September is the sustainable traveler’s best month to visit Dalmatia. The temperatures are pleasant, the sea is still warm and the most important – there is no tourist crowd anymore. Only you, friendly locals and nature. If you want to visit the southern Dalmatia and discover the absolute hidden gems in Dalmatia while being green, active, healthy and mindful with a positive impact on nature and the local community, this is the list for you!
1. Cycle through the picturesque fields in the valley of vineyards and taste local wine
For the most memorable autumn experiences, cycle through the hinterland of the Ploče area. Starsevica valley is one of the hidden gems in southern Dalmatia, full of vineyards and charming scenic landscapes. It is located just behind the hills over the Adriatic sea. While visiting some of the best local wineries, you can also taste traditional local gastronomy of this area and buy some of the organic home-made products they offer.
2. To discover the most stunning hidden gems in Dalmatia, explore secret places of Neretva River Delta by kayak
Start your journey in the city of Opuzen and paddle through the Neretva valley canals full of water lilies to reach Kuti lake. The legend says that the ancient Troy really lies on the bottom of Kuti lake. Neretva canals are a true labyrinth in the pristine nature with awesome stories, which makes it even more mysterious. The valley of Neretva includes five protected areas and is of international importance as one of the largest and most valuable Mediterranean wetlands with more than 300 bird species. It is the second-largest ornithological site in Europe and thus a paradise for birdwatching. It is important as a resting place for birds on their migration to Africa and for wintering of bird populations from Northeastern and Central Europe.
3 Join the traditional Mandarin orange harvest in Croatian California
River Neretva Valley is also called The Golden Valley or Croatian California thanks to its exceptionally rich soil and golden mandarin fruits, grown on the endless plantation. For a truly unique local experience of southern Dalmatia, attend the most traditional event of this area – mandarin harvest. It starts from mid-September and lasts even until Christmas. Pick your own sweet mandarines, meet the locals, enjoy the autumn sun and scenic landscape. For your maximum energy and health, buy fresh organic mandarin juice, jams, and other products directly from the organic local producer Eko OPG Krsticevic.
4. Admire the hidden lagoons of the Baćina Lakes while stand-up-paddling
Baćina lakes are one of the most breathtaking hidden gems in southern Dalmatia – a place of untouched nature and rich wildlife, located only 300 meters from the Adriatic sea. This pearl of nature consists of six joined and one separate lake of irregular shapes. Baćina lakes have exceptional natural value because they provide habitat for a large number of protected species. The bottom of the lakes is below sea level and the surface is above sea level, which makes these lakes a specific green oasis for active holidays. The water in the lakes is constantly fresh because two tunnels connect it with the sea and the river in the hinterland and are in average 3 degrees Celsius warmer than the sea.
Discover the local culture and the rich diversity of flora and fauna around lakes, while stand up – paddling on your board. You’ll see canals, swamps, birds, fisherman’s villages and take a swim at some of the hidden lagoons. On this eco-friendly SUP tour, you can also help us to reduce plastic pollution by picking up the plastics from the water surface.
5. Hike to the Višnjica Hill and explore the abandoned military base
From its beginnings, Ploče was a very important strategical point. A lot of military structures were built during the World war II. During the Croatian war for independence, the first naval battle was fought in Ploče Bay. One of the most important military structures was on the top of Višnjica hill. If you want to explore the Yugoslavian wartime history, mysterious abandoned tunnels, and experience a soldier’s life, take a walk to Višnjica hill and enjoy the best view.
6. Join the traditional grape harvesting and participate in the winemaking process in ecological winery
The Rizman winery is producing ecological wines from indigenous handpicked grape varieties growing in their own vineyards. In the season of grape harvesting, you can also participate in the winemaking process. The tasting room of the winery offers not only a breathtaking view but also the extra virgin olive oil from their own organic olive farms.
Where to eco-friendly stay in southern Dalmatia?
While visiting the undiscovered hidden gems in Dalmatia, you can stay in a rural house Wagner – the secluded traditional Dalmatian eco-ethno house with a modern pool near the Baćina lakes. Perfect for travelers in search of unspoiled nature, isolation, privacy, peace, and comfort. Ideal for civilization detox, technology detox, the reflection of your life and to reconnect with yourself again.
If you prefer staying in a homey eco apartment first row to the sea, surrounded by a picturesque vineyard, ancient fortress, and herbal garden, book your stay at the eco-friendly apartment Olly. It has a charming garden with lavender, fig-trees, and a mandarin orange tree, as well as a private beach.
Cover photo: Baćina lakes, source: Dubrovnik and Neretva County Tourist Board