Ston and Mali Ston of the Peljesac Peninsula

The Salt Capital of Croatia!

Driving out on the Peljesac 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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If you are taking some day trips out of Dubrovnik, wander up the coast and out on the Peljesac 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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22 Comments

  1. I’ve never head of this area – it looks quite charming, even if the weather wasn’t so cooperative for your visit! One day I’ll get there…one day!

  2. Wow! Your pictures so pretty. These are perfectly my kind of places. 🙂 I agree, it’s better to escape the crowds and head for the villages. I had similar experiences lately.

  3. I’ve been to Dubrovnik, but not Mali Ston or Ston! I’ve just started reading Game of Thrones (haven’t seen the TV series yet, must read first) and literally everywhere near Dubrovnik makes me think of Kings Landing. Having been there before reading the book, and knowing where it’s filmed for the tv series, I can’t imagine anywhere more perfect!

    I didn’t realise people still harvested salt in such a way, I went to the Salt Mines just outside of Krakow and production has entirely ceased there?!

    1. Sammy, I think there’s still many places in the world that harvest salt from salt pools. I’ve been to some salt mines as well, and same thing they’ve stopped production. I wonder what the difference is.

  4. I haven’t been to these salt pans but like you I find it interesting to visit places like this and I’ve seen similar salt production in the Camargue and on the île de Ré off the west coast of France. Both places produce delicious salt.

  5. What a gorgeous area. I love those old building. I’ve never been to a salt flat, but I’ve read a few posts lately about them (Turkey and South America). It would be great to go back during the salt harvest.

  6. My, how things have changed! We rarely think of salt beyond using it in our meals, and yet it has such an interesting and important past. Thanks for the reminder.
    I’ve never heard of Ston or Mali Ston but it looks like absolutely lovely. I guess salt is no longer their major export since you write that the residents work elsewhere and use Ston as their summer homes.

  7. How interesting that I read this today as hubby and I were just talking about the salt flats in Bolivia and the Bonneville Salt Flats in Nevada. I like that stone wall that they used to keep pilferers away from the salt. In today’s world where it’s just free on restaurant tables, it’s hard to imagine construction a wall to protect it. It looks like a lovely area to explore.

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