Here’s the ultimate guide on what to do on Korcula Island. Where to eat, sleep, explore… this extensive thing to do in Korcula Croatia guide covers everything!
Korčula 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.
Like many of Croatia’s islands, Korčula naturally provides a crowd-free holiday. For one, there are a lot fewer people here! You are constantly surrounded by beautiful nature and clear blue seas. There are plenty of outdoor activities and open spaces to enjoy the fresh air.
A place of culture, history, beauty, and charm, the island of Korčula offers a variety of activities and unique traditions, all set in the stunning Adriatic and blessed by excellent Korčula weather. Ferries from Dubrovnik and Split on Croatia’s mainland bring visitors to Korčula Island (spelled Korcula in English), private sailboats, and catamarans.
Whether you plan a 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 visiting Korcula, ensure all the essential travel items you need to make your holiday much more comfortable. Let’s answer the question “What to do in Korčula, Croatia” and help you discover the island of Korčula like a local.
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What To Do In Korčula Croatia
Korčula Island is blessed with many things; the best one – not as many tourists as Hvar. The island of Korcula is laid back but has much to see and do.
Visit The Picturesque Korčula Old Town
Korčula has received the name “Little Dubrovnik,” and Korčula Old Town can be credited for the nickname. Built on a small peninsula jutting into the Peljesac Channel, the medieval city walls in the Old Town boast the same picturesque Venetian-style buildings with red rooftops as Dubrovnik. The city sits on the UNESCO Tentative List and is integral to the island’s history.
St. Mark’s Cathedral is located at the center of this town, a stunning Gothic-Renaissance-styled church. Built on the peninsula’s highest point, the church is the most important building in Old Town, so viewing this architectural wonder is necessary.
A stop at the Korčula Town Museum is an exciting way to learn about the island of Korčula and its 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 in peak season.
Korčula Town Museum
History buffs and culture lovers will relish visiting the excellent Korčula 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 Korcula’s cultural development, history, and crafts.
A fun exhibit details shipbuilding history in the area, an industry that originated in the 1300s. Its collections and exhibitions may appear chaotic across four floors, but you can find several unique and remarkable artifacts there. These include an ancient tablet that proves the Ancient Greeks’ presence on the island as far back as the 3rd century BC.
Visit Marco Polo’s Home
Many believe Marco Polo, the famous world traveler, writer, and explorer, was born in Korčula. I’m afraid I have to disagree, but you can decide for yourself after you have heard the local stories and been to the house on Ulica Depolo Street on the island of Korčula.
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 entrance fee is required, but children under ten may enter for free. The home is open from April through October for tours.
Explore The Whole Island
When exploring the island, don’t just limit yourself to the Old Town of Korčula. As picturesque and historic as it is, don’t miss out on seeking out the small charming villages, quiet bays, and tiny islets.
In recent years, Croatian island-hopping has become the norm, with people squeezing in as many stops as possible. However, this year would be perfect for returning to slow travel. Stay on Korčula Island longer and soak it all up.
Enjoy The Outdoors & Fresh Air
Walking and cycling are great ways to explore Korcula. You can get an island map with marked cycling and walking trails from a tourist agency or the local tourist boards.
Take A Walk Across the Island Of Korčula
Okay, so not all the way across. Walking and hiking paths are plentiful on Korčula Island and may lead to significant, hidden delights. If you require solitude or a break from the busy town, put a walk on your list of things to do in Korcula.
Walking trails on the island are suitable for all levels. For something easy, you can take a stroll around the Lumbarda vineyards.
Another great hike is to Kocje Nature Park in Zrnovo. Žrnovo, a small village near Korcula’s town, offers various 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 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 its small, almost-missable details.
Cycle Across 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, thanks to the enjoyable Korčula weather.
Bike rentals are available at multiple locations on Korcula, where you can rent bikes by the hour or by the day, but should you want a little more direction, you can also join guided bike tours.
