Korcula old town

Korcula Island, Croatia – The Ultimate Insider Travel Guide

Korcula is a larger Croatian Island in the Adriatic Sea which lies off the southern coast of Dalmatia. Unlike Hvar Island, it has a reputation of a family island. Top beaches, amazing cuisine & wine, plenty of sights – it all there. But, it is definitely an island for those looking for a more peaceful stay in Croatia. Covering almost 300 square kilometers, Korcula stands out on its own. It takes a few days to truly explore all of its hidden and popular gems. While most choose Korcula town, often as a day trip, those who decide to stay a bit longer can discover beautiful places on the island and learn the definition of a – relaxing vacation!

In this guide, I will take you through the island in detail. I will give you all the necessary information such as which towns to visit, most beautiful beaches, historical insight, food and activities.

Ready? Let’s dive into beautiful Korcula!

How to reach Korcula island

NOTE: some of the connections listed below only operate in the summer season. Click on the links to check the sailing schedule for a specific travel date.

Korcula Island is one of the most well-connected islands in Croatia, especially in the summer season. In that period, there is car ferry and catamaran connection not only to / from the mainland, but also to / from many other islands like, Lastovo, Hvar, Mljet and Brac.

There are the two most vital ferry connection to the island:

  1. One is the whole year ferry connection from Orebic to Domince.
  2. The other one is car ferry from Split to Vela Luka.
  3. The is also a fast ferry connection to and from Korcula town which is very popular in summer season.

Ferry from Split to Korcula

The fast ferry route Split to Korcula town operates the whole year. In the winter, there is 1 daily departure. On the contrary, there is up to 5 daily departures between Split and Korcula town in the main summer season. The ferry is passenger only, operated by multiple companies.

The journey on this line lasts about 3 hours since the ferry stops on several islands in between (depending on the company you are travelling with).

Alternatively, it is possible to travel from Split to Vela Luka at the west end of the Island. On this route operates a car ferry. The journey takes about 3 hours as well.

Ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula

The ferry route between Dubrovnik and Korcula town is available from around 1 of May till mid-October.

During the main summer season there are several daily catamaran departures between Dubrovnik to Korcula town. Other times of the year, you will need to have a car or take the bus to Orebic to travel between the cities. The travel time between them is only about 20 minutes.

If visiting Korcula as a day trip while doing the island-hopping, then the ferry route Hvar to Korcula can cover you the whole year. In the winter, there is 1 daily departure and in the main summer season, up to 3 or 4 daily departures.

Ferry to Domince
Ferry to Domince

Korcula Ferry Ports

So to conclude, there are 3 ports on Korcula island. One is the fast ferry port for passengers only in Korcula town. Next to Korcula town is a ferry port Domince. Its line to Orebic is also the most frequent for transporting cars. And the last one is a ferry port in Vela Luka, also transporting cars.

Here are a few more details for each of the ports. By clicking on their name, you will see the details about lines and departures available in the port.

Vela Luka port

The port in Vela Luka is located on the north-western peak of island Korcula. The town has daily car ferry and catamaran connections to Split. But also daily connections to Ubli on Island Lastovo.

You can see more info about departures and buy ferry tickets from Split to Vela Luka on the links. Also, ferry departures and tickets in the other direction you can find here.

Korcula town port

The port in Korcula town is located on the north-eastern part of the island overlooking peninsula Pelješac. The catamarans and passenger boats to Korcula may stop at either side of the old town.

Domince port

Domince is the busiest car ferry port on Island Korcula. It is located about 3.5 km by car south of Korcula town. The foot walking distance is a bit less than 3 km. The only connection to the port is a car ferry from Orebic on Pelješac. On the links, you will find departures and tickets from Orebic to Domince. You can also see schedule and tickets in the opposite direction here.

Note: As this is a very busy line in summer, you should know it is very possible you will miss a few ferries just by waiting in line to board a car in Domince/Orebic. (In my case, up to 3 ferries). So, it is really important to have this in mind when planning your trip. The 20-minute journey easily ends up being an hour or more.

