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Things To Do In Korcula, Croatia For Singles, Couples & Families
Korcula Island (pronounced KOR-chu-la), also known as the Emerald Isle, is one of Croatia’s many islands. Located in Southern Dalmatia, this small, 279-square-kilometer island is a favorite among travelers.
Ferries and buses running from Dubrovnik and Split on Croatia’s mainland bring visitors to Korcula Island along with private sailboats and catamarans. Whether you plan to day trip to Korcula Island or stay for several weeks, come to the island to enjoy the hidden beaches, pebbly and sandy shores, various water sports, and picturesque views from all directions. Before you visit Korcula, make sure to have all the essential travel items you need to make your holiday that much more comfortable.
Things To See And Do In Korcula Island
Visit Korcula’s Picturesque Old Town
Korcula has received the name “Little Dubrovnik,” and it’s Korcula Old Town that can take the credit for the nickname. Built on a small peninsula jutting into the Peljesac Channel, the medieval walled Old Town boasts the same picturesque Venetian-style buildings with red rooftops as Dubrovnik. The city sits on the UNESCO Tentative List and is an integral part of the island’s history.
Located at the center of this town is St. Mark’s Cathedral, a stunning Gothic-Renaissance styled church. Built on the highest point of the peninsula, the church is said to be the most important building in Old Town, so viewing this architectural wonder is a must.
A stop at the Korcula Town Museum is an exciting way to learn about the island of Korcula, her history, while the view of Old Town from inside Marco Polo’s supposed birth home (see below) can’t be beaten.
After wandering the narrow streets, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and cafes, or catch a new Hollywood release or independent film at the open-air cinema.
Windsurf On Korcula Island
One of the most popular water sport activities in Korcula, thanks to the glorious Korčula weather, is windsurfing. The island is located in a prime position to catch the perfect afternoon Maestral, a summer wind that allows windsurfers to enjoy plenty of movement out on the waters. Gliding over the open sea connects guests and locals alike, and all skill levels are welcome to join in. Windsurfing schools offer lessons in areas on the island where the wind is less intense, and equipment designed for beginners is available for use at these schools.
Cycle Korcula Island
Whether you are a cycling enthusiast or simply looking for a leisurely pedal through the countryside, Korcula Island is perfect for exploring by bicycle all year round, again thanks to the enjoyable Korčula weather. Bike rentals are available at multiple locations on the island, but should you want a little more direction, you can join guided bike tours as well.
Heading along the southeast coastline from Korcula Town is an excellent (and hill-free) route option with fantastic coastal scenery and roads that lead through the stunning Lumbarda vineyard. If you’re up for a more challenging day on two wheels, this path to the fishing village of Racisce comes highly recommended!
Visit Marco Polo’s Home
Many believe that that Marco Polo, the famous world traveler, writer, and explorer, was born on Korcula. I, however, disagree, but you can decide for yourself. Located on Ulica Depolo street, a visit to Marco Polo’s alleged birthplace is something history, and mystery lovers will enjoy. A portion of the house is available for guests to explore, and the view from inside over Korcula’s Old Town is quite spectacular! A small fee to enter is required, but children under ten may enter for free. The home is open April through October for tours.
Drink Wine & Eat Seafood
The location of Korcula Island makes it perfect for the two great Croatian gastronomy delights: seafood and wine! Croatia’s southern Dalmatian region is known for its award-winning wines, and Korcula has the ideal environment for producing two of them – Pošip and Grk. You can order these varieties of white wine at most restaurants on the island, so don’t hesitate to indulge in a drink… or two!
Of notable mention is the fact that you will not find Grk anywhere else in the world other than in the vineyards that surround Lumbarda. That’s just one more reason to enjoy a glass of this famous wine while relaxing on the shores of Korcula Island.
Eating seafood to your heart’s content is also one of the greatest things to do in Korcula Island. Mediterranean fresh fish, caught off Korcula’s shores, are prepared in local restaurants. It’s top-notch eating whenever Croatian seafood is on the menu.
Discover The Local Beer Scene
The craft beer industry is booming all around the world and Croatia is no exception. Even Korcula now has its own brewery and pub! Lovers of the golden liquid will certainly relish the opportunity to try a local Korcula brew, while many other bars on the island also serve craft beers from elsewhere in Croatia.
