Two hours north of Dubrovnik the Peljesac peninsula juts out into the Adriatic. It is just 65 km long and averages about 10 km wide. At the north west end of the peninsula is Orebic, a small port town directly across a narrow straight from the well known island and town of the same name: Korcula.
We book 5 nights at the Indijan Hotel – http://www.hotelindijan.hr/en/ – in Orebic with a view to slowing down and making this a base for day trips to the many, many wineries on the peninsula and to Korcula. The hotel is on the water, with a small rocky beach and a lovely dining terrace overlooking the sea. It is a 15 minute walk along the shore into Orebic town, where there are courtyard and seaside restaurants serving seafood. A good place to stop and catch our breaths. Thank you Sharon and Renee for the recommendation!
A stop in Ston on the way here is an opportunity to climb and walk on the longest stone wall in Europe. Built in the 14th century to repel invaders and to protect the important salt works nearby, and at over 5 km long, it is often referred to as the “Great Wall of Europe”.
The town happens to be hosting a marathon the day we are here and we end up at the finish line where there is music, food and beer. Craig muses about missing the run and perhaps returning next year to participate until he realizes that the wall is part of the route. No thanks!
This part of Croatia has an ancient feel with its centuries old stone farmhouses and gnarly looking grape vines. The size of some of the olive and pomegranate trees suggests they’ve been here for a while. More than many other places in Europe that have been modernized and globalized and homogenized, this feels like “the old country” in every sense of the phrase.
We take the ferry to Korcula the first time as foot passengers and wander the walled city. This is Marko Polo’s birthplace and every other shop is selling souvenirs sporting his name. T-shirts, ball caps, incense, ashtrays, coffee mugs, candles, aprons, etc, etc. Welcome to tourism merchandising!
Another torrential rainstorm has us scurrying into the nearest pub for shelter. When it rains in these limestone towns there is nowhere for the water to go and it quickly accumulates. Within minutes we are walking in ankle deep water.
Our second visit is in the rental car and we drive across the island, along narrow, winding roads with views of the coast. We spy a beach and stop for a swim and lunch.
As we have so much time here and Craig can only sit still for so long, we rent bikes and ride along the shore until the road starts to climb steeply into the hills. Rather than over-exert ourselves in the noonday sun we turn around and head for the nearest beach with a palm tree for lunch in the shade. This is, after all, supposed to be a holiday!
A morning hike up into the hills above Orebic rewards us with spectacular views of the sea and the southern Dalmatian islands. There’s a church or two, of course. One is surrounded by 400 year old cypress trees.
That afternoon we jump in the car for a winery tour on the peninsula, reknown for the best wines in Croatia. The rocky terroir, southern exposures and sea air make for some delicious whites and we buy several bottles. Another narrow, windy road takes us to a small port. We feast on fresh mussels slathered in butter and garlic.
It is easy to overuse superlative adjectives in describing this place. It is remarkably beautiful. The sea in particular is an iridescent shade of blue/green that is hard to capture in the photos.
Oh, and speaking of photos, a word of warning: more cats! There are so many of them and they are so photogenic.