Keith Harvey, Sunsail Dubrovnik base manager

The Dalmatian Coast's Hidden Gems

Top tips from our Dubrovnik base manager

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Whether it is the sword fighting ceremonies in Korčula, the salt lakes on Mljet or the rich history of Ston, Sunsail Dubrovnik Base Manager, Keith Harvey, has seen and done it all.

Here, he shines a light on some of his favourite Dalmatian coast destinations, and tells us which charming Adriatic stops he visits whenever he sets sail from our base in Dubrovnik.

Read on to find out where to stop and what to do on these enchantingly rugged islands and coastal gems.

Slano

A well sheltered coastal bay, featuring a traditional Croatian village. Make sure you sample the olives, which are a big part of the local economy here.

Keith says: “My favourite time in Slano is the 2nd August, when they host the Siege festival. Everyone from Dubrovnik comes down and they basically roast about 400 lambs on a spit and it just has the most amazing party atmosphere.

“Slano generally is a beautiful bay and a peaceful holiday village and I really like taking the time to just go for a walk around the bay. There a lot of little coves and private beaches near here which is great because there are a lot of otherwise rocky beaches in the nearby area.

“There is also a new ACI marina here with a swimming pool, making it a good space to stop when you have need for some modern convenience.”

Slano Marina

Pomena, Mljet

Mljet is a long slither of an island with a large national park ideal for cycling around. It’s a well-known spot for many sailors in the area but it is worth considering the town of Pomena and nearby Lokva bay as your anchorage for exploring this popular spot.

A small village which offers not only excellent access to the Mljet National Park and its sensational salt lakes; it is also a great place to try the local delicacy, lamb Peka. Peka is a traditional Dalmatian dish of meat and vegetables baked ‘under the bell’; beneath a cast-iron or earthenware lid.

Keith says: “Pomena and Lokva Bay in particular are a lot less crowded than Polace but also much closer to the salt flats, so after rafting up it’s a short dinghy trip and a scramble up the bank followed by a five minute walk to the smaller salt lake.

“The salt lakes are just stunning and you can swim in them, hire a kayak or just walk around them and take in the flora and fauna.

“For wider options on Mljet I like taking a car for half a day and just whizzing round the whole island. Something like 98% of the 32km of Mljet Island is woodland, so it is a nice place to take a drive and just see the sites.”

Pomena, Mljet island

Lumbarda, Korčula

Korčula is another popular destination in the region. Featuring the beautiful, eponymous medieval town, dubbed mini-Dubrovnik, there is however much more to explore on the island.

By mooring in Lumbarda you’re still close enough to explore the main town and take in some Moreska sword dancing but you’ll also be able to explore the agro tourism operations found on the wider island. Make sure you try the ‘dirty macaroni’ a type of home-made macaroni stew.

Keith explains: “I must confess I’ve woken up with a few hangovers in Lumbarda in my time. One of the main things I like about is that it’s cheaper than the ACI marina but still close enough to be able to make the most of everything Korčula has to offer.

“The Agro-tourism tours there are amazing. It’s an opportunity to take a glimpse into Croatian life from four or five hundred years ago as well to sample all of the amazing local produce, like the wine, cheese, olives, figs, salty fish and ham.

“The wines on Korčula are spectacular and the focus is always on the vine, rather than a type of grape. For example, the Grk white wine on Korčula is unique and can’t be found being grown anywhere else.

 “You can easily catch a bus or a taxi to Korčula town from here and on Thursday nights you can watch the Moreska sword dancing, which is very traditional, entertaining and quite beautiful. Korcula town is also the alleged birthplace of famous explorer, Marco Polo.”

Korcula Old Town

Ston

For the history buffs out there, Ston is home to the second largest defence wall ever built, behind only the Great Wall of China. There are also the amazing salt flats to visit. Make sure you buy some of the local salt to take home. You’ll never use regular table salt again.

Keith says: “I really enjoy navigating the Ston channel, not because it’s a challenge but because you can’t see the town until the curve to starboard, and once that happens you can see the wall just running across the mountains, and it takes your breath away.

“I really just enjoy taking a walk around Ston or stopping somewhere for a beer or tasting the water from the freshwater fountain. There is something about the place, the stone houses, the wall and the flats that just combine to make it very special. “

Ston salt flats

….And if Keith had a free sailing day

Keith says: “If I had a free sailing day, then I would head down to the east shore of Mljet. There is a lovely bay there with two excellent restaurants fringed by the mountains that has the sun set behind it meaning that it cools down a bit quicker in the evening and is a great place to relax.

“Or I would got to Kobas, a lazy little bay where there is just one restaurant and you can just dock, chill out and eat mussels and enjoy a lazy evening.”

Last but not least, Dubrovnik itself

If time permits it’s well worth taking the time to see the Dubrovnik’s Old Town, even if you already have before. If you can, take in a walking tour to find out just how impressive the history of this ancient fortified town is. Alternatively walk the walls for some unparalleled views, before heading to one of the harbour side restaurants.

About Keith

Keith has been a lifelong sailor, ever since he first went sailing, aged five. He spent time in the South African Navy, before deciding on a career doing what he loves. He joined Sunsail in 2002 as a flotilla skipper, before becoming a senior engineer and then technical manager, and has been the Dubrovnik base manager since 2006.

If Keith's top tips have whetted your appetite, you’ll be pleased to hear that the ever-popular Mljet Flotilla route is having a shakeup next year, to include some of the amazing places mentioned above. The fresh Korčula Flotilla is taking the Adriatic by storm from 2018 onwards. See more information on our plans for 2018 , or return to the Sunsail blog homepage.

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