Korcula Town Museum
History buffs and culture lovers will relish the opportunity to visit the excellent Korcula Town Museum. Housed in the beautiful Gabrielis Palace, a fine example of 15th- and 16th-century architecture on the Old Town’s central square, it offers a superb insight into the cultural development, history, and crafts of Korcula.
Spread across four floors, its collections and exhibits may appear a bit chaotic, but you can find several unique and remarkable artifacts there. These include an ancient tablet that proves the presence of the Greeks on the island as far back as the 3rd century B.C. A fun exhibit is the one detailing the history of shipbuilding in the area, an industry that originated in the 1300s.
Experience Korcula Island’s Local Culture
An absolute must-do thing in Korcula is experiencing the traditional sword dance and drama known as Moreska. Performed on an open-air stage near the Old Town, visitors can watch this theatrical and cultural dance from the 16th century on Monday and Thursday evenings during the summer months.
The dance depicts a conflict between kings, seven circles of dancers “battling” with swords to the beat of drums, and the sound of bagpipes. A sure crowd pleaser!
Another great cultural experience is learning to cook the local specialty of Zrnovksa Makaruni. This dish is comprised of homemade pasta shaped tubes topped with sauce, somewhat similar to goulash. The family-run Konoba Belin offers pasta-making lessons for those willing to take on the culinary challenge. However, if you prefer not to cook on holiday, we still suggest making the trip to Žrnovo to try this restaurant’s version of the dish.
Explore The Korcula Coastline With A Kayak
The crystal-clear Adriatic waters around Korcula beg to be explored by kayak. Few things are as relaxing and exciting—at the same time!—than an afternoon excursion with a sea kayak. You can rent a sea kayak in Korcula from a few different providers.
This is a super-fun way of getting around the island, quite literally if you have the time and fitness. In any case, a kayak gives you the freedom to access hidden coves, bays and beaches near Korcula Town that may otherwise be unreachable.
Donkey Safari On Korcula Island
I highly recommend this if you are in Croatia with kids. Our friends at Korcula Explorer say the Donkey Safari excursion is an excellent way to take in Korcula’s scenery. Starting in the town of Žrnovo, ride donkeys through the olive groves to the beautiful Pavja Luka pebble bay.
Here you will spend the day soaking up the sun, swimming, snorkeling, or even reading that book you haven’t found time for yet. Your group will also enjoy a delicious lunch of grilled fish and wine – and, you already know how we feel about seafood and wine on Korcula Island!
Watch A Korcula Sunset With A Drink
Okay, so it’s cliche, but I don’t care. Sunsets and Croatia are a match made in heaven. Did I yet mention the famous Korčula weather? Just look at these 41 gobsmacking sunsets in Croatia and tell me you don’t agree. You can enjoy the delightful combination of cocktails and sunset views from many vantage points on the island. One particularly great suggestion is Maksimilijan Garden. This intimate bar has one of the best Korcula Island views for sunset watching.
Local tip: Try the homemade limoncello.
Visit An Olive Oil Producer
Olive oil from Korcula is on the list of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) of the European Commission, which means it’s of superior quality and made according to traditional, authentic methods.
There are no fewer than ten olive mills on Korcula, in addition to nearly a thousand olive farms! This is one of only a handful of regions in Croatia that produces olive oils of this kind of quality. Therefore, one of the best things to do in Korcula is a visit to a local olive farm, where you can sample different types of oils. This, of course, also makes for a great souvenir.
Visit Seba Dizajn & Admire The Scintillating Filigree Jewellery
I can attest that every time I wear my pair of filigree earrings, handcrafted by the two men from Seba Dizajn, everyone asks, “where did you get them?”.
It’s hard to imagine, but the artist whose name is Doka learned the art of filigree from his father, Gjovalin Seba. The Seba family has a connection with filigree that stretches back an incredible 500+ years. Doka and his father work together in their studio on Korcula Island so that you can see the boys at work. See more of Seba on Facebook or head to the studio located at Ulica de Polo, Korcula, beneath Marco Polo Korcula Tower.
