Island Lokrum is located just in front of the Dubrovnik old city and is one of the most popular destinations in Dubrovnik area. Thanks to its unspoiled nature, beautiful coastline, botanical garden and historical remains it righteously holds that title. Actually, the nature here is so beautiful and diverse that the entire island was even proclaimed a reservation and protected by the state.
During the long history of Dubrovnik, Lokrum has been slightly ignored. No settlements were built here, despite the vicinity to the mainland. The only buildings on the island are those of the Benedictine monastery, which was built and improved from the twelfth century onwards. The Republic of Ragusa gave the island to the monks and they constructed their monastery on the southeastern part of the island, in a valley away from the city walls.
Although it is a great defensive position, Republic never built any fortifications on Lokrum. They feared that it could easily fall to the enemy hands in the case of invasion and siege. If the enemy would control a fortress on Lokrum, they would threaten the entire city walls and the main harbor. This doctrine changed only after French army took control of the city in beginning of the nineteenth century and they started constructing the fort Royal on the highest point of the island. Since it was constructed, it was never used beside for a viewpoint for tourists visiting the island.
Lokrum is quite big and surely offers something for everyone – for individuals, couples, families with little children, divers… Close to the port of Portoč (the only port where visitors are allowed to enter the island) there is a café bar offering various refreshments, and a restaurant is located in the buildings of the old monastery. Next to the buildings there are sports grounds so bring with you some sport equipment if you fancy an active vacation. To the south of the monastery there is a small lake with an even smaller beach which is connected with the sea with a natural cave. That way it is filled with sea water and called the “Dead sea” and you don’t have to go to Israel to swim in the Dead sea. Also, the entire southern coast of the island is a nudist beach, and there is also a lot of interesting things to see under the surface of the sea.
In the middle of the island, there are a couple of meadows in the shade of old oil trees and are great for picnics. Also, the botanical garden is located here with the miniature fire station. As it is a protected reservation, Lokrum has its own fire brigade which keeps a close eye over the island, maintains it and keeps it safe from fire. They have a vast and well organized network all over the island’s forests and they even maintain their Facebook page. Be sure to check it out for pictures and situations from this beautiful island.
From Dubrovnik, boats depart for Lokrum from old city harbor during the summer months every 30 minutes. You can reach the island also directly from the ports of Cavtat, Plat, Mlini and Srebreno by using Adriana boats. Also, do note that there is an entrance fee for entering the island.
Beside the beauty of the nature, Lokrum is also more recently became famous as the shooting location of the TV series Game of Thrones and also for its legends which surround the island and its history. In the famous show, Lokrum stood in as the fictional city of Qarth, a merchant pearl surrounded by sea and desert. The old Benedictine monastery was used as a filming location or numerous scenes. In it, the hall of the Thirteen was located along with a sinister vault in which some of the protagonists meet their end. The main part of the monastery – cloister – was place where a party was held for the Mother of Dragons. Also, peacocks which can be found on the island were actively used in the scenery of the episodes. In the gardens of the old monastery, Jorah who swore his loyalty to the young queen is introduced. Ultimately, in the search for the dragons, main protagonists climb up The Path of paradise to the fortress Royal, built on the highest point of the island. Even in real life fort Royal offers magnificent view on all sides – Dubrovnik, Cavtat and far on the open sea.