About forty minutes after leaving Dubrovnik we reached the town of Ston. We pulled into a large car park just across the road from the town itself. Tour coaches pull in here and their loads are tipped out for a whistle stop visit before regrouping and heading onto the next stop.
At the end of the car park is a row of what look like portacabins. One of these is the information office and while it doesn’t look much from the outside, the lady who greeted us inside provided us with a useful map of the area and some cursory information.
We crossed the road and wandered around the centre of the town. Ston was a major fort of the Ragusan Republic and a large reminder of its role as a defensive outpost exists in the form of the stone wall that surrounds it. Ston’s wall has been compared to The Great Wall of China and while it doesn’t quite measure up to its Asian counterpart, the walls are a great feat of medieval architecture. The outer wall measures over 5km and extends to Mali Ston (‘Little Ston’) just over the hill to the north. This huge line of defense helped prevent unwanted visitors from moving from the peninsula to the mainland and protected the precious salt pans, which are still in operation today and were integral source of income to Dubrovnik’s economy.
It is possible to tour the walls of Ston for only 30 Kuna, less than half the entry price to the Dubrovnik city wall. While we were tempted to explore, we wanted to leave enough time to visit the wineries so decided to forego the tour. We did stop in the small plaza in the centre of the town for a coffee. There are two cafes on either side of the square. We tried both, as we stopped in Ston on the way back to Dubrovnik too. The first, Café Bar Placa did an ok cappuccino but the other – Caffe Bar Kantun – did an excellent cappuccino and it was cheaper.
Walking around Ston doesn’t take much time. There are only one or two main streets and a handful of gift shops selling overpriced magnets, lavender, wine, soap and locally cultivated sea salt.
Next to Placa is a tiny bakery where you can pick up a wedge of strudel. On the far side of the square and across a road is a small, windowless grocery shop where we picked up some soft drinks before returning to the car.