Ultimate Travel Guide to Korčula
If you plan your next Croatian vacation, uncover why Korčula Island should be on your following must-visit list! The largest island of the Dubrovnik-Neretva Region, Korčula, is covered with vineyards, olive groves, and tradition. The beautiful old town of Korčula reminds you of the Mediterranean as it once was. We have prepared an ultimate travel guide covering everything – from where to stay, eat, what to visit and experience while in Korčula. Cheers to planning a new dream vacation!
Why travel to Korčula?
When it comes to choosing a destination for your next vacation, the options seem endless. However, if you’re a wine lover or an adventurer seeking new experiences, look no further than Korčula Island in Croatia.
This enchanting island is renowned for its exceptional wines, indigenous varieties Grk and Pošip, vibrant culture, and a plethora of exciting activities. With its unique blend of natural beauty, historical charm, and culinary delights, Korčula promises an unforgettable journey for first-time visitors to Croatia and travelers alike.
Ask any local why you should visit Korčula; the answer will likely be simple: wine. Dubbed the “wine island,” Korčula boasts an impressive reputation for its vineyards and unique varietals.
While Croatia is known for producing excellent wines, Korčula’s offerings are something else. With the indigenous varietals Grk and Pošip mentioned, wine enthusiasts are in for a treat.
Embark on a wine-tasting journey, exploring the island’s vineyards gracefully stretching along the sparkling Adriatic coastline.
However, Korčula offers much more than just exceptional wine. It caters to various interests, making it an ideal destination for those seeking diverse experiences.
We recommend spending at least three days in Korčula town and a week on the island, especially if you add daily trips to nearby Pelješac, Mljet, or even Vis Island.
Explore the island’s picturesque landscapes on a bike ride through vineyards that seamlessly merge with the sea. Immerse yourself in the island’s rich cultural heritage by witnessing a captivating Moreška dance performance—a traditional sword dance originating from Korčula.
Feel the energy and rhythm of this age-old tradition as it unfolds before your eyes.
For beach lovers, Korčula presents hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The island boasts an array of pristine beaches from sandy stretches to secluded coves.
Embark on a thrilling drive down a winding, steep road that leads to a clear, perfect beach, offering a secluded paradise where you can unwind and soak up the sun.
When it comes to culinary delights, Korčula is a gastronomic haven.
Indulge in a Michelin-starred meal, savoring the culinary creations of renowned chefs, or opt for a traditional konoba—a local tavern—where you can relish country-style food bursting with authentic flavors.
Experience the island’s vibrant food scene, where fresh, locally sourced ingredients take center stage.
How do you get to Korčula?
The quickest way to reach the island is the short ferry drive from Orebić on the Pelješac peninsula.
The famous neighbor Pelješac, the kingdom of the Plavac Mali is seen from the old town Korčula. If you’re coming from Split, the ferry drive will be a bit longer, lasting up to 3 hours.
Where to stay on Korčula?
When visiting the beautiful island of Korčula, there are several wonderful places to consider for your stay. The historic town of Korčula, located on the northeastern coast, is a popular choice with its charming narrow streets, ancient architecture, and stunning sea views.
Staying within the town immerses you in its rich cultural heritage and enjoys easy access to its many restaurants, cafes, and shops.
If you prefer a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, the villages of Lumbarda and Žrnovo offer a serene setting amidst vineyards and olive groves. These picturesque locations provide a peaceful retreat while still being within reach of the island’s stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Whether you choose to stay in the vibrant town or opt for a tranquil village, Korčula offers a range of accommodations, from cozy guesthouses to luxurious hotels, ensuring a delightful and memorable stay.
1. Lešić Dimitri Palace
Lešić Dimitri Palace stands as a true gem of the Adriatic coast. This luxurious boutique hotel offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modern sophistication, making it an ideal destination for discerning travelers seeking an unforgettable experience.
From its stunning architecture and exquisite design to its world-class amenities and unparalleled service, Lešić Dimitri Palace sets the stage for an extraordinary stay.
Situated within a meticulously restored 18th-century bishop’s palace, Lešić Dimitri Palace seamlessly merges the old and the new. The palace’s exterior exudes timeless elegance, featuring traditional stone walls and charming arches.
Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a world of contemporary luxury, where sleek design elements harmoniously coexist with historical remnants, showcasing the artistry of the restoration process.
