Croatia is full of beautiful places. Not all of them are on the tourist radar however. The Neretva Valley, just a 90 minute drive from Dubrovnik, is one of those that tourists visiting Croatia not often hear about.
The Neretva river, which flows throw the valley and is one of Croatia’s most valuable freshwater resources, is the largest river of the eastern part of the Adriatic basin and is recognized for its natural beauty and diversity of its landscape.
There are many old towns and villages, like Opuzen, Metković, Ploče and Rogotin, which are located on the banks of the Neretva river which provide lots of history and cultural sights and attractions.
Close to Metković there is the archaeological site of Narona, which was founded by the Greeks and visited by Julius Caesar.
One of the big events in the area is the annual traditional Maraton lađa rowing competition held on the second Saturday in August.
The event involves racing of traditional vessels, known as lađa, which are native to the Lower Neretva River. Lađa were used by the old Neretva pirates, who terrorised the area back in the 10th century.
To preserve the traditions of the old Lađa, the 22.5 kilometre rowing race from Metković to Ploče was introduced for the first time in 1998.
The area is known also for its range and quality of fruit and vegetables, supplying much of Croatia with watermelons and mandarin oranges during the season. Locals call the area the ‘Croatian California’ for that reason.
Check out this excellent promo video published recently by the Metković Tourist Board.