A guide to the Dubrovnik Riviera – the 'Pearl of the Mediterranean'

Stunning landscapes and just a dash of hedonism: A guide to the Dubrovnik Riviera, the original ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’

Ad Feature by Dubrovnik and Neretva County Tourist Board

When looking for a trip that’s packed with small adventures – whether it’s on or off season – a sun-drench week spent exploring the coast between Dubrovnik and Cavtat is sure to appease even the most discerning traveller.

Whether you arrive by plane or boat, the Dubrovnik Riviera is a must-visit destination for every explorer who’s hungry to uncover hidden histories. Also, for explorers who are hungrier still for delectable local delicacies.

From the bustling city streets of the city proper to the islands and islets that are not to be missed, here’s our whistle-stop guide to this darling of the Adriatic. 

Where good food meets history and culture, Dubrovnik is a must for every European traveller 

Enjoy fresh oysters and a glass of Dingač

Travelling from north to south, your first stop should be at the vibrant and colourful Neretva Valley. The fertile soil and micro-climate make it the ideal location for local farmers to cultivate crops, including zesty citrus fruits that end up splayed on fresh fish across the Republic of Croatia.  

The region’s fruits are also made into jams and liqueurs which can be bought from family farmers at roadside kiosks, so getting a taste of the landscape is easy and well worth it.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, local delicacies like eel brodetto and frog legs at many of the valley’s restaurants.

A landscape with zing: Neretva Valley is known for the cultivation of citrus fruits

The next stop on your journey should be Ston, a town renowned for being home to the largest walls in Europe and one of its oldest saltworks. It’s also a place known for its oysters that have been enjoyed by the locals for millennia.

Ston Oysters have long been known as an aphrodisiac and were even rumoured to improve fertility in Roman times.

If you consider yourself a history buff, a stop off in Cavtat should definitely be on the itinerary. There, you can explore the old sailor residences, the remains of an ancient Roman theatre and the stunning Rector’s Palace.

Just five kilometres south of the city, you’ll find Pasjača Beach which is renowned as one of the most beautiful in the country. There you’ll find many a precious restaurant and tavern serving tasty Croatian cuisine, making the most of the abundance of fresh seafood. 

Off the coast of the Pelješac peninsula, where Croatia’s finest wines ripen on the vine

Then, a few miles up the coast, you can indulge yourself with the world-famous wines produced on the Pelješac peninsula. From Dingač to Plavac, Mali to Postup, you’ll find wineries that produce the most delicious tipples to compliment your culinary explorations. 

The grapes ripen to perfection over 200 sunny days out of the year making each wine an ideal accompaniment.

Set sail for an adventure on the Adriatic

Hopping from island to island, you get to enjoy the natural beauty this particular corner of Europe has to offer. The Island of Mljet will leave any seafarer awe-struck, with regular boat excursions setting sail from Dubrovnik, Korčula, Makarska, and Pelješac. 

Should you want your holiday to include the stuff of legends, keep an eye out for the stunning Cave of Odysseus – renowned for its association with the Greek hero.

Island of Mljet National Park: A place of undisturbed nature and pristine beauty

Ahoy! Discover breath-taking islands by sailboat, from Mljet to sandy Lopud

Definitely worth a visit are the Elaphites, commonly known as the Deer Islands. Dotted with reefs, cliffs and skerries, each of the eight islands and five islets is a delight to behold with Lopud being a real standout.

The sandy holm is the perfect place to sit in the shade of a palm tree and enjoy a delicious hotel coffee with a sea view.

Stop off at the central Dalmatian island of Korčula that sits just off the coast of the mainland. Separated from the Pelješac peninsula by the Pelješac Channel, the island is teaming with lush vegetation with plenty of hidden coves to discover. 

Korčula City, a little-known gem surrounded by hidden coves and a rocky coastline 

The namesake city is packed full of taverns which serve traditional, aromatic dishes. Surrounded by ancient walls in typical Croatian fashion, its streets are dense with hidden delights.

Before returning to land, the 300 islands and islets of the Lastovo Nature Park are also worthy of a few days of adventuring.

The largest of the cluster is Lastovo Island which stretches 9.8 kilometres and is spangled with bay beaches and rolling hills.

Hike or cycle the trails of Lastovo to truly appreciate the island’s landscape 

The perfect place work off the indulgent meals you’ve been enjoying, the island is marbled with hiking and cycling trails that traverse its most beautiful corners.

Nestled in the island’s hills is Lastovo town, an ancient medieval settlement with a compelling Hungarian-Croatian history. With a distinctly Mediterranean atmosphere, its carved stone steps and chimneys will be the perfect picturesque backdrop to your holiday snaps.

Explore the city that inspired a thousand artists

A fitting end to an unforgettable adventure down the Dubrovnik Riviera is a tour of Dubrovnik proper. Over the centuries, it’s developed a reputation around the globe for its mythic architecture and unique energy. 

It’s served as inspiration for countless artists, scientists, and writers, from George Bernard Shaw to Lord Byron.

Dubrovnik was coined as the original ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’ by English poet Lord Byron

While many cities stake their claim to the title, Dubrovnik is the only true Pearl of the Mediterranean according to Byron. In the face of earthquakes, wars and plagues, the city has always proudly stood as a centre of manmade beauty with a refreshing dash of hedonism. 

Bathed in the sea of sun, flowers, and ripe fruits year-round, the ancient metropolis is home to luxurious gastronomic offerings befitting its mild Mediterranean climate. You’re sure to find something that will please your appetite and your budget.

To take in all of the city’s majesty, a cable car trip up Srđ hill is the perfect way to cap off your travels. With the Old Town and the surrounding turquoise sea laid out before you, don’t pass on the chance to take one last jealousy-inducing selfie.

Get planning your trip and discover all the Riviera has to offer at visitdubrovnik.hr

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