Each of the hotel’s six individually designed suites tells a story, reflecting the unique history of the palace. The suites are named after Mediterranean herbs, paying homage to the island’s lush natural surroundings.
Lavender, Rosemary, Sage, and Basil are just a few of the enchanting suites awaiting guests, each offering its own distinctive ambiance and luxurious amenities.
Lešić Dimitri Palace is home to two exquisite restaurants, each offering a unique culinary experience. LD Terrace, with its breathtaking views of the surrounding marina and old town, serves up a delightful fusion of Mediterranean and international flavors, expertly prepared by the talented chefs.
For a more intimate and exclusive dining experience, guests can indulge in the exclusive LD Restaurant, where a limited number of tables are available, ensuring personalized service and an unforgettable gastronomic journey.
To enhance the overall sense of relaxation and well-being, the palace offers an intimate spa facility where guests can indulge in a range of rejuvenating treatments and therapies.
Additionally, Lešić Dimitri Palace provides access to a private beach club just a short distance away, allowing guests to soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Beyond the palace’s walls, the island of Korčula beckons visitors with its rich history and natural beauty. Known as the birthplace of the famous explorer Marco Polo, the town of Korčula offers a wealth of historical landmarks, charming narrow streets, and vibrant cultural events.
Guests can explore the medieval walls, visit the impressive St. Mark’s Cathedral, or wander through the town’s alleys, discovering hidden treasures at every turn.
2. Aminess Korčula Heritage Hotel
Aminess Korčula Heritage Hotel is the first hotel in Korčula, opened in 1912. Over a century later, the Aminess Korčula Heritage Hotel proudly stands as an iconic establishment, with a unique location adjacent to the historic quarter of Korčula Town and captivating guests with breathtaking views of the shimmering sea from its façade.
Stepping foot into the Aminess Korčula Heritage Hotel is like stepping into a time-honored sanctuary, where the timeless charm of a stone villa design seamlessly blends with the allure of a vine-covered terrace. The hotel’s ambiance exudes an air of romance and enchantment, making it a sought-after destination for couples and discerning travelers.
In 2015, the Aminess Korčula Heritage Hotel underwent a meticulous renovation, elevating its standards to a level of unparalleled excellence. The result is a harmonious fusion of old-world elegance and modern luxury.
Each room within this distinguished establishment embodies the epitome of refined taste, boasting a five-star quality that surpasses expectations while maintaining an affordable four-star price.
The hotel is ideally situated within walking distance of pristine beaches, allowing guests to indulge in the sun-kissed shores and crystal-clear waters at their leisure.
Culinary enthusiasts will be delighted by the exquisite dining options available on-site. The hotel’s restaurants serve a delectable array of dishes that showcase the vibrant flavors of Croatian cuisine. To enhance the dining experience, live music performances occur in the evenings.
3. Hotel Korsal
Situated within Korčula’s pedestrian-only area and conveniently close to the marina, bus, and Korčula ferry terminals, this charming hotel is a perfect place from which to explore Korčula Island.
Catering to larger groups, the hotel offers spacious family rooms, while all of its modern and cozy accommodations are equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi, a television, air conditioning, and a private bathroom.
Guests can revel in its proximity to a beautiful beach and indulge in delightful terrace dining at the hotel’s onsite restaurant, offering picturesque sea views.
Here, a delectable range of authentic Dalmatian cuisine awaits, ensuring a memorable gastronomic experience complemented by a delightful buffet breakfast each morning.
4. Zuviteo Residence
Exuding elegance and sophistication, the Zuviteo Residence stands out among the finest accommodations in Korčula. Its generously proportioned rooms and suites boast magnificent stone walls and offer many luxurious amenities.
For an even more exceptional experience, the superior king and queen rooms feature comfortable seating areas, charming balconies, a private terrace, and a rejuvenating spa bath.
Each morning, guests are treated to a delectable continental breakfast, providing a delightful start to their day before exploring the captivating St. Mark’s Cathedral and other renowned attractions in Korčula.
With its unrivaled blend of opulence and privacy, these exquisite apartments epitomize the epitome of refinement for a sophisticated and memorable stay in Korčula.
5. Luxury Villa Korčula Diamond
Immerse yourself in luxury at this exquisite villa nestled in Korčula. Just steps away from the historic Stari Grad and a short 4-minute drive from the renowned ACI Marina Korčula, this 5-star haven offers a truly captivating experience.
