Wine and Seafood on the Peljesac Peninsula
After Dubrovnik, we travelled to Korcula (pronounced core-chew-la)-- an island off the coast of Croatia. Although we had planned to take a ferry straight from Dubrovnik, we instead decided to rent a car and drive due to the limited ferry schedule. It was a great decision, and ended up being a highlight of the trip! I've included maps below for reference, but our drive took us up the Peljesac Peninsula, which is basically covered in vineyards and bordered by turquoise water.
As you can see, the drive itself is only 3.5 hours, including the 45 minute ferry from Orebic to Korcula. So, you could easily drive to Orebic and back to Dubrovnik as a day trip, however if you want to explore Korcula as well I would definitely recommend staying on the island for a night or two. It is so unique and gorgeous! (I have a Korcula-specific post coming next). And you definitely need a rental car in Korcula as well so it all works out perfectly.
Before our drive, we stopped by a tourism office in Dubrovnik where a kind man gave us a few recommendations which all turned out to be fabulous. We picked up our rental car at 9am from Discovery Car Rental (as per his recommendation) which was affordable and super easy. We ended up with a Fiat Panda for €50 per day.
We first drove towards Ston and Mali Ston-- two small towns right at the beginning of the peninsula. Ston and Mali Ston are linked by the 5km Wall of Ston, which is supposedly the 2nd longest wall to the Great Wall of China.
Ston and Mali Ston are also known for mussels and oysters! We went straight to Mali Ston and walked around a bit before having lunch at a restaurant I had read about called Kapetenova Kuća. We loved it so much that we stopped here again for lunch on our way back!
The meal began with a fish paté. You could opt out of this starter and bread but unless you say otherwise it is included automatically for about €2. It was delicious! We then split raw oysters and fried oysters-- we both definitely preferred the raw. They were fresh, right out of the water across the street. We also had prosciutto and melon and a garden salad. All of the fruit and veggies were fresh from the kitchen garden, and I'm pretty sure the prosciutto was local as well. The salad was perfectly lightly dressed in olive oil and salted. We loved it!
Next, as per the tour guide's recommendation, we continued on to our first winery: Milos Vineyards. It was a small, family run operation and the man who gave us a little tour of the cellar/tasting was so sweet! Their cellar and tasting room are built into the side of the mountain, literally carved out of the rock. It was cool (temperature cool) and very traditional. They grow Plavac Mali grapes (red) which are indigenous to the region. The older wines were much smoother than the younger bottles, but very different to California reds and fun to taste!
After stopping at Milos Vineyards, we veered away from the main highway (road) towards Zuljana. Looking down at this little town from the road above blew my mind! I don't think the photo below even does the color of the water justice. We didn't have a particular destination in Zuljana so we drove through the town a little bit, which was adorable, before jumping quickly in the irresistible water and chilling on the beach. I would totally return here to stay for a week of ultimate relaxation.
We ventured on over the vineyard-covered hills to our next winery stop: Grgic Vineyard. You'll see this website directs you to their winery in Napa, (which I can't wait to visit!) but their Croatian website is nothing more than the address. Mike Grgic went on to prove the relationship between Plavac Mali grapes and Zinfandel in Napa, but his family's original winery in Croatia is still running, despite a devastating fire in 2015. After the fire, they rebuilt a restaurant and tasting room with the incredible view you see below. They do a red (Plavac Mali) and white (Posip). We really grew to love Posip whites on this trip!
Our final stop before Orebic was Konoba Vitaceae in Trstenik for our second lunch. It was a really cute little harbor town, and this restaurant (again), is known for its fresh seafood. This meal also started with a paté, along with some cured anchovies which I was hesitant to try but I actually liked them! I had been craving mussels, so I got a pot of mussels cooked in white wine. I think the smallest portion was 1/2 kilo but it only cost €10 so I went with it! It was an airy, gorgeous restaurant with really fresh seafood.
We pulled into the harbor town of Orebic by about 4pm. The ferry runs regularly across to Korcula, so we sort of played it by ear and had a cut off for the latest ferry we wanted to take. We drove directly to the terminal, and just had to hop out of the car to purchase tickets which were €10 for the car and two passengers. Orebic was really cute and it looked like there were lots of campsites on the way into town. There were a few more wineries here too that we would have popped into, but we were eager to get to Korcula. I think there is more in Orebic worth exploring!
We were so lucky with the weather on our drive from Dubrovnik to Orebic! The drive back was a little more overcast (below). We took a more direct route back to Dubrovnik with sweeping ocean views.
I am always up for a good road trip, and while renting cars in a foreign country may seem a little scary, it is always worth it! This particular route had so many great looking campsites next to turquoise beaches-- I would definitely like to come back and make my way up the coast in an RV or with a tent.
Where has been your favorite road trip? Comment below!