Korčula is also the name of the eastern-most town on the island. Another town is Vela Luka, 43 km in the west, from where many ferries go. There are many small villages, including Blato, Smokvica, Čara, Pupnat, Žrnovo, Lumbarda and Račišće all worth visiting if you have more time to spend.
Korčula is the most populated island in the Adriatic. It has very good facilities for cycling with lots of small tracks with spectacular view. Cycling on Korčula is developing fast since the island has a very mild winter therefore all seasons are ideal for cycling.
Croatian is the local language, but English is spoken at most restaurants, internet cafes, tourist information centers and travel agencies. Italian is also widely understood, especially among the elderly. Some people also speak German.
- From Dubrovnik
- Follow the coastal road (E65/D8) in direction Split. Then you drive on the peninsula Pelješac until Orebić. In Orebić you either take the ferry to Dominče (3 km east of Korčula town) or leave your car and take a passenger-only ferry to Korčula itself. The ferry goes every hour, except in the night between 00:00-04:00.
- From Split
- Follow the coastal road (E65/D8) in direction Dubrovnik about 100 km. In Drvenik you take the ferry to Korčula (it goes at 08:30 and at 17:30 costs: per person €5/car, €25/motorcycle, €10/camping-bus €40). The camp is situated 500 m from there. Alternatively you can take the A1 to Ploče, the D8 to Mali Ston and then cross Pelješac to Orebić.
- from Split
- Take the Jadrolinija ferry to Vela Luka (60 kn per person; this ferry also takes cars), then take a bus to Korčula Town. Alternatively, take the Jadrolinija catamaran directly to Korčula town (one daily service leaving Split at 17:00 and arriving in Korčula Town at 20:00, 80 kn per person).
- from Dubrovnik
- Take the Marko Polo (Jadrolinja) ferry to Korčula (80 kn).
- from Dubrovnik
- Libertas bus to Orebić (14:15 every day except Sunday) then passenger ferry from Orebić to Korčula (15 kn).
- from Rijeka
- 10 hours, overnight (Marko Polo ferry), 210 kn
- from Bari, Italy
- 12 hours, (Marko Polo ferry)
- from Hvar
- Take the Jadrolinija catamaran to Korčula town (one daily service leaving Hvar at 18:45 and arriving in Korčula Town at 20:00, 50 kn per person, tickets available at the 'Pelegrini' travel agency in Hvar next to the pier).
By water taxi
If arriving on Orebić you can get yourself a ride on one of the water taxis, or order a speed taxi boat that will get you across the canal in under 7 minutes (Water express - water taxi service) 098 757043
- From Zagreb
- There is a direct bus to Korčula, which takes 10 hours.
- From Dubrovnik
- There is a daily coach which takes around 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a minibus run by Korkyra Info Travel Agency which takes around 2 hours (150 kn per person) and picks you up directly from where you are staying in Dubrovnik. The minibus can take you from Dubrovnik Airport to Korčula for 225 kn per person. Korkyra can arrange a private transfer between Dubrovnik and Korčula if you prefer at 1050 kn (per vehicle) and can organise a stop en route on the Pelješac peninsula at a winery in Potomje, a seafood restaurant or Ston, the site of the second longest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China.
- From Belgrade
- There is a direct service all the way from the capital of Serbia, normally three times a week, during the summer season (late June–early September).
- From Sarajevo
- The Bosnian capital also has buses to Korčula.
Korčula town is small enough to walk everywhere. The layout of the town is quite simple, with a single avenue as the spine bisecting the old town, and smaller roads branching from this central avenue toward the sea. A pedestrian avenue circles the old town as well.
It is possible to travel between towns on the island by bus, car or taxi, and some taxi drivers will give guided tours of the island.
There are a couple internal bus routes connecting Korčula town to other towns on Korčula island. The Korčula town bus station is at the southeast corner of the Old Town.
- to Zrnovo, Pupnat, Blato and Vela Luka — Buses depart Korčula town bus station between 06:45 to 20:00: M–Sa 6—8 times daily (depending on season), just 3 times on Sunday. Check schedule for date-specific schedule. Takes 1 hour and costs 43 kn to cross the entire island to Vela Luka.
- to Lombarda or Car Ferry Terminal, approximately hourly from 07:00–18:45 M–Sa, just 4 times from 10:00–18:45 on Sunday. Check schedule for date-specific schedule. Takes 15 minutes and costs 25 kn.
Bike rentals are available in old town. If you intend to cycle between towns, ask for route recommendations when renting: they may recommend lesser-known Napoleonic roads and other trails that are both easier and safer for bikers than the main trans-island highway.
If visiting coastal villages it's best done with a water-taxi since Korčula has a big archipelago with many small islands well worth seeing (Water-express water taxi service 098 757043).
Korčula Old Town
Korčula's Old Town is small and can be seen pretty thoroughly in a few hours.
- 1 St Mark's Cathedral Tower (Cathedral Sveti Marko) (center of Korčula town). The bell tower, while not particularly tall on its own, sits at the highest point of Korčula's old town and offers spectacular views of the city's red-tile roofs and of ships in the blue water. Better than the Marco Polo tower, which is shorter. Steps only, no elevator. To visit the interior of the cathedral is a separate admission fee and nothing special. 20 kn for tower, 20 kn for cathedral interior.
