Korčula, one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Croatia and the probable birthplace of the famous explorer, Marco Polo. Some people call it a small Dubrovnik claiming that these two cities are somewhat similar. Well, maybe they are right. But I think what makes Korčula Town different and unique is its fishbone shape.
I love visiting such towns so Korčula has been my dream for a long time. As you can see, I finally got there and I can tell you a little bit about this place, show you the pictures I took and write about the best things to do in Korčula Town, Croatia. In this blog post, you can also find out where to stay in Korčula Town, how to get there, where are the best beaches near the old town and so on.
Where is Korčula Town, Croatia?
Korčula Town is located on the east coast of the island of Korčula, in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, which is in the very south of Croatia. Korčula Town is 120 km away from Dubrovnik (2-3 hours by car) and 180 km from Split (3-4 hours by car). If you are looking for information on how to get to Korčula Town with or without a car, click here.
Korčula Town, Croatia – things to do and see
Comparing to Dubrovnik, Korčula is a much smaller town. It has less than 6,000 residents, while Dubrovnik has over 40,000. However, this does not mean that there is not much to see here. There are many things to do in Korčula Town as well as the nearby archipelago. What is worth visiting in Korčula Town? And where are the best beaches and swimming spots to enjoy a sunny day?
1. Take a walk around the Old Town of Korčula.
They say that the fortified old town of Korčula is one of the best-preserved medieval towns of the Mediterranean Basin and a walk through its streets is like visiting an open-air museum. And they are right because wherever you look, you are surrounded by beautiful historical architecture and you feel as if you were traveling in time.
The old town of Korčula is located on an oval peninsula which is surrounded by crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. An interesting fact is that the city has a fishbone shape. The streets were arranged in such a way as to protect Korčula Town from strong winds and sun.
How old is Korčula Town? Nobody knows exactly. According to Greek Mythology, the Trojan warrior Antenor founded a settlement here in the 11th century BC. Supposedly, the Greeks and Illyrians ruled here until the Romans conquered Korčula in the first century. Then the owners of the town changed many times. The old town of Korčula as we know it today, with its Renaissance architecture and beautiful details, was built in the 15th-16th centuries under the rule of the Republic of Venice. That is why many buildings are decorated with carved windows, balconies and Venetian lions.
It is best to enter the old town through the southern land gate in the Veliki Revelin Tower. Originally there was a wooden drawbridge, which in the 18th century was replaced by stone steps. Today it’s probably one of the most instagrammable places in Korčula Town and almost everyone takes a photo here.
Once you cross the city gate, the main street will take you to the town square of Korčula, where St. Mark’s Cathedral, Marco Polo’s house, and other important historical sites are located. But before you start sightseeing Korčula Town, just delve into the narrow streets of the old town, take a walk and enjoy the magical atmosphere of this place.
2. Visit Marco Polo House.
It is not exactly known if the famous traveler Marco Polo was really born in Korčula, but visiting his supposed birth house is one of the top things to do in Korčula Town. Inside there is a museum with wax figures in costumes of the time, illustrations depicting scenes from the traveler’s life and quotes from his book.
The house itself may not be spectacular, but many people are fascinated by the history of Marco Polo, which is why they are so eager to visit it. The traveler went through the Silk Lane, worked as a diplomat for Kublai Khan and had many other amazing adventures. An interesting fact is that thanks to Marco Polo, Europe learned about paper money and other inventions of highly developed Chinese civilization. He also brought silk, spices, pasta and made them widely known.
3. Visit St. Mark’s Cathedral and churches in Korčula Old Town.
One of the best things to do in Korčula Town is visiting Saint Mark’s Cathedral and other churches in the old town. There are almost a dozen churches, small chapels and other religious places here. Quite a lot for such a small town, isn’t it?
The 15th-century St. Mark’s Cathedral (Katedrala sv. Marka) is the tallest building in Korčula, which was built at the highest point of the old town. Its remarkable portal is one of the best things to see in town for those who are interested in architecture and history.
In Korčula Town it is also worth visiting St. Michael’s Church (Crkva Svetog Mihovila), The Church of Our Lady (Crkva Gospojina), All Saints Church (Crkva Svi Sveti), Church Saint Rocco (Kapela Sveti Rok) and the small Church of St. Peter (Crkva Svetog Petra). If you have more time, I suggest you visit St. Justin Church (Crkva Svete Justine), which is located outside the city walls and take a walk to the St. Nicholas church and a monastery (Samostan Sv. Nikole).
