Pelješac, place where time stands still…
Experience the peaceful, leisurely way of life, where time seems to slow down.
Eat the world-famous oysters at Mali Ston Bay, pulled straight from the sea, shucked while you wait, and washed down with some local wine.
Pelješac Peninsula is about as close to heaven as it gets.
Pelješac Peninsula is one of the most famous Croatian wine regions, introduced by the Greeks and then advanced by the Romans, wine production has a long history in this area.
It is also known for the finest oysters and mussels in the world, long shingle beaches and the second longest walls in the world – all of that is less than 1- hour drive from Dubrovnik!
Pelješac is the second largest peninsula in Croatia, situated halfway between Dubrovnik and Split, just about an hour’s drive from Dubrovnik.
It is the perfect destination for those who want to escape the crowds. Unlike Dubrovnik, even during the highest summer season, Pelješac is peaceful and quiet, but full of content. On Pelješac you can explore heavenly beaches, enjoy fresh seafood, drink fine wines, but more than anything, completely relax.
The scenic storybook villages, fishing boats, the rocky hills with vineyards, long shingle beaches,… smell the sea breeze, and soak in the scenery.
Far away from touristic crowds, Pelješac seems to have a life on its own.
The rocks, the vegetation, the groves of pine and cypress – everywhere a sense of timelessness prevails. On the hills above the sea, abandoned villas and gardens, stone walls and columns lie crumbling in the sun.
Lemon, fig and almond trees, herbs and wildflowers surround the villages, gardens, and fields.
Welcome to the secret oasis of peace…
Ston is mostly known for three things – its very well preserved defensive walls, its salt works, and its mussels!
Ston is a small town, located at the very beginning of the Pelješac Peninsula, near the point where the peninsula meets the mainland. It is one of the largest with a population of 2,500.
What to do in Ston
Walk The Walls
Its defensive walls were built in the 13th Century, they are the second-longest walls in the world after the Great Wall of China.
They were built by the Republic of Ragusa in the 14th century to protect the extremely valuable salt pans, the oldest in Europe, maybe even the oldest in the world. The salt pans are still working today, with no changes in features or production processes through centuries. They annually produce about 200 tons of salt.
Despite its military history, nowadays Ston is a small, laid-back fishing town.
The walls are open year-round to visit (with longer opening hours in summer). More on the Walls of Ston website, including opening hours and ticket prices.
Visit Ston Salt Works
Saltworks in Ston have an exceptionally long history. The archaeological findings in the region have revealed human activity as far back as the Neolithic period.
In the Middle Ages, salt was not only a coveted means of payment but also a cause for wars and for establishing important trade routes.
The production of salt contributed to the wealth of the Republic of Dubrovnik. These days, the harvesting of salt from the sea is still done in a traditional manner.
Learn how they use only sun, wind, and seawater to make salt.
Find more information at the Solana Ston website.
Eat the world-famous oysters at Mali Ston Bay!
Ston is really two towns in one, connected by 3km of walls. Ston, called Veliki Ston (Great Ston) to distinguish it from its smaller sister Mali Ston (Little Ston). You can easily walk between the two places.
This unique little village is a gastronomic destination, one of the best spots in the world (seriously, look it up!) to indulge in fresh and affordable oysters, grown right on the bay on oyster beds.
There are two restaurants in Mali Ston synonymous with fresh oysters: Kapetanova Kuća and Villa Koruna.
If you can’t make it to Mali Ston, fear not! These oysters can also be found at many other restaurants in Dubrovnik.
Oysters have been farmed at Mali Ston Bay since Roman times, and are famous the world over for their unique, clean taste. The reason why these oysters – known as Ostrea edulis, or European flat oysters – are so good has to do with the unique nutrient blend that naturally occurs in Mali Ston Bay. While the bay is already loaded with salt, the nearby Neretva River discharges fresh, mineral-heavy water from the karst springs that flow into it.
