The name Lokrum comes from the Latin word “acrumen” which means “sour/bitter fruit”. The island was first mentioned in the 11th century when a Benedictine monastery was founded there. A legend says that in 1192 King Richard the Lionheart shipwrecked near Lokrum but made it safely to its shores. Out of gratitude, he swore he would build a church there, although the people of Dubrovnik built a cathedral in their city instead. Eventually, the Church of the blessed Virgin was built on Lokrum.
It has been said that the island of Lokrum has also been cursed. In the 18th century, a French army general ordered the closure of the monastery and the expulsion of the Benedictines. Three aristocratic families from Dubrovnik were chosen to take those orders to the monks. Although the Benedictines tried to prevent the expulsion order, they failed to stop it. After their last mass on the island, they cursed the island saying: “Whosoever claims Lokrum for his own personal pleasure shall be damned!”. They left the island and never returned. According to the legend, the curse immediately began working as members of the three aristocratic families started dying of unusual deaths.
Archduke Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg bought the island in 1859. He brought many exotic seeds from South America, South Africa and Australia for his garden, which today has become a magnificent Botanical Garden with over 500 different kinds of trees and plants. Maximilian also brought peacocks from the Canary Islands and these exotic birds are the only inhabitants of Lokrum. They walk freely around the whole island so they might even join you at the beach.
On the southern part of the island, there is a small salt lake linked to the open sea - “Dead Sea” (Mrtvo more). It’s 10 m deep and very popular as a swimming spot. Another natural beauty on this island is hidden at the end of Lokrum - the Purple Cave. The name came from the purple seaweed that covers the rocks. Purple Cave can only be reached by boat or by a path that also leads to a nudist beach. For the stunning view of Dubrovnik you should visit Fort Royal Castle, built by the French in 1806.
You can charter a yacht in Croatia and sail from Dubrovnik to Lokrum!