Getting to Korcula from Dubrovnik or Split airport

If you travel to Korcula immediately after landing in one of the two closest airports, here is how to reach it.

From Dubrovnik Airport you should take the airport bus or a taxi to the bus station or the ferry port. These two are located about 500 metres apart. You have a few daily buses from Dubrovnik bus station which drive all the way to Korcula. The bus trip includes the ferry from Orebic to Domince. You can see timetable and buy ferry tickets from Dubrovnik to Korcula here. From the catamaran port in Dubrovnik there is catamaran to Korcula operating parts of the year.

From Split Airport, you should take the airport bus, not the city bus. The airport shuttle will take you directly to the main bus station in Split in about 30 minutes. Unless it’s summer, then get prepared for a bit longer ride. However, Split bus station is located just next to the ferry port in Split, literally across the street.

Once in Split port, you choose between a fast ferry to Korcula town or car ferry to Vela Luka.

If none of the fairly few departures should match your itinerary, the alternative is to take a bus to Orebic and then a car ferry from there on.

Ferry in Korcula town
Ferry in Korcula town

Getting around on Korcula island

All major cities on Korcula Island – Vela Luka, Blato, Korcula town as well as several of the villages – have daily bus connections.

The number of daily “Island buses” depends on the time of the year. During the summer season, there are more departures, of course.

Buses to and from the ferry port Domince and Korcula town operate according to the ferry departures and arrivals. More information about buses on Korcula you can find here.

Bus stop in Korcula town
Bus stop in Korcula town

But frankly, exploring Korcula by car is definitely the best way to get around. So, if you’re staying on Korcula island for several days, consider planning a rent a car in your budget. It might really pay off. There are villages, coves, not to mention – wineries – which you can discover only if having the freedom to get around on your own.

On the other hand, there are many islets off Korcula island that can be visited only by a taxi boat.

Taxi in Korcula town
Taxi in Korcula town

Which towns to visit on Korcula island

As previously said, Korcula island is big. So, there are obviously a lot of places you can visit during your stay. But you might want to narrow it down a bit. So, I will recommend those I believe are worth your time and attention.

Korcula town – The main place to visit, as it is obvious from its name. Korcula town with its city walls is the main landmark of the island. It also offers the most in terms of sights, history, restaurants, cafes etc. Visiting Korcula island without seeing Korcula town is simply nonesense.

Korcula town city gates
Korcula town city gates

Vela Luka – This town is very charming and offers an authentic Dalmatian place which looks frozen in time. Along the big promenade, you will find a lot of restaurants and cafes. It is actually quite difficult to find a spot during the peak season, and it is more because of the loclas than tourists. Vela Luka is also known among locals as the hometown of the great singer Oliver Dragojevic. So, if you haven’t heard of him, that is is a MUST before visiting this town.

Vela Luka promenade
Vela Luka promenade

Blato – This is an incredibly picturesque town in the middle of the island. It is more tailored to the locals than tourists. It reminded me of some of the small towns in the northern Croatia such as Varazdin.

Smokvica – Besides having some of the best wineries on the island, it is a cute small town revolving around the imposing Church of The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Smokvica town
Smokvica town

Lumbarda – This place is mostly known for some of the best beaches on the island. Most of them I listed below. But also the wineries (again)! It is a very scenic town and an often choice for an overnight stay.

Lumbarda promenade
Lumbarda promenade

Prizba – This small place is perfect if you are looking for a tranquil base from where you can explore the rest of the island. But this assumes you have a car. The place has everything you need but no crowds and huge tourist facilities. The nights here are incredibly peaceful.

Badija island – People feeding cure deer is the main association to this place. Badija is a very popular location mostly for deer that visitors love to encounter and an imposing monastery. You can reach it by taxi boat.

Badija island, Korcula
Badija island, Korcula

Moro Beach Stupe – It is likely that you have stumbled upon photos from Korcula island that look like they were taken in Greece. The place is located on Stupa Vela island, and can be reached only by private boats. This place is very popular among influencers, especially the swing in the sea for taking photos. But watch out, the place is quite pricey.

