Lovina is a relatively new name coined in the 1950s by a local official with a good eye for future tourism based development. It essentially consists of six traditional villages on a ten kilometre stretch of the main road which hugs the north coast : Temukus, Kalibukbuk, Anturan, Pemaron, Tukad Mungga and Kaliasem. It is a quiet area of Bali although it can get busy in July and August. The narrow black sand beaches are generally safe for swimming.
Perama offers transportation all around Bali to all major tourist destinations and has a local Lovina office in Anturan. They use small mini buses without air conditioning and the prices are reasonable. Bemos are public transport buses. They are extremely cheap, however you need have some patience and they can be crowded. They are a challenge for the inexperienced traveler.
You can hire a car and drive up from the south. Far better, given the relative costs and the roads/driving in Bali, hire a driver and car. You can travel from Kuta in less than 3 hrs and from the airport or Sanur in about 2 hrs 40 minutes. You will travel through the central highlands at Bedugul and you could go the pretty way through Munduk if you are not in a hurry. A pre-paid coupon taxi direct from the airport will cost you Rp 450,000.
The easiest way to visit the surroundings of Lovina is by renting a scooter. The roads are pretty good and are not as crowded as the rest of Bali. You can rent them by just asking boys on the street. This is a good area for walking as the roads are relatively quiet and the beaches long and easily passable.
Banjar Hot Springs (Air Panas), (by road to Dencarik, then an ojek ride on rough paths), located west of Lovina, Air Panas is an enchanting hot springs with stone carved mouths gushing water in a lush garden setting. Changing rooms and lockers provided. This is not a straightforward place to get to and for that reason it is often way less crowded than you would expect for such a lovely spot.
Brahmavihara Arama, Bali's largest Buddhist monastery located near the village of Dencarik about 10 km south west of the main Lovina strip.
Expect to be offered dolphin sighting trips every other minute. These trips leave each morning and have very mixed reviews as the boats tend to outnumber the dolphins, but it can still be an enjoyable ride. Prices are fixed and they are around Rp 50,000. Cockfights are held around Lovina. You will see around Lovina many older people training the cocks. They can take you to a fight.
Lovina is lucky to have several spa facilities. While a little more low key than the spas to the south, the service is excellent and the prices, being much less than the opulent spas in the south, are excellent value and well worth it.
There are several dive operators based out of Lovina that operate daily dive and snorkeling trips to Menjangan Island, Tulamben and Amed, as well as night dives from the local shore. Be careful, some hotels and counters try to sell unofficial diving trips (that look official though on paper). Do not pay before you have seen the dive center and check that you will dive with certified dive masters/instructors.