A Visit to Croatia: Going from Dubrovnik to the Croatian Islands
It was a brilliantly sunny morning in Dubrovnik, Croatia, as my brother, friends and I wandered the streets of the old city, delighting in the near emptiness of the place in the moments just after sunrise.
We stopped in a warm bakery to pick up croissants, pastries and hot coffee, bid farewell to those dying to do a bit of shopping, then made our way to the harbor to see if we could track down an obliging captain to take us for a boat ride around Otok Lokrum, one of the 1246 Croatian Islands.
We found a portly elderly couple, the man strong and silent, his wild-haired wife bossing him around and ordering him to take us to the island. We probably paid too much – about $25 for a one hour ride – but they were so cute and hilarious we couldn’t say no.
The old man fired up his craft as we clambered aboard and his wife stood on the pier waving to us, her white hair stark against the stone walls of the city. It was a glorious boat ride. The sun hot on our faces, brisk breezes off the Adriatic whipping our hair and cooling sunburned shoulders.
Otok Lukrum is a rugged place, the beaches rocky and jagged rather than sandy. Also known as the Island of Kings, Otok Lukrum is first mentioned in the history books in 1023 with the building of a Benedictine monastery and abbey. Legend has it that Richard the Lion Heart shipwrecked on the island in 1192 on his return from the Crusades. Overjoyed at being alive and safe, he pledged to build a church there. His plans were thwarted when the citizens of Dubrovnik begged that the church is built in the city instead.
An island is a place of great beauty and history. The name Lokrum comes from the Latin, ‘acrumen‘, meaning sour fruit. This derives from the tradition of cultivating exotic plants on the island from places as far away as Australia and South America. The Austrian archduke Maximilian once had a holiday home here.
Otok Lukrum is now a Nature Reserve and a Special Forest Vegetation Reserve. It boasts a lush Botanical Garden, hidden lake, and Fort Royal Castle that provides commanding views of the Adriatic and Dubrovnik. White ladders can be seen ascending from the sea up onto the rocks, providing perfect places for sunbathing and swimming.
During a visit to Croatia, switching from the hustle and bustle of beautiful Dubrovnik to the Croatian Islands, one finds the perfect place to rest, snooze in the sun, or explore an island that may once have given safety to a king of England.
Cruise in Croatian Island
Header Photo by Palo Cech