Heading along the southeast coastline from Korcula Town is an excellent (and hill-free) route with fantastic coastal scenery and roads leading through the stunning Lumbarda vineyard (check out our self-guided cycling tour to Lumbarda for tips and information).
If you’re up for a more challenging day on two wheels, this path to the fishing village of Racisce comes highly recommended!
For the hardcore folks, cycle all 40km of the island or hike to some of the highest points on the island, such as Hum in Vela Luka or Kum in Blato.
Join A Guided Walking Tour
For those looking to get a little history while on the move, a guided walk, including tours of Korčula Old Town, can be a great option. We recommend getting in touch with Ruth from Vaja Tours.
Make The Most Of The Sea
Windsurfing, kayaking, SUPing, and diving are just a few ways to embrace the tranquil Adriatic waters of Korcula.
Windsurf On Korčula Island
One of the most popular water sports activities in Korčula, thanks to the glorious Korčula weather, is windsurfing. The island is 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.
Explore The Dalmatian Coastline With A Kayak Or SUP
The Adriatic sea surrounding Korčula is a treasure trove of crystal clear waters waiting to be explored. The calm sea provides the perfect conditions for kayaking and SUPing, and there are many places to check out. In particular, the small islets lying off the coast of Korčula are lovely, tranquil places to visit.
This is a super-fun way of getting around the island if you have the time and fitness. In any case, a kayak or SUP allows you to access hidden coves, bays, and beautiful beaches near Korcula Town that may otherwise be unreachable.
You can rent a sea kayak or SUPS from local agencies for independent exploration in Korcula.
If you prefer a guided kayaking trip, friendly couple Ivka and Boris, who run Spirit of Korkyra, will be your perfect guides.
Explore Korcula’s Underwater Life By Diving
After you’ve spent enough time on the surface of the sea, how about getting deep under? The warm sea and fantastic visibility are ideal for diving. Blessed with some of Croatia’s most transparent waters, Korcula is a dream destination for scuba divers (and snorkelers). Underneath the 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 popular dive sites around Korcula are accessible via a short boat ride and located only a short distance from the island. Visibility is almost always phenomenal—you can usually see further than 30 meters (100 feet).
If you plan to dive, you must go with a certified company.
Several diving schools on the island cater to beginners and experienced divers, and a few dive centers on the island of Korcula offer diving lessons and excursions.
Professionals Steve and Jan from Dupin Dive Centre are located in Korčula Town and are ready to take you diving, so get in touch with them to make your reservations.
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Eat & Drink Local
We can’t talk about Korčula and not mention the food and drink scene. Some excellent restaurants are on the island, and al-fresco dining here is the norm!
The location of Korcula 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.
Notably, you will not find Grk anywhere other than in the vineyards surrounding 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 most incredible things to do on Korčula Island. It’s top-notch eating whenever Croatian seafood is on the menu. Mediterranean fresh fish caught off Korcula’s shores are prepared in local restaurants.
Discover The Local Beer Scene
The craft beer industry is booming worldwide, and Croatia is no exception. Even Korčula now has its own brewery and pub! Lovers of the golden liquid will undoubtedly relish the opportunity to try a local Korcula brew. Simultaneously, many other bars on the island also serve craft beers from elsewhere in Croatia.
Go Wine Tasting
The island of Korčula is well known for wine production, especially Grk and Posip. There are several wineries in Lumbarda to visit, including Winery Grk, Popic Winery, Lovric Winery, and Bire Winery. There are wineries in Smokvica to see, including Toreta Winery, Grosic Winery, and Black Island Winery. Opening hours will be more varied this summer, so it may be advisable to contact the winery in advance to let them know you are coming.
If you would prefer to visit the wineries as part of a winery tour, consider joining a small group trip or private trip. Offerings include a relaxed cycling & wine tasting tour, a walking & and tasting tour, and a privately driven wine tasting tour – check them out here.
The only prerequisite is that you like wine! You’ll learn more about the area and wines, stop for some excellent photo ops, and enjoy the best wines and food.
