Exploring Croatia’s Enchanting Island
History of the island
Korčula has been inhabited since prehistoric times, as evidenced by the finds from the Stone Age discovered in Vela Spila near Vela Luka, which today are kept in the collection of the Vela Luka Culture Center. In the 4th century BC The Greeks founded a colony on Korčula and called it Korkyra Melaina or Black Korčula. Under the rule of the Romans, the island was called Korkyra Nigra. The attribute “Melaina” or “Nigra” this beautiful island owes precisely to the lush Mediterranean vegetation, primarily forests of holm oak and pine.
Korčula island is almost completely merged with Pelješac through the Pelješac canal. The town of Korčula is among the most beautiful and best preserved medieval towns on the Croatian coast and in all of the Mediterranean, and is justly referred to as “Little Dubrovnik.” It still has the appearance it had at the turn of the 16th century – same stone towers, walls, the same fishbone structure of the streets. Korčula’s town planners took into consideration both functionality and perfect harmony with nature – the streets are lined in such a way as to let the refreshing maestral from the west pass, but to stop the cold and winter winds from the northeast (called bura).
Tips to discover the glory of the centuries-old traditions of the town of Korčula
St Mark’s Cathedral And Bishop’s Treasury
KORČULA TOWN MUSEUM
INTERPRETATION CENTRE MARCO POLO
SWORD DANCES MOREŠKA, KUMPANIJA AND MOŠTRA
KORČULA TOWN ARCHIPELAGO
HIKE & CYCLE TO ŽRNOVO
Visitors can enjoy performances of the famous sword dance events of Moreška, Kumpanija and Moštra, time-honoured links with a past.
Every Tuesday and Thursday night in the Old Town during the season, guests can enjoy in fabolous Moreška sword dancers performing their incredible dancing. Sword dancing is a proud tradition on the island, and while Moreška is the most famous sword dance, it is not the only one. Moreška is danced in Korčula, and Kumpanija in Žrnovo, Pupnat, Čara, Smokvica, Blato and Vela Luka. The island of Korčula is the host of the Festival of Knights’ Games, where performers of fencing dances from all over the world gather.
Blato Summer, lasting from middle of July till middle of August, is a traditional summer cultural event that offers a diverse and rich cultural and entertainment program with an emphasis on preserving cultural heritage.
Revelin tower Korcula – Croatia / Shutterstock
Korčula is widely known for its white grapes and excellent white wines, the autochthonous varieties Grk, whose vineyards are located on the sandy terrain next to Lumbarda, and Pošip, which is grown in Smokvica and Čara. Among the culinary specialties, Žrnovo macaroons, Korčula klašuni and Blatka lumblia are particularly popular.
Pasta lovers (a Korčulan specialty) should head to place called Filippi, and if you are looking for a hearty feed surrounded by nature, Konoba Maha near Žrnovo is well worth a try. For the most entertaining hosts on the island, nothing beats the outstanding Dalmatian Tapas experience with Ante and Matko at Marendin in the old town. And if you are looking to spice up your Dalmatian diet, Silk offers Asian food prepared by Malaysian chefs.
If you have a sweet tooth, this is the right island for you. Check out series on the island’s delicious recipes, handed down by Korčulan grandmothers, then taste them in the flesh in the legendary Cukarin, or Škatula on the way to Lumbarda.
The channel between Pelješac and Korčula is particularly popular among windsurfers due to favorable winds. Sailing boats can seek shelter in many coves, among which the most protected is Vela Luka or the marina in the town of Korčula.
The average sea temperature in May, June, September and October is 21˚C, while in July and August it is 23.5˚C, which gives an ideal swimming season, from May to October on the island of Korčula. Blato, as well as entire island of Korčula, have around 3.000 hours of sunshine per year, which is why Korčula is one of the sunniest islands in Croatia ideal for sailing holidays on our boats.
Top Beaches on Korčula Island – not to miss…
Proizd / Shutterstock
- Proizd islet is located near Vela Luka, and its beaches have often been referred to as the “best beach in Croatia”, including in foreign press.
- Vaja is not a beach to be reached easily. It is situated near Račišće village, about one kilometre from the centre of the village and around 15 km from Korčula town, and you can drive quite close to the beach on an unpaved road. There are no bars or restaurants, or any added “content” to this beach, this is a place to get away, put on some sunscreen and really enjoy the sea and the sun.
