Our 5th day into the trip we left Dubrovnik for a next destination of Hvar. We wanted to take in some of the other Dalmatian coast sites on our way, so we scheduled a van to take us instead of flying or taking the ferry. We asked for a full day, so we could make many stops along the way. We decided to spend most of our drive touring the Peljesac Peninsula which would take us from Dubrovnik to Ston, wine tasting at Grgich winery and to the island of Korcula for a late lunch and site seeing. We then headed back down the peninsula to Mali Ston for some oysters and afternoon beers before heading to Hvar.
Laura had arranged professional driver from Radulovic LTD to take us, which turned out to be an excellent idea and one I can’t recommend enough. There are excellent driving services in Croatia that offer cars to mid sized vans. Our driver picked us up at the Vrata Od Ploca entrance in a mid-sized van that was spacious enough to fit our gear and comfortably seat all 8 of us. The driver was older, stately and typically handsome. He spoke broken English, but was very nice and accommodating except at the Bosnian customs station, where he told us to site quietly while he negotiated us through. Bosnia has a 1 mile stretch of beach area that literally cuts Croatia in two. Getting through is pretty painless and fast, but you are in Bosnia and recent tensions are still felt.
It’s unfortunate that we could not communicate with him better. I guessed he was in his early 60’s, which would mean that he had been old enough to live under Tito, experience the fall of the Communist government, had his life turned upside down in the Bosnia-Serbian conflict. If you decide to go this route, make sure to ask for a driver who knows the Dalmatian coast (ours did) and one that speaks good English (ours spoke enough).
We started north on the E65 highway towards Split stopping at the lookout point of the ultra modern Dubrovnik Bridge, which rises over the Port of Gruz. About an hour or so in to the journey we started up the Peljesac Peninsula. About 59 miles out of Dubrovnik we made our first stop in Ston, a small medieval town that is famous for the wall fortifications that encircle the town. Ston is also known for its sea salt production in the Ston Salt Works, and for Oyster production.