Croatia’s California, Valley of Tangerines: Meet Neretva (VIDEO)

Total Croatia News

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

It is one of the most fertile regions in south-eastern Europe, with a fantastic gourmet, tourism and cultural offer. Meet the fabulous Neretva Valley through a new promotional video, released on March 12, 2017.

If by any chance Neretva Valley was a part of Greek mythology it would unavoidably be called Zeus’ favourite summer residence. It would be a source of the sweetest juices for the supreme God; a place magnificent to behold and relentless on each taste bud.


Photo by Matko Suton

Although Greeks and Romans left their mark in the valley, the story about this uncut economic, tourist and gastro diamond is best put in context of the common man. A farmer, even. From as early as the 19th century, with hard-working hands, farmers reclaimed the land from the swamp, a symbiotic companion to the River which for centuries cut its path from Zelengora and Lebršnik Mounties in Bosnia and Herzegovina towards the Adriatic sea. Its rich soil, the result of eons of sedimentation, was criss-crossed by canals which enabled diversed agriculture. Plentiful fruits that only Demeter could provide gave this area numerous flattering names: Croatian California, Green Valley etc.

The capital of tangerines

Nevertheless, the Neretva Valley is best known as the Valley of Tangerines. It is estimated that the Valley has been planted with 1,4 million tangerine trees which, this season, yielded a record 90.000 tons. As the only agriculture that satisfies both domestic market needs, as well as foreign exports, they have replaced the once prevailing vineyards.


Photo by Matko Suton

Under the gentle and relentless farmers’ hand, the first tangerine strains resulted in supreme quality, even on an international level. By quality, and somewhat less by quantity, tangerines are joined by other citruses: lemons, grapefruits, kiwis and others. Apricot, peach and nectarine plantations can often be seen. Apples as big as melons can be found as well as an increasing number as big as watermelons, which themselves are never smaller than a wheel. This juicy fruit contains greater concentrations of lycopene, a potent antioxidant, than most other leading producer watermelons. It seems this rich soil readily accepts anything the that hand of the farmers put in it. Exceptionally tasty tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, cabbage vegetables, beans…all of this grows in the Neretva Valley. Let us not forget about oil farming which dates all the way back to the Neretva principality. It is also worthwhile to stop in this area for a drop of traditionally good Neretva wine followed by homemade herb liqueurs for strength.



Photo by Matko Suton

From the tree to the consumer

Every tourist passing trough this valley must notice numerous stands with local goods which are offered directly from the tree. Visitors can than surrender all their senses to the alluring charm of the Valley which keeps the secret of its existence better than any part of the Croatian coast.

The rich cultural and natural legacy can be leisurely browsed in the Vid archeological museum and in the natural history museum in Metković. Narona archeological museum first in situ museum in Croatia, is built upon Augusteum, the temple dedicated to Emperor August.


Photo by Matko Suton

The Natural Museum Metković presents specific flora and fauna of this area and contains one of the best ornithological collections in Europe. If that is not enough, this historic stroll can include a photo safari in a swamp. People of Neretva have also given new life to their historic legacy. ”Lađa marathon ” is a widely known race of traditional Neretva vessels from Metković to Ploče. The victor celebrates while song and guitar music echoes through old stone streets. Laid back, slightly hedonistic festivals dedicated to food, culture and even film are held in many small towns throughout the Neretva Valley.


Photo by Matko Suton

Going a little farther on the pinnacle of tourist travel trough the valley is a meeting place of the Neretva and Adriatic sea. While the delta of this river is still undiscovered and hidden large estuary is home to kingfishers, oystercatchers, herons, cranes….Nearby kite boarders skim across the sea, addicted to the adrenalin and hospitality of the locals.

Life-providing River

Traditional restaurants in Metković and Opuzen offer the best of traditional Neretva cuisine. Specialties are eel and frogs but also venison and sea food. The real taste of Neretva will come to those who brave the well-known Neretva brudet, a spicy fish meal.


Photo by Matko Suton

The importance of the Neretva to people living by it is indisputable. It is a source of drinking water, it powers turbines, is used for transportation and feeds plantations. The whole area of the Delta is short listed for protection as a Park of Nature. Anyone who visits the Neretva Valley will experience a rare and specific phenomenon – coexistence of nature and man; man and the life-providing river.



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