is the easiest way to reach Lokrum Island (Portoc Bay). The journey takes just 15 minutes and you’ll enjoy scenic views of the city walls and eastern suburbs the whole way!
There is only one ferry service operating between Dubrovnik and Lokrum Island: Lokrum – Grad Dubrovnik.
You can also join a sea kayak tour from Dubrovnik (Pile Park) and you’ll kayak around the city walls and around the bays of Lokrum Island. As you won’t actually land on the island, you may not need to pay the park entry fee separately.
When can I visit Lokrum Island by ferry?
The ferry service does not operate between October – April in the off season. When the ferry operates through the summer months it runs daily Monday – Friday.
In May, Ferries are on the hour from 10am – 5pm.
Between June – September the first ferry departs at 9am and leave Dubrovnik every half hour until 7pm.
Return ferries from Lokrum Island to Dubrovnik run on a similar timetable, just 15 minutes later.
As Lokrum Island is a nature reserve, there is no accommodation or camping available so you’ll only be able to take up to a full day visit. However, that’s plenty of time to explore the island and it’s attractions.
What to do on Lokrum Island
In our research we found some really handy advice from Where Goes Rose on her day trip to Lokrum for some inspiration. We also downloaded the map of popular attractions around the island to guide us. There are signposts around the key areas of the island, but the walking tracks to some of the areas are not so clear. Keep a map with you just in case, and remember that there’s no cell service on the island so don’t rely on the internet!
We largely stayed towards the southern half of the island. If you choose to stay for a full day trip to Lokrum, you should definitely explore the other hidden bays and beautiful beaches around the north side.
There are some signposts that aren’t directing you to places on the map. One examples is “FKK” which we were so confused by! Turns out it’s a nudist beach. If that’s your thing then head over there by turning left from the main path after leaving the ferry port, and follow the signs!
We didn’t know what it stood for so can’t argue if it’s a good spot or not. It sounds like locals enjoy visiting but be warned that tourists on boat trips will be able to get a good peek as they pass by.
This is one of the most popular spots on Lokrum. The small salt water lake is so salt you can float in it, just like the Dead Sea! If you’re feeling brave, go and swim into some of the caves that feed the lake.
Another of Lokrum’s most popular spots is Fort Royal. Built by the French in the early 19th Century and later expanded by the Austrian’s you have a fantastic view across the landscape from the highest point of the island. Climb to the rooftop through the fort itself for the best views!
In our attempt to avoid the crowds, as they all turned towards the Monastery we went towards the coast. On the way we saw Charlotte’s Well (don’t write web, don’t write web…). This oval pond from the 1850s is pretty unassuming and not really worth stopping for.
It doesn’t sound like much, and it’s not. This part of the coastline is quite bare, but there is a rocky beach for visitors to enjoy and if you’re the adventurous type it’s quite food fun to walk across the rocks with crashing waves below. Plus the view from here are great!
The beautiful buildings around the medieval Benedictine Monastery can’t be ignored on Lokrum! Here you’ll find an exhibition on Game of Thrones thanks to the island’s use as a filming location in the TV series. You can even sit on the throne replica itself! Built in 1023 and later expanded in the 15th/16th Century, it was badly damaged during an earthquake in 1667.
Outside the monastery are well-kept gardens featuring foliage from all over the world. Around the grounds you’ll see Mediterranean vegetation including olive trees and cypresses. Plus you’ll see the local wildlife wandering around!
Forest-Ranger’s House/Visitor’s Centre
At the visitor’s centre you can learn more about the history and important natural aspects of Lokrum Island. You’ll even learn why the island is considered to be cursed by monks who were forced to leave the island…
Another legend states that King Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked here in the 12th Century. The Dubrovnik locals saved him and as thanks he built the cathedral in the old town.
All across Lokrum Island you’ll stumble upon wild rabbits and wild peacocks. Yes, peacocks. And no, they’re not from Croatia. It’s said archduke Maximilian brought over peacocks from the Canary Islands. Before that, who knows where they came from!
As for the rabbits, well, they were introduced illegally… And as rabbits are, they became pretty intrusive for the vegetation and destroyed a lot of the botanical gardens. Yikes.
Either way, they make a majestic and wonderful addition to the island. As an animal lover, I was thrilled! Just wait until they fan out their tail feathers and put on a show… Take care with the birds hanging around, they’ll stare you down when you’re eating which can be a bit intimidating!
Food and drink on Lokrum Island
4 restaurants and cafes have been added to Lokrum Island over the years. It was the case just a few years ago that you’d have to bring a picnic for the day, and while you can buy food and drinks on the island they are quite expensive. As always, it’s important to bring plenty of water with you on your trip.
The food and drinks stops are:
- Snack Bar Lacroma – very close to the ferry drop off with a variety of food and drinks.
- Lacroma Restaurant – The most varied menu for a proper meal instead of on the go snacks.
- Konoba Rajski Vrt – Right next to the monastery so seems to be a popular spot for an easy lunch option.
- Lake Cocktail Bar – Found next to the Dead Sea, it’s a more drinks-focussed bar rather than offering much food.
I’ll admit, when we first went to Lokrum I was in a terrible mood. The price felt ridiculous and I was still recovering from a nasty cold that had dominated our trip. It didn’t help that we got a bit lost at first! Then I drastically perked up when we found the bunnies and peacocks and it actually ended up being a great visit.
If you’re after more information about Lokrum Island, there are (confusingly) 2 websites:
- lokrumisland.com – Provides practical info about ferry times, tours, and a map of the island.
- lokrum.hr/eng – Useful for history and details about specific attractions and things to do.
How does a half day trip to Lokrum Island sound to you? Do you think it’s worth the entry fee?
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