Hire A Scooter
Can you say cliche? Who cares! This is always a fun way to explore the Croatian islands, so hire a scooter and discover the island of Korcula at your own pace. Scootering options:
- I’d head to the beaches (see below for some great suggestions, including fabulous Vaja Beach)
- Stalk out the places that grow the Grk grapes
- Take a break from the main town, seek out Smokvica and Cara. Both are two lovely small villages
- Ride up to Mount Hum, which is really just a hill, and check out the old fort. Local tip: for hikers, you can also get up there on foot!
Take A Walk Across Korcula Island
Okay, so not all the way across. Walking and hiking paths are plentiful on Korcula Island, and may lead to significant, hidden delights. If you require solitude or perhaps a break from the busy town, put a walk on your list of things to do in Korcula.
Žrnovo, a small village near the town of Korcula, offers a variety of trails for all fitness levels. A protected landscape, Kocje, lies within a moderate 40-minute walking distance from Žrnovo. This unique landscape is full of rock formations and stone mazes for those looking to explore a little more. Plus, you will also be able to enjoy some stunning views across the channel to the Pelješac mainland.
Local tip: Look out for more than the “usual” sights. Check out the building for their small, almost-missable details.
Things To Do In Korcula Island With Kids
Croatian beaches are usually pebbled, but the village of Lumbarda boasts two fantastic sandy beaches. Buckets and spades in hand, it’s time to build sandcastles at Przina or Bilin Zal beaches, just a 15-minute bus ride from Korcula Town. And afterward, it’s time for ice cream! And yes, the island makes some delicious gelato. Practice your Croatian and ask for “pola-pola”: half ‘n’ half, two flavors for the price of one.
Local tip: Building sandcastles and eating ice cream are some of the many fun things for kids to do in Croatia, here are some more that we suggest.
Take A Day Trip
If you plan to stay on Korcula Island for any length of time, you’ll want to take a day trip and explore Croatia beyond the city. Check out these tours to see which one suits you best. With these tours, you can book ahead, guarantee your place, and save money. Alternatively, though, you can also find options when you arrive.
- Korcula Island Snorkeling Adventure
- Korcula Island Mountain Bike Tour
- Hvar Yacht Excursion from Korcula
- Town of Marco Polo Private Tour
- Mljet Island Yacht Excursion from Korcula Island
Go Scuba Diving
Blessed with some of the clearest waters in Croatia, Korcula is a dream destination for scuba divers (and snorkelers). Underneath gentle waves of the relatively shallow Adriatic Sea around the island, you’ll find hidden caves, underwater walls, several shipwrecks and dozens of fish species.
Most of the popular dive sites around Korcula are accessible via a short boat ride, located only a short distance from the island. Visibility is almost always phenomenal—you can usually see further than 30 meters (100 feet).
There are a few dive center on the island of Korcula, which offer diving lessons and excursions.
Korcula Island’s Best Beaches
Vela Przina Beach
One of Korcula Island’s most popular beaches, for tourists and locals alike, is Vela Przina Beach. Found in the village of Lumbarda on the southern side of the island (a 15-minute bus ride from Korcula Town), this beach has beautiful, sandy shores and is set in a large bay offering fantastic views of the sea. Arrive early to get a good spot and spend the day here, enjoying the beach cafes, a game of sand volleyball, and the radiant sunshine.
Bilin Zal Beach
The other sandy beach on Korcula Island, Bilin Zal is found about four kilometers from Korcula Old Town in Lumbarda. The water is not as crystal-clear here, due to the sandy bottom, but it’s that sand that brings locals and tourists to this beach for a chance to go barefoot onshore and in the sea. And little kids love sandy beaches.
The beach is ideal for families and young children, but it’s important to note that no natural shade is available at this location, so be sure to pack a pop-up beach tent like this one! Should you find yourself hungry, Konoba Bilin Zal is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat.
Pupnatska Luka Beach
Located in the bay of Pupnatska Luka, this gorgeous small pebble beach is popular for swimming. Crystal-clear waters invite locals and tourists to take a dip, while even those wishing to remain dry won’t be disappointed by the picturesque views of the channel from the shoreline.