Learn about Korcula’s history

When on Korcula island, it would be a shame not to meet its historical side. The island has a long tradition and some of the towns have remarkable history. Here is what to see in Korcula island:

Vela Spila

The cave is located on the southern slope of hill Pinski rat, 130 m above the Kale bay in Velika Luka, and it is one of the most important archaeological prehistoric sites in Europe. According to previous analyses, researchers have come to a conclusion that the cave was already inhabited in the early Stone Age, in other words – almost 20,000 years before Christ! In the Museum of the Center for Culture (the very center of Vela Luka) you will find  a valuable archeological collection of objects found on this site, and visitors can access the cave by following 2.5km long road from the Kale bay in Vela Luka or by a walking trail over the hill Pinski rat.

Vela Spila
Vela Spila

St Mark’s Cathedral

It is also called Korcula Cathedral and it is one of the most iconic monuments on the island. The cathedral was built by local master in the 16th century, but the altarpiece was painted by famous Italian painter Tintoretto.

Marco Polo Museum

Although exact date and place of birth of famous Italian merchant are unknown, some historians claim that he was actually born on Korcula Island. Today you will find 5 Marco Polo shops and a museum in Korcula Town containing over 400 product under the brand Marco Polo.

Korcula Town Walls

Last, but not least is the place all the visitors take photos, including myself (photo below)! Korcula Town Walls were built for defensive purpose, just like Dubrovnik Walls. In the past Korcula Town was exposed to attacks and local people needed to defend themselves somehow and keep the town secured so it was only natural to build a huge wall around the town. The walls represent a great example of Medieval architecture on Dalmatian islands, thus making Korcula Town one of Croatia’s best preserved fortified towns. Beside the walls, the entire fortification also includes monuments such as Zakerjan Tower (where Massimo Cocktail Bar is located), Kanavelic Tower, Sea Gate Tower, Small and Large Governor’s Tower, Revelin Tower and All Saints Tower.

Korcula city walls
Korcula city walls

Best beaches on Korcula island

Korcula island offers a variety of beaches. But here are some of my favorites, as well as the most popular ones.

Vela Przina

One of the best known beaches on Korcula Island is Vela Przina and it is located in Lumbarda. It’s a perfect beach for families with children because it is a sand beach and it has a nearby restaurant where you can have a lunch and take a break from hot sun. You also have the possibility of renting sunbeds and parasols and play beach volleyball on the court above the beach.

Vela Przina Beach in preseason
Vela Przina Beach – photo taken in pre-season

Pupnatska Luka

Only 15 kilometres from the town of Korcula is located one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The beach is picturesque and it gives you spectacular views of nearby Lastovo Island. There is a toilet available at the beach and you can also rent sunbeds. At the bottom of this beautiful bay there is a restaurant where you can take a break from hot sun and enjoy the snack, coffee or beer. The place is not ideal to have lunch, but you will love it anyway since it is basically the only place around.

Prvi Zal

Prvi Zal Beach is a sandy beach, quite popular among tourists and locals. It is located in the cove opposite from Vela Przina Beach, in Lumbarda. There is no natural shade on this beach, visitors are advised to bring parasols. The alternative is to hide in the beach bar/restaurant on the beach.

Prvi Zal Beach, Lumbarda
Prvi Zal Beach, Lumbarda

Proizd

Proizd Beach is not actually on the Korcula Island, but on the homonymous tiny island near Korcula. During summer there are regular boat connections from Vela Luka to Proizd so you can do a perfect day trip. There is a small restaurant along the Proizd pier where you can have a lunch so you don’t need to worry you will stay hungry. Don’t miss to check out Bili boci Beach located on the northern side of the island. You can reach it by following a marked forest footpath from the pier.

Zal Beach

The main Beach in Prizba has everything you need, minus the crowds. The pebble makes it easily accessible, and there is some shade. But if you really want to hide from the sun, there are beach bars where you can hide. This beach also has a lot of rental options. It was our choice for renting a boat to the popular Moro Beach Stupe you will see on every influencer’s photo.

