Korcula is the birthplace of Marco Polo, great explorer, wanderer, merchant and the man who introduced Asian spices to Europe. I always thought he was Venetian, until I arrived in Korcula shores.
Arriving in Korcula by ferry, you can come either from Split, Hvar or Dubronik on the large catamaran called Jadrolinija. In summer, please buy your tickets early because they do run out. There are also car ferries so if you rented a car, you can figure out the car ferry option. Korcula is not as crowded as Split, Trogir or Hvar. Probably because it’s further away and also because you can only arrive by boat.
Most of the travelers here are Europeans. I’ve not seen hoards of tourists at Korcula yet so please come before everyone else finds out!
Korcula is the perfect place to chill by the beach as it’s not crowded and you can swim just about anywhere. Most of the locals spend almost the whole day on the beach. On Sundays, most restaurants are closed in the day and open only at dinner time because they’re at the beach when the sun shines.
My favourite spot to swim is the place near the restaurant Nonna in the old town. Climb down the steps and you’re at a spot where only the locals know. It’s enjoyable from noon onwards because it’s east facing so you don’t get the fierce sunlight. It’s also 36 degrees so it’s nice to go into the cool waters. If you prefer the sun, walk towards the marina where the ferry dropped you and continue westwards. You will be able to climb down steps to secluded spots as well. The beaches are all rocky or pebbly so do bring along booties so you prevent yourself from getting cut. I headed to the west part for the sunset so I swam there around 4.
Korcula’s old town is a Unesco site and the church of St Marks is a nice place to visit. I also liked the smaller St Peters church which is supposedly the oldest church of Korcula. Of course you shouldn’t miss visiting Marco Polos house and the shop near it. Not much of the house is left but you can climb to the tower to see his view when he woke up. The whole town is planned like a fish bone so you can walk into the alleys from the Main Street, head up again and go to the next etc. it’s very easy to walk and I recommend in the mornings or evenings when it’s less hot. When it’s hot, dip into the waters.
For meals, my apartment host Marijana recommended Aterina where I had the cold soup and octopus salad. Both were great as it was hot and I needed something to cool me down. The Basil cake is supposed to be amazing but they sold out. I went again in the evening and they didn’t get time to bake it as they were busy. They are very busy so go early or reserve in advance. Aterina is the on the left of the first lane if you enter the old town via the steps.
For dinner, you have to try the Brodet, which is a fish stew with Polenta. I had the one at Adio Mare which is one of the oldest restaurant on the island. The fish was very good and it’s right in front of Marco Polo’s house.
If there is one thing you must eat in Korcula, it is the Amareta pastry from Cukarin. It is amazing and is typical of Korcula so you don’t get it elsewhere. It’s made of almonds and its like biscuit on the outside and soft on the inside. I was greedy so I also got the chocolate Marco Polo dark chocolate ball which is delicious, the Cukarin which is the original biscuit and the Klasun which had chocolate and walnut inside. Yum!! They’re closed on Sunday and opens 830am till early evenings on other days.
If you fancy some fish and chips or fried seafood, get good ones at Fish & Go. They serve nice fish and chips with a small salad for 88 kunas. I saw a sign you get free beer or wine if you eat between 12-6pm. The have a platter for 2 which looks amazing with all the fried seafood but I’m sure I couldn’t finish it alone so I got the humble fish and chips instead.
If you want breakfast, Marijana recommends Kolenda which has a good breakfast menu. It also serves sandwiches, pizzas and salads for dinner. I had the beef salad that was nice. The best pizza in Korcula are at Leut just near the apartment and Kolenda. I didn’t try it but it’s always busy at night.
I love Korcula most so far because it’s not as crowded as the other places, the water is clear and easy to get into anywhere part of town and the locals are very nice people. Most of the restaurant and shop staff are local and they will strike up a conversation with you easily.
I stayed at Apartments Marijana. Marijana has a cute cat, and she was very good with recommendations on places to eat and even picked me up from the ferry terminal when I arrived and walked me to her home. Her home was just 2 minutes walk to the old town and is in the heart of the newer town so it’s close to cafes, Bistro and the very cool Servantes which plays live music at night. I enjoyed a concert from a Bosnian group on the day I arrived.
Before I arrived in Korcula I reached Split and had a 5 hour transit before my ferry. I deposited my bag at the shop beside Jadrolinija. Jadrolinija has the large catamarans that brings you to many islands including Trogir, Korcula, Split, Hvar and I’m taking the one to Dubrovnik. Tickets should be bought in advance in high season. You can also buy them online at their website.
Split has a Unesco site which is the Palace of Diocletian. Upon arrival by ferry from Trogir, you will already go to it as it’s huge. It houses a shopping area and you can buy tickets for the museum to see more of it. I didn’t go in as I felt that the Cathedral was a bigger attraction for me and it didn’t disappoint. It was also huge and is supposed to be one of the oldest Catholic Churches in the world, that remains in use in its original structure. A combination ticket gets you to the Cathedral, the bell tower, the crypt, baptistery(temple of Jupiter) and the treasury. The bell tower was the highlight and it’s quite tough to scale so if you’re afraid of heights, maybe not do it. Else, after the climb, you will be rewarded with the beautiful panorama of Split. It gets very crowded but you should stay there for a while to enjoy the breeze and magnificent view.
Split was very touristy, maybe because large Cruise ships stop by here. A fellow traveler said that the accommodation was very expensive, so I’m glad I chose to stay at Korcula. Split was a bigger town and I was very lucky to find a very nice lunch spot at Villa Spiza. The fresh fish was delicious and with wine, cost me only 129 kunas. Less than the other restaurants I had so far for the same dish of fish.
If you love parks and lakes, take the day trip to Mljet National Park. You can just hop onto a speedboat from Korcula and be there in 45 minutes. The speedboat ride is very fun especially if it’s windy because it’s like a roller coaster ride. Just ask any travel shop for the ride. You will signs in town it costs 270 kunas return. They depart daily at 9am and return about 5pm. Mine helped to purchase the park ticket of 110 kunas for me, instead of 130 kunas if you buy on arrival.
Do bring your sunblock, booties, swimmers, towel, water and food so you can have a picnic by the lake. There are also cafes and restaurants but I was happy with my chips, fruits I got from the super market and also my pastries from Cukarin . There is also a small convenience stores on Mljet so don’t worry, you can also buy supplies there when you arrive. Remember to visit both lakes and also St Mary’s island which is one of the most important church in Croatia. You will have to be in decent clothing when visiting this island. The ticket price includes the boat ride and you can take it on the large lake near the bridge as it departs every hour on the hour. Elsewhere where you’re walking along the lakes, you can wear anything you want 😊 you can also rent a bike or kayak and explore the island on your own.
Off to Dubrovnik next so watch out for my next post. Meanwhile, not all who wander are lost. Happy wandering!