The offshore swimming is very good, although the beaches are a little rocky.
Situated just 600m offshore of Dubrovnik, the small, pretty island of Lokrum makes for a relaxing getaway from the city. It’s only a short, cheap boat ride away, and offers an amazingly rich combination of history and natural beauty, without the crowds of the Old Town.
From One Island to Another
Lokrum shares a surprising connection to medieval English history. When Richard the Lionheart was returning from the crusades in 1192, he was shipwrecked on the island in a severe storm and was lucky to make it to shore alive. Seeing his survival as an act of divine intervention, he ultimately decided to fund the construction of Dubrovnik’s cathedral as an offering to God.
A Croatian Eden
However, historical references to Lokrum go back even further, and the first written mention of the island concerns the foundation of the Benedictine monastery in 1023. These monks started the tradition of cultivating exotic plants which continues to this day. You can marvel at the fruits of centuries of labour in the islands botanical garden, which features over 500 species of tree, as well as families of peacocks originally brought over from the Canary Islands.
Although the monastery has been abandoned for over 200 years, you can still explore its well-maintained, triple-naved Romanesque basilica and grab a bite to eat at the nearby restaurant. Following a well-marked path to the southern end of the island, you will find a small salt lake, nicknamed the “Dead Sea”, which is a popular swimming site.
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