South Dalmatia, comprising Dubrovnik & Neretva County, is separated from the rest of Croatia by a 4 km long stretch of Bosnian coast around Neum. Although there are border check points across the gap there are no restrictions of passage, so for all intense and purposes South Dalmatia appears joined to Central Dalmatia. The capital is Dubrovnik, a onetime independent principality.
Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful towns in Europe, is surrounded by ramparts that were first built in the 16th century, with churches, palaces, monuments, monasteries and museums that could take a year to discover. But Dubrovnik is far from being a museum city. Inside the old towns ramparts about 5000 people have their homes.
The old town is a labyrinth of streets paved with white flagstones, which, over hundreds of years, have been polished to a shine by people’s feet. Long narrow allies with hundreds of steps climbing down from the ramparts, with bars, shops and galleries on either side. Its also a world forbidden to cars. Quite ample parking is provided outside the ramparts but in summer it is advised to park further away to avoid disappointment.
South Dalmatia, particularly the Peljesac Peninsula, is a good vine growing region with more & more of their wines becoming world renowned. The region also produces a sizable quota of Croatia’s oranges, figs & olives, and in the north of the province it is very common to see these produce for sale by the side of the road.
Another of Croatia’s jewels and like so many of its beautiful towns it is fortified.
Other places of interest in South Dalmatia
There are few beaches at Dubrovnik itself, mainly large flat rocks large enough to lie and sunbath on. Away from the centre, in the north quarter of Babin Kuk, there are beaches of fine shingle where one can bathe. The small Island of Lokrum, 2 km2 and 15 minutes by ferry from Dubrovnik, has lots of areas for bathing and has a beach reserved for nudists on the west side of the island. Before or after bathing you can take a walk in the exuberant vegetation on the way to the Royal Fort, a souvenir of the French occupation by the army of Napoleon. Mlini about 12 km south of Dubrovnik on the road to Cavtat, is a lovely small coastal town set at the foot of mount Spilan with pretty old houses flanking the hills surrounded and shaded by cypress trees. Here one finds beaches of fine shingle and one of sand, and, of course, the climate is Mediterranean with subtropical plants, palm trees and cactus.
Mljet National Park
An island lying south-west of Dubrovnik. The western part of the island is a National Park with two deep bays which are referred to as lakes because of their very narrow outlets to the sea. With lush and diverse Mediterranean vegetation, the park also has valuable Antique monuments and a 13th century Benedictine monastery set upon an islet in the centre of the lake.