Ultimate Travel Guide to Pelješac
Pelješac seems to have a life on its own even during the highest summer season. This enchanting peninsula, stretching for 70 kilometers, offers a plethora of experiences that cater to every traveler’s wanderlust. From renowned Dingač and Postup vineyards to mesmerizing beaches, Pelješac is a dream destination that promises to captivate and enthrall. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why traveling to Pelješac should be on every adventurer’s and wine lovers bucket list.
Why travel to Pelješac?
- Finest seafood restaurants, oyster, and mussel tastings: From the awe-inspiring walls of Ston to the ancient salt pans, traditional tavernas (called konoba) and the seductive allure of the Bay of Ston’s oyster farms, every step unveils a vibrant tapestry of history, culture, and gastronomy. It is a voyage that celebrates the region’s rich heritage, embracing the treasures of the sea and the traditional culinary artistry that transforms them into extraordinary delights for discerning palates.
- Must-try traditional dishes: One of the signature dishes is sporki makaruli, a pasta created with a rich sauce from tender beef or veal. The combination of perfectly cooked pasta and savory meat sauce is a true delight for pasta enthusiasts. For those with a more adventurous palate, butarga is a must-try delicacy. Made from dried fish eggs, it offers a unique and intense flavor experience. Indulge your sweet tooth with torta od makarula, a captivating cake made with macaroni pasta. This unconventional dessert surprises with its delightful texture and a perfect balance between sweetness and the subtle essence of macaroni. The local cuisine also showcases zelena manestra, a hearty stew crafted from dried lamb meat and kale. This warming dish is packed with flavors that reflect the region’s rustic charm. Sample the delightful arancini. These bite-sized treats feature sugar-coated orange peels, creating a delightful blend of sweet and citrus flavors that burst in your mouth. Lastly, no culinary journey through the Pelješac would be complete without indulging in rozata, a heavenly custard pudding. Its velvety smooth texture, combined with the delicate hints of vanilla, makes it an irresistible finale to any meal.
- Breathtaking natural beauty: visitors will uncover a diverse and awe-inspiring natural landscape when visiting Pelješac. The peninsula has pristine beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and rugged cliffs—a true paradise for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the hidden coves and bays along the coast, embark on hiking trails traverse through olive groves and vineyards, or bask in the tranquil beauty of the untouched nature surrounding you.
- Wine lover’s paradise: Pelješac is a slice of heaven for oenophiles. The region is renowned for its robust red wines, particularly the Plavac Mali grape variety. Embark on a wine-tasting journey through the vineyards that carpet the slopes of the peninsula, and visit charming family-owned wineries.
- Cultural heritage: Pelješac has a rich historical and cultural heritage that dates back centuries. Explore Ston’s medieval walls and fortresses, a small town nestled at the peninsula’s entrance, and learn about its significance in protecting the valuable salt pans. Stroll through the narrow streets, soak in the ambiance, and discover hidden gems at every corner. Don’t forget to visit the ancient olive groves cultivated for over 2,000 years, testifying to the enduring legacy of the region.
- Adventure and water sports: Adventure seekers will find their adrenaline fix in Pelješac. Dive into the depths of the Adriatic Sea, teeming with vibrant marine life, and discover fascinating underwater landscapes. Take a kayak or paddleboard to explore hidden caves and remote beaches, or set sail on a boat tour to the nearby islands of Mljet or Korčula. With excellent wind conditions, Pelješac is also a popular destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing, providing exhilarating experiences for water sports enthusiasts.
- Tranquility and authenticity: Despite Croatia, especially the Adriatic coast, being one of the most visited tourist destinations, Pelješac has retained its authentic charm and tranquility. Unlike more crowded tourist hotspots, the peninsula offers a serene and idyllic atmosphere, making it the perfect retreat for those seeking a peaceful escape. Indulge in slow-paced living, immerse yourself in the local way of life, and forge unforgettable connections with the warm-hearted locals eager to share their stories and traditions.
How do you get to Pelješac?
The most efficient and picturesque routes for traveling to Pelješac are routes from Split to Pelješac and from Dubrovnik to Pelješac.
