For years i have been travelling between Split and Dubrovnik and each time I looked at the wall of Stone from the coastal road, I kept repeating to my selves one day you will have to visit and figure out why the wall is located in such a strange place, well guess what i finally managed to visit the wall and learn a bit about its history!
What impressed me the most about the wall was the size, i was not aware that the ston wall is the longest fortification wall in Europe, the total length was originally 7 Km. Of course this is not Chinese wall dimensions, but trust me, you will be impressed! After visiting, the location of the wall now makes totally sense to me 🙂
Table of Contents
History of the Ston Wall
In the 14th century, the republic of Dubrovnik acquired the Peninsula Pelješac, already at that time the Island was producing a lot of Salt, which also those days was an important raw material. To protect the Salt production and the Peninsula they started building the wall. In the 15th century the wall with fortification and watch towers as well as the fortified cities, Mali Ston to the Northeast and Ston to the Northwest was completed and thereby fully protected the access to the peninsula from the land side.
Parts of the wall were destroyed when the Republic of Dubrovnik fell in the beginning of the 19th century, further destruction followed, as people started using the wall as building material for other structures.
Today the wall is protected and in recent years it has undergone renovation, parts like the wall towards the fortress Bartolomija at the highest point and the Fortress Koruna in Mali Ston and the Fortress Kastio in Ston are still in process of being restored (NOTE: Kastio was nearly completed when i visited)
Getting to Ston
As mentioned above the Ston Wall is located at the peninsula Peljesac, the peninsula is connected to the mainland 50 km north of Dubrovnik where the magistrale (state road Nr 8) and state road nr 414 intersect. From the intersection there is 4.5 km to Mali Ston and 5.5 Km to Ston.
From Dubrovnik there is about 52-55 km to Ston and Mali Ston, driving time is about 1 hour.
From Split the trip to Ston is quite a bit longer and offers more options.
- Option 1: Drive all the way which is a 220 km trip, with a duration of about 3 hours, this route goes via the Bosnia and Herzegovina corridor.
- Option 2: Drive to Ploce and take the ferry from Ploce to Trpanj and continue on Island Peljesac, this route takes about 4-5 hours.
- Option 3: Take the car ferry from Split to Vela Luka on Korcula, cross the island and take ferry from Domince to Orebic and continue to Ston from there on.
NOTE: Sometimes after 2022 it will be possible to use the Peljesac Bridge, which is currently under construction, once this bridge as well as the highway on Peljesac is completed (Probably from 2025) this will be the fastest way to Ston when coming from the north. You can see a simulation of the construction here:
If you are planning to take a bus to Ston you should pay attention to the following, the majority of buses from Split to Dubrovnik stops at the Ston intersection (Zaton Doli (Ston), which is the one I mentioned above, as this is 4.5. Km from Mali Ston and 5.5 Km from Ston it is not an optimal solution as it is hard to find a taxi to take you the last km. From Dubrovnik you have a few daily buses who actually stop by Ston or Mali Ston you should get one of those. From Split you have fewer options, what you could do is to take a bus to Zaton Doli (Ston) and wait for one of the buses from Dubrovnik to Ston.
Day trips to Ston:
If you are staying in Dubrovnik and wish to make an excursion to Ston, you have several daily tours, some include wine tasting on Peljesac other tours combine a visit to Ston and a visit to Korcula town.
Arriving in Ston:
As mentioned above the Ston wall connects the towns Ston and Mali Ston you can access the wall from both sides, so you can choose to start in either of them. The most important thing to pay attention to is the location of the Sun, it’s a bit more pleasant not having it in the face on the wall walk.
Parking is available near the starting location in both Ston and Mali Ston. The parking is paid but not expensive, as far as i recall i paid 7 kuna and hour when i visited.
To walk on the wall you will need to buy a ticket at the entrance, the price for an adult is 70 Kuna and 30 Kuna for kids younger than 18.
The trip between the two villages takes about 40 minutes as there are lots of steps to climb (Partly quite step once), so you need to be in fairly good shape, you should wear good walking shoes, doing the trip in flip flops is not recommendable. Also do NOT forget to bring a bottle of water and even 2 on hot days, trust me you will need it! NOTE once the wall to fortress Bartolomija is complete there will be an option to almost double the length and the incline of wall walk 🙂
If you do not feel like walking all the way between the villages, you can choose to follow the Pentagon shaped wall around Ston, which is less demanding but still a very interesting wall walk, the starting location in Ston is the same.
My walk on the wall.
I started my trip from Ston, in the city there are signs pointing you to the entrance, which you need to climb a few stairs to reach. You buy your ticket in the stone house you see on the image here:
Once you have your ticket you can follow the wall towards Mali ston or you can do the less demanding walk on the Pentagon shaped city wall of Ston. we decided to start out with the walk towards Mali ston which has quite a bit of an incline at the beginning as you can see here:
Sweaty and short breathed you will reach the top part of the other wall, which is when you get to the tower with the flag you can see on the photo here.
From here you also have a great view on Ston and the Saltpans
At the more even part of the wall it looks like this, from everywhere you of course have a great view, and really get a feeling of how well the wall protected the peninsula.
Once you see the this tower and the flag it is time to decent towards Mali Ston
Once down you are in front of Fortress Koruna, which when i visited was closed to visitors, so the way out of navigating through a construction site.
When we reached the exit from the wall in Mali Ston, we followed the road back to Ston, which is a 1 km walk, most of the way there is a walking path, so don’t worry about the cars. After having some light refreshments in Ston, I decided also to do a walk on the Ston city walls, as I already had my ticket. I was just waved on by the lady selling the tickets. The first place to stop when doing the city wall is the round tower Podzvizd from where you of course have a great view on the city.
The decline from Podzvizd, was not stairs but just a declining rock path, I could imagine doing the decline in rainy weather would be a bit risky, unless you have very good hiking boots. After a few hundred meters decline you are at another tower, from where you can see the fully renovated western part of the city walls
When you are at the lower parts and turn around, you can see the wall parts still undergoing renovation as well as the Fortress Bartolomeja at the highest point.
Once back in Ston, I visited the Fortress Kastio which was almost completely renovated when I visited.
Also see nearby the Ston Wall
When visiting the Ston wall, you could also pay a visit to the saltpans, which you can see from the wall, actually the saltworks was the main reason why Dubrovnik bought Peljecas, at that time Salt was considered to be the white Gold!
Peljesac is known for its many great wineries, so if you like wine, you should visit some of them, if you follow the road from Ston towards Orebic / Korcula, you will see lots of wine and signs to wineries along the road.
Of course a visit to Korcula town is also highly recommendable, if you are doing a self catered day trip from Dubrovnik and leave early in the morning, you should be able to visit Ston wall and Korcula.
Also you can combine a visit to the Ston walls with a visit to Island Mljet and the national park Mljet, by taking the ferry from Prapratno to Sobra, there is around a handful of daily ferries, so if you plan your trip according to the ferry timetable it should be possible to visit both in one day.