4. Learn more about the city of Korčula and Marco Polo by visiting museums.
Although the whole Old Town of Korčula is an open-air museum, there are also several exhibitions that are worth visiting. If you would like to learn more about the town’s history, the best thing to do is to visit the Korčula Town Museum, which is located in the elegant Gabrielis Palace.
It is also worth visiting the Bishop’s Treasury of Korčula, the Icon Museum, the Marco Polo Museum as well as the House of Marco Polo, which I have already mentioned here. Other museums in Korčula Town include the Revelin Tower Museum and the Museum of Maksimilijan Vanka, a famous Croatian and American painter.
5. Relax on one of the beaches in Korčula Town.
There is nothing more refreshing after exploring the city on a hot summer’s day than diving in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Adriatic. A very nice swimming spot is in the old town, just behind Zakrejan Tower. You can also visit the nearby Puntin Beach as well as the beaches of Banje and Spomenik which are quite popular so they may be crowded.
Personally, I liked the beach Ispod Duvana the most. Although it is located on the main seaside promenade (I prefer secluded coves), this place has the most wonderful view of Korčula Old Town. You can swim in the turquoise water here admiring one of the most beautiful panoramas on the Adriatic coast and relax in the shade of palm trees. Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it?
There are more beaches near the Old Town of Korčula: sandy beach Luka Korčulanska, Beach Sveti Nikola, Beach Mandrač, Beach Medvinjak, and Strećica. All of them can be found on the map above.
6. Explore the Korčula Archipelago.
If you are looking for more secluded coves and hidden beaches, visit the Korčula Archipelago. The Skoji Archipelago, because it is also called so, consists of 18 small islands and islets dotted around the channel between Pelješac and Korčula.
The largest island is Badija, which is famous for its fallow deer and the 15th-century Gothic-Rennaisance Franciscan monastery. There are several pebble beaches here, where you can relax from the hustle and bustle of the city. On the north shore, you will find the official FKK nudist beach.
It is also worth visiting the nearby Vrnik, the only inhabited island of the Skoji Archipelago. There are about 20 houses, two bars, and several nice beaches. The island became famous for the quality of the stone quarried here, from which the Capitol building in Washington, US, and other representative buildings in Europe were built. A nice beach with a bar is also on the island of Stupe.
Badija, Vrnik, and Stupe are easily reachable by local water taxi boats or hop on hop off speedy water taxi from Korčula Old Town. The rest of the islets are wild and uninhabited, so if you are looking for a quiet place off the beaten path, this is the best direction.
7. Dine in one of the romantic restaurants in the old town.
Once you visit the old town and swim in the sea, you can eat something at one of the romantic restaurants in Korčula. In the streets of Korčula Old Town, there are many cozy eateries and pizzerias. But if you want to have a sea view, I suggest you go to one of the restaurants located on the promenade.
Prices on Korčula are similar to those in Dubrovnik, so compared to other parts of Croatia it is quite expensive here, but it is worth trying some seafood and local wine being in such a beautiful place!
8. Have a drink at the top of the Zakerjan Tower.
If you want to have a drink in an unusual place and take the perfect photo on Instagram, you should visit the rooftop bar on the Zakerjan Tower. It’s easy to find this place, it’s a characteristic half-tower in the old town.
Zakerjan Tower is an excellent vantage point and one of the best places to watch the sunset in Korčula. You can see from here orange rooftops of stone houses, the tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral and the turquoise waters of the Adriatic. It is even more romantic here in the evening when everything is beautifully lit.
9. Enjoy the view of Korčula Old Town from the seaside promenade.
The most beautiful views of the Korčula peninsula are from the seaside promenade that leads from the old town to St. Nicholas’ Monastery. This street is called Put Svetog Nikole. I have already mentioned this place while writing about Ispod Duvana beach.
So if you have already seen everything in Korčula Old Town, the best thing to do is take a walk to see the peninsula from a distance. From this perspective, Korčula looks really amazing!
Along the promenade are benches where you can relax in the shade of palm trees as well as beaches and swimming spots.
