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With sandy beaches, historic towns, olive groves and vineyards, the island of Korčula offers the quintessential Mediterranean without the crowds. One of Croatia’s most relaxing summer destinations, it has a rich history and culture along with a well-preserved medieval town as its focal point.

Church of Saint Peter, KorčulaKorčula has been inhabited since Mesolithic times. Although the forests that led the ancient Greeks to call it Korkyra Melaina (Black Corfu) are no longer so dense, it’s a lush place where traditional culture remains strong.

The long, narrow island sits just 3 km (2 miles) from mainland Croatia. Its main town — which shares its name with the island — is set on a headland in the northeast and surrounded by water on three sides. Often referred to as ‘Little Dubrovnik’, thanks to its medieval walls and churches, grand squares and Venetian palaces, Korčula is particularly impressive when seen from the water.

Although Korčula changed hands regularly over the years, it had strong ties to the Venetian Empire from the 15th to the 19th centuries, which is most evident in its architecture. On the main square, the 15th-century Saint Mark’s Cathedral is built in Gothic-Renaissance style with a slim bell tower and sculptural details. Inside, you’ll find paintings by Tintoretto.

Wander the surrounding streets and you’ll come across smaller churches hidden on the quiet lanes and little squares, as well as Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque palaces that once belonged to the town’s aristocratic families.

For many years, the island flourished as an artistic hub. It was the birthplace of one of Croatia’s most illustrious writers, Petar Kanavelić, in the 17th century. Although disputed and backed by scant evidence, Korčula is also often cited as the birthplace of Marco Polo. Progressively, the town abolished slavery in 1214.

Vineyards of Lumbarda, KorčulaDriving southeast from Korčula through olive groves and pine forests, you reach Lumbarda, a small fishing village set around a quiet bay. The hills behind are blanketed with vines and foster several wineries, which produce good-quality dry whites from the grk grape.

Continue along the coast and you’ll find quiet coves and small sandy beaches. Of them, Pupnatska Luka on the south coast is considered the best Adriatic beach of all.

While most visitors stick to the eastern end of the island, there are small fishing villages with pebble stone beaches all along the coast and some great hiking and biking trails in the highland areas where villagers live off small-scale wine and olive oil production. The towns here date mostly from the Roman era, though many were badly affected by the phylloxera outbreak in the mid-20th century.

Vela Luka on the westernmost tip of the island has some museums and art galleries and a prehistoric cave nearby. Inland, at Žrnovo, you can visit traditional olive mills, while the small towns of Čara and Smokvica are known for their white wines. Produced from the indigenous pošip grape, they’re considered some of the best of all Croatian whites.

Visiting the island’s smaller villages, you’re bound to come across folk music and dance performances, including the local sword dance, the Moreška.

Off the island’s shores, you can take snorkeling trips, visit Mljet National Park or venture to remote islands such as Lastovo.

Korčula lies about 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Dubrovnik and, if you’d prefer a quieter base, it’s easy to stay in Korčula and visit Dubrovnik for a day. 

Best time to visit Korčula

Korčula is at its best in spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October), when warm temperatures and fewer visitors make it an extremely pleasant place to explore. July and August get very hot and busy, and much of the island shuts down for winter between November and March.

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Suggested Korčula itinerary

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Korčula, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Korčula

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    Places near Korčula

    Accommodation choices for Korčula

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Korčula. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Korčula

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Korčula, and which use the best local guides.