Track Down Local Produce
Be sure also to source some fabulous local producers whose wines, olive oils, jams, and brandies are so delicious. Most of these producers are small family-run operations, so you know you will not be surrounded by many people during any tastings.
In Zrnovo, you can visit the home of the legendary Diana from Eko Skoji for organically produced oils, syrups, and homemade bread.
In Lumbarda, pay a visit to Ana and Ivan from OPG Anica Bazika, with whom you will instantly become friends! There’s always something delicious and new to try here, including fig cake, candied orange peels, and an infinite number of jams!
In Sveti Antun, bee-man Vlaho from OPG Komparak will make you fall in love with these tiny creatures and his delicious homemade honey.
Again, like the wineries, it would be a good idea to let the local producer know if you plan to come and to make an arrangement. Or book a Taste of Korčula tour and let the reservations be created for you.
Taste Local Olive Oil & Visit An Olive Oil Producer
As well as wine, excellent olive oil is produced on the island, and products using ingredients grown on the island. Visiting a small producer is the best way to try.
Olive oil from Korčula 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 and 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 Korčula is to visit a local olive farm to sample different oil types. This, of course, also makes for a great souvenir.
In Vela Luka, the beautiful couple Jerolim and Marita from OPG Jerolim will welcome you to try their range of tasty products, including flavored olive oil, brandies, carob syrup, and preserves.
Experience Korcula Island’s Local Culture
An absolute must-do thing in Korčula is experiencing the traditional sword dance and drama, 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, 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 comprises 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 suggest going to Žrnovo to try this restaurant’s version of the dish.
Donkey Safari On Korcula Island
Our friends at Korcula Explorer say the Donkey Safari excursion is an excellent way to take in Korcula’s scenery, and it’s fun to do on Korcula with kids. Starting from 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? Imagine your friends asking you when you get home about what you did in Korcula, and you show them a sunset pic.
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 at Maksimilijan Garden.
Visit Seba Dizajn & Admire The Scintillating Filigree Jewellery
Whenever I wear my filigree earrings handcrafted by the two men from Seba Dizajn, I can attest that everyone asks, “Where did you get them?”.
It’s hard to imagine, but the artist Doka learned 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 Korcula Island studio so that you can see the boys at work.
See more of Seba on Facebook or head to the studio at Ulica de Polo, Korcula, beneath Marco Polo Korčula Bell Tower.
Hire A Scooter On The Island Of Korcula
Or rent a scooter and head to the Defora region, where you will find unimaginable beauty. This is always a fun way to explore the Croatian islands, so hire a scooter to discover the Korcula island at your own pace.
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 one’s price.
Local tip: Building sandcastles and eating ice cream are some of the fun things kids can do in Croatia; here are some more that we suggest.
What To Do In Korcula – Take A Day Trip
So, what to do in Korcula after seeing all the main sights? If you plan to stay on Korcula Island for any length, you should take a day trip and explore further.
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.
Best Beaches On Korcula
Vela Przina Beach
One of Korcula Island’s most popular beaches for tourists and locals is Vela Przina Beach. Found in the village of Lumbarda on the southern side of the island (a 15-minute bus ride from Korčula Town), this beach has beautiful sandy shores and is set in a large bay offering fantastic sea views. Arrive early to get a good spot, spend the day here, and enjoy 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 about four kilometers from Korčula Old Town in Lumbarda. The water is not as crystal-clear here due to the sandy bottom, but that sand 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! If you find yourself hungry, Konoba Bilin Zal is the perfect place to grab a bite.
Pupnatska Luka Beach
Located in the bay of Pupnatska Luka, this gorgeous small pebble beach is famous 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 channel’s picturesque views from the shoreline.
With chair and kayak rentals, portable toilets, various restaurants in the bay, and the close proximity to Korčula Town (15 kilometers away), this beach is incredibly family-friendly and one of the more popular beaches on Korcula Island.
The stunning Vaja Beach is a 15-minute walk from the fishing village of Rasisce. Small and hidden, we dare say isolated, this beach will bring out the romantic in you. If you love the contrast between beautiful white pebbles and the azure sea, this picturesque beach is for you.
