Korčula is one of Croatia’s most cherished islands in the Adriatic Sea, just off the Dalmatian coast. It is 20 miles long, only four to five miles wide, and is Croatia’s sixth largest island. The Greek name Corkyra Melaina was given to Korčula by a colony of Greeks coming from Corfu. When they first laid eyes on this lovely island, they were awestruck by the dense forests that cover the hills, giving it the illusion of blackness. Taking the name Corfu from their homeland, they added Melaina, meaning black. Hence, Corkyra Melaina or Black Corfu.
Believed to be the birthplace of famous explorer Marco Polo, it is beloved for its dense pine forests, picturesque towns, rich vineyards, olive groves, secluded coves, sandy beaches, and breathtaking bays. This is an island that you cannot pass up.
Korčula Town, also called Little Dubrovnik, is immersed in heritage, tradition, and history due to its churches, squares, stone houses, orange-tiled roofs, and palaces. The center of Korčula is the Old Town, once ruled by Venetians. The outer walls provide spectacular views of the Pelješac peninsula. One might see historical religious ceremonies, street performances, folk music, and vibrant dances in the streets at any given time.
Old Town’s entrance is through Kopnena Vrata or the Land Gate at the southern end. The front is decorated by a triumphal arch designed to commemorate commander Leonardo Foscolo, who was known for the defense of Dalmatia in the 17th century. For scenic views, you can climb the Revelin tower, located above the land gate. The Sea Gate is at the west entrance to Old Town, known as Primorska vrata.
In the center of Old Town is St. Mark’s Cathedral from the 15th century. St. Mark’s statue presides over the entrance with Adam and Eve on either side. Visitors can stroll down the winding streets laid out in a fishbone pattern throughout the medieval town. This layout was created to protect the village against sea winds.
The vineyards that dot the island grow the local grape varietal pošip used to craft the best wines in Croatia. One of the most famous varieties of grape is the Grk variety, cultivated on Korčula. This tasty white wine is a beautiful representative of regional wines and is a favorite of those who travel through Croatia. Learn more by joining a wine tasting tour to test first-rate local wines and discover more about Korčula’s wine making tradition.
Grk is an exciting wine because of its distinctive fragrance and slightly sour taste and can be traced back to the Greeks who first settled the island in the 3rd century.
During your once-in-a-lifetime Croatia cruise adventure, you will see how Korčula is considered one of Dalmatia’s most popular destinations. It’s easy to thoroughly enjoy and explore all the enchanting villages, towns, and nearby islands. Visitors can sail to isolated coves to swim and sunbathe in privacy.
Marco Polo: As Korčula is considered the birthplace of world-famous traveler and merchant Marco Polo, you will see many things and places that celebrate him. You can even visit his purported home, although the house that stands there currently has little to do with him since it was built in the 17th century (Venice has always claimed Marco Polo as its son). However, he was well-known in the local area, and the Depolo family does have a history on the island. It’s worth it to check the site and enjoy the fantastic views from the watchtower.
Moreska sword dance: Korčula is known for the famous Moreska sword dance. Deriving from the word Moorish, this dance depicts the battle between the Christians and the Moors. It is an exciting performance to watch and is played every week during the summer.
Can’t Miss: Take a walk around the outer walls of the old town to see all the shades of Adriatic blue and emerald green in the sea. It brings new meaning to the word “watercolors.” Break through the wall and you’ll see the most beautiful beaches in Korčula with clear water, sandy-cliffed coastlines, and hidden coves.
Insider Tip: Get up early to catch the best photos while the town is still asleep. Korčula is known as “Little Dubrovnik” for good reason – it’s an incredibly picturesque town, full of winding streets, alleyways, and stunning sea views. You can get some amazing photos with hardly any other tourists around.
Restaurants: Restaurant Filippi offers a great place to have delicious pasta on the island. At Adio Mare, you can enjoy a wide variety of dishes, including seafood, pasta, and meat entrees. Or visit Grubinjac if you fancy a drive outside of town. Their “peka” is amazing, but needs to be ordered at least 3 hours in advance so call ahead!