You’ll be hearing an awful lot about the construction of Pelješac Bridge from us over the coming months (or years, probably), but not enough about the upoming bridges’ namesake is put out there. Find out why this region has much more to offer than just olives, grapes and wine.
Dubrovnik is amazing, I will be the first person to tell you that. Even after years of living in the Pearl of the Adriatic and seeing not only the good, of which there is lots, but also the bad and the ugly (also lots), there is still so much to shout about when it comes to this ancient walled city and its seemingly endless history and culture. That being said, so many underrated gems located around Croatia’s tourism Mecca are totally overshadowed by Dubrovnik and don’t receive the attention they so rightly deserve. Meet Pelješac.
The Pelješac peninsula is located just over an hours’ drive away from the City of Dubrovnik, part of the wider Dubrovnik-Neretva region, the area has had several different names over the years, from Stonski Rat (Croatian) to Puncta Stagni (Italian). Pelješac appears to have drawn its current name from the hill which looms over the small coastal town of Orebić – Pelisac.
The Strait of Pelješac divides the peninsula from the island of Korčula and the Bay of Mali Ston separates it from the Croatian mainland and neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Klek peninsula, making this entire area geographically unusual and worth a visit. This picturesque peninsula is famed mainly for its grape growing, wines and olives, but it has much more to offer than agriculture.
The beaches are just part of the story, and without going on and on about them, because I could do that all day and I’m not sure you have the time, I’ll give you this link and you can see just why Pelješac should be on your list if you’re into natural bays and less crowds.
Camping has seen great success recently in Croatia, with people coming from not only other parts of the country but from all over Europe to camp along the country’s stunning coastline. More and more camping (and glamping!) sites have been opened up all along the coast, and many people are now opting for this approach as opposed to the traditional hotel scene.
Pelješac is very camping friendly, so if Dubrovnik’s five star hotel and cocktails on the terrace scene is just not your style (or your bank accounts’) and you’re more in touch with the great outdoors and Croatia’s incredible nature, then Pelješac is a must go. Most of Pelješac’s camping grounds are located along the coastline and the beaches such as those found in Orebić, Prapratno, Viganj and Kućište.
Pebble beaches are common in southern Croatia and although they do exist, coming across sandy beaches isn’t that common. The ruggest coastline and the general lack of sand can sometimes pose a problem to those with young kids, so if you’re camping in the area and want to be close to sandy shores which are a bit more child-safe, the camp site at Prapratno with its glorious sandy beach is the place to go. Orebić’s popular Nevio camp site has even won awards for its above-and-beyond comfort levels and varied facilities, so if you’re a lover of the great outdoors, but you’re also a fan of home comforts, this might just be the perfect balance for you.
Hiking, windsurfing, sailing and more!
Alright, hiking might not be on your list of priorities if you’re visiting southern Croatia in the boiling summer heat, but you’d be surprised at how many people attempt to tackle the imposing Sveti Ilija mountain during the summer months, while I wouldn’t recommend it, if you’re visiting in the spring or autumn, hiking in and around the mountainous, rugged Pelješac area is definitely something to consider. The scenery is breathtaking even on ”terra firma” as it were, but from Sveti Ilija or any other mountain for that matter, Pelješac’s nature is something to behold.
Sveti Ilija mountain towers over the area and is an incredible 961 meters in height. It takes anywhere between two and three hours to reach the top and all the routes are clearly marked. The least demanding route from bottom to top is from Nakovana, and the most challenging ones are from Duba and Bilopolje. Other routes can be found from Viganj, Orebić and Kućište. Sveti Ilija is best tackled in the early morning and all the correct equipment should be taken, this includes as much water as you can carry and to echo the hilarious tweets of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service – don’t wear flip flops!
Windsurfing is very popular owing to the geographical position of the area. If you’re in need of feeling the breeze in your hair on a humid afternoon, then Viganj is the place to go! The Maestral wind gathers some real force and any lover of water sports is sure to be satisfied. Pelješac, more specifically Orebić and Viganj, attract water sport lovers from all over Europe in summer and windsurfing and kite surfing are on the top of the list!
Places of interest
Orebić’s Maritime Museum is just one of several places of interest which highlight Pelješac’s collective history and traditions, all with one running theme – the sea. Founded back in 1957, this museum showcases artefacts from the Pagan, Roman and very early Christian periods. There are also tools, travel documents, nautical pieces, medals and weapons from long ago. One of the most interesting items on display here is the fragmented artwork which once hung on the wall of a 5th century early Christian church which was discovered in Majsan, an island in the archipelago close to Korčula.
Ston is home to the ”European Wall of China” and is famed for its oysters, mussels, strawberries and ancient salt flats. A former major fort of the once autonomous Dubrovnik Republic, this incredible little town is embellished by imposing defense walls which are considered to be among the most notable examples of medieval architecture which still remains standing to this very day. Both Ston and Mali Ston, famed in Croatia and beyond for their long history of mariculture and irregular pentangle walls are well worth a visit. Click here to find out more about why they should be on your bucket list!
From Lovise to Žuljana and everywhere in between, the beautiful Pelješac peninsula is a southern Croatian gem which barely gets even half of the attention it deserves. From stunning beaches, bays and coves to wine, olives and agriculture, from history to mariculture, water sports and the embracing of the great outdoors, Pelješac is much, much too close to Dubrovnik to be overlooked or skipped! Now I’ve (hopefully) convinced you, how do you get there?
Getting to the Peljesac peninsula
You can reach both Ston and Orebić by bus from Dubrovnik which leaves from Dubrovnik’s main bus terminal in Gruž. The line which goes from Dubrovnik to Orebić takes the coastal road between Dubrovnik and Doli, where it then drives further along the peninsula, stopping off at each settlement along the way, including Drače, Potomje and Mali Ston.
Driving from Dubrovnik to Ston takes about an hour along the D8 road, but be aware that during the height of the summer, things move a bit (okay, a lot) slower on the coast and you might need more time. Leaving as early as possible usually guarantees a shorter drive to some extent.
Whether you’re a wine lover, an olive lover, a beach lover, a camping lover, or you just fancy experiencing an older, slower and more traditional side of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and the wider Dubrovnik region, Pelješac is the place for you!