Fun Fact: Proven by study raw oysters really are an aphrodisiac.
You can try oysters in one of the Mali Ston restaurants, or you can take an oyster and wine tasting tour. For one of the best experiences on your trip, hop on a boat and sail out to the beds, where one of the local oyster growers will catch, prepare and serve oysters as fresh as they can possibly be. Washed down with some local wine, it’s guaranteed to be the highlight of any foodie’s trip, if not year.
There are two more specialties in Ston that you have to try: black risotto with seafood and cuttlefish ink, and the Ston cake, the original dish and one of the symbols of the cuisine of Ston which reflects the influence of Italian cuisine and of the Mediterranean climate.
Makaruli (Ston cake) is very likely one of the world’s most unusual cakes as its main ingredient is pasta!
This gastronomic delight that comes from Ston (hence the name) is traditionally prepared whenever there is a celebration, such as Christmas, Easter, and weddings.
A thin, unsweetened pastry envelops macaroni, mixed with the chocolatey-cinnamon mix, nuts, lemon zest, sugar, chocolate, and butter – all bound with beaten egg. It has been prepared for centuries, and long ago they used pasta for the filling to economize on ingredients.
It’s not exactly the most beautiful pastry in the world, but don’t let the looks fool you! If you want to taste something unique and unusual, yet very delicious, Ston cake is a must.
Taste Locally Made Wines
No trip to Pelješac would be complete without tasting at least one of these delightful wines…although I say, why not go all out and try them all?
Red, white, dry – whatever you fancy, there are plenty of options.
Pelješac wine is considered to be among Croatia’s finest wine.
Plavac Mali is the most famous variety that hails from this region.
The villages of Postup (53 km from Ston) and Dingač (38 km from Ston) stand at the center of the best-known vineyards, and wines bearing the Dingač label are highly rated by connoisseurs.
Some of the best Pelješac wineries are Miloš Winery (10 km from Ston), Matuško Winery (40 km from Ston), and Korta Katarina Winery (57 km from Ston.
Discover heavenly beaches
Mediterranean authenticity and untouched nature are advantages that Peljesac beaches offer.
Pelješac Peninsula has some of the most gorgeous beaches in all Croatia.
Far from roads and traffic, and yet easily accessible by car. The best thing – they are never crowded!
Some of the best Pelješac beaches:
Beach Divna (Gorgeous Beach) – I think the name says it all. This little beach really is gorgeous. One of the best parts about Divna is that a small uninhabited island is just a few meters swimming distances from the beach! (58 km from Ston).
Beach Prapratno – This lovely sandy beach is situated in a small bay, close to Ston. Seawater is warm and crystal clear while the bay is surrounded by olive and pine trees. The shallow sea makes this beach suitable for families with small children. (4.5 km from Ston).
Beach Mokalo – This breathtaking beach is hidden in a turquoise sea bay and it’s heaven! (54 km from Ston).
Viganj’s main beach – The coast of Viganj is mainly visited by windsurfers and kite-surfers, but swimmers also like to make their way here. (65 km from Ston).
Delightful beaches around the peninsula, as well as the hidden bays, will assure you Pelješac really is paradise place.
How to get to Ston from Dubrovnik
Ston and Mali Ston are less than a one hour drive north of Dubrovnik.
There are 3 ways you can get there:
- By car
Pros: A car will give you the flexibility that no other way of transport can offer.
Cons: Afer all the wine tasting and with the zero alcohol limit this would be a hard trip to do if driving yourself!
- By bus
You can check the schedule on the Dubrovnik Bus Terminal website. Click on „zapad“ (west) and search for bus no. 15.
The bus goes from the main bus station in Dubrovnik, which is located by Gruž harbor.
- By an organized tour
You can visit both on a Ston oysters and wine tasting tour.
To conclude, if you are visiting Dubrovnik and have time for a day trip, this is one of the best day trips you can do!
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