10. Buy some local souvenirs.
When visiting Korčula, don’t forget to buy some souvenirs. I think the best thing to bring home is something local, handmade as well as a bottle of good wine (Grk, Pošip, Rukatac, Plavac Mali) or olive oil. It is also a good idea to buy some postcards for friends and family.
There are many art galleries, boutiques and jewelry stores in the Old Town of Korčula. As for me, I’m a big fan of handmade jewelry with coral and ornaments called botuni.
During one of our trips, I got a pair of earrings with botuni from my husband and this is my favorite souvenir from Croatia. You can even see them in the pictures. Whenever I wear this piece of jewelry, I think of all the beautiful places I’ve seen and it’s wonderful to bring back all these lovely memories.
What is Korčula Town like? Is it worth visiting?
If you visit my blog or follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I love coastal towns located on peninsulas. I’ve been to Rovinj in Istria twice, I visited Primošten in North Dalmatia, so I just had to see Korčula as well. It has been my dream for a long time and finally, it came true. Was it worth visiting Korčula Town? What is this place like? Did I like it more than in Rovinj and Primošten?
To see Korčula Town I had to drive almost to the very end of Croatia and traveled about 1,400 km by car. I spent the night in Ptuj, Slovenia, I also stayed in Drvenik, Makarska Riviera and finally got to Žuljana on Pelješac. Korčula Town was only a stone’s throw from there, so I went on a day trip. I caught a passenger ferry from Orebić, Pelješac to the Old Town of Korčula and spent a few hours exploring this beautiful place.
It was so wonderful to get to Korčula Town by sea, watching how the city is getting closer and closer. You know, the sea breeze on my face, the sun reflecting in the water and this amazing coastal city with orange rooftops on the horizon. When we were near the shore of Korčula, I could see the towers and the old town from a completely different perspective. It was just great, one of those memories that I will never forget.
My first impression when I walked the streets of Korčula was that, apart from the location on the peninsula, the town is completely different than Rovinj and Primošten I have already visited. Rovinj has Italian vibes, Primošten is more like a charming Dalmatian village.
Maybe I will not be original, but I think that he was right who called Korčula the little Dubrovnik. There is something about it! All these fortifications, towers, defensive walls, orange tiles, even the color of the stone from which the houses are built make these two cities look quite similar at first glance.
There is one more common thing. I mean prices, they are quite higher than in other parts of Croatia. Both Dubrovnik and Korčula are the most expensive Croatian cities I have been to. They are also the most touristic and I have heard that Korčula Town may be very crowded during the summer season. I was here at the end of September and I think it’s a good time to visit Korčula because the sea is still warm and there are no hordes of tourists.
I am an architecture lover, so Korčula Town really impressed me. All these narrow streets, stone houses, charming details and decorations on the walls. I could walk there for hours with the camera in my hand and take pictures.
It’s cool that Korčula is not only the medieval Old Town. There are many more things to do here. You can take a walk along the seafront promenade, explore the nearby archipelago or look for hidden gems in the district outside the city walls. There is also a lot of interesting architecture to see. Some of the buildings had really nice, colorful doors that I liked very much.
When I saw Korčula I immediately regretted that I came here only for a day trip. I would love to stay here at least for a week to get to know this place better and feel its atmosphere. Well, maybe next time. It would be wonderful to come here again, but in early spring to see flowers blooming.
I think Korčula Town is a great destination and this place has almost everything I’m looking for: beautiful architecture, photogenic old town, crystal clear turquoise sea and scenic mountains on the horizon. What’s more, Korčula, like other places in Croatia, is safe. For me, it is very important because instead of being stressed out that someone will try to rob me, I could relax and enjoy the time spent in this magical town.
In my opinion, Korčula is the perfect place for everyone: for couples, solo travelers as well as families with children, for city break enthusiasts, explorers, and beachgoers. If there is one thing that I would miss in Korčula Town it would be hidden beaches within walking distance, but maybe I would find secluded places exploring the archipelago with my kayak. The proximity of small islands is a big advantage for all who have their boats and other means of water transport.
If you’re wondering if it’s worth visiting Korčula Town, the answer is: of course it is! This is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Croatia I have seen and I recommend you go there. It is magical, it has a wonderful atmosphere and from my point of view, it was totally worth driving that 1,400 km to see the beautiful Korčula. What’s more, I’d love to do it again!
