The Best of Korcula

Croatia’s sixth-largest island—once known as Melaina Korkyra (Black Korkyra) because its vast oak forests reminded Greek settlers of Corfu—is covered in pine trees, olive groves, and vineyards. Korčula Old Town is the island’s treasured highlight and a UNESCO World Heritage Site candidate. Its stone architecture and historic ambiance reflect almost four centuries of Venetian rule, with towered gates, lion statues, magnificent palazzos, and elaborate stonework peppering the charming streets. Venturing out of the Old Town, you will encounter historic villages, picturesque bays, waterfront promenades, and welcoming locals. Korčula is one of the last places on earth where knightly games like the Moreška dances are still regularly performed and where medieval fraternities still keep up their centuries-old traditions. The island truly is a treasure trove of history, nature and serenity.

Highlights
Trg Svetog Marka
Across from St. Mark’s Cathedral, the 15th-century Gabrielis Palace hosts the Town Museum of Korčula. An account of the island’s history is presented in both Croatian and English, and vividly illustrated by artifacts ranging from coats of arms and Greek amphorae to ship models and typical local household items. The museum’s most prized possession—the Psephisma of Lumbarda—dates back to the 4th century B.C.E. This stone plaque, written in ancient Greek, is the oldest written document found in Croatia.
Ulica Hrvatske Bratske Zajednice
Auntie or Teta Smilja, as locals lovingly call her, opened her cozy shop back in 1994. Since then, her sweets—made using traditional and original recipes—have been featured in international magazines and won national awards. Packed to go, her klaštuni (walnut-filled dough) and amareti (almond cookies with lemon and orange) will make your walk around Korčula memorably sweet.
152 Podstrana
Catch a taxi at the Old Town’s main bus station and head to Korčula’s first organic wine producer for a taste of the island’s traditional wines. A century after the indigenous grape variety grk disappeared from Korčula, vintner Frano Milina replanted it and started making what is now his signature Bire Grk white. Today, he offers daily tastings at the winery between 10 a.m. and midnight.
101 Šetalište Frana Kršinića
Starting at the sea gate, pick up a map from the tourism board office to get oriented. Then, wander past innumerable shops and cafés, taking note of Korčula’s fishbone layout, which was intended both to protect the town and make use of local winds. Also be sure to admire Korčula’s signature stonework, best displayed in the Gothic-Renaissance-style St. Mark’s Cathedral.

101 Šetalište Frana Kršinića
With hourly departures until 1 p.m., this 45-minute cruise runs along Korčula’s northern shores and out to the surrounding archipelago. Buy a ticket at Korkyra Info Office (4 Kralja Tomislava) and sail to islets like Vrnik, known for its stone quarries, and Badija, home to a 14th-century Franciscan monastery. Hop off to explore then return on a later boat. Relaxing with a glass of local wine and looking out onto the jaw-dropping views is possibly your best introduction to Korčula.
Constructed from local stone in the 13th century, the tower—the gate to Old Town—was renovated to its former glory in 2003. The lion relief sculpture on the front facade is a reminder of the town’s Venetian rulers, while the plaque honoring the first Croatian king celebrates the island re-joining Croatia in the 20th century. Climb to the top terrace to enjoy breathtaking panoramas of the Strait of Pelješac, its archipelago and the Old Town’s rooftops.
Ulica Korčulanskog statuta 1214
Irena Kaštela, third-generation jewelry designer and store owner, is so incredibly personable that shopping here is like visiting friends. A block down the main street from the South Gate, her store might just have more international fans than the island itself. Shop here for unique pieces featuring semiprecious stones and, of course, coral.
Ulica Depolo
Korčula Old Town claims to be the birthplace of the famous explorer (view his birth registry in the Bishop’s Treasury). The island celebrates this not only in its Marco Polo Museum, but at this Marco Polo-themed shop where you’ll find a plethora of creative souvenirs, like a selection of local spices, 1,000 grains of salt or bottled local seawater.
6, Ul. Don. Pavla Poše 1, 20260, Korčula, Croatia
A former 18th-century bishop’s palace in Korčula Old Town, this Relais & Châteaux property has been meticulously restored into an all-suite luxury hotel. Each of the five rooms is decorated along a different theme inspired by the Silk Road and the explorer Marco Polo, who is rumored to have been born on Korčula. The two-bedroom China Suite features low-slung furniture, red pillows, and a scene-stealer of a terrace with views across the town and coastline, while the one-bedroom Arabia Suite includes an all-white color scheme and intricately carved wood screens.

The hotel’s LD Spa specializes in Thai and Ayurvedic treatments, and the restaurant serves fresh, local seafood on a long terrace above the Old Town wall. The restaurant also produces three different olive oils from the groves around Korčula, and works with local partners to serve wines made from indigenous grapes like grk and pošip.
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