Zrnovska Banja

If looking for chilling on king size sunbeds, sipping cocktails and taking photos on a popular swing in the sea – then this beach is a good choice. It is also relatively close to Korcula town so you can combine a beach time with lunch/dinner in Korcula town.

Camping on Korcula island

Korcula Island is a good choice for those who love camping. However wild camping is not allowed so you should check out some of the popular campsites on the island:

Campsite Kalac (Korcula Town)

It is located 3 kilometres from Korcula Town and it has a capacity of 600 people. The camp is positioned near the beach and it is suitable for families with small children. Guests have the possibility of using a tennis court and playground for kids. There’s a large supermarket and restaurant-pizzeria at guests’ disposal. Campsite is equipped with two separate sets of toilets and showers with hot water. At the beach the guests are offered to rent sunbeds, beach umbrellas and kayaks.

Campsite Vrbovica

This is a campsite on Korcula, located in the Bay of Vrbovica near Zrnovska Banja. Zrnovska Banja is a small tourist resort situated in in the northeastern part of the island of Korcula, about 4 km from the town of Korcula. It is especially popular among windsurfers and is one of the most desirable places for lovers of this sport on the entire Dalmatian coast. It is an ideal destination for guests wanting a quiet holiday but still be close enough to tourist center.

Campsite Oskorusica

This campsite is a bit smaller than the first two since it has a capacity of only 70 people. The camp is located right in front of the sea, while all camping spots are located in the shade of Mediterranean trees. It provides electricity connections, grill, Wi-Fi, refrigerators and washing machine.Each day a truck delivers bread, rolls, croissants and other pastries while twice a week they deliver fruit, vegetables and fresh fish. The camp is family-friendly and guests can enjoy the peace and quiet and take a break from the busy everyday life.

Campsite Mindel

Campsite Mindel is located 5km from Vela Luka, on the western side of Korcula Island. It has 120 camping spots. The camp provides power hooks for caravans and campers, sanitary blocks with showers, spots where you can wash dishes and refrigerators. Those who are into sports and recreation can find tennis court and ground for playing bocce (free for use). More about prices and campsite rules read here.

Hiking on Korcula island

Forteca trail – the most popular and one of the easiest hiking routes is the one from Korcula Town to Forteca tower. The tower was built during British occupation of Korcula at the beginning of the 19th century and it is located on the hill above Korcula Town. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the tower from Plokata, the main square in the Old Town.

St Anthony’s Hill trail – Located only 2 km southeast of Korcula Town, this hiking route could also be categorised as an easy one. St Anthony’s hill overlooks the road leading to Lumbarda and it will take you 102 steps to climb the hill. No worries, it’s not that hard as it sounds!

Festivals on Korcula island

Korčula is well known for preserving Croatian tradition. And is there a better way to celebrate the tradition than by organising festivals?

Moreska

Probably the most famous one is the Sword Dance Festival which takes place in Korcula Town at the beginning of June. Why sword dance? Well, if we go back in the 17th century, we would find two groups of dances performing Moreška (the name of the dance) who would engage in a “battle” over a veiled young woman. The similar dance can be found in Catalonia where they perform La Morisca de Gerri de la Sal.

St John’s Feast Day

Every year on the 24 of June the town of Vela Luka on Korcula organises the annual regatta to honor St John’s, the local patron saint. The regatta starts in Vela Luka and the route finishes in Gradina Bay. The prize for the winning team is a roasted lamb on the spit and 10 litres of Korcula wine!

Donkey Race

If you find yourself in Lumbarda during July, then you shouldn’t miss one of the most interesting and exciting manifestations on the island! That is – the famous donkey race! If you haven’t tried it yet, then definitely sign up. If you are lucky enough not to fall of the donkey and also the quickest, you might win a prize!

Korcula nightlife

If you expect a wild nightlife, you won’t find it in Korcula, though. Korcula is much more a destination where you can enjoy a more peaceful but active vacation. This doesn’t mean that Korcula is dull, if sipping a cocktail or wine while having a conversation with your friends is your kind of night out.

Of course, if you arrive in pre-season, the towns might look empty. But during the summer season it is far from boring. However, Korcula town is probably the best option if you want a night out.

