Korčula is a stunning Dalmatian island surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea. The island has a blend of history, culture and natural beauty, making it a great destination for a holiday.
The Old Town is often the island's main draw, but Korčula has so much more to offer. Venture out to explore the hills and taste some of Korčula unique wine, or spend your days relaxing along the coastline and exploring nearby islands, making friends with wild deer.
Whilst you might choose to visit Korčula on a day trip from dubrovnik, you can easily spend a week here exploring all the island has to offer. Here are a few reasons why you should add Korčula to your Croatia itinerary.
Korčula has diverse landscapes, from rocky hills to stunning coastlines, with roads lined with olive groves and cypress trees.
One of the best ways to explore Korčula is by bike. Cycling lets you take the time to really admire the rolling hills surrounding you, pause along the coastline for a quick dip in turquoise waters, or stop for lunch at one of the small cafes you happen to stumble across.
If you’re staying near Korčula’s Old Town, a great cycle route is to head north along the coast, stopping at the small villages of Kneza and Račišće. As you come into Račišće, you’ll be greeted by the quaint fishing village backed by towering hills covered in lush trees. Once there, you can enjoy a well-deserved drink at the local taverna.
If walking is more your thing, there are plenty of hikes around the island that suit all abilities. There are a few that leave from Korčula’s Old Town which is great for anyone travelling without a car.
If you do rent a car, you’ll have a bit more freedom to explore some routes further around the island such as Žrnovo - Kočje. Just bear in mind that there are very few trail marks along these routes so make sure to download or take a map with you before you venture out.
Korčula has roots dating back to the ancient Greeks, who first came to the island in the 6th century BC. But it was the Venetians who left the most notable mark on the island. Having controlled the island for centuries, you can still see their touch in the design of the old town, with the Cathedral of St. Mark being one of their most impressive buildings.
Korčula’s rich cultural heritage can also be found in its festivals. The Morseka dance is a unique celebration that has been taking place on the island since the 17th century. The Moreseka is a traditional sword dance, where villagers from Kumpanijia danced with members of Korčula town in a symbolic battle.
From early June to the end of September, the sword dance is performed twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, giving you ample opportunity to see the dance for yourself. Visit on 29 July (St Theodore's Day) to see one of the most impressive performances.
Korčula is most well known for its beautiful Old Town. Fondly referred to as “little Dubrovnik,” it’s not hard to understand why. Despite being smaller than Dubrovnik’s old town, Korčula Old Town has the same timeless beauty that is equally as pretty but with the bonus of fewer crowds.
Stepping into the Old Town is like entering a preserved slice of history, with its narrow streets and enchanting buildings. Within these narrow streets, you’ll find small boutiques shops, cafes, bars and restaurants; everything you could need for a perfect day exploring.
Whilst you’re here, take a moment to visit the Cathedral of St Marks. Completed in the 15th century, the cathedral stands at the town's centre and is a physical representation of the island's history. It is decorated with intriguing stonework, and you can climb the tower for an impressive view of Kocula from above. It costs just €5 to climb the bell tower, which is a no-brainer for the views you get at the top.
Korčula not only has a rich history and culture but is also lined with stunning beaches. As an island in the Adriatic Sea, it is surrounded by crystal clear waters, perfect for swimming and snorkelling, and there are plenty of beaches for you to spend a few hours relaxing and soaking up that gorgeous Croatian sun.
Some of the most popular beaches are in Lumbarda. Sat just down the coast from the old town, Lumbarda is easy to reach with plenty of sandy beaches such as Bilin Zal, Przina and Tatinja, Lumbarda. This makes Lumbarda a popular place to stay in Korčula for families.
If you head slightly further away from the Old Town, you can find even more picturesque beaches such as the small but lovely Bacva Bay. It is often much quieter than the more popular, tourist beaches closer to the old town. While the pebbles might dissuade some people, the surrounding landscapes are stunning and give you a sense of seclusion that is hard to beat.
Korčula has a rich winemaking history, with a long-standing tradition of producing exceptional wine. Croatia is renowned for producing two grape varieties in particular, both of which you can find in Korčula: the white Pošip grape and the red Plavac Mali grape.
The Pošip grape produces a crisp and refreshing white wine, whilst the Plavac Mali grape makes a more robust and full-bodied red. However, whilst these showcase Croatian wine at its finest, they’re not the real reason to come to Korčula. You must try wine produced by the Grk grape. This grape is exceptionally rare as it is both difficult to grow and produces a low yield. In fact, it is only grown in the Lumbarda region of Korčula.
The Grk grape produces a dry white wine with a distinct and unforgettable flavour. The notes of citrus and Mediterranean herbs will forever remind you of your trip to the island, should you ever taste it again.
To fully appreciate the unique Grk wine and the traditions that go into cultivating the grape, a trip to one of the family-run wineries in Lumbarda is highly recommended. There are a few in the area and most of them offer tastings and tours of their wineries.
You can get a glimpse of the meticulous process of winemaking, and gain insight from experts in the field. If you're based in the old town, you can also do an organised wine tour from there.
Whilst not many people know about this when they first visit the island, Korčula is surrounded by smaller islands. The two main islands nearby are Bajia and Vrnik, which offer two different experiences.
On the island of Baija, you’ll find some unique inhabitants: wild deer. These deer will greet you from your boat, searching for some food. And they will be pretty insistent if they catch sight of some! It’s a surreal experience to come so close to wild deer, but they are very used to being close to humans.
However, whilst it might not seem like it, bear in mind that these are wild animals and it is their home you’re visiting. They can startle and the locals ask that you don’t feed them to try to encourage them to be wild animals still.
The second island called Vrnik is the only inhabited island in the Škoji archipelago. There’s a small restaurant located in the old island school which makes for a great lunch stop, or you can walk around the coastline to find a secluded swim spot to enjoy.
You can get around the islands by booking a water taxi. These boats leave from Korčula Town and hop between the islands, before landing in Lumbarda, a town just down the coast of Korčula. You can easily spend a whole day between these two islands before heading into Lumbarda for some dinner.
You can prebook these taxis, but you don't need to. - you can find stands selling tickets for them along Korčula’s port.
One of the highlights of visiting Korčula is the exceptional seafood. With fresh catches every day, it comes as no surprise that most restaurants serve an array of seafood dishes. From perfectly grilled fish to brodet, a traditional Croatian fish stew, seafood lovers will be excited about what’s on offer.
If seafood is not your thing, there are still plenty of other options for you. Make sure to try Pašticada, a beef stew served in a sweet and sour sauce eaten along the Dalmatian coast. It’s known for its rich and hearty flavours, making it a comfort meal for many.
The meat is marinated in a mixture of red wine, vinegar, and aromatic herbs, and then slow-cooked over a few hours. The result is a tender and succulent dish that is often served with homemade gnocchi or creamy mashed potatoes.
Another delicious option is peka, a slow-cooked dish, where meat and vegetables are baked in the embers of a fire for hours.
No visit to Korčula would be complete without sampling some of the island’s renowned olive oil. When you visit Korčula, you’ll notice olive groves growing throughout the island. These olives are carefully cultivated and harvested to make delicious olive oil, perfect for drizzling over salads or for dipping a nice piece of crusty bread.
Planning a trip to Korcula? Stay at the Fabris, a charming inn with lovely views.
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Last Updated 14 February 2024