There is no airport on the island of Korčula, only in Dubrovnik and Split, so the only way to get to Korčula Old Town is by ferry. There are both car ferries as well as foot passenger ferries.
Car ferries to Korčula:
- Ferry Orebić – Korčula (Domince) – Orebić – it sails seven days a week, almost once an hour, the duration of the ferry crossing is 15 min
- Ferry Split – Vela Luka (Island of Korčula) – it sails twice a day, the duration of the ferry crossing is 3.5 hours (please note that Vela Luka is 50 km from Korčula Old Town)
Foot passenger ferries to Korčula:
- Catamaran Split via Hvar to Korčula (Old Town) – it sails once a day all year round and at least twice a day in June to September period, the duration of the ferry crossing is 2.45 hours from Split
- Catamaran Split – Milna – Hvar – Korčula (Old Town) – Mljet (Pomena) – Dubrovnik – daily fast ferry from April to October, 3 times a week in last week of October, the duration of the ferry crossing is 2.20 hours from Split and 1.55 hours from Dubrovnik
- Catamaran Split to Vela Luka (Island of Korčula) via Hvar to Lastovo – it sails at least once a day (depending on the season), the duration of the ferry crossing is 2.10 hours from Split (please note that Vela Luka is 50 km from Korčula Old Town)
- Catamaran Split – Bol – Makarska – Korčula (Old Town) – Mljet (Sobra) – Dubrovnik – daily ferry which sails from the end of May to the beginning of October, the duration of the ferry crossing is 2.50 hours from Split and 1.45 hours from Dubrovnik
- Catamaran Dubrovnik – Šipan – Mljet – Korčula – Lastovo – it sails every day between June and September, the duration of the ferry crossing is 2.45 hours from Dubrovnik
- Catamaran Dubrovnik – Korčula – Hvar – Bol – Split – it sails every day between June and September, the duration of the ferry crossing is 2 hours from Dubrovnik and 3.55 hours from Split
If you want to get to Korčula Town from Orebić, remember that the foot passenger ferry goes straight to Korčula Old Town and the Jadrolinija car ferry to Domince which is 3 km (35 minutes on foot) away from the Old Town. You can buy tickets for the passenger catamaran when you board (the price is 15 Kn for adults, 7 Kn for children). To buy a ticket for the Jadrolinija car ferry you must visit a sales point located in the port of Orebić (the price is 13 – 16 Kn for adults, 6.5 – 8 Kn for children, 63 – 76 Kn for a car up to 5 m long).
Where to stay in Korčula Town, Croatia?
I visited Korčula Town only for a day trip, but if I went to this place in the future, I would be looking for an apartment located near the Put Svetog Nikole seaside promenade. This part of Korčula offers the most beautiful views of the peninsula, besides it is located within walking distance to both the Old Town and the beaches.
Another nice place to stay in Korčula Town seems to be the waterfront of Uvala Luka, especially if you have a sea kayak, a pontoon or a boat. Some tourists also decide to book an apartment in nearby Lumbarda, which is cheaper, has sandy beaches and a good bus connection to Korčula Town.
Korčula Town – how many days?
Korčula Town is quite small and compact, so you can go there for a one day trip. However, I would suggest you stay there longer to feel the atmosphere of this place. I think one week is a minimum to explore the city with its archipelago and to visit other interesting places on the island of Korčula.
Besides, Korčula Town is a great place for island hopping. There are regular ferry connections from Korčula to the islands of Hvar, Brač, Mljet, Lastovo, Šipan. What’s more, you can go on a day trip to Dubrovnik or Split. As you can see, there are many things to do in Korčula!
Visiting Korčula Town was my dream and I am very happy that it came true. The town did not disappoint me, it was as beautiful as in the pictures and the only thing I regret is that I visited Korčula only for a day trip. But I would really like to go there someday to explore the Korčula Archipelago with my sea kayak and visit other places on the island. If you are looking for a place similar to Dubrovnik but smaller and cozier, Korčula will be an excellent choice. I recommend visiting this town also to anyone looking for a place which, like Rovinj or Primošten, is located on the picturesque peninsula.