Discover the treasures of the region as you explore Korčula Old Town, or admire the formidable St. Blaise Fortress and incredible sea view, from the villa.
Indulge in a range of recreational activities, whether it’s taking a refreshing dip in the seasonal outdoor pool, basking in the picturesque views from the terrace and garden, or relishing in the delectable delights prepared on the barbecue grills.
Step out onto the private furnished balcony or patio to soak up the surroundings and enjoy your dream vacation.
Where to eat in Korčula?
1. Konoba Maha
Konoba Maha is a ranch-style restaurant, which is the main reason why all celebrities visiting Korčula leave the coast for the inland. Ranch Maha is a unique rural household located seven kilometers from Korčula towards Vela Luka.
A spacious garden planted with herbs and figs is the setting for summer dining.
Located eight kilometers from the main road to Vela Luka, this place is designed in a traditional Dalmatian style with stone walls, rustic furniture, and subdued lighting.
The garden and terrace are perfect for enjoying a cold drink in the summer.
Despite being classified as a “ranch,” you actually arrive at a beautiful garden surrounded by olive trees in the Dalmatian karst, with tastefully arranged tables, and the culinary offerings are on par with fine dining restaurants.
Ranch Maha was established about 20 years ago as a family-owned restaurant by the Marelić family. Initially, their menu was based on “classics” such as grilled dishes, peka dish, slow-cooked lamb, goat, or fish under charcoal.
However, as the years passed, their menu was supplemented and changed, thanks to the efforts of their sons Ivan and Jakša, who transformed the original ranch into a restaurant that flirts with fine dining but doesn’t adhere to pretentious creams, garnishes, and other “fripperies,” instead focusing on honest flavors of local ingredients.
2. Konoba Mate
Family-owned and self-sustainable tavern Mate serves vegetables, fruits, and herbs from their own garden.
Homemade goat cheese and smoked ham are a delicious way to start the meal. They make homemade pasta, roast kid goat, and especially praise veal cheeks.
The main figure of this restaurant is undoubtedly Biljana Milina, better known by her nickname Biba. Konoba Mate was opened in 2000, and along with authentic homemade dishes, Biba is a true master of unusual desserts.
Thus, here one could find a cake with dark beer ice cream, a chocolate cake with red pepper, and, let’s say, pralines filled with basil.
They produce almost all the ingredients themselves, grow vegetables, and make marmalades, among which the ones made from rose petals, green apples, Lombardy grapefruit, and kiwi are particularly interesting.
They have their own goats and serve homemade prosciutto. The menu is not extensive, and you won’t find extravagant decorations or an extensive wine list here.
3. Lešić Dimitri Palace – LD restaurant
Lešić Dimitri Palace and its Michelin stared LD restaurant is the gastronomic institution on the island of Korčula.
They offer the largest selection of Luka Krajančić wines and work with young, talented chefs from Croatia to create a real dining experience. Service is outstanding.
It is located on the main promenade of the old town center, with a view overlooking the Pelješki channel and the nearby islets of Korčula.
When visiting Lešić Dimitri, it is best to indulge in the culinary specialties, such as black shrimp-filled gyoza accompanied by a mousseline sauce (a luxurious version of the classic hollandaise sauce) with a hint of tangy daikon radish and a sprig of fennel.
Additionally, taste the veal entrecôte with dehydrated egg yolk flakes, served with veal jus and a modernized version of the traditional Korčula šuga with Žrnovo macaroni, which was prepared as delightful tasting angelote pillows.
4. Konoba Aterina
Aterina is located in the square of Korčula sculptors and stonemasons, above the harbor captaincy on the island of Korčula. This popular and charming tavern on one of the largest Croatian islands captivates with its delightful decor, floral tablecloths on the terrace, stone floors, and a view of the western coast of Korčula.
As for appetizers, the menu includes, among other things, chickpea spread with salted anchovies, prosciutto, marinated anchovies, toasted bread with rocket pesto and walnuts, and the chef Maja Kršinić’s soup of the day of your choice.
For main courses, they offer summer lentils with herbs, pesto pasta with tomatoes and shrimp, baked eggplants, chickpeas with fish and vegetables.
Which wineries to visit in Korčula?
The island is covered in vineyards and is the homeland of Grk and Pošip varieties. Grk is unique in so many ways, grown only around Lumbarda. It needs other grape varieties (Plavac Mali, for example) to reproduce successfully, while it has only female functional parts.