- Split to Pelješac: To embark on a memorable journey to Pelješac from Split, there are several transportation options available:
- By Car: Renting a car is popular as it allows you to explore the region at your own pace. The route from Split to Pelješac involves a drive of approximately two and a half, three hours. Take the scenic D8 coastal road to Omiš, then head eastward on the E65 highway towards Ploče. From there head to Pelješac using the newly built Pelješac bridge, which serves as a vital link, eliminating the need for time-consuming ferry journeys. It offers a more direct and convenient route, enabling travelers to save valuable time and enjoy smoother transportation.
- By Bus: Alternatively, you can opt for a bus journey from Split to Pelješac. Several bus companies operate regular routes, providing comfortable and affordable transportation. The journey typically takes around three to four hours, depending on traffic and stops along the way. Buses depart from the main bus terminal in Split, and tickets can be purchased in advance or directly from the driver.
- By Ferry: Another unique option is to travel by ferry. Although there isn’t a direct ferry connection from Split to Pelješac, you can catch a ferry from Split to Korčula, another enchanting Croatian island. From Korčula, take a local ferry or catamaran to Orebić on Pelješac Peninsula. The ferry journey offers breathtaking views of the Adriatic islands and is ideal for those seeking a more leisurely and scenic approach.
- Dubrovnik to Pelješac: If you find yourself in Dubrovnik and wish to embark on an adventure to Pelješac, these tips will guide you through the various transportation options available, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey.
- By Car: One of the most convenient ways to travel from Dubrovnik to Pelješac is by car. The distance between these two destinations is approximately 70 kilometers (43 miles), and the journey takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions. The quickest and most popular route is via the Dubrovnik Bridge, which connects Dubrovnik with the mainland. From Dubrovnik, follow the E65 highway north towards Ston. After reaching Ston, you’ll find a road leading to Pelješac. This route offers breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and the historic town of Ston.
- By Ferry: An alternative option is to take a car ferry from Dubrovnik to Trpanj, a town on the Pelješac Peninsula. Jadrolinija, the main ferry operator in Croatia, offers regular ferry services between the two towns. The ferry journey takes approximately one hour and provides an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of the coastline.
- By Public Transportation: If you prefer not to drive, public transportation offers several options for reaching Pelješac from Dubrovnik. Buses are a popular mode of transportation in Croatia, offering reliable connections between cities and towns. Several bus companies operate services between Dubrovnik and Pelješac, with multiple daily departures. The journey takes approximately two hours, and you can enjoy the picturesque landscapes along the way.
- By Private Transfers: For a more personalized and comfortable experience, private transfers are available. Local tour operators offer door-to-door transfers from Dubrovnik to Pelješac in air-conditioned vehicles. This option is particularly convenient for larger groups or travelers with specific requirements.
- By Excursions and Tours: To enhance your journey and make the most of the Dubrovnik to Pelješac route, you can consider joining organized excursions or tours. These packages often include guided visits to notable attractions along the way, such as the historic town of Ston, renowned for its ancient city walls and oyster farms. Such tours provide valuable insights into the region’s history, culture, and culinary delights.
Where to stay in Pelješac?
Pelješac offers a wide range of accommodation options that cater to different preferences and budgets.
Let’s uncover the best places to stay in Pelješac, highlighting key considerations to help you make an informed choice for an unforgettable vacation.
1. Aminess Grand Azur Hotel
Aminess Grand Azur Hotel is a 4-star beachfront hotel located in Orebić.
The hotel offers a picturesque setting with panoramic views of the sea. It features two newly renovated freshwater outdoor swimming pools and a sun terrace, providing guests with ample opportunities to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
The hotel offers various amenities and services to ensure a comfortable stay for guests. The rooms are equipped with air conditioning and private bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.
Guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast and use the free parking facilities. The hotel also provides accessible accommodations for guests with special needs.
The hotel is considered family-friendly and offers childcare services.
For those interested in exploring the area, The city center and the beach are also nearby, providing easy access to sightseeing and recreational activities.
2. Heritage Boutique Hotel Adriatic
Heritage Boutique Hotel Adriatic-Adults Only is a 4-star hotel in the center of the charming coastal town of Orebić.
Housed in a 17th-century building next to the Adriatic Sea, this hotel offers adult travelers a unique and charming experience.
The hotel features comfortable rooms with views, spacious bathrooms, speedy internet, and mini-bars. It also provides excellent service and has its own beach bed on the hotel’s beach.
