If you ask me, Croatia’s islands are highly underrated. They often get overlooked for trips to the Amalfi Coast or Capri in Italy. Or some people decide to party it up in Mykonos or soak up some sun in Santorini in neighboring Greece. I’m here to tell you not to sleep on these stunning islands off the Dalmatian coast. You’ll be missing out.
Hvar is probably Croatia’s most well-known island. However, a weekend in Korčula will show you how culturally diverse and arguably more beautiful it is. Located just two and a half hours by ferry from Split, the island is less than thirty miles long and only five miles wide, making it the perfect place to explore for a weekend.
The island is divided into three towns: Korčula Town, Lumbarda, and Vela Luka, all of which deserve attention. This is also supposedly the birthplace of Marco Polo (yes, that Marco Polo), so plenty of monuments are dedicated to him. Korčula is packed with ancient sites, beautiful beaches, delicious wineries, and a charming historic old town, all of which will keep you busy for a few days.
So, without further ado, here are some suggestions on how to spend a fantastic weekend exploring the island of Korčula, Croatia!
Weekend in Korčula Day 1: Explore Korčula Town
Korčula Town is an ancient city wrapped in protective stone walls. It actually feels like you could be in a scene from Game of Thrones. No cars are allowed in this part of the city, and the pedestrian-only streets are amazing to wander and get lost in.
While you’re here, you have to check out Kopnena Vrata, or the Land Gate that once served as the entrance to the city. It is seriously impressive and a great place for a photo op.
St. Mark’s Cathedral is another gorgeous building that is worth a stop. It was built between the 14th-16th centuries in the Gothic-Renaissance style and is dedicated to the island’s patron saint.
You can also see the house where Marco Polo may have been born in 1254. The house itself is pretty, especially with the plants growing out of some stonework, and it’s an excellent addition to any self-designed walking tour.
The absolute best place to see Korčula town is St. Nicholas Church at the Dominican Monastery. It’s where you’ll have the best views of the city. So bring a picnic and enjoy the afternoon sun.
If you’re up for a bit more adventure, you can hike up St. Anthony’s Hill. Climbing the 102 steps will leave you with sweeping views of the island and an adorable church at the top of the hill.
Pro Tip: However you decide to spend your day in Korčula Town, get up early! Day-trippers come from the mainland and often stick to the ancient city. Head to places like St. Mark’s Cathedral and Marco Polo’s house first to get your photos, and then head into nature to avoid the crowds!
Nightlife in Korčula
There are some unusual nightlife options if you are staying in Korčula Town.
One of the best things to do on Korčula is to check out Bar Massimo. This is a novelty experience and a little gimmicky, but the views are well worth the price of the cocktails, especially at sunset. The bar is set inside the turret of the stone walls. It is definitely an experience you won’t forget. Just make sure you arrive early to get a seat before the sun goes down.
Another great bar is Dos Locos. This open-air bar is excellent for grabbing a drink after exploring the town all day.
Day 2 of Your Weekend in Korčula: Vela Luka
The opposite side of Korčula is Vela Luka, which means big port. This is a great place if you love being outdoors or want to experience some of Korčula’s older artifacts.
One of the coolest things on the island is Vela Spila–The Great Cave. This is a 20-minute (uphill) walk from the port. There are some amazing views and even more interesting artifacts from over 20,000 years ago.
After learning a bit about Korčula’s ancient history, take a walk along the Northern coastline to the Kissing Point viewpoint. Just make sure to come back for the sunset because the views are breathtaking.
If you have the time, you could also take a day trip to Osjak or the Proizd Islands. Osjak is a 15-minute boat ride away and is known for some decent hiking and stunning hidden caves. The Proizd Islands are a scenic 40-minute boat ride away. Here you can swim and enjoy a nice lunch at the restaurant on the island.
The town of Vela Luka itself is much smaller and quieter than Korčula Town, but there are a few impressive churches and some beautiful mosaic tile artwork. The mosaics originated from an Artists Meeting of Painters event in 1968, and the town decided to keep them around. How cool is that?
Weekend in Korčula Day 3: Lumbarda
You can’t leave Korčula without spending some time on the beach! Lumbarda, located just three and a half miles south of Korčula Town, is the perfect place to enjoy the sun.
Croatia is known for its rocky beaches. The Adriatic Sea is cool and clear no matter where you swim, but some people need their sand!
Lumbarda actually has four sandy beaches for you to dig your toes into and relax at.
The best beach has to be Vela Przina. It will be the most crowded, though, so prepare to go early or get comfortable with your neighbors.
If you don’t mind the rocks or are looking for an alternative beach experience, Lenga Beach could be for you. This spot is a local favorite and is FKK (clothing optional).
Other things to do in Lumbarda include exploring the village on foot and tasting the local Grk wine. The town itself is adorable, and you can wander around in an afternoon. In addition, there are a few Grk wineries to visit—Lovric, Popic, and Winery Grk offer tastings you can enjoy.
Getting to Korčula
Getting to Korčula is relatively easy and straightforward. You can take a ferry from Split to Korčula, Dubrovnik to Korčula, or even from Brač, Mljet, or Hvar.
The most popular option is the Dubrovnik to Korčula ferry, which takes just under two hours. The ferry costs about $21 each way and is reasonably comfortable.
Four companies operate ferries during the high season, making a Dubrovnik to Korčula day trip very possible if you are willing to travel two hours there and back. However, it is actually much quicker to go from Hvar. So if you’re island hopping, you may want to skip in on a day trip and spend an entire weekend in Korčula—you need time to enjoy the different areas of the island.
With so many great outdoor activities and delicious wines to try, you really could spend a week in Korčula. Planning a weekend there is the perfect taster, though, so you can sample several of Croatia’s Dalmatian islands. You won’t be sorry you did.
May through September is the best time. Long days full of sunshine and not much rain.
Sailing across the Adriatic Sea is pretty calm. However, it is always a good idea to bring seasickness medication with you just in case.
It’s idyllic. The water is crystal clear and the visibility gets up to 20 meters in the summer.