With chair and kayak rentals, portable toilets, various restaurants in the bay, and the close proximity to Korcula Town (15 kilometers away), this beach is incredibly family-friendly and one of the more popular beaches on Korcula Island.
Located a short 15-minute walk from the fishing village of Rasisce, is the stunning Vaja Beach. If you love the contrast of beautiful white pebbles and the azure sea, this picturesque beach is for you. Small and hidden, we dare say isolated, this beach will bring out the romantic in you.
Vaja Beach is perfect if you are looking for a chance to skip the crowds, find some solitude, and connect with the water and sun. Do note; the beach access includes walking up a hill at the end of the Racisce harbor, followed by a climb down a steep slope. Those who are willing to take on the challenge will be rewarded with the views!
Korcula Archipelago Beaches
Mostly undiscovered by tourists, the Korcula Archipelago offers numerous remote and hidden pebble or rocky swimming areas. For those who love to snorkel, dive, or simply live for the adventure of feeling like you’re in undiscovered territory, these beaches make for the perfect getaway.
To get to the Archipelago, you can hire a water taxi (year-round). Once there, hunt for your perfect little spot of shoreline, take in the wide-open views, and just breathe.
Where To Stay In Korcula
We created a detailed list of where to stay in Korčula, Croatia. We list the best hotels in Korčula for you. We’ve covered all the bases from luxurious 5-star all the way down to the more budget-friendly apartments and hostels. You can find it here.
Best Places To Eat And Drink In Korcula
Best Restaurants in Korcula
Offering generous portions that are easy on the budget, Planjak is a favorite of both locals and visitors. Found in Korcula Town, just steps from the Korcula ferry terminal, grab a seat under the shaded terrace and enjoy grilled fish and meats, beer, and wine. Our friends at Korcula Explorer have suggested the bread-crumbed haddock, pasticada, and stuffed peppers.
About five kilometers from the fishing village of Zrnovo, you will find this local family-run konoba. Savor traditional vegetables, meats, fish, and wines while enjoying views of the Korcula Channel and Defore slopes on the restaurant’s terrace. Local food at unbeatable prices!
Buffet Pizzeria Amfora
Buffet Pizzeria Amfora is an unpretentious pizzeria found in the narrow streets of the Old Town. Not only can you order some of the best pizza on the island here, but the menu also offers other great options like mussels and chips or wok shrimp. A fun idea: order your food to-go in order to catch a brilliant sunset while savoring pizza made to perfection.
One of the best-rated restaurants on Korcula Island, Restaurant Filippi, lies on the Petar Kanavelic walkway in Korcula Town. Its tables are placed directly above the water, offering truly exceptionally sea views. Food-wise, this is an excellent place for traditional Dalmatian cuisine based on fresh herbs, vegetables, seafood, and pasta. For a mouthwatering, healthy, and visually attractive dinner, this is a beautiful option to have.
Adio Mare – Konoba Komin
Adio Mare is one of the oldest restaurants on the island, located in the heart of the Old Town. Enjoy delicious and high-quality Dalmatian cuisine, fresh fish, and grilled meats while admiring the views from the terrace or watching the action in the open-plan kitchen. Be sure to make a reservation for this one!
Ice Cream & Coffee Bars On Korcula Island
Café Bar Servantes
Café Bar Servantes is an iconic place to enjoy your morning cup of joe. This family-run café has been around since the 1970s and serves some of the best cappuccino and espresso on the island. Located at Punta Jurana in Korcula Town, it’s a great place to people-watch. Cocktails are also available here in the evenings.
Pizza Café Sveti Nikola
As the name suggests, this café serves delicious pizza, but beyond the food, they offer excellent coffees, teas, and beer with a view that can’t be beaten. Gaze across the bay at Korcula Old Town as you sip your hot (or cold!) beverage. If you’re looking for free Wi-Fi, you’ll be happy to connect to it here!
Café Restaurant Plaza Przina
If you find yourself at Vela Przina Beach for the day, Café Restaurant Plaza Przina also offers a top-notch coffee selection, along with teas, beer, wine, and ice cream. Reasonable prices and free Wi-Fi make this a great spot during your day in the sun.