- 2 Marco Polo's House (Kuća Marka Pola), ul. Depolo. Apr–Jun and Sep–Oct 09:00–15:00, Jul–Aug 09:00–21:00. Tourists can visit what the town claims is the birthplace of famed explorer Marco Polo (Venice, Constantinople, and Korčula all claim this; "Marco Polo's House" was built at least a century after he died!) 20 kn.
- 3 Town Museum Korčula (Gradski muzej Korčula), Trg. Sv. Marka (facing Saint Mark's cathedral), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Jan–Mar Oct–Dec 10:00–13:00, Apr–Jun 10:00–14:00, Jul–Sep 09:00-21:00, closed Sundays. Good overview of the island's and town's history: Includes exhibits on limestone carving, Korčula's shipbuilding industry, and an example merchant's house from old times. Ask how to use your smartphone as a free audio guide. Outside, in the square, notice the limestone post with chains that used to be used to punish criminals. 20 kn, children under 14 free.
- 4 Cypress-lined stairway on Sveti Antun Hill, in the Sveti Antun suburb of Korčula (25 minutes walk or 5 minutes drive from Korčula old town). Climb an avenue of 102 steps, lined with regal cypress trees, to reach the hilltop chapel of Sveti Atun. Entrance to the chapel itself is usually locked but windows allow you to clearly look into the interior at all hours. Views from the hilltop are good, but the cypress staircase is really the highlight of this destination. free.
- 5 Big Cave (Vela Spila), Vela Luka.
Beaches & nature
If you are the relaxed traveller looking for a quiet getaway, it's possible to soak up the sun on some of Croatia's most beautiful beaches. Some of the beaches on the island are quite liberal, with fully nude sunbathers.
Most of Croatia's beaches are quite rocky, so it is imperative to wear the correct footwear. If you plan to swim, wear shoes or swim fins in the water—there are many sea urchins!
The beaches on Korčula offer gorgeous views of the karstic coastal ranges. One can also see the nearby coastal village of Orebić.
There are two sandy beaches on Korčula, just to the east of the village of Lumbarda, one on the north coast and one on the south coast at the narrowest point on the island.
- Rent a kayak (there's a booth at the beach on the west side of old town)
- Rent or buy a snorkel, mask, and swim fins and go snorkeling around the island. Or, rent the kayak and snorkel set and go paddle to some of the islands around Korčula and snorkel there! Recommended is the southeast coast of Badija island—there is a nice small beach for your kayak and some lovely snorkeling.
- Local shops offer bike rentals (€9-12/day) if you choose to ride around the island.
- 1 Kočje Rock Formations (Follow signs to Zrnovo. Continue straight through Brdo; the road turns to gravel.). High up, in the interior of the island, is this nature preserve of massive limestone rock formations and chasms. It's a bit tricky and a lot of fun to climb on them. No equipment needed except good shoes. Legend tells of fairies living here. Free.
- There are two nightclubs.
- Moreška Sword Dance (inquire at tourist booths for location). Fridays in summer 21:00. Moreška is sword dance that stages a battle over the fate of a young maiden. Korčula is the only place where this Moorish dance remains in the world, and Korčulans take it seriously! About 16 guys really go at each other with real swords: sparks fly and sometimes a dancer gets hurt but they nevertheless stick it out because the dance is so tightly choreographed. Almost as impressive is the woman who narrates the story before the show fluently in five different languages. 100 kn.
- Korkyra Baroque Festival, In various buildings in Korčula town.. An annual series of concerts showcasing a selection of Europe's leading ensembles and soloists specialized in Baroque music. Ten or so evening concerts are held over a period of two weeks in early September (3–17 September 2016) along with a series of supporting events. Along with the festival's high artistic credentials the event also promotes the richness of Korčula's cultural monuments and the whole town as a unique architectural treasure.
There are plenty of restaurants on the island, ranging from traditional Adriatic fare to Italian influences.
Don't leave Korčula without trying local dishes such as brodet (fish stew), pašticada (Dalmatian stewed beef), žrnovski makaruni (beef with thin, long pieces of pasta) and pogačice (baked scones). In addition, peka is a delicious Dalmatian dish of meat and vegetables slow-cooked in the fireplace; you can find it at local restaurants, but you usually must call in the order a day in advance since it takes a long time to prepare.
Local desserts include klašun (shortbread pastry filled with chopped nuts), cukarin (cookies), and prikle (deep-fried dough, popular throughout southern Dalmatia).
Korčula Old Town
- Konoba Maslina, Korčula Old Town (As you enter the Old Town, heading northwards, turn right after going up the steps to the Great Land Gate (Velki Revelin)), ☎ . This eatery serves simple, yet delicious local food, such as pašticada (Dalmatian stewed beef) and pogačice (deep-fried dough), at very reasonable prices (50-60 kn for a main dish). The portions are very generous and the service is amazingly friendly. Its menu mainly consists of meat dishes, not seafood. Drinks are around 10-15 kn (for example, 15 kn for 0.5 l of beer). Don't miss out on the homemade local style cakes for desert (15 kn for one portion).