Vaja Beach is perfect if you want a chance to skip the crowds, find some solitude, and connect with the water and sun. The beach access includes walking up a hill at the end of the Racisce harbor and climbing down a steep slope. Those 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. These beaches make for the perfect getaway for those who love to snorkel, dive, or live for the adventure of feeling like you’re in undiscovered territory.
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 breathe.
Where To Stay In Korcula
Here are some of our favorite accommodations in Korčula – both hotels and hostels.
Aminess Korcula Heritage Hotel
The first hotel was built in Korčula (back in 1912); this iconic hotel is uniquely positioned, backed by the historic quarter of Korčula Town, and offers beautiful sea views from its front. Guests will find the stone villa design of the hotel and the vine-covered terrace charming and romantic.
Newly renovated in 2015, everyone will love the 5-star quality and elegance of the rooms for the 4-star price. Beaches are within walking distance, while onsite restaurants serve delicious Dalmatian cuisine with live music in the evenings, making it one of the best hotels in Korčula, Croatia.
Located in Korčula’s traffic-free zone and near the marina, bus, and Korčula ferry stations, this family hotel has received TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for four years in a row.
Family rooms are available for larger parties, and each of the hotel’s comfortable, modern rooms comes with free Wi-Fi, TV, air-conditioning, and a private bathroom.
This Korčula hotel is located near a beach and offers terrace dining with a sea view at the onsite restaurant. A great selection of Dalmatian dishes can be enjoyed here, along with a buffet breakfast each morning.
Aminess Liburana Hotel
Located on the shores of the Adriatic with a stunning view of Old Town, Aminess Liburana Hotel is a favorite in Korcula.
Cozy rooms feature free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, and minibars. Two-floor suites are available with ample space for families on holiday.
An outdoor pool, beach access, and nearby windsurfing & sailing schools make this location excellent for those who enjoy the water. For those looking to relax onsite, a hotel lobby bar, pool bar, and a restaurant are all available, along with a spa for a luxurious massage.
The Korčula Hostel is 100 m from Luka Korčulanska Beach and all major attractions. Guests can choose from beds in 6-bed or 8-bed mixed dormitories with access to air conditioning, heating, safety deposit boxes, shared kitchens, shared loos, and free Wi-Fi.
A Full English or Irish breakfast is served onsite, while cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets are within walking distance. If you’re looking for cheap hostels in Korčula that are laidback and clean, this is the ideal choice!
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Key Festivals & Events On Korcula Island
Sip the famous white wines of the island with locals and visitors, similar 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. This festival is 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 festival’s debut), this event features some of the world’s leading Baroque music specialists in the ensemble and soloist categories. Choose any concerts to attend over ten days and delight in the music of this 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 Korčula Town. In contrast, different styles of 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. This is 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 months. During the off-season, connections can be a bit trickier but are not impossible to find.
Visiting Korcula is one of our favorite day trips from Dubrovnik. 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 Korčula is available. You can take a ferry from Split to Korcula Island or Vela Luka all year round. Direct passenger ferries from Mljet to Korcula run in July and August, and other indirect routes are available during the other months.
A bus from Dubrovnik to Korčula leaves the central Dubrovnik bus station daily at 3 p.m. (subject to change). It gets you to Korcula Island just after 6 p.m. 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. The car ferry option allows passengers to continue taking the bus once on Korcula Island to Korčula 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 a car or taxi option, you can also drive yourself or be escorted by a private cab onto the island using the same Orebic car ferry option.
Traveling To Further Destinations
Traveling further after a visit to Korčula Island is as easy as catching any of the ferries or buses that initially got you to the island. You’ll most likely travel from Korcula to Dubrovnik, Split, or somewhere along the Peljesac Peninsula. Oysters in Ston, anyone?
Did we miss any on this list? Have you been to Korcula Island, Croatia? What were your top things to do in Korcula?
Photo credits: A special thanks to my dearly departed friend Ruth Seba for giving me several of these photos to use.