TZ Dubrovacko-neretvanske zupanije
Croatia is said to be interesting for travelling thanks to its variety; there are many distinctions, wonderful contrasts in a relatively small area. However, they form a single image that charms random passengers and those who just want to enjoy these graces and charms. A nearly identical text could be written for the Dubrovnik and Neretva County, the southernmost part of Croatia.
We'll take you on a journey which could last for a weekend, optimally a week and ideally a month. It is not enough just to look on this journey, though there is plenty to be looked at; it is not enough just to taste, though there is plenty to be tasted. On this trip you should let go, immerse and let yourself be guided by the feelings and landscape as if you were a child, who will open his or her eyes and soul and merge with what is offered to him or her, sometimes intrusively, often quietly, seductively, as if unintentionally.
The Neretva River
Wherever you start off, wherever you go, it is good. For example Metković in the Neretva Valley and its wonderful river which has ground rocks and mountains and which has created the most fruitful plain of the Adriatic. The voluptuous maturity of Neretva Country, flooded with the powerful Neretva water, has attracted many throughout history - the Romans, masters of pleasure and organization, who left their greatest mark in Narona near Metković, where one of the largest and best in situ archaeological museums proudly stands today. Nowhere else in Europe have as many Roman statues been found at one site (12 – an entire Augustinian Temple, completely preserved for 2,000 years), not even found in Rome! And from Narona and Metković to Opuzen and the mouth of the Neretva there are endless fields of tangerines, fruits of the earth and human labour and reeds. When here, we must try indigenous eels and drink the fine local wines.
The gastronomic link will lead us to nearby Ston, the town of salt and clams, oysters. We will realize that we are close to Ston by the large white wall that has spread from coast to coast of the Pelješac peninsula. It was built at the time of the Republic of Dubrovnik to defend Ston’s salt from robbers, as well as the Republic from attacks. Today Ston’s fortification is the second longest wall in the world - after the Great Wall of China and today it attracts views and visitors rather than to defend. Together with Ston’s oysters, which you must try, sprinkled with a little lemon and accompanied with an excellent red Pelješac wine. The dilemma - where to go next - south to Dubrovnik or across to Korčula which then becomes another dilemma - what if we stay here?
Through Orebić on the Pelješac peninsula, the town of captains and a beautiful museum dedicated to maritime industry, here we are on the island of Korčula. Images of the island tame and wild, come to mind all at the same time. After vigorous “Moreška”, the knights’ game or “battle dance”, as it is called by the Korčula people, you can stop on the waterfront under the yellow moon and listen to a klapa (Dalmatian harmony-singing group) who sing for themselves more than for those listening. You can slowly explore old Korčula, where a narrow street will lead you up to the house of Marco Polo. The beautiful beaches along the island, the scent of eucalyptus, myrtle and aromatic herbs that seem to enhance Korčula’s distinctive wines with their aromas.
A little further south Lastovo awaits. It is one of the youngest nature parks in Croatia - a beautiful island with a necklace of forty islands and reefs. Untouched nature, a life that revolves in “natural rhythm”, the cleanest sea and beautiful beaches. Lastovo is a challenge for gourmets and those who want peace and direct contact with nature.
We will continue carried by the mistral breeze. It is called the Island of Odysseus, the ancient hero and vagabond and the first tourist in the Mediterranean, who was allegedly captured by Circe on the island of Mljet. It will all become clear as soon as we step on the most forested island in the Mediterranean. Untouched nature greets us, here man has adapted to the Creator's plan, not vice versa as in other places. Maybe Circe is still somewhere on this island with its seawater lakes in the centre. The same moon which overjoyed us on Korčula, is the main maestro of thousands of nightingales that fill the amphitheater of the Malo Jezero lake with their song at night. The erotica of a summer’s night is absorbed into the bones, the energy of the past flows through our veins. Just as in the Odyssey, I can only be dragged from here by force or excessive promises, or maybe at the mention of Dubrovnik. But not before I taste the local strawberry jam and grilled fish from the surrounding sea.
It is time to return to the mainland, and there could hardly be found a more beautiful place than the Arboretum in Trsteno, a renaissance garden measured between the natural balance of the mind and mother nature. This is just the right place to pause our journey and arrange the absorbed memories. An explosion of beauty, fireworks of impressions awaits; Dubrovnik is in front of us.
No matter how much you write about Dubrovnik, read or watch - it's just a picture, a reflection, a reflex. Dubrovnik should primarily be perceived as an idea - the idea of freedom, of course, as well as the idea of relaxed pleasure. Dubrovnik cannot be consumed at once, at a glance, though - when there is no other way, even this should not be discarded. You should merge yourself with Dubrovnik, observe the reflection of the purple sunset on the stone wall of Minčeta or Lovrijenac, sip a drink in the shade of the Revelin and let your view roam the old city harbor, pass slowly through Stradun, then disappear somewhere up a side alley. Each stone in Dubrovnik has its own story – you should listen. Well, then towards Konavle, a contrast, other images, a city and village and a single story, intertwining going on to Cavtat, which cannot seem to definitely determine its wishes, so we find it a very pleasant and casual environment.
We have set up the texture of the story, opened the treasury full of jewels and riches. Into this frame should be inserted a picture of tourist tradition and high quality. From small family hotels to top-class accommodation, grand hotels with high standards and superior level of service. Everything a modern tourist, hiker, traveler could imagine and wish for can be found here. The experience, unwavering and clean, is in the foreground. Gastronomic delights, superb entertainment, confirmed service ... southern Croatia – meant to be enjoyed.