Korčula (pronounced Kor-chu-la) is the 6th largest island in Croatia and is 20 miles long and 4-5 miles wide. When deciding which island to visit we debated Hvar or Brac but decided on Korčula due to the favourable conditions for snorkelling as well as its dense forests. Due to the fact that the beaches are mostly stony it is not as popular as some islands and is also further away from the mainland but it still took less than 2 hours from Dubrovnik via the Jadrolinija ferry.
We booked the ferry online at Getbyferry which provided us with an eticket we presented at the boat. It cost £32 for us both for the journey. The boat itself was comfortable, there were plenty of seats and a cafe bar and a luggage storage area .
Where we stayed
We booked a one bedroom apartment with a seaview at Villa Conte and we were not disappointed, we ended up extending our stay for another 6 nights! Our host Gordana was so kind and helpful, always available on whatsapp and happy to give us advice on places to go or just to have a chat. We even had gifts of fruit and wine so who could complain about that!
Being animal lovers we were also delighted that we had an apartment cat for the duration of our stay, fondly named Snowbell. She would sit with us on our balcony and keep us company day and night. I´m not sure who, if anyone, she belonged to but she was a cutie.
The apartment was in the Zrnovska Banja area, just 3.5km from Korcula Old Town and port.
We discovered that Uber doesn’t work in Korčula; when we arrived at the port we found a taxi rank (not too far from where the ferry docks). The driver gave us a card so we could contact them directly if we needed a taxi again; in Korčula this appears to be the main taxi rank in the area and we discovered in general you call or whatsapp the driver with some notice asking for pick up.
During our time here we also hired a car for a week so we had more opportunity to explore the island; taxis aren’t cheap on the island and the busses were not easily accessible for us or all that regular.
Be aware there only two petrol stations on the island; one in Korčula and one in Vela Luka at the opposite end of the island. Being there in September near the end of the season we still had to wait a few days before we could get one so would recommend booking one in advance in peak times. Bicycle hire is also readily available but we didn’t explore this.
The time of year we were there and also due to the impact of Covid meant that there weren’t that many restaurants open; the main places you can find restaurants appeared to be in the main towns with limited options in between. We had self catering facilities and so mostly fended for ourselves. There is a chain of small grocery shops called Studenac dotted around the island and there was one a short distance from our apartment but it only stocked essentials. We found the best place to buy everything you need is the Tommy supermarket in Korčula. We visited there on a couple of occasions and they had a great variety of food which allowed us to cook our own meals.
Around Zrnovska Banja
Our apartment was situated near the Korčula hill development and only a very short walk to the sea. There was a really good beach club near us called La Banya . It’s a nice place with lovely loungers (which were free when we visited late in season) and a bar and restaurant. We had pizza from the restaurant and some drinks from the bar during the course of a few visits.
We had our first ever go at SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) whilst visiting; it was very reasonable compared to other places we had been to at 60 kuna or just under £7 for half hour. It didn’t go so well for me; the first time I stood up I fell off and couldn’t get back on! Nigel did much better, he managed to stay on and stand up! we did plan to have another go but Nige decided to end on a high with his ‘unfallen’ record. It was fun though and we would definitely have another go in the future.
Where we visited
Korčula Old Town
Sometimes called ‘little Dubrovnik’ Korčula Old Town is a medieval walled city with red roof clusters. It is considerably smaller than Dubrovnik Old Town but is quaint in its own way.
We visited the Old Town a couple of times during our stay, one afternoon having a little explore and another evening to have a meal. It certainly was one of the busiest places we visited but it was really quite interesting too; it is really well preserved and with Venetian style architecture. Certainly worthy of a visit even just for an hour or two.
Located on the far Western side of the island, 41km from Korčula, is the town of Vela Luka. Located on a large bay, Vela Luka is a popular tourist spot with an array of restaurants and shops. The port also offers excursion boats and water taxis to the neighbouring islands of Osjak & Proizd.
Vela Luka lacks the charm of Korčula but is still lovely in its own right. Perhaps one the most interesting things about Vela Luka is the project currently underway to make the longest mosaic path in the world. We saw some of the mosaics on the pavement and the end aim is to make a path which is 2.5 – 3km in total length. You can read more about it here.
Another attraction in the Vela Luka area is Vela Spila or Great Cave. We made a special trip to go and see the cave which is situated 130 metres above the main town on Pinski Rat hill. Unfortunately for us when we got there it was closed! We were still able to have a view into the cave from the outside.
Korčula island is known for its wine production, with local wines such as Grk and Posip being produced here for centuries. On the island there are two main areas where you can do wine tasting; Lumbarda and Smokvica both have wineries where you can do tours and learn more about wine production over the years. We decided to head to Smokvica to try some of the local wines.
This cute little town is home to only 1000 residents and is a little gem hidden in the lush green countryside. Our original aim was to visit the Grošić winery; however we hadn’t prebooked and it appeared closed upon our arrival. Instead we stopped by the roadside and indulged in some tasting at Winery “Plasa” Petrušac.
With amazing views from the balcony we tried a variety of different drinks including the whites Grk & Posip, a red wine Vrhunsko, Rogačica (a carob brandy) and a herbal drink called Travarica. We really didn’t like the Grk but the Posip was definitely palatable so we purchased a bottle for 60 kuna (just under £7). Our host did not speak much English but really was a lovely man and we enjoyed our experience.
Just 15km away from Korčula is probably our favourite beach we found on the island at Pupnatska Luka. Crystal clear waters on a pebbly beach made it ideal for snorkelling and we spent a great afternoon here, even seeing an octopus. We brought a picnic and chilled.
Just a word of warning when coming here, DON’T follow google maps as this takes you down a really long gravelly path which is pretty narrow in places; instead follow the sign from the main road to Pupnatska Luka and the route will be much more favourable. A lovely spot though and a gteat beach we really enjoyed.
On the northern coast of the island you will find Račišće, a village nestled in a deep bay. It’s cute and worth a lunch or drink stop or even a swim; although I suspect in the height of summer parking here could be somewhat problematic as there are limited spaces.
Just a short distance away from the main village was Vaja beach; a lovely pebbly beach a little hidden away. This probably wouldn’t be suitable for small children as there is quite a challenging walk down to the beach on a stony path and some steep steps but it really was beautiful. We didn’t swim and had plans to come back and visit again but we didn’t quite have time.
We stumbled across Gršćica a little by accident as we were passing and just decided to stop by and have a look; we were so glad we did as it was a real hidden gem. A quiet little village with just 600 inhabitants, it is just 14km away from Vela Luka.
We really liked it here; it was small but had easy access to crystal clear water and boat and kayak hire. There were a couple of restaurants although these weren’t open when we visited so if you plan to spend much time here bring a picnic and some drinks.
Our thoughts on Korčula
In total we spent 13 days on the island and really enjoyed our time; we were here from mid to end of September so it was less touristy and quieter in general which was great for us. The island is stunningly beautiful with some of the clearest water we have seen on our travels. The weather was starting to turn during our last week and becoming a lot more cloudy; we had a huge storm one night and it was getting increasingly colder as the month went on. I would still advocate for September being a great month for visiting especially if it is just relaxation you are after. This was the perfect end to our year away after all the travel we had done over the past couple of months; made all the better by our helpful host Gordana and the friendly locals that we encountered during our time on the island.
It was now time to sadly head back to Dubrovnik to catch our flight back to the UK.
Carol & Nigel x