The day starts with a coastal drive south past the seaside villages and the estuary town of Omis seeing the full beauty of the Dalmatian Coast.
You’ll take a tunnel road through the Biokovo massif into the Dalmatian hinterland driving alongside the Dinaric Mountain Range, seeing the hillside villages and hearing about the rural lifestyle.
Your destination is the very authentic town of Imotski, where you’ll see the Red & Blue Lakes.
The lakes resulted from irregular limestone where centuries of erosion and underground streams and caverns formed these karst sinkholes.
The Red Lake, a subterranean lake, stands out with it’s iron oxide limestone cliff faces which encompass it.
The Bue Lake has several viewpoints and a walkway down to it for keen swimmers.
The tour continues with a stroll to the 17th century Topana fort and town center which is built from limestone blocks making it absolutely unique.
To take in the full flavor of the local ambiance you can have lunch at a 300 year old mill converted into a family run tavern a short distance away.
Next to the tavern there is the village bridge over the Vrljika stream with brown trout, ducks and weather permitting meals are served besides the stream under a willow tree.
All the meals are homemade as are the brandies, wines, olive oil and the organically grown season vegetables are picked in front of you.
One of the specialties is a traditional roast known as the ‘Peka’ and you’ll see it being made.
The tavern is visited by locals and hidden gems like this can’t be found on the internet.
The owner in his late 40-ies is a 1990’s Croatian Homeland War veteran and you’ll meet him, his wife and 4 children who all work there.
Here’s a traditional meal:
Starter: homemade prosciutto, pancetta, cheese, olives, seasonal salad & home baked bread.
Main meal: traditional veal roast & potatoes under the iron dome known as the ‘Peka’. Can also choose from lamb, pork or chicken. You see it being prepared.
Dessert: Local homemade Fritule doughnuts.
This is the traditional meal although there are many others you can choose from.
On the way back to Split you’ll take the A1 highway seeing the villages and forts dotted along the hill sides with ample photo opportunities.
Note: In the wider Imotski area there other great authentic places to eat.
1. A short ascending drive from Imotski is a family run homestead at an altitude of 700 meters (2,300 feet). The inhabitants of the village had all emigrated by the late 1960s and left behind their generations old limestone houses and walking through this abandoned village you get a feel of what it would have been like when it was bustling with people & livestock. The enthusiastic host offers village meals like traditional roasts, spits, homemade bread & wine. An Imotski specialty popular with locals is a slow cooked rooster served with a 3 hour stirred organic polenta.
2. Driving into the hills which overlook the Imotski field are some of the oldest villages & stone houses in Croatia. At the end of the winding road is a small authentic village situated at the foot holds of mountain and is home to a handful of domicile villagers. In the 1960s there were over 200 inhabitants although the numbers steadily diminished and walking through the village you’ll see the local church, former school house & centuries old abandoned houses & terraces where generations were raised. The only tavern, which is well over 300 years old is run by a local man & his son. At weekends locals come to mingle, play cards & boccie. A wide assortment of meals can be ordered and served with organically grown season vegetables & homemade beverages. The whole experience is like being in a time warp from 200 years ago.