Nestling between soaring mountains and the Adriatic Sea is situated one of the Dubrovnik regions hidden gems. Almost exactly half way between Split and Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Highway sits six interconnected lakes and one separate lake which together form the Bacina Lakes. Most drivers and passengers whisk down the highway oblivious to the natural beauty flashing past their side mirrors. Although they can’t take all the blame for missing out on the Bacina Lakes, it is almost like nature tried its best to conceal them, far from prying eyes. A blanket of reeds and Mediterranean vegetation act as a curtain, a theatre curtain, for the big show. But once you get off the beaten track and raise the curtain nature performs better than any West End smash hit.
Freshwater lakes that over many centuries have burrowed a path to the Adriatic Sea, the Bacina Lakes are still mainly off the radar for most tourists to Dubrovnik. With depths ranging from 5 metres to an astonishing 35 metres these lakes will amaze you with their sparkling and unspoilt beauty.
And somewhat unusually the lakes are what’s known as chritodepressions, which in plain English means that the bottom of the lakes are actually below sea level. The area is a true promised land for nature-lovers and anglers alike. All of the lakes are abundant with freshwater fish, diving birds, waders, eels and ducks, to name just a few. If we were to reel off the list of wildlife in and around the Bacina Lakes it would be like a “who’s who” of the animal kingdom. Walk around the lakes, find a spot for a picnic, or take one of the traditional wooden boats that tour the lakes to get “up close and personal” with natural beauty.
The Bacina Lakes from space - Photo NASA
And it isn’t only the nature that will surprise you; the Bacina Lakes also have a rich history. This can be seen in the ruins of an early Christian basilica from the 6th century that have been found here, as well as antique walls and mosaics belonging to the early Roman inhabitants. Over the centuries many civilisations have left their mark on the region, ancient Greeks came to the area to trade, battles were fought, colonies built and holy places of worship were erected.
All this undiscovered elegance, a mystery of nature, a short distance from Dubrovnik. A day trip to remember, or if you are travelling along the Adriatic coast road then don’t miss, as so many do, the chance to stop for a while and open your eyes to the splendour of the Bacina Lakes.