Have you ever had a cocktail inside of a fortress? No? Well, in Korcula you can do exactly that! There are bars within the walls.Oone of the popular ones is Massimo Cocktail Bar. It is located in Korcula Old Town on top of the Zakerjan Tower which was built in the 15th century.

But honestly, wherever you decide to sit, you won’t make a bad choice. Most places offer wines from Korcula, a selection of cocktails and regular drinks.

Streets of Korcula town
Streets of Korcula town

Food and groceries on Korcula island

Korcula island offers the best of Dalmatian cuisine. You can be sure that most of ingredients in restaurants are local, especially fish, meat and wine. Basically, any restaurant containing “konoba” in its name is a good call. We recommend fish dishes – anything on grill will taste perfect – sea bass, monkfish, squid, shrimps, you name it!

Must try dishes on Korcula island:

  • FISH AND SEAFOOD:
    • octopus salad,
    • octopus with baked potatoes (peka),
    • shrimps in buzara stew,
    • black risotto, mussels,
    • brodet (fish stew with vegetables)
  • MEAT:
    • pašticada (marinated beef in wine gravy with gnocchi),
    • roasted lamb on the spit,
    • meat version of peka,
    • makaruni from Zrnovo with beef sauce (type of homemade pasta typical for Korcula)

Korcula wineries

If I didn’t highlight it enough so far, Korcula is also known for producing some of the finest wines in Croatia. So, you should definitely combine them with above mentioned dishes. There’s just one rule – white wine with fish, red wine with meat!

Here are the most common wines you’ll find on Korcula:

WHITE: Posip, Grk, Prosek (dessert wine)
RED: Plavac, Postup, Dingac

Looking for wineries? While there are plenty of them scattered all over Korcula, my top choices (but also common top choices) are Barbazza in Smokvica and Čara from …Čara!

But if you are a true wine lover, then there is a whole wine paradise nearby Korcula island – Peljesac. If traveling with a car (Domince – Orebic), then make a stop (anywhere) in some of the hundreds of wineries scattered on Peljesac peninsula… You won’t regret it.

Services on Korcula island

ATMs & exchange offices

It’s important to remember that  the official currency in Croatia is Euro. Larger supermarkets and pharmacies accept credit card payment. On the other hand, you should always have some euros on you. Places such as bakeries, small local mini markets, newsstands, some cafes etc. always ask for cash.

Should you need a bank or an exchange office or an ATM, you can find them all in the all major towns on the island: Korcula Town and Blato (banks), Vela Luka and Lumbarda (only ATMs and exchange offices). Working hours of the banks depend on the season so it is best to go there in the morning. Also, they are closed on weekends (especially Sundays) and national holidays.

NOTE: If possible, pick ATMs of local banks as they give the best exchange rates. Foreign ATMs and those which offer withdrawal of other currencies will charge a higher commission than the local ATMs. Try to make a list of available banks in Croatia (Korcula Island) that are a part of the group where your bank might belong to.

Getting groceries

Getting food on Korcula should be no problem because there’s at least one supermarket in each town/village. The biggest supermarkets can be found in Korcula Town, Blato and Vela Luka. Look for Tommy Supermarket, Konzum or Studenac. These are the three most common grocery supermarkets where you can stock up on food supplies.

Emergency contact info

Medical assistance

If you need to seek medical assistance during your stay on Korcula Island, you can go to ambulances in Korcula, Blato and Vela Luka:

  • Blato Health Center: 33. ulica, br. 4; +385 (0)20851205
  • Vela Luka Health Center: Ulica 1, br. 1;  +385 (0)20 601 740
  • Korcula Town Health Center: Ulica 57, br.5;  +385 (0)20 711 137

Police assistance

If you need to contact police you can do it on number +385 (0)20 444 333. The police station is located right next to Korcula Town Health Center.

Visitor information

Should you need information for visitors and information about the island, you can consult tourist boards on Korcula Island:

If the situation requires further urgent assistance or hospitalization that cannot be provided on the island, a speedboat or helicopter will be sent for the patient and take them to the nearest hospitals in Split.

