Rural areas and farms play an important role in the tourist offer of the Marina municipality: there is growing interest and demand for locally grown and processed foods. Thanks to its location and specific microclimatic benefits, the tradition of olive growing, viticulture, fruit growing, and even fishing in the Marina municipality dates back to ancient times. Agricultural crops from the sun-bathed terrains of Marina are grown, processed and enjoyed following recipes that were inherited and perfected for generations, so today’s producers proudly point out the originality and authenticity of their agricultural products, and it is with good reason that the tourist community gladly includes them on their menu.
The location of the rural estate, the traditional equipment and the way it is used, as well as all phases of growing and processing different cultures, have become sought-after tourist attractions in ecologically aware tourism. There are more and more visitors, especially from highly urbanized areas, who want to get acquainted with the authentic way of life of their hosts. Everything can draw attention and interest: from folk architecture to the finest ethnological details.
Rural tourism is thriving in several villages in the Marina hinterland. These are Vinovac, Mitlo, Rastovac, Dograde, Gustirna, Najevi, Pozorac, Vrsine, Blizna Donja and Blizna Gornja. Ancient archaeological finds in the village of Blizna Gornja testify to the continuity of population in this area, the reason for which are the water sources and ponds that do not dry up, not even in summer, and which in the past played an important role in livestock farming and agriculture. Fragments of pottery from Roman times were found near Lokve by Blizna. Sediment from the bottom of these ponds, which collects during the lower, summer water levels, has long been used as fertilizer in horticulture and viticulture. There is a bicycle rest area on the site. A picnic area with picnic tables is located in the nearby the Bliznice ponds, near the village Gustirna. The beauty of Bliznice makes it worth to visit the area in any season, but especially in the spring, during the flowering of water lilies, whose floating blossoms add a “mystical” note to the beauty of this place.
Marina is said to be “the most fruitful olive-growing municipality of Croatia”. Official data mention a million trees of, mostly, the indigenous Oblica variety, but also Italian variety Levantinka and others, but in reality, there are certainly way more than a million of them. Oil from olive groves of Marina is processed by local oil mills – oil mill Bilaja, oil mill PZ Marina, oil mill Smoljić and oil mill Mitlo, and the oil can be tasted in the tasting rooms of family farms: Oro Olive Oil and family farm OPG Šalov. Today, extra virgin olive oil is obtained through solely mechanical processes, by squeezing the olives under a cold press, immediately after harvest. This process ensures maximum preservation of the desirable biochemical components of the olive (carotene, lecithin, polyphenols, vitamins A, D, E and K) with a minimum content of fatty acids. Due to its exceptional nutritional and medicinal properties, quality olive oil is widely used in cooking, cosmetics and pharmacology.
The olive is a long-lived tree; in Dalmatia, centuries-old olive groves are fairly common. Olive wood is specific – it is hard and brittle, and its unusual marbling in cross-section makes it suitable for making both decorative and everyday items. In addition to the production of olive oil, OPG Šalov also makes souvenirs from olive wood.
The gastronomic offer of caterers and farms of Marina is based entirely on the Mediterranean roots and local culinary customs, locally known as “užance”. Cheese and prosciutto from local family farms, salted sardines and anchovies, meat and fish dishes, cooked or grilled – or as the locals say prepared “na gradele”, seafood dishes (shellfish, crabs, squid and octopus) and Dalmatian pašticada are gastronomic delights one should not miss. Those are served with a variety of side dishes: anything from vegetables grown in local vegetable gardens to wild plants, such as wild asparagus, which is harvested in late spring on dry rocky terrain and which is appreciated not only for its special taste, but also due to the quite demanding ways it is picked.
The wines enjoyed here also come from local vineyards. The tradition of growing vines dates back thousands of years. In the Marina area, the black varieties Babić, Plavac and Ljubica, and the white varieties Mladinka, Kuč and Žutina thrive excellently. Even back in the old times, the farmers of the Marina area knew that wine is food – during their hard work in the fields, they would enjoy “supa”, plain bread soaked in wine, as refreshment.
Figs are a true gourmet fruit. They are sweet, nutritious, very rich in essential minerals (K, Ca, Mg and P), B vitamins and simple sugars. They ripen during the summer, but thanks to the traditional process of drying and preserving, they can be enjoyed all year round. Together with arancini, dried and candied pieces of peel of organically grown oranges and lemons, and candied roasted almonds, dried figs are both a delicacy and a traditional souvenir, in which the essence of the Marina climate is caught in a natural way.
When speaking of traditional desserts, one must mention “fritule”, which are becoming increasingly popular among visitors – sweet round bites of lightly risen dough fried in oil, and a slightly more modest “prešurate”, a fasting dessert similar to pancakes, which has also been regularly prepared in kitchens of Marina since ancient times.
Dalmatian dishes, prepared from traditional recipes of Marina, are served in rural households “Donja Banda” in Vrsine, in the tavern “Ježevica” in Najevi and in “Konoba Kumpar” in Blizna Donja.
The Robinson glamping camp “Marta” is a great choice for guests who want to experience a vacation away from the urban hustle and bustle. The camp has five luxury tents, and organizes interesting outdoor activities for its guests.
For guests who prefer luxury rural accommodation, we recommend the village Vrsine and accommodation holding the Eco-Friendly Certificate. The villa Home Sweet Home hosts visitors of higher purchasing power who are looking for an authentic rural setting in a preserved natural environment and are willing to pay more for such an experience.