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Cruising to Dubrovnik

You can enjoy a wonderful day tour from Dubrovnik, to the Peljesac peninsula, a spectacular 40-mile stretch of land running north from Dubrovnik along the coast, where vines have flourished on the well-drained, sunny slopes since the time of the Greeks, and some fine wines are produced, notably the celebrated Dingac wine (also known as the King of Croatian red wines) from the plavac mali grapes which are similar to the Californian Zinfandel. Grapes are picked by hand as the terrain is so steep and rocky. Visit three of the more prominent local cellars for wine tastings with your guide who is a WSET Diploma Holder/Certified wine educator and certified sommelier and you can enjoy a superb gourmet lunch at the ancient fortified town of Ston.

Ston itself is well worth a visit on a day tour from Dubrovnik, its low white stone houses nestling in a sheltered bay, almost completely encircled by a wall that snakes over the surrounding hillsides rather like a miniature version of the Great Wall of China. It’s famous for its oysters and mussels which you can also taste, and for its salt pans which produced the region’s most profitable export for a thousand years.

Closer to Dubrovnik and on the way to Ston and Peljesac is Croatia’s oldest arboretum, Trstena, a delightful exotic garden overlooking the coast, and your day tour from Dubrovnik can also include a visit to the Franciscan Monastery in Kuna where you can see paintings by a famous artist from the village.

Heading in the opposite direction is the region of Konavle, a region of hills covered in mulberry and cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves. A typical day trip from Dubrovnik features a local vineyard to taste some of their wines and homemade snacks, a visit to a 15th century Franciscan monastery at the village of Pridvorje and a tour of Cavtat, a tiny medieval town on the coast with pine forests behind and the glittering blue sea on front, stone houses and red roofs, cobbled streets and colourful window boxes – a real hidden gem of the Mediterranean. Edward & Mrs Simpson spent part of their honeymoon here.