As you drive north to Metković, you can stop at roadside stalls and pick up sacks of mandarins, local honey and spirits. It is also sometimes called Croatia’s Venice, as the life of the people is closely tied up with boats, used for transporting pretty much everything around here.The region has its own types of wooden boat; a smaller kind called a trupa, and a larger one called a lađa. Although these traditional boats largely died out, in recent years an annual race (Maraton lađa, August 12 ) which attracts competing teams from around the world looks set to revive the picturesque tradition – the boats have a curiously flattish construction which is very attractive but definitely renders their navigation a challenge!
More curious still is the water life of the valley. The traditional dishes of the area are often centered around two aquatic inhabitants, the frog and the eel. Both are made into a tomato casserole called brudet – you can try it in the popular restaurant Villa Neretva at the town of Metković, where accommodation, tours by boat and photo safaris are also offered. The area is also rich in bird life, particularly storks and coots, the latter being traditional hunting game.
Near the town of Ploče you can see the Baćina lakes from the main road – a spectacular chain of seven interconnecting freshwater lakes, plus one separate one. They are beautifully clean and have beaches suitable for swimming. It is hoped that the region will be proclaimed a nature park in the near future.
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