Korcula island in Croatia – what to see and do in the birthplace of Marco Polo

Korcula (Croatia) – an island in the Adriatic Sea, located in the south of the country, between the resorts of Split and Dubrovnik. Its area is more than 270 km2, and the coastline reaches 180 km.

Korcula Island

The second most populated island (over 18,000 people) in Croatia, Korcula has established itself as a picturesque place with a clear sea and mild climate. About a million tourists come here every year to see the historical sights of the Venetian era, enjoy the blue Adriatic Sea and the fresh aroma of a pine forest.

Interesting fact! On the island of Korcula in 1254, Marco Polo, a famous traveler and author of the Book on the Diversity of the World, was born.

Korcula is an island with a rich past. Here lived the Phoenicians and ancient Greeks, Slavic tribes, Genoese and Venetians. Since the 18th century, Korcula was ruled by France, Austria, Italy and Yugoslavia, and only in 1990 the island became part of independent Croatia.

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Such a mixture of cultures affected not only the composition of the population of the cities of Korcula, but also its architecture, sights and local traditions. What to see on the island in the first place? Where are the best beaches? Which cities are really worth seeing? The answers are in this article.

Korcula City

Korcula City

The largest of the three cities of the island is called Korcula and is located on the northeast coast. You will know immediately that the great traveler was born here: from magnets in souvenir shops to the names of streets and attractions – everything in this city is connected with the famous Marco Polo. But the ancient history of Korcula is much more interesting.

According to legend, the city was founded in the 11th century BC by the warrior Antenor, who, after the fall of Troy, was expelled by the Greek king Menelaus. The valiant warrior decided not to despair and moved with his relatives to the “Black Island”, which was not mastered at that time, where he built his own house, which later became the property of the rulers of different countries.

Interesting fact! The name Korcula (translated as “Black Island” is obliged to the dark pine forests, which to this day occupy a significant part of the territory of Croatia.

Street of Korcula

Modern Korcula is a unique example of a preserved medieval city. Narrow streets, stone bays, ancient buildings and unusual churches – all its sights seem to absorb you in the Venetian period. With its beauty and cultural diversity, the city attracted the attention of UNESCO, therefore, perhaps, it will soon join the list of World Heritage of this organization.

St. Mark’s Cathedral
St. Mark's Cathedral

One of the oldest cathedrals in Croatia was built in 1301. Over time, after the creation of the diocese in Korcula, the small nondescript church was completely rebuilt and the magnificent church of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark was built.

Beautiful masonry outside is replaced by dull walls from the inside. If you have limited time, do not waste it on all rooms of the temple, but be sure to pay attention to the figure of the Holy Apostle and statues of Adam and Eve decorating the main portal.

Beautiful photos from Korcula! From the bell tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral offers panoramic views of the city, worthy of a few shots.

City Museum
City Museum of Korcula

Opposite the St. Mark’s Church, there is another attraction of Korcula – the city museum. This architectural monument was built in the 15th century and for more than 20 years has been the largest exposition on the island. Four floors of the museum are dedicated to the history of the city: from Ancient Greece to the present day. There are many interesting exhibits telling about Korcula as a major port – sea charts, remnants of ships, mock sailboats. Admission is paid – 20 kuna per person. Children under 7 years old are free.

Schedule:

  • October-March from 10 to 13;
  • April-June from 10 to 14;
  • July-September from 9 to 21.
Fortress walls
Fortress walls of Korcula

The 8th century Korcula is a powerful port in need of protection. From that moment on, local warriors and architects began work together, which their descendants completed only a thousand years later. The huge architectural ensemble is one of the few attractions of Croatia that have almost completely preserved their original appearance. After 1300 years, each of us can appreciate the power and strength of these fortifications, see ancient cannons that have served 4 centuries ago, climb high towers and admire the blue Adriatic Sea.

Important! On some towers, for example, Revelin Tower, entrance fee is 15 kunas.

Marco Polo Museum
Marco Polo Museum

Of course, this attraction is the real pride of the inhabitants of the island of Korcula. The museum, opened in the house where Marco Polo was born, gathered dozens of exhibits: wax figures of the traveler and the heroes of his stories, maps of his travels and embodied discoveries. From the roof of the building offers panoramic views of the city, you can climb there by a spiral staircase.

Note! The Marco Polo Museum sells unique souvenirs, including unusual notebooks, hourglasses and traveler busts.

Vela Luka and Lumbard

Medical Center "Kalos"
Kalos

Vela Luka is the mud resort of the island of Korcula and the most popular destination among older tourists. Here, surrounded by forest and sea, under the rays of the warm sun, the best medical center of Croatia was built – the Kalos Rehabilitation Institute. Diseases of the lungs, musculoskeletal system or cardiovascular system – all this is quickly treated with the help of the latest technologies and natural gifts.

Vela Luka - mud resort

Medical “specialization” Vela Luka does not mean that healthy tourists should not come here. On the contrary, in addition to general recovery, which certainly will not be superfluous, here you can get a huge boost of energy and pleasure from local beaches and the warm sea. The main attraction of Vela Luka, after curative mud is the coast of the resort, where every vacationer will find a place to their liking.

Lumbarda, in turn, is the land of beaches and water sports. This is one of the few parts of Croatia with a sandy coast, so tourists with small children often come here.

Bilin Žal
Bilin Žal Beach

The sandy-tiled beach is located 4 km from the Old Town of Korcula. There is a crystal clear sea, convenient entry into the water and well-developed infrastructure, so Bilin Hall is very popular among tourists with children. The nearest supermarket is a 10-minute walk, and Konoba Bilin Zal Cafe is five minutes away. There is no natural shade on the beach, be sure to bring an umbrella with you.

