Imotski – lakes and mountains of Dalmatia’s hidden heart

Imotski. It’s been on my list of travels for waaay too long! Few days back, we decided that it was enough. Few rainy days got to us and a sunny Saturday was simply a perfect day for a trip!
Since we stayed in Split, with wife’s family for few days, Imotski was quite close – just a bit over an hour drive from the center of Split.
So we followed the signs to the hinterland of Split and straight to Imotski.

Fortress Topana

Fortress Topana is located on the rock above the amazing Blue Lake. It is still on the highest position in town just like in it’s heyday. Imotski dates from the 9th century AD and was probably built by the Croatian duke Trpimir. The centuries that followed seemed quiet but the Turkish invasion marked the end of peace and from the year 1493. to 1717. Imotski was an important stronghold of the Ottoman rule in Dalmatia. Once the Turks left, the fortress was slowly loosing it’s importance and it was completely abandoned in the 19th century when the modern Imotski was formed.

The inside of Topana

Today, the fortress is well preserved and offers a lovely panorama of Imotski, Blue lake and the surrounding area. The town is fairly small, less than 5000 inhabitants and the curiosity is that is well known for Mercedes cars. Many of the Imoćani worked in Germany from the 60s and the sign of success, when they would visit the old country, was always a Mercedes. 🙂
The architecture of the old quarters is very traditional and typical in all Dalmatia: stone houses and narrow streets. Still quite charming!

Blue Lake

But more than anything else, Imotski is known for it’s two spectacular lakes! Modro (or blue) and Crveno (or red). Both located within the walking distance of the town, lakes are well worth the visit if you are staying in Split or even Dubrovnik! Two lakes have been formed when the underground caves collapsed and the holes filled with water. Blue lake dries out about every 10 years, and than the locals play soccer divided in two teams: “Elfs” and “Werewolves” – creatures from local folk tales.

Blue Lake is easy to reach and there is a trail all the way to the bottom. The water level is about 50 meters but back in 1914., it was recorded that the water was spilling above the southern sides of this natural basin! That means that the water level was over 150 meters! Seems that the earthquake of 1967. opened some small holes and the water level will hardly ever reach those levels…

The blue lake and it's 500+ meters high sides!

Only 1,5 Km away from the center of Imotski, up the lovely walking path, the mysterious Red Lake is located.
The water of the lake cannot be reached easily since the slopes are very steep. The lake got it’s name after the red rock of the slopes while the water is unnaturally green. The lake is famous for being a nearly 500 meter deep hole with water depth at 250 meters (and under the sea level) but several expeditions proved that the lake continues much deeper into a cave (or caves). The local legend tells a story of the creation of this amazing sight: arrogant local woman, married to a rich man called Gavan, defied God and he made their big house or Gavanovi dvori, disappear in this abyss.

The Red Lake

But there is much, much more to this wonderful area than these two spectacular lakes! I was not even aware of the beauty, the scenery, the rivers, the canyons… Imotski area is simply a gem (and I am coming back for more!) Although the best way to get back to Split is to follow the road back, we went forward from the Red Lake and drove to the lake of ProloĆĄko Blato ( a retention) which is simply stunning!

ProloĆĄko blato

All the villages in this area are very beautiful and the nature is so unspoiled with sheep and horses on pastures. The area offers probably the most spectacular walks in Croatia! We are definitely working on including them in our Tours in Croatia programs!

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  1. simply perfect…tnx…

  2. pim says:

    hi alan,

    next time you want to see something special, not too far from Split, drive over the Bosnian border, passing Busko Jezero on the left, towards Livno, and with some luck see the marvelous group of 200 wild horses living there.

    (lake, livno and horses, all worth a visit).

    bog, pim.

  3. Yes! I have seen it on your blog and that looks very spectacular! There is one more group of wild horses I know of: the horses on Velebit. Here is a link to images my friend took last spring:

  4. pim says:

    thanks Alan,

    I really appreciate your reaction, showing a excellent picture of some special breed of horses.
    Not being a specialist, I just loving to nature in Dalmatia and Herzegovina, both close to our place in Svinisce.
    At the moment in Holland, but hvala bogu flying back beginning of januari, having six weeks in which I hope to see lots of winterlife there.
    Still having much to do and discover, Velebit and Paklenica are on my list, but have to wait.

    If you like it, I have a link to a marvelous website about Imotski.
    Just mail me, and I’ll gladly inform you on it.

    Thanks again, and have a fantastic newyear, pim.

    if looking for a special adventure, a Belgian friend runs a catamaran-club in Podstrana.
    for lovers of fast sailing (to Brac or Solta) something to remember ?

  5. Just send the link! I have some local guides that help out in Imotski area.

    Also, sned some info on that fast sailing club. Sounds interesting!

    All the best to you and your family and enjoy Dalmatia!

  6. pim says:

    there’s a GIANT load of info there, so have a nice day (and another one !!).

    about the catamaran-friend, his name is Mark(o) Geurts, owner of that catamaranclub and host for a Belgian low budget youth travel organisation.
    Best is to mail him at:

    And if you don’t mind, mail me directly at

    Have funn, Pim

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