Ston – a town to visit for all the hedonists out there! This town has it all – breathtaking historical and nature sights, tasty food (mussels and seafood especially) and excellent wines.
Ston is situated on Pelješac Peninsula, about 50 km north-west of Dubrovnik, largely known for 3 things: its very well-preserved town walls, its salt works, and its oysters.
City walls almost 7 km long are the world’s second-longest preserved fortification system today, also known as the “European wall of China”.
Ston and oysters
While the month of February, with Valentine’s Day, is the month of love for the whole world, the peninsula of Peljesac celebrates love in March. In late March, on St. Joseph’s Day, the locals of Peljesac and Ston celebrate days of Mali Ston oyster, a unique crustacean in Europe, and maybe in the world. The Mali Ston oyster, Ostrea edulis, is a unique oyster in its size and shape, a well-known aphrodisiac with three delighting properties: it is refreshing, calming, and stimulates love.
It is on St. Joseph’s Day, on March 25th, that tens of thousands of visitors from all over Croatia and the surrounding countries arrive in Ston, a small town on the peninsula of Peljesac. They come to enjoy the oysters, which are at their fullest and juiciest around that time. This oyster was eaten at the royal European courts in the 19th and 20th centuries, and it received a gold medal in 1936 in London. The secret of the Peljesac oyster lies in the traditional growing, clean sea and specific nature of the Bay of Mali Ston, into which flow many small underground rivers from the surrounding hills.
These oysters are best accompanied by a lemon or Dubrovnik spicy orange and the tastiest Peljesac wines. The peninsula of Peljesac is the true center of Croatian red wines, such as Postup and Dingac, Plavac Mali – consummated also during the White House inaugurations. Peljesac is also home to numerous small wineries which receive wine aficionados every day. During December, many thousands of visitors can also enjoy a feast called Days of Pelješac cellars. You can learn about the rich wine culture history, thanks to which many Peljesac families were clothed and fed for centuries, just a few kilometers away from Ston, in Croatia’s only Wine Museum.
Apart from wine and oysters, Ston is famous for its walls. The legend says that these walls are the second-longest in the world, after the Great Wall of China. In the past ten years, Ston had been renovated thoroughly following a strong earthquake that severely damaged the town and its surroundings in the 1990s. Today, visitors can take a walk on Kastel, a fortress in the town center, and on the walls, which are especially liked by tourists who like to have an active vacation – every September a marathon on the walls is held.
Ston and its restaurants are open all year, both in winter and spring – when the oysters are at their fullest and tastiest – and in summer, the time when another Mali Ston delicacy, the Ston mussel, reigns supreme. Although tens of thousands of tons of oysters are produced every year in Ston, most of them – as much as 90% – are eaten in Ston and Dubrovnik. The best invitation for all, then, is to come as soon as possible, reserve a table and enjoy the magical flavors!