- Somewhat closer to Korčula, very close to the main road that leads to Račišće along the northern coast is the Kneža bay, and at the bottom of it you will find lovely Kneža beach. Very easily accessible, as it is a couple of dozen steps from the road, it tends to be busy during the main season. There are several bars, restaurants, konobas and shops in the vicinity of this beach, in the Kneža village.
- Vrbovica is a large bay, located a few kilometres west of the Korčula town. There are several smaller and larger beaches you can find in this bay, which has recently been turned into a rental’s heaven. However, the beaches in the bay don’t really get too crowded, even during the highest season, and there are sections of the bay where you can have some privacy and quite time, if that’s what you’re after.
- This is not just one beach either, but rather a set of beaches, wonderful rocky spots and a lot of beach-goers content in the Uvala Luka. It’s a bay just south-east of the old Korčula town, where the Port 9 Resort is located (one of the biggest hotels in Korčula, along with their camping site). There’s a small islet right in the centre of that bay, easy swimming distance from the beaches, just beware of the many sailing boats in the bay if you decide to swim there.
- Vela Pržina is probably the most famous of the beaches on Korčula. It’s a quite a long sandy beach near Lumbarda, at the eastern-most tip of the island, facing south (thus the name, as the sun tends to be very strong there and that would be the literal translation of the name). It’s easily accessible by car (although you will have to pay for parking there), and you can also walk from Lumbarda, and it’s basically a children’s paradise. If you want to get away from the crowds at the sandy part of the beach, you can just walk a bit towards the West and find wonderful spots on the rocks there.
- The next-door neighbour of the Pupnatska Luka, Bačva is another one of several bays at the southern side of Korčula Island, facing toward the Lastovo Island. It is also a pebble beach, smaller than Pupnatska Luka beach and a bit less crowded, but otherwise quite similar to it – and there’s even a restaurant there too.
- Pupnatska Luka beach is another of favourites on Korčula, and there’s good reason for it. On the southern side of the island, at the bottom of a deep bay, almost always shielded from winds, this sandy beach is a very popular destination for day-trips. It’s 15 km away from Korčula town, near the village of Pupnat, and you can drive down the unpaved road very close to the beach itself. There are two bars/restaurants on the beach.
The north coast is low and accessible, and the natural harbors of Prigradica and Babina are protected from the south and east winds.
- Water Polo
It’s a popular sport across Croatia but perhaps no more so than on Korcula. The people of Korcula started playing water-polo in 1926 when students seeing it as a popular new game brought it back to the island. Before any swimming pools were built people would play off various beaches – today there are indoor and outdoor venues. In 1979 Croatia won the European Cup; 10 members of the team were from Korcula, which is rightly celebrated as a great achievement for the island. One of the biggest events in Korcula Town each year is the Water-polo Championship with teams competing from the small areas of the town. It’s a huge social event where the majority of the townspeople print their area logo on t-shirts to wear with pride in support of their team.
- Half New Year
In 2001 someone on Korcula came up with the idea to celebrate Half New Year and since then, every 30 of June you will see Korcula Town turn into an open air carnival with locals and tourists donning fancy dress, joining in the masked parade before dancing, eating and drinking the night away into the early hours of the following day. Live music echoes throughout the town and fireworks indicate the start of the new half year at midnight. For a relatively calm island, the town really knows how to party and many of the costumes you’ll see look like something off a movie set.
- Marco Polo house and a walking tour of the old town
The supposed home of the world’s most famous traveller is an obvious highlight of a walking tour of the old town. And while the old town may be small, don’t be deceived by its size. Any local tour guide will keep you fascinated for hours because there is so much history and tradition in every stone you see on the way.
Lumbarda is only a few miles away from Korcula town and is a slower and more relaxed vibe. Lumbarda is great for checking out tiny islands off the coast, swimming, and kayaking. There you will find kayak + history tours which are a fantastic way to have a bit of an adventure while getting to know the island’s impressive history.
Visit Vela Luka + Vela Spilja Cave
Vela Luka is the ‘old port’ on the other side of Korcula island which doesn’t have as much going on as Korcula Town, but there are some lovely authentic restaurants, a bar or two, and a prehistoric cave called Vela Spilja where you can check exhibits of the prehistoric bones and artifacts found inside from thousands of years ago.
Check out Žitna Cove
Žitna is a tiny cove about halfway down the island that you will only reach via boat or rental vehicle. It’s famous for swimming as the water is crystal clear.
Now it’s your turn
Why not take the plunge and come sail away with us? We look forward to having you aboard!