This adults-only hotel is designed to cater to modern travelers. It offers a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, perfect for couples and individuals who want to unwind and enjoy a serene vacation.
The hotel’s central location allows guests to easily explore the surrounding area and enjoy the beautiful beaches, historic sites, and local attractions.
Guests praise the comfortable beds, large rooms, friendly staff, and proximity to the beach. The hotel offers a range of room types, ensuring that guests can find accommodation that suits their preferences.
3. Hotel Ostrea
Hotel Ostrea is a 3-star family-owned hotel with 14 rooms available for accommodation located in the town of Ston.
It is situated right next to the beach and just 100 meters from the entrance to the historical center of the town.
The hotel offers various amenities, including an à la carte restaurant and bar. The hotel is known for its friendly and professional staff.
The name “Ostrea” has a dual meaning. It is not only the hotel’s name but also the Latin name for oyster, which is one of the symbols of Mali Ston, the town where the hotel is located.
Guests have praised the cleanliness of the rooms, comfortable beds, and the hotel’s convenient location near the city center and beach.
Free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and parking facilities are available for guests.
4. Luxurious House Horizon
Horizon luxurious house, located in Orebić, offers a delightful retreat with its stunning mountain and sea view, inviting bar, and a cozy shared lounge.
Situated near Trstenica Beach this villa boasts a private pool, a charming garden, convenient barbecue facilities, complimentary WiFi, and free private parking.
The villa provides airport transfers and a bicycle rental service for those eager to explore the surroundings.
Featuring a terrace overlooking the sparkling sea, the villa showcases three bedrooms, a spacious living room, a flat-screen TV, a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and an oven, as well as two bathrooms with a bidet.
Complete with air conditioning, the villa also offers a comfortable seating area, a washing machine, and two bathrooms with a hairdryer. To ensure added privacy and tranquility, the accommodation has a private entrance and soundproofing.
For guests seeking relaxation and wellness, the villa presents on-site yoga classes.
Families with children can enjoy the outdoor play equipment provided by Horizon, while cycling enthusiasts can unwind by the outdoor fireplace after an exhilarating day of biking.
5. Brugor Mobil Homes Lavanda
Brugor Mobil Homes Lavanda is a holiday park located in Orebić.
Situated approximately 1.4 kilometers from Trstenica Beach, it offers a range of accommodations, including air-conditioned units with balconies and free WiFi.
The park features a restaurant and a bar, providing convenient dining options for guests.
The budget-friendly Brugor Mobil Homes Lavanda consists of nine rooms equipped with modern comforts.
The holiday park offers a pleasant and relaxing environment, surrounded by the beautiful blue sea and breathtaking coastal views.
Where to eat in Pelješac?
With its idyllic blend of sea and countryside, Pelješac offers a diverse array of culinary delights that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
From freshly caught seafood to world-class wines, let’s embark on a culinary journey through this enchanting peninsula and discover where and what to eat in Pelješac.
1. Kapetanova Kuća, Mali Ston
Begin your culinary exploration in Mali Ston, a charming coastal town located next to Ston, famous for its oyster farms, also known as the “salt capital” of Croatia.
Step into a seafood lover’s paradise as you indulge in plump and succulent oysters freshly harvested from crystal-clear Adriatic waters.
Known for its exquisite Mediterranean cuisine and enchanting ambiance, Kapetanova kuća has earned a stellar reputation among locals and tourists alike.
As you step inside, you are greeted by the warm and inviting atmosphere adorned with traditional décor that reflects the region’s rich maritime heritage.
Regarding the menu, Kapetanova kuća boasts an array of delectable dishes that celebrate the sea’s bounty.
Seafood enthusiasts will be delighted by the fresh and succulent offerings, ranging from grilled octopus and buttery lobster to delicate sea bass and flavorsome shrimp.
Each dish is expertly prepared with a harmonious blend of herbs, spices, and locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a symphony of flavors that tantalize the taste buds.
For those seeking a taste of traditional Croatian cuisine, Kapetanova kuća does not disappoint.
From tender lamb slow-cooked to perfection, served alongside hearty potatoes and seasonal vegetables, to homemade pasta dishes infused with aromatic herbs and topped with savory sauces, the restaurant offers a delightful selection of dishes that pay homage to the regions culinary heritage.
