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Even if you’re visiting Dubrovnik for just a few days, you should set aside some time to visit one of the many islands dotting the coast. One of the easiest to reach is Lokrum. It takes about 15 minutes to get there by the taxi-boats that run from the old harbor every half hour from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The price of 35 HRK / 6.30€ includes entrance to the island – it’s a Nature Reserve.

The islet is small, less than one mile wide, and half a day there is all you need to see its sights. Here are 6 things you can do on the island while there:

1. You can swim in the Dead Sea

Or a miniature version of it at least. Lokrum is home to an idyllic little salt-filled lake linked to the open sea. Like its namesake, the island’s Dead Sea (Mrtvo more) is popular for how easy it is to swim in. The lake is 10 meters deep, and is located on the southern part of the island.

2. You can get rid of your tan-lines

Not far from the Dead Sea (though really nothing is far from anything on this petite piece of paradise), also to the island’s southeast, you’ll find one of Croatia’s many naturist or FKK (Freikörperkultur/Free Body Culture) beaches. It’s a cliff beach, so if you’re on the sensitive side, you may want to buy yourself one of the sponge mats available at the kiosk you’ll see when you get off the boat that took you there.

3. You can go back in time

Stepping into the Benedictine monastery complex on Lokrum will transport you to another era. A few eras in fact – first mentioned in 1023, remnants of the complex include the 12th or 13th-century Romanesque-Gothic basilica and a newer 15th-century Gothic-Renaissance monastery. When you’re ready to come back to the present moment, a nice meal at the restaurant in the complex can help you. Though with so many pristine and peaceful beaches on the island, you might want to consider packing for a picnic instead.

4. You can feel luxurious with the locals

One of this island’s unique features is that its only inhabitants are peacocks. Brought over from the Canary Islands some 150 years ago, these exquisitely exotic birds have adjusted quite well to their new habitat.  Moments in their company can feel wonderfully decadent. Don’t be surprised if you’re joined by one on the beach.

5. You can marvel in exotic plants

It was Archduke Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg who brought over the peacocks. He bought the island in 1859. He also made beautiful horticultural changes to the island which are today part of its botanical garden – in less than five years after buying Lokrum Maximilian had planted more than one hundred exotic plant species. Today the garden contains 500 different kinds of trees, flowers, plants and bushes from Chile, Australia, California, South Africa, and elsewhere across the globe.

6. You can enjoy the silence

Adding to Lokrum’s charm is the fact that no cars are allowed on the island. And on top of that, nobody lives there or even spends the night. Savor in how peaceful it is. Take in a leisurely stroll along one of the island’s shady paths. Find a solitary spot along its rocky shore to call your own. Enjoy dodging the crowds of Dubrovnik for a day.

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