Who needs the crowded Great Wall of China, when you can have the Great Wall of Europe all to yourself? Technically called the Walls of Ston, this lesser known attraction towers over the small town of Ston and surrounding Dalmatian countryside. For adventure junkies and nature lovers alike, the Walls of Ston is a bucket-list must.
I honestly hadn’t even heard of the Walls of Ston until I decided I wanted to visit the Peljesac peninsula. Just a short ride from Dubrovnik, I had no idea this historical epic monument was hiding in my backyard. Surely, many tourists in Croatia overlook this underrated attraction as well.
A few interesting facts about the Walls of Ston:
- The limestone walls span over 5 kilometers and are the second longest fortress system in the world.
- They were built in the 15th century to protect the former Republic of Ragusa. They also served to protect the salt pans, which provided the area and Dubrovnik republic with wealth.
- The Walls have been partially demolished, since originally they stretched over 7 kilometers with 40 fortress, and now 5 kilometers with 20 fortresses.
How to get there:
The Walls of Ston are a perfect day trip from Dubrovnik or a stop along an epic Croatian road trip. Either way, I highly recommend visiting the area for at least a day, if not more. The entire Peljesac Peninsula is covered with untouched nature, authentic wines, and fresh oysters (you can read more about that on my blog here).
The town of Ston is about 50 km from Dubrovnik, and it’s a scenic 45-minute drive by car. There also are buses and tours depending on the time of the year.
I would recommend arriving no later than late morning, especially in the hot summer months. You may hike a portion of the walls if you’d rather not hike the entire thing, but you should reserve at least two hours. I hiked the entire walls, up and down and front and back, at a leisurely pace, which took us about three hours.
What you need:
- 40 Kunas per person for the entrance fee
- At least 20 Kunas for parking if you’re driving
- Comfortable walking shoes and hiking outfit
- Water bottle, backpack, camera, sunglasses
I’d also recommend not wearing anything that could blow away in the wind too easily. It gets very windy towards the top peak, and I learned the hard way with wearing a flowy shirt and a hat. I managed (awkwardly), so it’s really up to your own discretion.
The best time to go:
It depends when you’re visiting Croatia, obviously, but I think the best time to visit is in the fall. September and October still have gorgeous weather, without the scorching sun. I visited the walls in early October, which was perfect because there were no other tourists except us! It honestly made the experience even that more magical. One of my friends who lives in Ston told me it gets crowded in summer, but no where near how crowded Dubrovnik’s Old Town gets.
You honestly won’t find a view quite like this anywhere else. I recommend hiking The Great Wall of Europe, working up an appetite, rewarding yourself with Peljesac’s local local wine and oysters.
Are you thinking of adding the Great Wall of Europe to your bucket list? Comment below!