Located in the far Croatian south; Konavle are spreaded from the coastal town of Cavtat to the Montenegrian border. This beautiful area near Dubrovnik,placed right between the sea and mountains, is known by a unique, picturesque landscape. Croatia’s southernmost region is rich in a thousand years of history, magical blue-green landscapes, sun-bleached mountains and fertile valleys famous for its olive oil, fruit and organic farm products. The river Ljuta, river Kopačica and river Konavočica run trough the arable land of Konavle. But it’s not only the nature that makes Konavle beautiful, it’s architecture as well; Konavle has retained the look of traditional stone architecture of the Republic of Dubrovnik. This region tells the story of life, culture, land cultivation and respect for the traditional crafts. Just one day of smart exploring will take you to Konavle’s hinterland and secret places, the ancient Greek settlement of Cavtat and the small town of Cilipi best known for its beautiful embroidered textiles and traditional folk dancing…
In the gentle valley of Konavle, in the lush greenery of the centuries old trees and on the banks of a clean river named Ljuta, the time seems to have stopped. Ljuta means angry in Croatian and during the winter months you can easily see where it got its name.This beautiful river is certainly one of the highlights of Konavle and its natural beauty will amaze you. Also, during the summer months, Ljuta River is always at least 5 degrees cooler which makes it even more desirabe.
The best way to find the river is to pass through the village of Gruda and continue until you see a bridge. When you cross over the bridge then turn right by the remains of one of the many mills on the river. Many of these mills and viaducts have been repaired in the last few years, so today, they look impressive. You will see water running in all directions and they all lead up to the recently rebuilt mill which is now a small cafe. A perfect place to enjoy a cold drink before continuing your walk.
Just behind the mill there is a path that winds through the wooded river bank. Another perfect place to hide from the sun and summer temperatures since the tree cover offers almost permanent shade. The lovely path leads to a 400-year-old watermill, which is part of the restaurant complex. There are great views of the river and the small waterfalls.
Did you know?
The Republic of Dubrovnik government precisely defined the usage of mills: the concession of mills was given for one year; the concession holders were in charge of one mill, exceptionally two; the price of grinding grain was determined as well; everyone who brought grain was entitled to collect all the flour falling around the wheels during grinding…
After establishing its government in Konavle firmly, Dubrovnik Republic intensively worked on developing agriculture, which consequently resulted in building new mills.
After the fall of Dubrovnik Republic in the very beginning of the 19th century, they all became private property. The second half of the same century saw the construction of water mills for making olive oil and the ones for fulling to thicken woollen cloth by matting the fibres together to give it strength and increase waterproofing (felting).
By 1941, 11 mills producing flour and 3 mills making olive oil were still operational, but after WWII the fast industrialization reduced grain production and the mills fell into disuse. Today, there are 2 flour mills and 1 fulling mill restored and used mainly in tourist purposes.
You can book an exciting scenic train ride through Konavle valley at Adriatic Explore.