1. Zure Winery
Korčula wineries are many but Zure winery has the biggest vineyard plantings on Korčula Island.
The view from the Zure vineyards on the southern slopes of Korčula is stunning. Surrounded only by the sea underneath and olive groves planted above the vineyards, vines here grow in a place they were never planted before.
The Zure winery has a family-owned restaurant where, besides their wines, you can try the Dalmatian specialty, the octopus buzara.
2. Bire Winery
Photo credit: Bire Winery
Another winery at the entrance in Lumbarda offers a stunning tasting room in the middle of the winery. The Bire Winery, a maze of renovated stone houses where each of them has a function in the winemaking process, is a place of special energy.
Bire Plavac Mali, a wine that hardly leaves the island because of very limited production, could be called a rarity.
Different in style from more powerful red wines from Pelješac, this is elegant, medium-bodied red with velvet tannins and abundant red fruits mixed with dried herbs.
3. PZ Nerica Winery
The family-owned PZ Nerica Winery with a tasting room with a large terrace overlooking the famed vineyards of Čara wine-growing region is a must-visit. That is where Pošip grows, one of the best white wines on the Croatian coast.
The PZ Nerica winery offers two styles of Pošip wines: Nerica Pošip which is a young and fresh version and the Mindel Pošip, a more complex, sur-lie version aged in oak. And we encourage you to taste one of the best Croatian rosé wines – Nerica Red Pošip!
Best Things to Do in Korčula
So what are the best things to do in Korčula island? You could spend your days being lazy, sitting on beaches and trying the special wines. You could be more active, biking around the towns and learning to windsurf.
I recommend doing some wine-oriented and history-oriented activities in Korčula, as well as taking in a few gorgeous beaches.
Here are my picks for the best things to do in Korčula.
1. Visit Marco Polo Museum
One of the most famous travelers and explorers of the 13th century Marco Polo is believed to be born right in the old town of Korčula. His birth house is now turned into the Marco Polo Museum. You don’t want to miss the house since the tower allows a beautiful panoramic view of Korčula.
The old town of Korčula is a medieval walled city mainly influenced by the Venetian Renaissance, there you’ll find numerous restaurants and wine bars down the stroll by the sea.
Besides tradition and history, the old town of Korčula offers great places to eat and drink—all that, with a sea view.
2. Experience Biking and Wine Tour
Located in the verdant and undulating heart of Korčula island, the green and hilly center presents an ideal pathway for exhilarating cycle tours, which have become immensely popular among visitors seeking an active vacation.
This extraordinary excursion seamlessly blended the best elements of physical activity, breathtaking landscapes, and culinary delights.
While wine regions are renowned for their inherent beauty, Lumbarda transcends all expectations. Perhaps you have previously pedaled through the resplendent vineyards of Istria, or Provence and Sonoma, but have you ever had the privilege of cycling amidst vineyards as the mesmerizing turquoise waves of the ocean relentlessly crash nearby?
3. Explore Korčula Old Town
Korčula boasts a petite yet formidable old town, resembling a compacted version of Dubrovnik. Despite its modest size, the town is easily navigable on foot, although one must conquer numerous staircases along the way.
Furthermore, the town is adorned with a charming waterfront promenade, embellished with delightful eateries and cafés.
During your exploration of the town, be sure to ascend the bell tower, which grants you the privilege of gazing upon the highest point within the old town.
Additionally, a visit to St. Mark’s Cathedral is highly recommended, followed by the joyous prospect of getting lost amidst the labyrinthine alleyways that meander through the town’s core.
4. Unique Tapas Experience at Lole Wine Bar
If you have enjoyed exploring Croatia’s enchanting Dalmatian coast, you must venture to Lole Wine Bar, a culinary gem that ingeniously reinvents traditional Dalmatian appetizers.
At Lole, these delightful bites are presented in innovative and captivating ways, perpetually changing and accompanied by a captivating assortment of local wines.
Embark on a delightful journey by starting with the lighter, more delicate wines and gradually progressing towards the bolder flavors that await. And when the time comes to conclude this remarkable culinary expedition, indulge in the exquisite liqueurs.
It is important to note that Lole Wine Bar tends to be bustling during the evening, so we strongly urge you to reserve your table.
5. Island-hopping adventure with Water Taxi
Embark on a captivating island-hopping adventure around the enchanting waters of Korčula. While the main island offers much to explore, a handful of charming smaller islands nearby are well worth a visit, with Badija and Vrnik being the most prominent ones.
