Via Dinarica HR-B-20
After Istria, Pelješac is the largest Croatian peninsula (348 square kilometers). It is located between the channels of Neretvanski kanal and Malostonski kanal to the north and the channels of Pelješki kanal and Mljetski kanal to the south. The peninsula is 62 kilometers long and only 3 kilometers to 8 kilometers wide. It is linked with the mainland by a strip of land 1.5 kilometers wide called Stonska prevlaka, so it resembles an island more than a peninsula in its general geographic characteristics. The highest area of Pelješac is in the northwestern part of the peninsula, above the town of Orebić. The width of Pelješki kanal in this area is only 1270 meters, offering safety to vessels against gusts of bora wind due to the relief barrier to the north, so this channel historically played the role of the southern gateway to the central littoral region. Therefore, the position of Orebić in the narrowest part of the channel was a decisive factor in rapid development of navigation at Pelješac during the era of sailing ships. In the second half of the 19th century, the maritime society of Pelješac thus had 33 oceangoing sailing ships.
The tall ridge of Pelješac is characterized by steep bare rocks descending on both sides. Even though this mountainous terrain is located on a peninsula, it has all the characteristics of an island mountain due to its position and views. If Pelješac were an island, it would be the highest island in the Adriatic. Via Dinarica reaches the peninsula of Pelješac via the ferry line Ploče – Trpanj. The route then proceeds to the southern side of the peninsula to Orebić, and then ascends from Orebić to the highest peak of Pelješac called Sv. Ilija. It takes approximately 3 hours to climb from Orebić to the peak of Sv. Ilija; however, the path is remarkably attractive due to wonderful views of the island of Korčula. Hikers can climb to the peak of Sv. Ilija from three main directions: from the hamlet of Urkunići east of the village of Ruskovići; from Karmen and Bilopolje; or from Gornja Nakovana, 6 kilometers northwest of Viganj. The old path from Ruskovići is the steepest. Nowadays, the main hiking route on Pelješac is the route from Karmen or Bilopolje (next to the monastery). Upon reaching the peak, hikers then return back to Orebić. In continuation of the route along Pelješac, cycling is the ideal mode of transportation, since the Blue Line relies on a network of old paths to proceed along the northern coast of the peninsula on the way to Ston. Along the entire peninsula, there is a wide network of cycling trails in good condition, and the trail Staza maslina (Olive Trail) is the best known trail among them. The town of Ston is known for its saltworks and for its impressive wall – the longest defensive wall in Europe, and the longest wall in the world after the famous Great Wall of China. South of Ston, we reach the ferry port of Papratno, where Via Dinarica proceeds to the island of Mljet by ferry.
- Sveti Ilija
- Port of Papratno