- Konoba Adio Mare, Sv. Roka 2, Korčula Old Town, ☎ , . Delicious and reasonably priced Dalmatian cuisine. The outdoor terrace is often full of tourists. English and German spoken.
- Konoba Marinero, Korčula Old Town
- Konoba Mareta, Korčula Old Town
- Restaurant Kanavelić, Korčula Old Town - Sveta Barbara 12, tel: (020) 711800, 711078
Rest of Korčula island
- Fisherman's Evenings (Ribarska Večer) (check with the tourist office for exact schedule and locations). The towns of Brna (some Fridays), Lombarda (Saturdays), and Vela Luka (Sundays) all host summertime outdoor block parties focused around local cuisine and tradition. For 50–60 kn you can get a big plate of a variety of fresh fish from local fishermen. You can also buy local desserts and maybe see some traditional dance. Free admission.
- Restaurant Fresh - Kod Kina Liburna
- Restaurant Grubinjac - Grubinjac, Zrnovo, Island of Korčula
- Konoba Malta - Sveti Antun
- Konoba Mijo, Pupnatska Luka, ☎ .
- Restoran Planjak, Korčula - Plokata 19. travnja 1921 tel: (020) 711015, 711202
- Pizzeria Cinciculjak, Nova Riva - (020) 715822
- Marco Polo Mistique, Restaurant and Cafe, Nova Riva
- Buffet Tramonto, Korčula - Ismaelli 12, tel : 098 1921048
- Konoba Mate, Pupnat, Korčula Island
Korčula is best known for its two dry white wines, grk and pošip, which are not grown anywhere else in the world:
- Pošip is a light-bodied dry white wine from Smokvica and Čara in the middle of the island.
- Grk is only grown and made around Lumbarda (a village 7 km from Korčula Town). You won't find it in stores; nicer restaurants will have it. Otherwise, your best bet is to follow signs for any of the "Grk" vineyards on the main road on either side of Lumbarda. Pride in this local grape is so intense that all the winemakers here produce quality wine. It's worth the hunt!
Because the grk vine has only female flowers, the plavac mali grape (literally, "little blue") is usually planted nearby to pollinate nearby grk. Although the adjacent Pelješac Peninsula is more famous for plavac mali, Korčula vineyards produce good plavac mali red wines too.
- Vinum Bonum (on Punta Jurana, a small side-street just west of the harbor, Korčula town). This small winebar is a great place to sample all the local wines and liquors. Knowledgeable and helpful staff. Tapas. 8–30 kn for a glass of wine.
- Kaleta booking centre. Right in the middle of town, across Old Town main gate, offers it all: rooms, apartments, transfers, excursions, the lot. Friendly young staff will take good care of you.
- Camping Kamp Kalac. 20 min walking from Korčula town, directly at the beach. There is a small taxi boat between the harbour of Korčula and the Campsite/Hotel, operating twice an hour, for 10 kn.
- Hostel Dragan's Den is located 10–15 minutes from Korčula town centre and a short walk away from sandy beaches. The hotel is well-suited for a couple or a larger group. Equipped with en-suite bathrooms and kitchens. There is free Internet access as well and a swimming pool. The owner, Dragan, offers frequent free lifts in his minibus if you want to travel to Korčula town, cliff jumping, or the beach.
- Maria's Place is right in the center of town, steps from the cathedral. It has three double rooms with ensuite bathrooms, wifi, and a refrigerator. It is a good, nice, clean, quiet place for the budget traveler. Rooms from €20-35/person/night, depending on the season.
Be very cautious about renting boats if you would like to spend time travelling between the small islands around the coast. Some of these boats are not well maintained and if you have little experience, you could easily suffer an engine failure. In this case you will need to be rescued by the company and this may take a long time, wasting your time and potentially putting you in danger as you drift! At least one of these companies (Korkyra Info) will not refund you fully in the case that this happens, despite the fact that this is a relatively common occurrence.
- Mljet (pronounced 'mil-yet') is one of nine Croatian National Parks. It is the greenest island in the Adriatic, with two salt lakes and a small island with a monastery on the big lake. A perfect getaway to get in touch with nature, Mljet is a must see if you visit the Dubrovnik county. Day trip excursions to Mljet from Korčula are organised by many travel agencies.
- Mediterano Travel Agency can provide a return boat journey between Korčula Town and Mljet or an excursion including a guide.
- Korkyra Info Travel Agency offers an excursion (with a guide and including the National Park entrance fee) for 420 kn.
- Korčula Adventures offers an excursion to Mljet by luxury yacht (guide, lunch, snorkelling gear and National Park entrance fee included) for 525kn per person.
- Orebić (pronounced 'O-re-bich') is a 20-minute ferry ride away. It is a picturesque coastal village with lovely beaches and fantastic views of the Adriatic. Ferries depart Korčula Town multiple times per day, depending on season. In Orebić, you can sample local crafts and Adriatic cuisine. The restaurants offer a seafront atmosphere and the best octopus salad you ever tasted!