Wine & gastro trip
Come to the valley where Neretva river meets the Adriatic sea, to one of the few rare and unspoiled wetlands that still exist in Europe. You’ll be staying in a hotel that is also a winery where you’ll taste the finest local wines and try seafood by recipes that locals have been crafting for centuries. And as if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also have tiny adventures in the surrounding areas.
When the scenic view of green fields interspersed with Neretva’s backwaters unfolds before your eyes, you will understand why the area is called “the green pearl of the Adriatic”. Neretva is the lifeline of the region as it irrigates the land and feeds the valley. In turn, the valley produces grapes for some of the finest wines Dalmatia has to offer. During your stay, you’ll visit the local wineries and taste their wines, and have delicious seafood to go along. Each day you’ll also have other adventures: we’ll take you to see stunning landscape views, to a river-boat ride photo-safari in the wetlands, to a local Augusteum, and to see the landmarks in Opuzen.
|Suitable for||2-6 people|
|Price per person||from 406.00 €|
Extremely versatile trip designer with an established career in travel business
Activities are taking place in the Neretva river delta area
The Smrden Grad Fort which you'll be visiting is most likely of Venetian origin
The photo-safari in a traditional boat on one of the last surviving authentic European wetlands
Guided tours of wineries are always rewarding
Opt in for night hiking in the mountains above Gradac, and enjoy the spectacular view of the riviera and nearby islands
Opuzen is a city nestled in the unique landscape of the Neretva river delta between sandbanks and backwaters. What the Neretva lacks in length, with only 22 km of the total 240 km flowing through Croatia, it more than makes up for in appearance by offering a unique vista of the Littoral Croatia. The Neretva region also offers specialties that you can't find anywhere else in Croatia, as well as an array of Dalmatian delicacies, such as food under a baking lid, grilled dishes, fish or "pašticada" (stewed beef in sauce). The eel and frog brudet (stew) is a must-try delicacy, and blend superbly into the taste of premium wines from the local vineyards: Zlatarica, Chardonnay, Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, and more. The channels of the Neretva river, which are adorned with water lilies and covered in bulrushes and reeds, form the habitats of unique bird species, which is why the entire area was named a protected bird reserve.
You will arrive in Opuzen, a town located in the vineyard region of the Neretva river delta. These vineyards soak up the sun almost all year long and provide Chardonnay, Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon and Yellow Muscat grapes. In fact, your hosts, the proprietors of the small 3-star family hotel, are the first winemakers to plant Chardonnay in the south of Croatia.
After settling in at the hotel, you will be taken on a guided tour of the winery located at the hotel premises, and you will have the chance to taste a few great wine varieties. These include:
Located near the hotel on the river mouth of the Neretva is a beach that changes its shape daily. It’s also one of the best kitesurfing locations in Europe!
The tour will be followed by a three-course dinner with wine, fresh oysters, blue crab buzara with tagliatelle, homemade bread with olive oil, homemade cheese marinated in oil or a cake of your choice.
Breakfast will be followed by a drive to the surrounding hills, where you will get to see a stunning view of the Neretva Channel, as well as the biggest regional (abandoned) medieval cemetery with preserved tombstones, and the old fort of most likely Venetian origin.
After the tour, you will have lunch at the state-of-the-art Rizman winery, famous for producing wine from indigenous grape varieties. You will have the opportunity to taste:
In the afternoon, you might want to take a stroll through Opuzen, and visit its typical Mediterranean large square, designed by the famous architect Nenad Fabijanić. The square features a bust of Tiberius and the world's biggest bench made from a single slab of stone, weighing 13 tonnes.
Then there is the Church of St. Stephen, which was built in the late 19th century, various places where you can have a cup of coffee, and the promenade and walkway along the Neretva river, which you will reach after passing through a couple of alleys.
After breakfast, you will be going on a photo-safari in a traditional Neretva boat (locals call it "lađa") to one of the last surviving authentic European wetlands.
One of our stops will be the Lake Kuti, a very special site affected by the Adriatic sea’s low tides in the summer, which make a small island emerge in the middle of the lake. Legend has it that a sunken city exists at the bottom of the Lake Kuti and that if you take a closer look you just might see the contours of the roofs and walls lining it.
During the two hour boat ride, you will be served fresh fruit and homemade liqueur. You will have lunch at an old stone house by the lake, which can only be accessed by water. The house has a terrace overlooking the lake where you will be served lunch prepared partially on a fireplace in front of you. Try local delicacies in four courses, such as marinated seafood or the eel and frog brudet with some homemade bread and wine.
After lunch, take the boat back to the hotel, and visit the beautiful Narona Archaeological Museum in Vid, with approximately 900 exhibits that trace the town's history from the late 3rd century BC to the 15th century. Remains of the Augusteum, a Roman temple erected in honour of the Emperor Augustus, are considered to be particularly awe-inspiring with 17 life-size and larger-than-life marble sculptures.
If this eventful day left you with enough energy, you should go night hiking (available on request) in the mountains above Gradac and enjoy the spectacular night view of Riviera Gradac and the nearby islands from a height of 500 m.
Breakfast and check-out before 10 a.m. If you still have some spare time left, we suggest that you take a tour of the Volarević family winery – one of the largest wine nurseries in Croatia - where you will get to taste their wine and have a three-course lunch with wine. The wines produced in these vineyards bear the name Syrtis, the Greek word for sandbank (Prud), which is the name of the village from which the family originates and where they still live. The wetlands of Prud are a special and protected bird reserve and a Mediterranean nesting ground for a number of birds.