The island of Korcula is one of the best places to visit in Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Here you will find many local wineries, some of the best beaches, luxury villas and plenty of restaurants that will allow you to try the delicious local cuisine. This small island is certainly worth a visit if you are planning to see any of the Croatian islands or nearby cities, such as Split. And as Marco Polo’s birthplace, it is also an excellent place to experience the island’s history and cultural heritage. Keep reading for the best recommendations on how to spend one day in Korcula, Croatia.
Overview of Korcula, Croatia
The island of Korcula is the second largest Dalmatian island population-wise, with about 16,000 residents. It has been inhabited since ancient times. Prior occupants include the Illyrians, Greeks, and Romans. Following Roman rule, it was ruled by the Byzantians, then Slavic people. The latter of whom continue to inhabit the island today.
During the 10th century, the island became a part of the Venetian empire. Under Venetian rule, the city gained the distinctive “storybook” look that it has now. Today the island is best known as a summer / high season vacation spot due to its sandy beaches, dense forest, vineyards, and quiet, yet scenic cities.
One Day in Korcula, Croatia | The Itinerary
Korcula Old Town is often referred to as little Dubrovnik, as it is also a medieval walled old town, and is full of ancient buildings dating back to the early middle ages. If you enjoy quiet and scenic walks, one of the best ways to explore the city is an early morning walk before the town wakes up. You’ll be able to take a lot of pictures undisturbed and enjoy the early morning peace.
Some sites to see within the old city include the Korcula Cathedral of St. Mark, which was built in 1557. This cathedral is likely the most important building in the old town, given its importance as a place of worship in the city since construction. Another site worth visiting is the Governor’s Palace, built in 1525. This building was formerly the home of the island’s governor, but now serves as a municipal building. There are quite a few more palaces to see in the city as well, as the city was once home to several aristocratic Venetian families. These include Arneri Palace, Ismaelli Palace, and Spanic Palace.
If you like museums, there are two within Korcula’s old town that you should see. The first is the Korcula Town Museum that is housed in Gabrielis Palace. Inside the museum you’ll have the chance to learn about the island’s history and culture. Artifacts here range from the 4th century BC through the Middle Ages.
The second museum you should see is the Marco Polo Museum. Something you may not know is that Korcula was the birthplace of Marco Polo. Inside the museum you’ll find scenic depictions and wax figures of Marco Polo’s life, such as his visit to Kublai Khan in China. The museum is housed in his (alleged) house of birth and features a tower that offers panoramic views of the city.
In the afternoon, take some time exploring one of the many wineries on the island. The main area for wine tasting is in the town of Lumbarda, Korcula. There are eight wineries here that specialize in Grk wine production. This wine is particular to the island, and not produced in great quantities. With this in mind, it is a variety you should certainly try while in Korcula. Two of the wineries you may want to check out are Vitis and Popic, but as mentioned above, there are other options here as well.
In Lumbarda, you also have the opportunity to stroll through the olive groves found in the little town as well, if it interests you. In the event you don’t visit one, you should certainly aim to purchase a bottle of the local olive oil while there. It is another one of the island’s delicacies.
After a day of leisurely exploring, I recommended exploring the beautiful beaches in Korcula. My recommendation would be to spend a few hours at Beach Vela Przina. This sandy beach is also located in the Lumbarda region. In addition to the crystal clear waters here, there are several beach eateries, toilets, showers, and a wifi network.
As you close out your day in Korcula, go for dinner at one of the island’s local restaurants. A place that would be good to try is Maredin, a Dalmatian Tapas and Wine Bar. There are plenty of delicious options to try here and a very nice social ambiance as well.
If time permits, another experiencer you must try is the Moreska Sword Dance. This cultural experience is essentially a fighting dance that tells the story of a king and an abducted princess. Note, this dance only occurs on specific days at certain times of the year. It takes place on Monday and Thursdays at 9PM from July – August and from September – October just on Thursdays at 9PM.
Know Before You Go
The only way to reach Korcula is via boat. You have the ability to take ferry boats here from the other nearby islands and cities, such as Split, Mljet, Hvar, and Dubovnik. In addition, it is also common to reach the islands via one of the popular yacht trips, like the one offered by SailWeek Croatia. Most likely boats will take you either to the port near Korcula Town or to the larger port in Vela Luka.
If you want to drive around the island, I recommend renting a buggy or doing a buggy tour with a local guide. This will ensure you get to all the sites safely and also see as much as possible in a short amount of time.
When to Go
Similar to other island destinations in the Mediterranean, the best time to visit Korčula, Croatia is during peak season in the summer months. During this time, the waters are warm and the weather is enjoyable.
The official language in Croatia is Croatian, which is also known as Hrvatski to the locals. But don’t worry if you don’t know the language, most who work in tourist-facing roles do speak good English.
Best Way to See the Island
If you prefer not to see the island alone, I recommend that you either take a walking tour of the Old Town. This will allow you to get the best insights into the city’s history. You may also want to consider one of the popular buggy tours that will take you to many of the sites listed in this guide outside of the Korcula Town. The best part about the buggy tour is that it includes a stop at the local guide’s home to spend time with his family and have home cooked tapas and drinks.
In Summary | One Day in Korcula, Croatia
We hope you enjoyed this one day travel guide for Korčula island. As you can see, despite its small size, the island has plenty of things to do and see. From the beaches, to the wineries, to the restaurants, to the historical Old Town, your day in Korcula is bound to be a great one.