The 1st thematic tourist road in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County
“Discover the hidden corners of unspoiled nature and cultural heritage sites on your pilgrimage to the best wine tasting establishments in this lush paradise”, tourist brochures say. Without false modesty we can confirm that this statement is true. The Dingač and Postup protected viticultural areas are the home of the most famous indigenous variety in Croatia – Plavac Mali, but also the place where one can purchase the best locally made Prosecco, wine brandy and extra virgin olive oil.
The entrance to the peninsula is ‘guarded by’ the historic town of Mali Ston, not only known for its ancient walls and medieval architecture, but also for the highest quality shellfish. Oysters and mussels served in local taverns are appreciated worldwide. Unique gastronomy and home-made products from family-owned farms will allow you to experience Pelješac with all your senses. A 26-mile long and winding road leads you up from Mali Ston through the hinterland to the old settlement of Potomje. This tranquil village located 2km away from the coast boasts some of the best wineries in the area, including a 114-year-old viticultural cooperative, the Dingač Winery, which is the largest agricultural cooperative on the Pelješac peninsula, gathering more than 300 members.
The other large cooperative on the peninsula, consistently producing premium quality wines for decades, the Postup Donja Banda Winery, is located only 5 km away from Potomje, in the Donja Banda village. Apart from these large co-ops there are a number of smaller wine makers, such as Bura, Matuško, Kiridžiija and Saints Hills, that grab travellers’ attention with excellent wines and attractive wine tasting facilities in their old cellars. Some family wineries have refurbished old stone mill houses and converted them in authentic tasting rooms or taverns, exhibiting antique tools and mill equipment like mini-museums.
Wines made from indigenous grape varieties, Plavac Mali and Rukatac, are a must-try, however one should not pass on tasting the Pelješac cold pressed extra virgin olive oils either. Many local agritourism enterprises (such as Vlahušić, Domanoeta, Feral, Antunović, Bartulović, Kapor and Tolj) have more than just breath-taking vineyards on steep slopes overlooking the sea – they have distilleries, olive groves, oyster farms, traditional craft shops and taverns. In addition to local cuisine classes and other workshops for visitors, some of them organise photo safari trips to hunting sites and oyster farms. Set on a steep hill above the coastal town of Orebić, the Hrid excursion site prides itself on spectacular views of the Pelješac channel from its lookout-terrace, phenomenal locally made products and the freshest food prepared under ‘peka’. Their unique agritourism concept is based on a wider range of activities offered to more active visitors, including free climbing and horse-back riding.
Sporty travellers might as well enjoy a many hiking and biking trails near Orebić, Trpanj and Stone. The brave ones may participate in one of the most unusual marathons in the world: the Ston Wall marathon taking place every year in early September. Running along the 14th century walls connecting the towns of Ston and Mali Ston is a challenging endeavour, since it is a 2km-long uphill route, but the magnificent views of pristine nature are rewarding enough. The travellers who are not very keen on sports have plenty of other choices, such as a visit to the oldest salt company in the Mediterranean area. The 4,000-years-old Ston Salt Works, nowadays considered a historic monument as well, still follows the medieval salt production tradition and manufactures gourmet and artisanal sea salt in eco-friendly conditions.
A good choice of gourmet events throughout the year makes Pelješac an attractive destination in all seasons: at the Ston Oyster Festival in spring (March) you will be able to try the best local dishes featuring oysters, the summertime feasts of St. Liberan and The Nights of Pelješac Wines will allow you to enjoy in lamb roast on a spit, fried sardines and, of course, a selection of the best local wines, while listening to the traditional Dalmatian music and ‘Klapa’ songs and, next at the Film Food Festival held in Ston every September the visitors may participate in various culinary workshops or simply enjoy in authentic foods of the region and a good film, and finally, in winter you can pay a visit to any winery in the Ston, Dingač and Postup areas and purchase their wines at discounted prices – as the first weekend in December they have the Doors Open Days.