If you always wanted to visit the Great wall of China, but China just seemed so far away, then Ston on the Peljesac peninsula, 45 minutes north of Dubrovnik, is a place for you. Famous Ston walls are, following the wall of China, the longest and most well preserved fortification complex in the world. The walls were built in the 14th century and are strengthened by 40 towers and 5 fortresses. The walls connect Ston to the neighbouring town of Mali Ston, and today 5 km of the walls are preserved and as of 2009. open for public; during the summer they are open the whole day. There are 2 entrances and 1 exit, with the whole tour lasting from 15 to 30 min, depending on which route you choose. If you are a sports buff, you can enter the famous Ston Wall Marathon, that takes place every year in September and attracts runners from across the world.
Ston is situated at the bottom end of the 3 mile long channel of Ston at the south side of Pelješac peninsula. There are two ways to get to Ston, from the north across the Mljet channel through passages Mali and Veliki Vratnik, and from the south by Kolocep channel.
Beforehand a warning regarding Ston channel: when „jugo“ blows, there are sudden shifts in sea levels („seš“). Also strong currents occur during tidal changes. Due to shallow waters and the fact that actual sea depths can be smaller than specified on the map, I would leave sailing across the entire Ston channel to experienced sailors who know their way around a nautical map very well.
Kobaš is the first port that we encounter on our way through the Ston channel. It is a small fishing place with only a few restaurants. If you are there, try fresh seafood from the local tavern „Niko“, a place that has been famous for good eating for years and years. There is a pier in front of the restaurant where all the visitors can freely tie their boats. Depth there is 2,5 meters, but it is not well protected from „bura“.
From Kobaš to Ston the waterway slowly narrows, until it it is only 100 meters wide. The same happens with depth, which is only 3,5 meters at the place where the channel narrows. Waterway is marked with red and green lighthouse buoys. Here at the most narrow spot, big boats need to rescpect a special right of passage; the boat that wants to enter the port must give way to the boat leaving the port. If the boat already entered the port, the one going out must wait until the first boat is safely tied to the pier. When navigating through the Ston channel, you have to strictly stay on course because there is only 25 meters between the green and red lighthouse buoy.
There is only one spot in Ston port where you can tie your boat, at the end of it on a 50 meter long pier that is usually packed with fishing boats. . Depth there is about 3 meters.
When you are in Ston, make sure you visit the famous salt quarry that dates back to medieval times, which makes it the oldest one in Europe. Great time for a visit is from middle of July to September, for the popular salt gathering; visit the salt quarry museum and take back home with you a few grains of the Adriatic sea as a souvenir.
My favourite place for drinking coffee in Ston is in the town square called „Kantun“, where you can sit back, relax and take in the atmosphere of this charming small medieval town.
Make sure you do not leave Peljesac without trying local gastronomical delicacies (for example at the tavern „Bakus“ in the centre of Ston, or „Kapetanova kuca“ in Mali Ston) which is the seafood, namely mussels and oysters. Don’t be worried about them not being fresh as Pelješac (Mali Ston Bay in particular) is famous for its vast shellfish farms. Just don’t order dateshells as they are prohibited by law in Croatia. Reason for this is their habitat, large rocks where they burrow holes, so in order to get to them is by destroying large number of rocks, which causes devastation of the coast line. Stick to mussels and oysters and enjoy the famous black risotto.
Because of its position, we can’t say that Ston is often found on the list of nautical destinations. Shallow waters around it do not make Ston popular either, but for everyone who are after peace and quiet Ston and the entire Ston channel is an ideal destination.