The more upmarket hotels east of the Ploče Gate such as the Excelsior, have their own beaches exclusively for the use of hotel guests; walk past them along the coast to find your own private spot for a dip. There is the sandy Banje Beach, with lounge chairs provided by Eastwest Club, and a family-friendly beach in Lapad. The most natural and peaceful beaches lie on the tiny island of Lokrum, a short distance south of the Old Town. Through high season boats leave half-hourly from the Old Harbor, ferrying visitors back and forth from morning to early evening.
Lokrum. Some of Dubrovnik's most natural and peaceful beaches lie on the tiny island of Lokrum, a short distance southeast of the Old Town. Lush and fertile, this tiny island is home to the ruins of an abandoned 11th-century monastery, set in exotic botanical gardens. You can spot peacocks brought over by Hapsburg Emperor Maximillian, who turned the monastery into his summer residence. At the top of the island is a star-shaped fortress built by Napoleon's troops during French occupation, later used by the Austrian army. Lokrum swirls with legends and mystery; the story goes that when the Benedictine Monks were expelled from the island to make room for aristocrats, they left behind a curse on any future owners of the land. To this day, it is considered bad luck to stay overnight on the island, though many a pair of romantics has tried; as Lokrum is also nicknamed Lovers Island. A network of footpaths lead down to the rocky shoreline, past the "dead sea" lake, where it's possible to swim. There are cliffs to jump from, coves to bathe in, and a small stretch of coast reserved for nudists. It's a wonderful place to spend a day. To reach Lokrum, take a taxi-boat from the old harbor; they run every half hour during the summer. Round-trip tickets cost 70 Kn. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: walking; nudists. 15-min boat ride from Dubrovnik's old harbor, Island of Lokrum, Dubrovnik, 20000. www.lokrum.hr.