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What to do with your rent-a-car in Dubrovnik I

Knowing that Dubrovnik Old Town is a pedestrian zone, one may wonder - why get a rent-a-car in Dubrovnik? The answer is simple – because the Old Town is far from everything Dubrovnik has to offer!
Dubrovnik Riviera extends on a narrow strip of land, eastward and westward from the Dubrovnik Old Town. The drive along these roads follows the natural form of the coast, overlooking the blue Adriatic on one side and hills and mountains on the other one, making for a wonderful journey. And the destinations along make it even more spectacular. On this occasion, we explore what happens when you go westward from Dubrovnik, aiming for Ston, a small historic town and a gateway to Pelješac peninsula, the second largest in Croatia.
Go West: Drive in the direction of Split
Leaving Dubrovnik, you will get on the state road number D8, in the direction of Split. The road number got you a bit worried, no? Just a joke, there is only one road going this way from Dubrovnik! Just FYI, the roads, and especially the tourist attractions along them, are well marked in Croatia, so even if there was more than one option, you’d still get by easily!
A very scenic drive
But seriously, almost before you leave Dubrovnik, your first stop should definitely be the Dubrovnik bridge called Dr. Franje Tuđmana. The Dubrovnik bridge, open in 2002, is 518 meters long and its design is quite monumental, with suspensions forming an impression of a sail. A small parking lot on the side of the bridge facing Gruž offers some great panoramas of the cruise ship harbour, historic summer homes and palaces lined up along the bay and Elaphite islands in the distance.
As you continue driving, the Elaphites will be on your left, with Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan at minimal distance from the coast. Should you have enough time, make sure to enjoy a day excursion by boat to one or two of these – the islands are a completely different scenery and dramatically more relaxed than the mainland.
Refreshing comfort of trees in Arboretum Trsteno
Your next stop on this drive should be Arboretum Trsteno, in a small village also called Trsteno. It is cca 25 kilometres from Dubrovnik, and approximately 25 minutes driving with regular traffic. Besides the road marks, you will recognize this place by the two humongous Asian plane trees (45 and 60 meters tall!) growing by the side of the road. It is exactly by these trees that you should turn left to look for parking by the Arboretum entrance. With over 500 years of history and over 400 different plants, trees, bushes and flowers, this is the oldest botanical garden in this part of the world. Owned by the Dubrovnik nobility during the times of the Ragusan Republic, the Arboretum was a place of leisure, poetry, intellectual discussions, but also of very hard work. Nowadays, in the golden age of the Game of Thrones, Arboretum Trsteno is also known as the Red Keep palace gardens of the King’s Landing. All in all, it is a wonderfully refreshing setting for a summer walk, and if you have enough time and energy, descending down to the small Trsteno harbour is a special treat – the sea is as clean as it gets, the vista as spectacular, and jumping in for a dip will refresh you for continuing the drive.
Some 30 kilometres from Trsteno, there will be a turn to the left, with markings ‘Ston’ and ‘Pelješac wine country’. This is your turn, a place not to be missed!
Ston - oyters, wine and parking!
Ston, a small town nearby the turn, is known for several things. First, its historic salt-works, still in function today. At the times of the Dubrovnik Republic, salt production was the third most important branch of economy, hence Ston was a very important place. Its stone walls were built to protect the salt-works, and today, one has a chance to walk these walls, the second best preserved in Europe. You can either do the short version above the town of Ston, or the long one between Ston and Mali Ston.
And which one you choose should probably depend on your lunch plans. This is THE place to enjoy the Adriatic seafood, oysters and mussels especially. The bay of Mali Ston is a protected one, mainly because of its oyster and mussels growing beds that have existed here since the historic times. Really, is there anything better than trying oyster or mussels fresh from the sea? Yes, there is! It’s enjoying these with a bit of Pelješac own Plavac mali red wines, a famous tradition in the area, perfected nowadays. If you are the one driving, do enjoy the shells more than the wine! But in all seriousness, Ston and Mali Ston are the places to enjoy just the right amounts of history, sightseeing, beautiful nature and tasty foods and wines!
The entire drive from Dubrovnik to Ston, skipping the side stops, lasts for about an hour, hour and 15 minutes. There is parking at both Mali Ston and Ston, immediately next to the town centres, completely convenient. Whether you are travelling between Split and Dubrovnik, or are en route to visiting the Pelješac wine empire, do no miss stopping here. We at Milenium Rent-a-Car PROMISE you will love it. Because love comes from the stomach!
Stay tuned for our next blog on travelling around Pelješac wine country! 

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