2. Gastro Mare. Kobaš
Gastro Mare is a Croatian seafood restaurant located in Kobaš, Ston. It is known for its fresh fish and locally sourced ingredients.
The cuisine at Gastro Mare is based on using fresh local produce, including olive oil, vegetables, and fish.
The restaurant is run by Chef Ante Toni Bjelančić and nutritionist Maja Rupert, who also produce their own homemade products. Gastro Mare offers a diverse menu that changes daily, depending on the availability of ingredients from the sea and land.
The restaurant provides a range of dishes, including small bites from the sea and land, white fish carpaccio, homemade pasta with frutti di mare, and risotto with vongole nero di seppia.
Gastro Mare Kobas caters to different dietary preferences, offering options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets.
3. Lukas’ Tavern, Kobaš
Lukas Tavern is known for offering genuine Mediterranean cuisine focusing on seafood, barbecue, and European dishes.
The restaurant is in a secluded bay on the Pelješac peninsula, providing a picturesque setting for diners.
Lukas’ Taverna is popular among locals and tourists, and boaters especially favor it due to its proximity to the sea.
The menu at Lukas’ Tavern Kobaš features a variety of dishes, including grilled fish and vibrant vegetable medleys.
The restaurant prides itself on offering fresh and flavorful food, providing a perfect harmony of flavors to its guests.
Which wineries to visit in Pelješac?
No visit to Pelješac is complete without indulging in its world-class wines. Make your way to the renowned wine region of Dingač, home to steep vineyards that produce some of Croatia’s finest red wines.
Embark on a wine tasting journey and immerse yourself in the bold and robust flavors of Plavac Mali, a local grape variety that thrives in this unique terroir. Enjoy breathtaking views of the vine-covered hills as you sip on award-winning wines and learn about the winemaking traditions that have been passed down through generations.
1. Matuško Winery
Matuško Winery is a renowned winery located in the small town of Potomje, founded in 1998 by Mato Violić.
The winery specializes in producing high-quality, authentic wines that reflect the region’s unique terroir.
The winery offers a wide range of wines, including red, white, and sparkling wines, focusing on autochthonous grape varieties from the Pelješac area.
Its large wine cellar is located beneath the tasting room and wine shop.
Experience on its own, the cellar has numerous rooms which hold dusty reserve and aged archive bottles, the hidden chapel at the end of the cellar, and a couple of private tasting rooms.
In the tasting room, you can taste Matuško Plavac Mali’s wines range, from Postup and Dingač to his premium line of Royal Dingač and Superior. Matuško also makes whites from Pošip which can be a perfect start to the tasting.
2. Miloš Winery
When in Potomje, you don’t want to miss Miloš Winery. Frane Miloš or his sons, the next-generation winemakers, will most probably welcome you. In addition to the newly built wine cellar, the old wine cellar and the tasting room are carved into the rocky mountainside, giving this tour a special ambiance.
Miloš vineyards stretch on the south slopes of the Pelješac peninsula, and the wines achieve a highly recognizable style of the winemaker. It is safe to say that they have a cult status in Croatia and beyond.
They are released after aging. The premium line of Stagnum ages over nine years. A very elegant and highly drinkable wine which isn’t always the case with powerful Plavac Mali.
Miloš signature is also seen through the minerality, which contributes to making his wines age extremely well.
3. Korta Katarina Winery
Pelješac attracts foreign investors, too, including the American Anderson family that has renovated the stunning Korta Katarina, where you can also book accommodation.
The Anderson family fell in love with the Croatia and bought vineyards on the Postup and Dingač positions on Pelješac. Their first vintage was released in 2006.
The winery is known for producing premium Croatian wines with character and multilayered flavors.
Villa Korta Katarina & Winery is a luxurious property affiliated with Relais & Chateaux in a picturesque seaside town. It offers stunning views of the Adriatic coastline and provides a memorable experience for guests. The villa features modern rooms and suites with sea views, combining elegance with contemporary design.
4. Grgic Winery
Grgić Winery, situated in Trstenik, emerged onto the winemaking scene in 1996, thanks to the visionary Miljenko ‘Mike’ Grgich, a renowned winemaker who had already established his global reputation in California.
