The Salt Capital of Croatia!
Driving out on the Pelješac Peninsula lead us through vineyards, small villages, and our favorite stops were Ston and Mali Ston known for their salt production since the 15th century. Unfortunately we were not there during the salt harvest which takes place in the late summer, and we weren’t even there on a sunny day which is unusual for Croatia. However, it was still gorgeous and we enjoyed having these small places to ourselves with absolutely no other tourists around.
Our first stop was Mali Ston, a small, but important port that was built in a similar fashion to the port of Dubrovnik. Mali Ston was making money and becoming ever more wealthy as it had the salt pans that produced and distributed the substance that was worth it’s weight in gold. All of this wealth, of course, attracted pirates and raiders so it’s no wonder that defensive works, a small fortress, and a strong city wall were built to protect it.
Even though the salt works were all shut down for the season, we walked around the salt production area and could see that it is still a viable source of income.
Mali Ston is located on the peninsula, but there is only a small body of water that separates it from the mainland, making its fortifications crucial in helping to defend Dubrovnik.
As it wasn’t high season, we saw many boats that were out of the water just waiting for their captains to claim them and take them fishing. The village was extremely quiet as many of the people now work in larger cities and only keep summer houses in the area or return during the season to work the boats and the salt works.
A few kilometers down the road is the larger city of Ston, Mali’s bigger sister. Ston is where the salt pans are located, and then they are transported over the isthmus to be put on a boat to its final destinations.
To keep the area safe from bandits and pilferers, there are stone walls to protect there merchandise. The five kilometer stone wall connects the Pozvizd Fortress in Ston to the Koruna Fortress in Mali Ston. Getting the salt to port was of utmost importance.
It is possible to hike and climb the walls traversing the two villages, and there is also an annual run in the summer. It was pouring down rain when we were there, so we chose to enjoy it from the warmth of the car.
If you are taking some day trips out of Dubrovnik, wander up the coast and out on the Pelješac Peninsula. The Stons are quaint, friendly, and quiet, a perfect getaway from the tourist crowds in other parts of the Dalmatian Coast.
Have you been to Ston or Mali Ston?
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