Things to do in Orebić: The Secret Destination in Croatia
Written by Photographer & Journalist Christy Stehle
Orebić (oar-eb-itch) – I want to tell you why this romantic little town captured our hearts. Orebić, I’m guessing you’ve never heard of it. That’s okay. Even better, perhaps, because neither has anyone else and that means you’ll have the place to yourselves. You’ll find it tucked away on the Pelješac Peninsula of Croatia about 2 hours away from Dubrovnik aka King’s Landing.
Dumb luck brought us to this tiny gem of a place, and we fell in love. So much in love, that we decided to spend nearly two weeks relaxing on deserted beaches, hiking mountains, dining on the freshest seafood, and of course, drinking lots and lots of incredible wine. Ok, so I have your attention. Now let’s go a little deeper and really convince you to make your travel arrangements today. In Orebić you can expect to:
Enjoy Incredible Wine
Orebić is in the heart of Croatian wine country. The entire peninsula is prime wine growing territory, and there are many beautiful wineries all over. A huge plus of this area is that many of these places are undiscovered to the outside world—some of the wineries don’t even have websites or Facebook. Yeah, I know.
Why is this awesome? The employees are friendly, and they eagerly welcome visitors to their wineries. Wine tastings are inexpensive and oftentimes include local cheese and olive oil. At Matuško (that’s ma-toosh-ko), we were taken on a tour from light and breezy whites through heavy reds, all the way to the end where we finished things off with shots of brandy and grka— a walnut liquor. What better way to spend the day than driving around the peninsula sampling some of Croatia’s finest offerings? Hmmm…in hindsight, it’s probably best the driver doesn’t take any shots!
Dingač (ding-gatch) Tunnel connects the main road to Pelješac’s premium wine growing region. On the other side of the tunnel, you will find incredibly steep slopes where the Dingač grapes are grown. Turn around and you will see this:
Wine, sweeping views, incredible hospitality, what else do you need to set the mood??
Just outside of Orebić you will find one of the region’s premier wineries — Korta Katarina. Make sure you stop in and sample the outstanding wine. Tell Ivo we said hello!
Relax to Your Heart’s Content
Not a whole lot goes on in Orebić, and that’s totally cool with us! The town is on island time: things get done when they get done, and nobody is ever in a rush. Sure, you may not have lightning fast internet, and the food might take a little longer than you’re used to, but that just gives you more time to spend with your boo.
Looking for beaches? Nearly every Airbnb in Orebić faces the water! Walk out your front door for instant beach access or trek 15 minutes down the coast for a more secluded spot. For the daring and liberated, there is even a naturalist section of the beach where residents and tourists alike bare it all.
Right across the way you will find the island of Korčula (kor-choo-la). Take a quick and inexpensive ferry ride across to see a remarkable little town and visit the home of Marco Polo. Oh yeah, there are wineries over here too that you can visit. Pick up a bottle of the island’s unique and exclusive Grk (I’d like to buy a vowel, please) and indulge in its velvety creaminess and bright citrus notes. You won’t find it anywhere else in the world!
Eat Like Kings
World class seafood. The peninsula is famous for their mussels and oysters. They don’t get any better than this! Everything is fresh caught and served up at the right price. Take a drive up to Panorama and enjoy eating “ispod peke” — a traditional way of Croatian cooking where the proteins are grilled under a metal dome. De-lish!
Just about anywhere you and your main squeeze decide to dine, you can’t go wrong. Why not grab a table seaside and be swept away by the beauty of the Adriatic?
On your way to Orebić, you will drive through Ston. Make it a point to stop at Konoba Bakus. This restaurant is favorite to locals and tourists alike. Here you will find a kg of some of the best mussels you’ve ever had for $8. They don’t stop there, though, oh no. This huge bowl of mussels comes served over a bed of garlicky risotto.
Hike, Explore, and Spend Time in the Great Outdoors
Mount Ilija – Are you one of those couples who likes to hike and explore on vacation? Are you getting antsy just picturing yourself on a beach being forced to relax? I never understood why some people pay money for this exquisite torture that is oftentimes referred to as relaxation. No need to panic, Orebić has you covered. Mount Ilija dominates the backdrop of the city’s landscape and is completely hike-able.
You and beau can laugh in the face of R&R and instead spend your time scaling mountains. Mount Ilija might only be 961m high, but it is a challenging hike. You have two major paths to choose from. The harder of the two is steep, rocky, and at times, downright scary. If you are geared up and experienced, you will have no problem, though. Head straight up from Orebić city center and be on your way.
If you’re looking for something a bit easier and more scenic (but still quite challenging) then you need to drive up the road about 10 minutes. From here, you will enjoy a beautiful hike that will take you through forests, rocky slopes, and even past grazing horses. The view from the summit is breathtaking and on clear days you can even see Italy—how romantic!
It was a bit hazy on our hike, but the view was still incredible
Mljet Island – How often do you get the chance to see an island on an island? Well, you can on Mljet and you’ll find it in the nature park on Mljet Island. Take a ferry from nearby Prapratno and you two can get lost hand-in-hand while exploring this lush Mediterranean island.
Ston – home to the second longest stone wall in the world, Ston is definitely worth a visit. Whether you’re into giant walls or not, you literally cannot miss it as you will run straight into it on your way into Orebić. Give yourself an extra hour to stop and look around.
Drive Around and Explore
I urge you to a rent a car, almost to the point of saying it is mandatory. We found booking online was much cheaper than in-store. Also, I encourage you to rent out of Dubrovnik as the agencies there are much cheaper than in Orebić itself. Besides, it’s a nice and tidy arrangement. Fly into Dubrovnik, drive around a bit and have fun, and leave the car back at the airport when you leave.
In addition to winery hopping, you can use your whip to see some of the most remote places on the peninsula. We packed lunch one day and headed to Lovište at the far end of the peninsula where we enjoyed a truly romantic and one-of-a-kind meal for two.
The peninsula is literally your oyster. Seriously, you can do just about whatever you want! Driving with the windows down through the mountains along the coastline is reason enough to have a car. Stop and take pictures, run around and play, be kids again.
Whatever you decide to do, you and your beau are sure to have an unforgettable experience. But before you go, make sure you aren’t like us, and make the same mistakes we did.
You can usually find Tyler & Christy creating in the kitchen, behind the lens, or devouring more popcorn, dark chocolate, & red wine than they’d care to admit.
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