The opportunity to change your mind from one day to another is what makes Konavle a true paradise for travelers. After exploring the rich history and historical sights, of which here are listed only a few, one can find oneself wishing for something entirely different; that is what makes Konavle a yet to be fully discovered haven.
The region is highlighted by the river Ljuta, flowing through a number of villages. In the protected natural landscape of the river, you can visit and enjoy the source as well as the upper stream with fully reconstructed mills and natural historic rural sites. You can enjoy meals in one of the many family run businesses near the river or just by it, while admiring the fish around you.
For those searching for a combined active and relaxing visit here is suggestion. Take a break by going swimming on one of the beaches at the foot of the steep seashore cliffs in the morning, and prepare yourself for a hike to the Snježnica mountain in the afternoon or the next day.
The cliffs extend from Cavtat to Molunat, from a sea side town to a seaside village of Konavle. Inaccessible, steep cliffs that fall vertically into the sea are a kind of an endemic appearance in Croatia - being the only ones on the Adriatic coast. They spread in a continuous length of cca 20 km and are at some points 200 meters high. The view from the rocks to the open sea is a mesmerizing experience. Despite their inaccessibility the native population found ways of approaching them, and by doing so, opening them to all who feel up for it.
Snježnica is the mountain on the south of the Dinara massif and among 16 high mountains in Croatia with the highest peek measuring, a easy to remember, 1234 meters. The top is called Elijah because of the eponymous chapel situated there. You can start the climb from the village Kuna, about 700 meters above sea level where you can find a mountain lodging. You can also take the marked footpath from the village Mihanići to Kuna to then continue to the top of Snježnica.
Changeable or lasting, the natural landscapes of the Konavle region alter their visage depending of season. Dense cypress forests are the most visible part of the vegetation. Particularly beautiful in spring and autumn when the colours of the seasonal vegetation are at their peek, Konavle are also highlighted by oak trees and permanent and evergreen laurel groves. Dubrovnik and its surrounding is blessed to be home to a number of endemic plants.
The mandragora is a perennial plant that is known to grow only on Snježnica. Believed, by Jews, to give fertility and called the devil's apple by the Arabs, it is a toxic plant very dangerous for livestock. It has a very large root and sharp, dark green leaves and is of a strange odor. The root resembles a human body and played a major role in magic because of its hallucinogenic effect; it was believed to have supernatural powers. Because it is a strong narcotic it was used as a painkiller but believed to, in large quantities, cause insanity. Nowadays, it is used as a medicine.
A part of the rich offer of this picturesque region is the possibility for a different kind of accommodation. Family run businesses aside from offering home made dishes and desserts in an authentic surrounding, give you the opportunity to experience the old ways of Konavle living. Reconstructed and renovated stone houses, where history and luxury coexist in harmony give you a, nowhere else to be found, chance to enjoy a special vacation. Now, you don't have to imagine wakening up with the sound of birds singing and just going out on to the, perfectly into the surrounding blended, terrace. Relaxing in the shade of the pine trees in the summer or just flourishing along side flowers in the spring; choose the time you like because with Konavle you can't go wrong.
When traveling, a very important part of the motive to visit a particular place is the gastronomic offer. Being able to get everything from the market, as one could at any other place, is not all that tempting.
Konavle has a very rich gastronomic offer, reaching from a variety of wines to autochthon dishes and treats. Domestic prosciutto, a variety of cheeses from cottage to extra mature all homemade, meat and fish cooked by old recipes and in a traditional "under the bell" manner, olives, grown just a few steps away from the place you choose to eat at. Sweets and treats, from caramel and chocolate to sweetened lemons and oranges, caramelized almonds and hazelnuts to a delicious rose flan you just can't get enough of!
Being aware that a dish is just a part of the experience, and also of the importance of wine growing for the development of rural tourism, over forty quality wines, among which there are indigenous as well as international, are being produced in Konavle.
As a result of experience and tradition, which was upgraded by a meticulously conducted education by the Department of Viticulture and Enology as well as activities organized by "Agroturizam Konavle", a recognizable wine region has been rebuilt and newly created. Apart from wine tasting places, Konavle offer a special train tour through wine yards, while enjoying wine tasting from the wineries it passes by.
Some places are more or less difficult to describe. For Konavle and the experience it has to offer the words seem not to be thought of yet. Perhaps after letting yourself be seduced by all its beauty, you will think of a couple.
Be sure to visit Konavle because you will definitely not be disappointed.
- Written by Žana Vragolov