There are two types of people who visit the island of Hvar. Those who have been through the Pitve Tunnel, and those who haven’t. One of the great undiscovered film locations left in Europe, nobody who has experienced the Pitve Tunnel forgets it in a hurry.
Built in the early 1960s by the military by drilling through rock, the tunnel is a 1.4km adrenaline rush, with a width of just 2.3m, and just two passing places in the middle of the tunnel. A traffic light system is in operation for much of the year, and while it may seem that there is nothing too sophisticated about the tunnel, which has allowed tourism to develop in places like Zavala, Ivan Dolac and Sveta Nedjelja, it does have one rather unusual secret – its very own wine cellar!
The cool and constant temperature makes it ideal for wine storage, and Zlatan Otok has been using the space for some time now. Although I had heard about the cellar, and caught a fleeting glimpse as I drove through, it is not exacly in the most tourist friendly location to visit, but as I found myself waiting for some people at the entrance to the Pitve Tunnel at 05:30 this morning with a curious American tourist, we decided to take a look. Traffic was minimal, and the cellar is just 50m from the Pitve entrance on the left hand side.
And sure enough, there it was, with protective metal door for security.
And cases of wine clearly behind the doors. I do wonder how they access and load these cases – it must be a nightmare with the traffic.
Not had the pleasure of the Pitve Tunnel experience yet, or want to relive your visit? Sit back and enjoy the ride in the video below.