Located just off the Peljesac peninsula and an easy jaunt from Dubrovnik, Hvar, and Split, there’s really no reason not to visit the beautiful island of Korcula. Picture-perfect Korcula Town is small and compact, entirely surrounded by 14th century walls that bear emblems of Venetian rule. Korcula Town often draws comparisons with Dubrovnik, and it is every bit as atmospheric, exuding old-world charm from every narrow street.
Since Korcula is an island without any sort of bridge connecting it to the mainland, you’ll have to catch a boat at some point. If you’re traveling with a car and want to bring it onto the island, you can take the car ferry from Orebic on Peljesac. You can also catch a bus in Dubrovnik that will board a ferry in Orebic and take you all the way to Korcula Town.
If you’d rather take a passenger boat from another coastal town, you have a couple of options. The Krilo catamaran is perfectly suited to a little bit of island hopping, speeding quickly between Korcula, Hvar, and Split. The Nona Ana catamaran travels between Korcula, Mljet, and Dubrovnik, and if you plan carefully, is perfect for a day trip from Dubrovnik to Korcula Town.
Marco Polo, one of history’s famed travelers, was trained as a merchant before embarking on an epic, decades-long journey to Asia. Though he is typically considered a Venetian, many claim that he was in fact born in Korcula Town. A new museum has recently opened at the site of his childhood home. Until recently, only part of the house – a tower offering stunning panoramas of the island – was open to visitors. Though there appears to be no evidence that Marco Polo was actually born here, Korcula is proud to call Marco Polo their own, and the museum is one of those places to check out simply to say that you’ve been there. (And those views don’t hurt, either.)
Moreska Sword Dance
Moreska, a sword dance that was once a widespread custom in the Mediterranean, originated in Spain in the 12th century. It spread to Korcula between the 15th and 16th centuries, and it has been regularly performed there ever since. Over the centuries, Moreska died out elsewhere in Europe and is now performed only in Korcula.
The dance recounts a story of love and war: the jealous Black King steals a princess away from her fiancee, the Red King (locally, the White King). After a series of “battles,” Bula rejoins her true love.
In the past, the dance was only performed on July 29, St. Theodore’s Day. Now the dance is performed every Thursday during the summer.
Cathedral of St. Mark
The tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral punctuates the scenic skyline of Korcula Town. Art and architecture enthusiasts alike will want to visit this15th-century church, which houses work by renowned local and international artists, including two sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic, Croatia’s most famous sculptor, and a 16th-century painting by Venetian master Tintoretto.
Vineyards and beaches
After checking out Korcula Town, why not explore the rest of the island? Korcula, like much of Croatia, is home to a number of vineyards and beautiful beaches. Kill two birds with one stone in the village of Lumbarda, not far from Korcula Town. The area is famous for its wine as well as its rare sandy beaches. Vela Przina beach is the largest and most popular of Lumbarda’s beaches, while Bilin Zal is considered one of Croatia’s best beaches.