On our second day in Dubrovnik we discovered a real treasure, Lokrum island. It is about a 15 minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik and about a 30 minute ferry ride from Mlini. Lokrum is a nature reserve surrounded by crystal clear waters and home to many, many peacocks.
We spent our first morning in Dubrovnik and by midday were hot and tired from all the crowds. Wanting a break from the heat and all the tourists we decided to head for Lokrum. Best decision ever! The kids instantly fell in love with the island as there were rocks galore to climb, blue waters for swimming, and nature paths to walk. And not too many people!
After cooling off in the water and exploring the first series of rocks, we decided to head to the interior of the island. Paths lead you around, passing through beautiful gardens and a maze of olive trees. The boys were especially happy to stumble upon someone's property that just happened to have a basketball net. Score! Since they always travel with a ball close by, the next hour was all theirs to play. While the older boys played hoops, the younger kids ran like crazy amongst all the olive trees. Happy kids all around.
On one end of the island, set inland, there is a pool of water called "the dead sea." A small hike down the cliffs takes you to this phenomenon. The water has a much higher quantity of salt compared to the surrounding sea, claiming it is much easier to swim. We didn't really notice a difference in buoyancy but supposedly it exists.
After all the swimming and climbing, everyone was getting hungry so we headed to one of the only restaurants on the island. En route we came across lots of wildlife (including more peacocks) and found the ruins of the Benedictine Monastery.
By this point, we were all famished. There wasn't a big selection of restaurants to choose from so we pretty much just went for the first one we saw. Another victory- it was fabulous!!! The massive seafood platter was a hit with everyone. While the adults sat back and relaxed on the restaurant's terrace the kids ran around in the adjacent park.
We had time for one more stop on the rocks before it was time to head for the ferry to Mlini. This time we stopped at the opposite end of the island where the water was a bit rougher. The kids were not that interested in swimming but more in building forts. They dragged sticks, rocks, and long grass around trying to construct the perfect hide out. Upon completion, a game of hide and go seek got underway.
Traveling with our kids usually means finding a balance between their needs and ours. We have found that they can handle the sight seeing tourists attractions for a set amount of time and then things can start to fall apart. Usually, a break in a park and some food is all it takes to reset everyone's mood. Lokrum island and Dubrovnik were that perfect balance for us. So much so, that we returned two more times. What worked best for us was arriving on the island first thing in the morning and staying until after lunch. At that point, we took the ferry to Dubrovnik and enjoyed the late afternoon and sunset in the old town. This way we avoided many of the Dubrovnik tourists and also the daytime heat in the city. If you have kids (and maybe even if you don't) I think Lokrum is a great stop.
For more information, including ferry schedule, check out this tourism website on Lokrum.
Our route through Croatia.