48 Hours in Korčula, One Of Croatia’s Best Islands
People call the island of Korčula (pronounced kor-CHEW-la) “Little Dubrovnik”, and with its gorgeous old town it’s not hard to see why. Where it differs though, is the lack of crowds.
With a population of just over 15,000 people living on the Croatian island, it has plenty of sandy beaches, great restaurants and wineries to explore (plus, not a cruise ship in sight).
Here’s the ideal way to spend 48 hours on Korčula.
Arriving In Korčula
Korčula is well-connected by ferry to Dubrovnik and Split during summer, with journey times varying from one and a half to two and a half hours depending on the route. As information online can be scarce, the best option is to visit the ferry ticket office when you arrive in Dubrovnik or Split and book your ticket in advance.
There are lockers available at the nearby bus terminal if you want to leave some of your luggage and pick it up when you return from the island.
While Away The Morning
The ferry terminal in Korčula is just outside to the Old Town walls, so take this opportunity to wander through the historic streets. Walking around the walls will only take 15 minutes, but pass through the grand main gate and down the narrow cobblestone streets and you’ll find local artist studios, the historic main square, Trg Svetog Marka, and St Mark’s Cathedral, built from 1301 to 1806, to keep you busy.
According to local legend, all streets on the western side of the Old Town run straight, while Eastern streets runs in shape of small curve, to protect the town from cold and unpleasant north-easterly winds. Building outside the walls was forbidden until the 18th century, which also explains its tightly-concentrated shape.
Into The Afternoon
As you explore the Old Town, you’ll also notice Marco Polo shops, Marco Polo restaurants and even Marco Polo ice cream. Although Marco Polo is generally known as a Venetian merchant, writer and explorer, historical documents show he was captured in Korčula by the Genoese during a naval battle. Because of this, many people in Korčula claim he was born on the island.
Skip the tourist traps and stop in for lunch at a konoba or tavern on the eastern side of the old town, looking out over the ocean. Then walk out of the old town and continue past the marina on the left to the small local beach for a dip.
Treat yourself to a slice of takeaway pizza on the beach and then a sunset cocktail at Radiona. Nightlife on Korčula is very low-key, but Boogie Jungle is the best bet for late-night partying during high-season. (Be warned, it is located three kilometres out of the Old Town.)
There are a couple of hostels in Korčula town, but private rooms through Airbnb or Hostelworld can be affordable if booked in advance and offer a little more luxury. Try to snag one within walking distance of the ferry terminal and Old Town.
A Morning Bike Ride
There’s so much more to the island than the Old Town, so hire a bike from one of the many tourist agencies for kn100 (AU$21) for the day and hit the road. The beaches of Lumbarda are known as some of the most beautiful on the island, and they’re only seven kilometres away. The agency should be able to provide you with maps and directions. There are also water taxis and local buses available between the towns. Grab some supplies from the supermarket on the way for breakfast and lunch, just in case!
Once you arrive in Lumbarda, continue through the town and down to the sandy Bilin žal beach on the north coast. This beach is smaller but often less crowded than the nearby Vela Pržina beach, so check out both and take your pick.
Afternoon Wine Times
Take refuge from the heat at one of the many wineries on the road back to Korčula town. Popić Winery offers wine tasting with a charcuterie plate for around $10, and you can try the island’s famous grk grape. The grk variety is unique to Lumbarda and produces a full-bodied, dry white wine that is something of an obsession in the area. If you like what you taste, the price of a bottle here is much cheaper than in town.
After cycling back to Korčula town, stake out a sunset-viewing spot on the eastern side of the island. Once the crowds subside, visit Konoba Skver for fresh seafood and traditional Dalmatian dishes. Afterwards head to Massimo Cocktail Bar, located in one of the Medieval Old Town turrets, with a sweeping view of the mainland.
Pre-purchase your return ticket to avoid the queue in the morning and make sure to double-check the time and place with the company as there are two possible departure points for the ferry from the Old Town.
After a couple of days in Korčula, we can bet you’re already planning your next Croatian island getaway.