Foreign citizens/tourists coming from countries that are signatories of the Health Care Convention don’t have to pay for medical assistance in Croatia. On contrary, patients coming from countries that are not signatories of this convention, must pay for medical assistance provided. All according to the valid tariffs.

Korcula Island Overview

To sum it up, here is the overview of the information from this guide.

CategoryDetails
LocationSouthern coast of Dalmatia
PopulationSecond most populated island in Croatia
Destination typeFamily-friendly, for longer stays & moderate vacation with no wild nightlife
Main townsKorcula town, Vela Luka, Blato
ClimateMild Mediterranean
TransportationFerry from Split and Dubrovnik to Korcula and Vela Luka, island buses to get around
Famous forWine production, olive oil, Dalmatian cuisine, historical sights, beaches
Top sightsKorcula Town City Walls, Vela Spila, St Mark Cathedral, Marco Polo Museum
Best beachesVela Przina, Pupnatska Luka, Bilin Zal, Proizd, Zal, Zrnovska Banja
Cuisinepeka, buzara stew, brodet, pasticada, makaruni from Zrnovo, wines Grk, Posip, Plavac
EventsMoreska, St John’s Feast Day, Donkey Race
Accommodationprivate apartments & villas, boutique hotels

Korcula island FAQs

Can I bring my bicycle on the catamaran or ferry?

Passengers are allowed to bring their bicycles only on ferry lines (from Split and Orebic) but they will have to pay around 50kn (~7€) of additional fee. Bicycles on catamaran lines are generally not accepted as there is not enough space. If you are traveling off season when there is not many passengers on catamaran lines, the boat crew might allow you to bring your bicycle.

Can I buy / reserve ticket for a specific departure?

In case of catamaran you can buy ticket for a specific departure. If you are taking a car ferry you can buy a ticket for a specific travel date, but not for a specific departure time.

Can I make a day trip to Korcula from Split?

Of course, there are ferry and catamaran lines to Vela Luka and one catamaran line to the town of Korcula which frequently depart during summer season.

Can I bring my dog on the ferry / catamaran?

Passengers are not allowed to bring their pets on catamarans. On the car ferries the passengers can bring their pets as long as they don’t  take them into the closed areas where passengers are sitting.

How much luggage can I bring?

You can bring up to 100 kg on car ferries and up to 20 kg on catamarans but no one really checks that since they don’t weigh the luggage on board so it’s no problem if you bring a bit more.

Which airport should I fly to if I want to go to Korcula?

You can either fly to Split Airport or Dubrovnik Airport because both cities have ferry/catamaran connections to Korcula.

How far is Korcula from Split/Split airport/Dubrovnik?

From Split Airport there are shuttle buses which will take you directly to the ferry port in Split (~30 minutes) and trip from Split to Korcula Island usually takes around 2.5 hours. If you take a ferry/catamaran to Vela Luka but you wish to visit Korcula Town it will take you around 40 minutes by local island bus. One way ticket costs around 40kn.
If you are coming from the direction of Dubrovnik, it takes around 20 minutes to reach ferry port from Dubrovnik Airport and additional two hours by catamaran to Korcula.

How long should I stay on Korcula island?

Around 4-5 days should be enough to explore the main spots on Korcula Island, but if you wish to explore only Korcula Town and take a swim in the sea, a day trip is more than fine.

When is the best time to visit Korcula?

The best time to visit Korcula is undoubtedly the summer because there are so many activities to choose from – swimming, hiking, cycling, exploring the island, etc. There are events and concerts almost every day and the club scene is pretty alive. If you do not prefer crowds, then we advise to visit the island either in the pre-season or post-season, in other words, either during April and May or September and October. The temperatures are still very high (around 25 degrees during the day) plus the prices are much lower.

Where to stay on Korcula island?

That all depends on several factors in my opinion. If you don’t have a car and depend on the public transport, that you should stick to the towns such as Korcula town and Vela Luka. If that is not a problem for you, then places such as Lumbarda, Prizba or Smokvica might be a good choice. Smaller hotels are located in larger towns, the rest is covered with private accommodation.

Author: Morten Smalby