Korčula Travel Guide

Korčula is a beautiful town with winding roads, wonderful restaurants, wine bars, and distinctive shops. It is also the rumoured birthplace of well-known explorer Marco Polo and is nicknamed “Little Dubrovnik” because of its similar architecture and layout to the popular city. With fortified towers peppering its skyline and a rich culture featuring delicious traditional…

Island History

The inhabitants of Korčula claim that the island has been inhabited for a very long time. Nevertheless, there is evidence of settlements dating back to thousands of years BC. The Greek colonies and subsequent Roman colonisation contributed to an increase in population on the island. Korčula has a long history of changing hands due to its strategic location for trade and military purposes. Situated at the mouth of the Neretva river, it served as a convenient starting point for travels inland, in addition to being situated between Greece and the Venetian Republic, and near the Republic of Ragusa. Today, it is Croatia’s most populous island.

Best way to get to Korčula

There are various means of transportation to Korčula Island from the mainland, including passenger and car ferries. The main ports on the island are located in Korčula Town and Vela Luka. These locations offer services to Split and Dubrovnik.

If you plan to fly into Dubrovnik, there is a daily ferry or two catamaran options that can take you to Korčula. The slowest ferry ride takes approximately 2.5 hours, while the quickest option—a catamaran—can take as little as 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The most expeditious way to travel from Split to Korčula is by taking a catamaran to Vela Luka or Korčula Town, which takes between 1 hour and 45 minutes and 2 hours respectively. If you are planning to travel to Vela Luka from Split with your vehicle, you can catch a car ferry and then drive to Korčula Town which is only 40 minute drive.

You can browse our selection of Cruises in Croatia to find the one which offers Korčula in the itinerary.

What to do while I am in Korčula?

Experience the Old Town

Korčula Old Town is one of the most popular historical centres in Dalmatia, next to Dubrovnik. Its stone walls, built over two centuries ago, and the incredible fish-bone structure of Old Town are fascinating! The old central Plaza is full of richness and charm and is surrounded by beautiful medieval and renaissance buildings that immediately transport you to another lifetime.

The layout of Korčula Old Town, with its winding alleys and cobblestone streets, was originally designed to keep the area cool during the hot summer months. Today, visitors can enjoy a labyrinth of shops, restaurants and bars within the Old Town walls, thanks to the original architects. When you’re ready to take a break from exploring, you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants in the Old Town where you can relax and enjoy some delicious food at reasonable prices.

Explore Korčula Town Museum

Allot some time to investigate the Korčula Town Museum; a 3-story construction erected between the 15th and 16th century that is situated in the Old Town. The museum outlines the intriguing history of Korčula through the ages, transporting you on a voyage from shipbuilding to art, archeology, furniture and everything in between!

Visit the house of Marco Polo

The well-known explorer Marco Polo is rumoured to have been born in the town of Korčula. While historians may not agree on this fact, if you ask the locals, they will likely point you in the direction of his birth house. You can go on a guided tour of the house and learn details that would be difficult to find out yourself – the guides are informed and hospitable and make sure you get the most out of your visit. Look around the refurbished house and gaze out the window to the horizon in front of you – something that the great explorer himself surely did, if this is where he was born!

Discover St. Mark’s Cathedral

This 15th-century Gothic-Renaissance style church, built from Korčula’s own limestone and sitting on one of the peninsula’s highest points, is an exceptional example of Dalmatian church architecture. The building was constructed by local masters and craftsmen of stonemasonry and is highly symbolic to the people of Korčula.

Explore Vela Spila Cave

Vela Spila, a large open-air cave located above the town of Vela Luka, has been continuously occupied since the last ice age (20,000 years ago). A short hike to Pinski Rat hill, approximately 130 meters above sea level, provides views of the elliptically shaped cavern that sits 17 meters high and measures approximately 40 meters wide. As one of Europe’s most important prehistoric cave dwellings, this is a must-see!

Saviour locally produced wine

Dalmatia’s southern region is renowned for its excellent wines, and the island of Korčula is no exception! Korčula boasts superb red wines and beautifully cultivated vineyards – if you’re a fan of wine, then touring these places is a must. Most of the wines here are made at home, small-scale production wines that aren’t available outside the country. The vineyards near Lumbarda are the source of the well-known Grk wine variety. It is not produced anywhere else on the island or in the country. Take a tour of the vineyards and try the native varieties of wine. You could even cycle there, stopping to try local produce and taste different wines along the way.

Climb Mountain Hum

The primary Hum Hill is situated west of Vela Luka, perched 376 meters above sea level, with a vantage point of the gorgeous bay of this town. If you’re feeling energetic, the abbreviated hike should take around an hour and a half and will provide you with a 19th Century Austro-Hungarian fortress and breathtaking views out across the town and bay.

What about accommodation in Korčula?

Korčula offers a wide variety of accommodations, from hostels with shared dorm rooms to guesthouses and luxurious high-end hotels. Whether you want to stay in Korčula Town, Vela Luka, Lumbarda or in the countryside Korčula provides numerous accommodation.

Towns on Korčula island

Vela Luka

Vela Luka is a town located on the western side of Korčula Island. It is quieter than Korčula Town and gets its name from the big harbour found there. The town has a long history, dating back to prehistoric times, as evidenced by archaeological artefacts found at the local cultural centre. Vela Luka’s main industry is agriculture, particularly olive growing, and the town’s olive oil is widely used and recommended by locals. If you’re looking for a peaceful day trip from Korčula Town, Vela Luka is definitely worth a visit. There are several restaurants and shops along the harbour where you can relax and enjoy the quiet atmosphere.

Lumbarda

Lumbarda is a village on the east side of Korčula island, known for its two sandy beaches. If you don’t prefer pebble beaches, Lumbarda is a great relief! You can either rent a bike or take a taxi to travel the 6 kilometres between Korčula town and Lumbarda.