Bars On Korcula Island
Massimo Cocktail Bar
Massimo Cocktail Bar is a unique bar accessible by ladder as it is found at the top of the Zakerjan Tower (once part of Korcula’s city walls). Drinks arrive at the top of the tower by a pulley, and guests can order a variety of brightly colored beverages while taking in the stunning sunsets over the ocean. Now, doesn’t drink the top of a tower in Korcula sound brilliant?
If local wine is what you’re after, Vinum Bonum in Punta Jurana is it. Favored by many locals, this little gem has incredibly knowledgeable staff and small plates of sardines, cheese, or ham to accompany your glass of award-winning island wine.
Cocktail Bar Prvi Zal Lumbarda
If you find yourself in Lumbarda for the day, Cocktail Bar Prvi Zal Lumbarda serves up some excellent cocktails. The atmosphere is relaxing, and the staff are friendly, so enjoy the live music and take in views of the harbor while sipping your favorite beverage.
If dancing and nightlife are what you’re after, Boogie Jungle is the happening club on the island. Hop on the club’s complimentary shuttle mini-bus to leave Korcula’s main streets behind for a night of drinking, music, and dance at this outdoor venue. Live D.J.s and other music line-ups fill this club’s schedule.
Key Festivals & Events In Korcula Island
Sip the famous white wines of the island with locals and visitors alike to the sounds of live music. Wineries offer samples of the best wines they have available alongside fresh, hot bread. Enjoy conversation with your travel companions or locals at this event. A festival not to miss if you visit Korcula in July!
Korkyra Baroque Festival
If you love Baroque music, this festival is for you. Somewhat new to the island (2012 was the debut of the festival), this event features some of the world’s leading Baroque music specialists both in the ensemble and soloist categories. Choose any of the concerts to attend over the course of ten days and delight in the music of this time period!
Sword Dance Festival
Held at the beginning of June, this unique festival is one Korcula is famous for. While the sword dance is performed on other occasions, this festival celebrates the dance with an opening ceremony in Korcula Town, while different styles of the dance are performed in surrounding villages. Watching one of these performances is a fantastic way to experience local culture and tradition.
Boat Race Kneze
This annual event takes place in Korcula each June. Organized by a local racing club, teams row in traditional boats from Kneza to Korcula Town. An exciting opportunity to watch the local sport and experience a traditional event while on holiday!
Traveling To Korcula Island
Korcula can easily be reached from Croatia’s mainland during the summer the months. During the off-season, connections can be a bit trickier but are not impossible to find. Leaving the mainland from either Dubrovnik (skip the crowds for a day!) or Split is the most convenient way to reach the island unless you’ve charted a sailing adventure starting from another location.
May to October, a ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula is available. All year-round, you can take a ferry from Split to Korcula Island or Vela Luka. Direct passenger ferries from Mljet to Korcula run in July and August, and other indirect routes are available during the other months of the year.
Local tip: No direct ferries are available from Vis to Korcula. A stop in either Hvar or Split is first needed if you plan to travel from Vis.
All year round, a coach from Dubrovnik to Korcula travels along the coast to a car or passenger ferry in Orebic depending on your preference. A bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula leaves the central Dubrovnik bus station once a day at 3 pm (subject to change). It gets you to Korcula Island just after 6 pm.
The car ferry option allows passengers to continue taking the bus once on Korcula Island all the way to Korcula Town and on to Vela Luka if needed. A bus from Split runs to Dubrovnik and, alternatively, another originating in Zagreb stops in Split with a final destination of Korcula/Vela Luka (runs through the night).
Should you want the option of a car or taxi, you can also drive yourself or be escorted by private taxi onto the island using the same Orebic car ferry option. Look for deals on car rental in Croatia here.
Traveling To Further Destinations
Traveling on after a visit to Korcula Island is as easy as catching any of the ferries or buses that initially got you to the island. Most likely, you’ll be traveling from Korcula to Dubrovnik, Split, or somewhere along the Peljesac Peninsula. Oysters in Ston, anyone?
Have you been to Korcula Island, Croatia? What were your top things to do in Korcula? Did we miss any on this list?
Photo credits: A special thanks to my dearly departed friend Ruth Seba for giving me several of these photos to use.Share