Island Lastovo, as our friendly host Bruno explained upon our arrival, is a place you will either love, or you will hate, there’s no in-between! After the first 24 hours of exploring, I decided I was in love with Lastovo and definitely I’ll be back!
We travelled on the fast catamaran from Split passing through Hvar Town and Vela Luka on Korčula, arriving in the small port of Ubli, Island Lastovo 3 hours later. I would say the location of Lastovo is approximately halfway between Split and Dubrovnik. An island known for an abundance of seafood including quality fish, lobster and shellfish, superb olive oil, medicinal herbs, chimneys and star gazing!
The sky over Lastovo Lastovo Islands Nature Park is a unique area with preserved sky unpolluted with light. According to scientific research, Lastovo has the second darkest night sky in Europe (after the Canary Islands) that never fails to mesmerize the visitors of this special place. The Milky Way is visible to the naked eye, and it is possible to observe other galaxies by using a lower quality telescope.
The educational trail “Via the present to the past”, which passes through the town of Lastovo, bringing together natural beauties with a valuable cultural heritage, leading you through places where the social and cultural life of the people of Lastovo took place. This is a 6.4 km walk and takes about 2 hours passing through the village of Lastovo, flooded fields, Aleppo pine trees, olive groves, oak trees, lavender, and a whole range of medicinal herbs and flowers growing naturally. 21 churches are registered as protected cultural heritage. The Islanders built them as a protection against adversity and illness. The oldest church – the old Christian basilica in Ubli dates from the 6th century, and the oldest preserved church is St. Luka from the 11th century The parish church of St. Cosmas and St Damian in Lastovo was built in the 15th century and was extended in the 17th century.
The oldest houses on Lastovo date back to the 15th century. The locals showed their wealth by decorating unique and picturesque chimneys. There are no two identical chimneys. By decorating the chimneys, the people of Lastovo competed with each other. The animal horns protected them against evil spells so they believed. The oldest chimney belongs to the Antica – Biz family in Lastovo. Nobody seems to know the origin of this practice..it remains a mystery.
Medicinal and edible plants.. Medicinal plants grow as wild herbs everywhere, sage, mint, chamomile, St. John’s wort, yarrow, marjoram, fennel, lavender, and rosemary. From the wild and delicious plants, it is worth mentioning the asparagus and the mushrooms known here as pečurke. These pečurke are especially delicious when cooked on a grill. You must, of course, come at the right time of the year – spring is ideal for long walks amongst all these rich benefits. In their fertile gardens and fields, local people grow grapes (plavac and rukatac varieties), olives (don’t forget to buy some top quality local olive oil), various vegetables, almonds, carob, laurel, lemons and oranges.
The story of Bill Gates and the unpaid lunch bill. A few years ago, Bill Gates sailed to Lastovo. He had heard about a local man, Jure Kyinta who prepared wonderful seafood on the grill, at his home, on a cliff at the lighthouse of Struga. However, Jure had never heard of Bill Gates! Bill and his wife turned up at the appointed time, (A reservation had been made by Bill’s P.A.) and they thoroughly enjoyed a delicious meal, the freshness of the seafood and plus the environment. After some conversation with Jure, they departed back to their boat without paying the bill! Word soon got around, and it was not until the next day when Bill’s assistant came and paid that all became clear!! The other piece of gossip regarding that day was a large number of men dressed in black seen in the forests surrounding the lighthouse… security no doubt, but the need for security is something unheard of in these parts. True story!
This is an Island with a population today of only 600 inhabitants. The people we encountered were warm and friendly, helpful, and proud of their cultural heritage..There’s much more that I’d like to see and experience here, but for now, I can say I am very fortunate to have visited and indulged in some of the finest food and wine at Konoba Triton in Zaklopatica, a 3 km drive from the main town of Lastovo. The crystal clear waters, quiet and peaceful white pebbled beaches, away from the hustle and bustle, I can thoroughly recommend the Island of Lastovo as a place to unwind and enjoy the natural environment.