Instead of opting for guided tours, consider a cost-effective and flexible option: purchase a convenient hop-on hop-off water taxi ticket, allowing you to tailor your day of exploration to your own preferences.
The first stop on your aquatic odyssey is the uninhabited island of Badija, renowned for its serene monastery. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere as you visit the monastery and leisurely stroll along the picturesque path that encircles the island. The circular route typically takes around one hour and forty-five minutes to complete.
If you’re inclined to take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters, you’ll discover hidden and inviting beaches on the island’s northern side, while more public beach options await on the eastern shore. While the island is devoid of permanent residents, a snack bar is available for your convenience.
Continuing your maritime escapade, venture towards Vrnik, a markedly smaller island boasting a handful of long-term inhabitants. Stepping foot onto Vrnik is akin to entering an isolated village, providing a charming contrast to the more developed areas of Korčula.
Upon disembarking from the ferry, you’ll be greeted by a delightful beach beckoning you to indulge in a rejuvenating swim. This tranquil spot serves as a perfect introduction to the island’s distinctive ambiance.
6. Witness a Moreška Sword Dance
If you’re intrigued by the notion of witnessing unique sword dances in Croatia, then Korčula is the ultimate destination for you!
Prepare to be enthralled by the mesmerizing Moreška sword dance, an exquisite performance that weaves a tale of two kings locked in a fierce battle with their armies, vying for the affection of a princess held captive.
While the show is presented in Croatian, fret not, as English translations are readily available, ensuring that the storyline remains accessible to all.
This captivating spectacle promises an enjoyable and intriguing experience, making it highly recommended to time your visit to Korčula in a way that allows you to witness the Moreška. It’s advisable, however, to secure a seat not quite in the front row.
Mark your calendar for the Moreška shows, which take place on Mondays and Thursdays at 9:00 PM during the months of July and August, and exclusively on Thursdays at 9:00 PM in June and September.
These enchanting performances are hosted at the open-air Ljetno Kino, conveniently situated within the heart of the old town of Korčula.
To secure your spot, tickets can be purchased either in advance or directly at the theater, allowing you to embark on this extraordinary cultural journey.
7. Enjoy the unique Grk wine
When you find yourself in Korčula, it is highly recommended that you indulge in the Grk wine. This wine holds an exceptional and delightful taste, almost entirely exclusive to the Lumbarda region, making it an emblematic feature of Korčula island.
However, there is another compelling reason to seize the opportunity to savor Grk while on the island. Once you depart from Korčula, locating Grk wine becomes quite challenging.
Therefore, relish the chance to relish Grk at an affordable price while you have it at your fingertips!
And if you are an ardent admirer of this wine, consider acquiring a bottle, ensuring the enjoyment of Grk continues even after you depart from Korčula.
4. Black Island Winery
In the heart of the enchanting island of Korčula lies a captivating treasure bestowed upon the vineyards of Smokvica village—the freshwater ponds known as “Merga Victa,” a name derived from the old Dalmatian language, meaning “path for water.”
These ponds, a splendid gift of nature, serve as the lifeblood for the vineyards that flourish on the outskirts of Smokvica, the very birthplace of Pošip.
Indigenous grape varieties, carefully planted by the local inhabitants, find their nurturing home on terraced fields artfully carved into the rugged hillsides, their roots nourished by the pristine streams that wind their way through the land.
Today, the vintners continue the tradition set by their forebears, tending to the vineyards with dedicated hands, ensuring the utmost care and craftsmanship.
Black Island Winery proudly brings together the most skilled winegrowers from the region, those who cultivate the oldest vineyards in Smokvica.
They produce internationally acclaimed Pošip wines through meticulous efforts, a testament to their unwavering dedication and the exceptional terroir of Korčula vineyards.
Uncover selection of Testament & Black Island Winery Decanter box case.
Korčula Island in Croatia is a true gem that offers a remarkable blend of wine, culture, and adventure.
Whether you’re drawn to its reputation as the wine island, the allure of its diverse activities, or the promise of indulging in exquisite culinary experiences, Korčula will captivate your senses.
Embark on a journey to this enchanting island and discover a world of beauty, flavor, and endless possibilities.
Food, wine, and hidden beaches. No wonder Korčula is one of the hottest summer destinations in Croatia. We’re sure you will enjoy your holidays on the island!