Vela Pržina
Beach Vela Pržina

Despite the fact that this beach is covered with sand, it is better to walk here in slippers, as sharp stones come across the shore. After 9 hours it will be difficult for you to find a secluded corner for relaxation, and after lunch every free sunbed or umbrella (rent 20 kunas) is a real attraction.

There are toilets and changing rooms (free of charge) on Vela Prizhne, there is a bar and a fast food cafe with low prices. For active travelers, they built a small volleyball court in the rental area, you can rent a catamaran or water skiing.

Lenga

Covered with golden and white cliffs, the beach is not suitable for families with children, but this is perhaps one of the most romantic places on the whole island. It is hidden from the eyes of curious tourists, so local residents often relax here.

Lenga Beach
Snorkeling on Leng Beach

Despite the fact that most of the beach is occupied by stones, here you can find a place for sunbathing – large plates near the shore. Entering the water is a little uncomfortable – the staircase built here is a creation of nature itself.

Lenga is a great place for snorkeling and diving, there is clear calm water, few people and many sea animals. There are no other entertainments on the beach, as well as cafes or shops, so take a lot of water and food with you.

Important! Drive to Lange by car or bus is unrealistic. The nearest public transport stops a 25-minute walk from the beach, and you can get to the coast itself only through a narrow forest path.

In addition, Lumbarda is the best place in Croatia for sailing or sailing. Here themed competitions are held every month, and you can rent a vehicle of interest at LumbardaBlue or FreeStyle.

Accommodation in Korcula

This island stands out among the rest not only for its unusual sights and sandy beaches rare for Croatia, but also for its prices. So, a double room in a 2-star hotel will cost at least 20 euros, 3-star – 33 €, four – 56 €, and in a five-star – from 77 €. The best hotels on the island are:

Room at Tower Suites
Tower suites
  1. Tower Suites . Located 2 km from the center of Korcula, the nearest beach is 200 meters away. Minimum price for a double room is 72 euros, 4 stars.
  2. Studio apartment More 3 * , there is a private beach with free amenities. Located 500 meters from the Old Town, price – from 140 €.
  3. Cici . Three star apartments stand out for their ideal location (10 meters to the sea, 100 meters to the Old Town) and low prices (65 €).

Those who prefer inexpensive camping, can choose one of the many campsites on the island of Korcula, for example:

Campsites Port 9 Camping
Port 9 camping
  • Port 9 Camping. A modern campsite with all the necessary amenities will cost you only 50 euros for a double house. Each room has a kitchen and lounge, a pool, bar and restaurant. To the beach 15 minutes on foot. Address: Korcula city Dubrovačka cesta 19;
  • 5 km from Vela Luka there is another campsite – Mindel. You can come here with your own trailer and use electric appliances, a shower and a toilet for money, play tennis or billiards, swim in a boat or catamaran. The nearest beaches – pebble and stone, are a 5-15 minute walk from the campsite. Prices: 5 euros per person / day (2.5 € for children), 4 € for renting a tent, 3 € for electricity.

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How to get to Korcula

The island is easiest to reach from nearby cities – Split and Dubrovnik, or from the capital of Croatia – Zagreb.

From Split
Ferry Jadrolinija

The direct route from Split is 104 km and lies through the Adriatic Sea, through which the Jadrolinija ferry runs three times a day (at 10:15, at 15:00 and at 17:30). Travel time – 2 hours 40 minutes, fare – 5-7 euros per person. You can buy tickets at www.jadrolinija.hr.

A little faster will be a catamaran trip with a transfer in the city of Hvar. In addition to the already named carrier, Kapetan Luka provides its services. Their catamarans from Split to Korcula go about two hours, the fare is from 8 to 12 euros per person. The exact timetable is available on the company’s website at www.krilo.hr

From Dubrovnik

Distance between cities – 121 km. It can be overcome on:

Bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula
  1. The bus. Sent daily at 9:00, 15:00 and 17:00. Travel time is about three hours, depending on the number of stops. It follows through Split and Oribich, where the bus calls for a ferry (moving is already included in the price). Ticket price is about 13 €. The exact timetable can be found on the carrier’s website (www.croatialines.com).
  2. The ferry. Once a day, at 7:15 a.m., a ship departs from the port of Dubrovnik towards Korcula. The cost of moving is about 16 €. Tickets can be purchased at the port, but it is best to do this in advance online at www.jadrolinija.hr.

Information is important! If you want to get to Korcula with a car, use the Croatia car ferries (from 11 euros for a car + 2.5 € for each traveler). Please note that it is sometimes cheaper to rent a car already on the island.

From Zagreb

The path from the capital of Croatia to the island is 580 km. There are many options for getting there:

Bus Promet Makarska
  1. By bus and ferry. Travel time – 8.5 hours, the trip will cost 25-35 euros. At the central bus station of Zagreb, take the bus to Split. From there, follow the already described ferry route to Vela Luka. Tickets and bus schedules here – www.promet-makarska.hr.
  2. By train. You can also get to Split by rail, the travel time is 6 hours. From there, take a ferry to Vela Luka. The total fare is 30-40 euros. Train timetables are available on the Croatian railway website www.hzpp.hr/en.

You can also fly to Split by plane for 35-130 euros.

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Korcula (Croatia) is a beautiful island where every vacationer can find a place to their liking. The homeland of Marco Polo is waiting for you! Have a nice trip!



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