In the southern region of Croatia you'll find a treasure trove, bursting with travel gems. From gorgeous local foods and locally-produced wines to scenic walkways and sandy beaches — in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, every day is a good good day.
The Pearl of the Adriatic
The best way to experience the magical allure of Dubrovnik is by experiencing it for yourself.
Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, this term of endearment is justified by Dubrovnik's crystal-clear sea lapping against the ancient city walls and its beautiful sandy beaches.
The long hours of sunshine bounce off the red roofs of Dubrovnik, and the city itself is like taking a voyage back in time.
Photo: Jacek Abramowicz
Take a stroll along Dubrovnik's streets, lined by Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance churches, monasteries, palaces, and fountains. Here you'll be transported into the world of Dubrovnik's colourful history and legend. You only have to walk along the ancient city walls to see why it's often described as an open-air museum. It's played host to bandits, Jedi, dragons and spies having served as a backdrop for Game of Thrones, James Bond and Star Wars, to name but a few productions. Climb to the Srđ viewpoint and keep your eyes peeled - you may find yourself in the middle of the next Hollywood movie set.
Photo: Konavle TB
After enjoying the sights that the city has to offer, grab a kayak and enjoy a different perspective of the city from the sea. Alternatively, you can hop on a bicycle and explore the beautiful Lokrum island or the Konavle region. If underwater adventure is your thing, don your wet suit and experience the sea life and fauna. Finally, if you crave a little rest and recuperation a trip to the Elaphiti islands, named after the Ancient Greek word for deer, provides the perfect retreat.
A wine paradise on the peninsula
Photo: Dingač vineyard/D. Pavlinović
The second largest peninsula in Croatia is Pelješac, easy to spot on the map of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. It is an area rich in the tradition of viticulture and wine making. The wine from this region has been sampled and approved by many connoisseurs across the globe. Since you're already in Pelješac, why not pay a visit and have a taste? Postup, is the most famous red wine and you can visit the vineyards of the same name. Travel along Pelješac's wine route and sample Croatian reds at their very best – Dingač, Postup or Plavac. Combine these sumptuous wines with seafood delicacies, such as oysters and mussels, at one of the many restaurants in the region.
Photo: Peljesac/Ivan Ivankovic
There are many beautiful beaches in the region , great for swimming, sunbathing, sunsets, and diving. Windsurfing is such a popular activity in the small towns of Viganj and Kučište that it attracts windsurfers and kitesurfers from across the world. It also provides ideal conditions for beginners, with numerous schools offering windsurfing lessons and equipment rental.
Photo: Viganj/Ive Trojanovic
A place for travellers, then and now
The largest island of Dubrovnik-Neretva County is just a short distance from the southernmost Croatian coast. Korčula is one of the popular middle Dalmatian islands, steeped in history, interesting facts, and boasting beautiful unspoilt nature with a mild Mediterranean climate. The island's north-eastern side almost touches its neighbour, the Pelješac peninsula.
On the north-eastern side of the island lies its centre of the same name and, within it, a treasure trove of Korčula's history and culture. Stroll through Korčula's old town, to experience the spirit of history emanating from every nook and cranny. Even the house fronts are adorned with the coats-of-arms of Korčula's nobility, bishops, and the town dukes from days gone by. Hidden in the town's narrow alleyways you will find cafés, restaurants, and fascinating shops and, as darkness falls, the town's romanticism increases. One highlight of Korčula's architecture can be found at St Mark's Cathedral, whilst another ‘Marco' with links to this town is one of the world's most famous travellers. The famed Marco Polo Museum is located just outside the town walls and a visit to Korčula enables you to set sail around the world alongside one of the first great voyagers.
Photo: CNTB/Ivo Biocina
Lush vegetation, long sunlit days, pleasant temperatures in spring and autumn, and an interesting landscape suitable for a whole range of sporting activities make Korčula a year-round destination. On two legs or two wheels, explore the hidden bays and the craggy coastline. Discover the fun of a Buggy Safari, dive into the beautiful blue depths of the Adriatic Sea, or try your hand at sailing. Visit the Pelješac Channel that provides the perfect breeze for windsurfing, and become acquainted with a new dimension of quality when it comes to relaxation.
The green pearl of the Croatian island symphony
Photo: Ivan Bagic
The second largest island of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the island of Mljet, is swathed in green forests, olive plantations, and vineyards. It even boasts two saltwater lakes, making it a true green pearl of the Croatian island symphony. Some of its beauty is displayed in the Mljet National Park, which delights countless visitors with its smells, colours, and views of unspoiled nature. The park emphasises the importance of preserving the wonderful fauna and flora in the region. Mother Nature entices you to explore, the Veliko and Malo Jezero saltwater lakes and the peaks of Montokuc and Veliki Sladin Gradac beckon you to enjoy relaxing walks. The entire island invites you to relax, surrounded by the aromas of Mediterranean herbs and the vistas of perfection.
Photo: CNTB/ Ivo Biocina
Why not experience the magic of Mljet by cycling along the gravel or asphalt roads, by walking or hiking, or even by hiring boats, canoes or kayaks. Dive into the blue of Mljet's underwater world, explore the legendary Odysseus Cave, visit one of the beaches to enjoy the feeling of sun and salt on your skin and experience the therapeutic effect of the pine forests which sprawl across Mljet Island, filling it with the scent of the Mediterranean.
Photo: CNTB/Indux media
The location with the starriest sky
Due to its unique beauty, its well-preserved natural and cultural values, plus its discernible identity and traditions, the Lastovo archipelago was declared a Nature Park, thereby giving it protected area status. Why not explore the archipelago with your own boat, or alternatively rent one, and for anyone who doesn't have a boating licence, a local company organises excursions to some of the islands.
The quiet, clean, and hidden bays of Lastovo will delight anyone seeking peace and tranquillity. For those who enjoy a spot of meditation, for example whilst cycling, there are many fantastic cycle trails. Hikers can discover all the hidden treasures that this island has to offer and they must not miss a visit to the caves of Rača and Puzavica. As night falls, remember to look up to the sky, as Lastovo is a location where the stars are always on show.
Photo: CNTB, Aleksandar Gospic
A masterpiece along the river
In this part of the county, the Neretva river has produced a masterpiece which, aside from its beauty, has fed people with an abundance of fruit, primarily citrus, figs and grapes. The inspirational setting of the Neretva Delta and its associated beauty can be explored during a ‘photo safari' boat trip, a sedate ride along the river's narrow channels and inlets. During the trip, you'll learn about the life of the locals. Following a ride on a traditional Neretva boat, explore the valley by bike, or try your hand at kitesurfing. The Pelješac peninsula, is one of the best locations in Europe for this exciting sport.
Photo: CNTB/Ivo Biocina
The areas where the river, sea, sun and wind converge create an ideal home for many animals, including around three hundred species of birds in the Neretva valley. Neretva is also the most famous eel habitat in Croatia, so make sure that during your visit to the Neretva valley you sample some of the local delicacies such as ‘brodet', a traditional Croatian fish stew. Excellent local wines are a perfect accompaniment to the region's gastronomic specialities.
In the Neretva valley, in addition to the town of Ploče, other interesting natural attractions are the six interconnected lakes and one separate lake that form the Baćina lakes, the perfect place to find peace surrounded by natural beauty. Cycling, running, hiking or windsurfing are just a few of the favourite activities of those who discover these lakes.
Photo: CNTB/Ivo Biocina
Be prepared! Dubrovnik-Neretva County is about to supercharge your senses.
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Visit Dubrovnik.