Miljenko Mike Grgich, the genius behind Chateau Montelena, whose Chardonnay triumphed over its esteemed French competitors at the Judgement of Paris in 1976, decided to return to his homeland and introduce modern winemaking techniques to the challenging slopes of Pelješac.
Miljenko’s most celebrated creation is the esteemed Plavac Mali, a deep red wine that undergoes a meticulous two-year process to achieve perfectly harmonized flavors.
This meticulous process includes a remarkable 15 months of aging in special oak barrels imported from France.
At Grgić Winery, visitors can enjoy wine tastings and tours to explore the winemaking process and learn about the history and philosophy behind the winery.
The picturesque surroundings of Trstenik, with its vineyards and coastal beauty, make the visit even more enjoyable.
5. Saints Hills Winery
The “Vinaria” as they call the Saints Hills Winery, is also located in a renovated, old house that used to be a winery before. The Tolj family brought new life to it.
In addition to the winery, Saints Hills also operate a guest house in Oskorušno, providing accommodation for those who wish to immerse themselves in the winery experience.
Saints Hills also hold vineyards in Istria and Komarna outside of Pelješac, so it is the perfect place if you would like to explore wines outside Pelješac.
Enjoy in their wide selection of premium wines, especially Plavac Mali wines. A strong recommendation is Sv. Roko Plavac Mali made from Plavac growing in the Komarna wine region on the coast. This is a mineral red wine and a fantastic example to compare what Plavac grapes give on other soils and locations.
At Saints Hills, you can pair a gourmet dinner with their wines.
Best things to do in Pelješac
On Pelješac you can explore pebble and sandy beaches, enjoy seafood dishes, especially famous oysters from Mali Ston, and drink famous Plavac Mali from Dingač and Postup sites and, more than that, relax completely.
While on your summer vacation on the Pelješac peninsula, most of your time will be spent on one of the numerous beaches. Trstenica Beach in Orebić is listed among the best ones in Croatia.
Visit Žuljana, Kučište and Duba Pelješka Beach, and if you head to Viganj Beach, look for some adrenaline and try yourself in the wind or kite surfing.
Because of the favorable wind, Viganj is most known for surfing.
The wine kingdom of the indigenous Plavac Mali variety is one of the most potent red grape varieties in Croatia. Plavac Mali wines are deep in color, rich with darker fruits, Mediterranean herbs, and often higher alcohol levels.
Dingač, the first protected appellation, is a location worth visiting. To get there, you will have to pass the Dingač tunnel, which is very narrow, and take a relatively short drive under the rocky hill until you reach the other side of Potomje village.
Exiting the tunnel is thrilling, the scenes of old vines and vineyards so steep, open in front of you. Immediately, you are stunned.
Right next to the Dingač vineyards, its smaller sister, as they call it, Postup is located. Both made exclusively from Plavac Mali, these red wines are considered to be one of the top reds in Croatia.
Seeing top vineyards on Pelješac will leave you wanting to taste some of the nature you’ve seen, and the touring through the wineries can start.
Try to stop at only one! We dare you (cause we couldn’t).
The beautiful island of Korčula, home to refreshing and crisp white Pošip wines, is right next to Pelješac. You can take the ferry from the Orebić or rent a private ride, and after only 15 minutes, you’ll reach Korčula. Don’t forget to drink a glass of white Grk while you’re there.
If you enjoy this type of summer vacation, peaceful and quiet but full of content, Pelješac has to be among your top Croatian destinations. Its wine lovers’ paradise with a sea view!
Nautical enthusiasts, lovers of elite tourism, adventurers, hikers, surfers, gourmets, and wine enthusiasts will all enjoy the Pelješac Peninsula.
Pelješac is home to Plavac Mali, renowned captains, the largest Croatian surf colony, exquisite oysters, and vipers, which inspired the name of the highest mountain in this part of Croatia – Snake Mountain, also known as St. Elijah.
From its peak, standing at 961 meters, the view stretches from Biokovo, Mosor, Bosnian mountains, and the Neretva Delta, across the islands of central and southern Dalmatia, all the way to Dubrovnik and Mount Orjen in Montenegro, and on windy days, even to Italy.
Miraculous beaches, Mediterranean charm, some of the best Croatian wineries in one place, and plenty of outdoor activities are just some of the reasons why Pelješac should be on your must-visit list.
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