DUBROVNIK, NERETVA & ISLANDS
The Dubrovnik-Neretva County
The southernmost county in the Republic of Croatia.
The centre of the county is the city of Dubrovnik. During its tumultuous history, many nations and maritime forces met and battled in this areas: the Byzantines, Saracens, Croats, Normans, Venetians…
The specificity of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County is in its narrow and heterogeneous coastline, separated from the interior by a mountain range, and divided at Neum by the state border with Bosnia Herzegovina, while it has a natural connection to the interior and the northern Pannonic part of Croatia in the area of the Lower Magnificent Neretva Valley. Thus, the territory of the county is comprised of two basic entities: the relatively narrow coastal area with its series of islands near the mainland and in the open sea (the most significant of which are the islands of Korčula, Mljet, Lastovo and those in the Elaphite archipelago), and the Lower Neretva Valley with its coastline.
DUBROVNIK – AS IT WAS ONCE BUILT
The magnificent Dubrovnik walls, which are the most recognizable and visited Croatian tourist attraction, belong to the most beautiful and monumental fortification monuments in Europe. Its construction began in the 8th century, but the most intensive construction occurred in the 15th and 16th centuries, when the City and Republic were constantly under threats of danger. Thanks to past skilled construction as well as Dubrovnik’s renowned diplomacy, they appear impeccable to this day.
With its 16 towers, 3 fortresses and 6 bastions, these 1940-metre-long and 22-metre-high walls rise above the majestic coast and steep slopes, which take every visitor’s breath away.
AFTER THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA, THE STON WALLS, ARE THE LONGEST PRESERVED FORTIFICATION SYSTEM IN THE WORLD!
The Ston area on the Peljesac peninsula came into possession of the Republic of Dubrovnik in the 14th century, where planned construction of the towns Ston and Mali Ston began, with connecting walls. The goal was to protect the people and saltern, a factory for the then “white gold,” from which the Republic abundantly profited. With a total length of 5-5km the ston walls were fortified with around 40 towers and 5 fortresses.
CULTURAL STORY CREATED FOR CENTURIES
Besides a rich material heritage, the Dubrovnik riviera can also be proud of its diverse and valuable intangible cultural heritage. The statues of St. Blaise, the saint who holds the Town in his hands, mark the Dubrovnik walls and entrances into the city, and the traditional Festival enriches the cultural heritage with its spiritual dimension.
Moreska sword dance established its roots in the 12th century after the Spanish celebration of the expulsion of Mauro. Over the centuries it has almost entirely vanished on the Mediterranean, while on Korcula it was deeply rooted even 400 years ago and as such has become unique in the world. With its impressive dance figures, costumes, music and vivacity, it is a part of the identity of the town of Korcula and at the same time a reflection of Croatian cosmopolitism.
Lindo originated on the coast of Dubrovnik, belongs to the unique forms of traditional dance in Croatia. It is a folklore dance called “kolo” with combined couples distributed around the musician, with a leader who shouts instructions to the dancers regarding change of position in humorous, often ambiguous rhymes.
The fame of Dubrovnik has been pronounced for centuries by its master craftsmen, Dubrovnik goldsmiths. Even today the traditional jewelry of Dubrovnik made from gold and filigree silver captivates people with its modern beauty, specific workmanship and universal design which goes with all fashion styles. Traditional earrings “recine” or “puce” are without a doubt beautiful keepsakes which last a lifetime.
LIFE THRIVES ON LAND AND IN THE SEA
The picturesque Mediterranean landscape is home to numerous animal species, and its inexhaustible wealth especially lies in the Adriatic Sea: from oysters to mussels, over to crabs and octopus, then to sea bass, dentex and groupers or red fish.. .to name only a few of the more famous (gastronomical) inhabitants.
Lastovo archipelago is declared as a nature park because of its mystical beauty, accentuated landscape, thick forests and fertile fields as well as numerous rare sea and land species and habitats. Even 70% of the surface of the nature park is comprised of the sea and is famous for the beauty of its various corals, as well as for the fact that approximately 150 types of fish live there. Still, fishermen are the happiest when they catch the king of crabs, the expensive lobster.
The island of Mljet is a treasure of biodiversity, home to a colourful animal world and original tree nurseries of Aleppo Pine Trees, Stone Pine and Evergreen Oak. The west side of the greenest Croatian island was protected in i960 as the first Adriatic National Park, and the importance of its protection are witnessed by numerous endemic and endangered species.
ENCHANTING NATURE AWAITS ADVENTURERS
Along the whole region a multitude of activities are offered on land and in the sea. Rafting, diving, mountaineering with a view of the sea, off-road jeep safari or fishing, birdwatching, tangerine picking… The only problem is to choose the one that is the most fun, and here are our recommendations: kayaking is one of the most popular activities on the Dubrovnik coast, mostly because of the spectacular view of the grandiose Dubrovnik walls from the sea. Another beautiful sight to see by kayak is the Betina caves in front of which you can enjoy yourselves in complete peace and quiet, not far from Dubrovnik.
The west side of Peljesac is ideal for windsurfing because of the winds which give the ideal waves, while kite surfers often visit the mouth of the Neretva river which offers a 3km bay of shallow sea, sandbars and a warm and strong wind.
The indented coast and large number of islands and islets enable a peaceful sail and stay on the sea, even when weather conditions are not ideal.
Olive groves, stone walls and vineyards on Peljesac, the pedestrian-cycling path around Small (Malo) and Large (Veliko) salt lakes on wooded Mljet, routes around Bacina lakes and along the coast of the Neretva river, paths through the picturesque and authentic village of Konavle, beside the mills on the Ljuta river, thematic routes such as the Medieval.
THE BEST OF MEDITERRANEAN DELICACIES
The Mediterranean model of nutrition, written in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List, is the basis for the entire culinary system in this region. Taking a gastronomical walk in the region, we start with numerous restaurants and taverns in the Neretva valley where eel or frog stew is offered as well as delicious meals made of wild game, especially coot.
Further on the path we come to Ston, where nobody can resist fresh out of the water oysteb , the renowned specialty of this area, as well as mussels and just made fresh fish.
On the islands of Mljet, Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep you can enjoy delicious meals made from dried fish or seafood, and in restaurants and taverns of the Dubrovnik district and Konavle prosciutto, cheese in oil, green “menestra” and other delicacies are offered.
A healthy and high-quality bite is good to water down with excellent wines, with those that stand out from Komarna but especially from the Peljesac peninsula. Tasting high- quality Dingac and Postup wines, from the locations of the same name where vineyards with the popular sorts plavac Mali give the best quality Croatian red wines, is an infallible ritual for every wine lover. For those who prefer white wine however, we recommend the island of Korcula, where they can enjoy autochthonous sorts Posip or Grk, or Konavle where the Dubrovnik Malvasija reigns supreme.
NERETVA OASIS OF LIFE
The Neretva river valley is one of the most picturesque parts of Croatia, the only delta in the country and the third largest in the Mediterranean (after the Nile and Po rivers), among the rarest remaining areas of its kind in Europe.
The picturesque Bacina lakes are a group of smaller lakes and home to many unique plant and animal species and a must-see for all visitors to this area.
Narona museum which is close to Metkovic originated on the place of sensational archeological findings in 1995/96 – the remains of Roman temple Augusteum and 17 marble sculptures.
The boat vessel marathon is an amateur sports race of autochthonous vessels of the Neretva valley. With its beginning in Metkovic and finish in Ploce, this race is in total 22500m long, and represents one of the most massive and most watched events in Croatia.
We invite you to dream, discuss, and collaborate with our team of designers, creating your own unique escape!
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