Best Things to See in Korcula

Korcula is one of the most enchanting of the Croatian islands. Whether you visit independently or as part of a small ship cruise, it's a destination that shouldn't be missed on your Croatia holiday. When it comes to the best things to see in Korcula, there's a long list. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy everything from sandy beaches and cobalt blue waters to rolling hills covered with forest, olive groves, and vineyards. As the alleged birthplace of international explorer Marco Polo, there's a rich history to explore as well. While the island was inhabited long before, Greek colonists from Corfu established a colony here in the 6th century BC and named it "Black Korkyra" after the island's dense pine forests and their homeland.
Korcula Old Town

Korcula Old Town

The star attraction on the island, Korcula’s Old Town is surrounded by medieval walls, bastions, towers, and dramatic gates. It’s where you’ll find most of the top sites enticing squares, and Venetian-inspired buildings making it a joy to explore the cobbled streets and narrow alleyways. Today many of the historic buildings house little family-run shops, galleries, and authentic tavernas that provide enticing stops along the way. The architecture is primarily Venetian Renaissance and includes landmarks like the elegantly ornamented Arneri Palace, the Bishop’s Treasury set in a two-story palace, and St. Mark’s Cathedral, the crown jewel. At the Marco Polo House, visitors can climb the steep steps of the watchtower/museum for a spectacular view of the rooftops and the sea.

St. Mark’s Cathedral Korcula

St. Mark’s Cathedral

As the Old Town’s crown jewel, St. Mark’s Cathedral is one of the best things to see in Korcula. Widely regarded as the most important building in the historical centre and one of the finest examples of Dalmatian church architecture, it was built in Gothic-Renaissance style and completed in the 15th century. Its facade is a testimony to the golden age of stone masonry, decorated with a beautiful fluted rosette with a rich portal framed by the figures of Adam and Even, winged lions, and the protector of the town, St. Marco the Evangelist. The bell tower is the Old Town’s highest point, topped by an ornate cupola and balustrade. Climb its spiral staircase for a 360-degree view of the island.

Pupnatska Luka Beach

Pupnatska Luka Beach

Located less than 10 miles from Korcula Town below the village of Pupnat on the south side of the island, Pupnatska Luka is often named among the best beaches in Croatia. A picturesque stretch tucked into a cove backed by pine forest, its white pebbles glisten in the sun. From here, enjoy views across the channel to Lastovo and beyond, along with a crystal-clear turquoise sea. The beach boasts an especially tranquil setting for blissful sunbathing whilst the gently sloping shore makes it especially ideal for swimming. There are umbrellas and deck chairs available for hire and two seaside eateries serving grilled items, sandwiches, snacks, and drinks, including island-grown wine, providing everything you need for a fun day at the beach.

Lumbarda

Lumbarda

The small fisherman’s village of Lumbarda is just 3.5 miles south of Korcula’s Old Town with the road connecting them traversing through serene olive groves and pines. It’s home to some of the best beaches on the island with numerous different types of water sports available. Surrounded by sandy vineyards where Grk, Korcula’s well-known white wine, is produced from local grapes, it’s also ideal for wine lovers. The vineyards are small with limited yields so it’s not typically produced for export. Take advantage of the wine-tasting opportunities while you’re here, perhaps on a self-guided wine-tasting bike tour. There are lovely coastal paths for scenic strolls too, and in the village, studios of sculptors and painters are often open to visitors.

The Franciscan Monastery on Otok Badija

The Franciscan Monastery on Otok Badija

Accessible by water taxi, Otok Badija, or Badija Island, is easily visited from Korcula. It’s home to stunning beaches edged by brilliant blue water that makes it look like a painting, but the main reason to visit is the 14th-century Franciscan monastery. Once home to Franciscan monks who dedicated their lives to prayer and contemplation, the complex includes multiple buildings. Discover the 15th-century Cloister, the 16th-century Gothic-Renaissance Church of Our Lady of Mercy, and the 17th-century Chapel of the Holy Cross on the monastery’s north side. The magnificent monastery itself features stone arches and a soaring bell tower that makes it an extra-special sight to behold. Visitors can also explore the lush gardens which offer a splendid view of the sea.

Korcula vineyard

Smokvica

One of the prettiest inland settlements in Korcula, Smokvica is located at the heart of the island with its homes and buildings dotted up and down the hillside. Vineyards lie at its base, producing the Posip, a tasty local wine that can be sampled at the family-run Toreta winery which also features a collection of old tools used for traditional winemaking. Olive trees are found in abundance throughout the area – if you’re here in autumn you’ll see families gathering in the groves for the olive harvest. The history of the village dates back to the 15th century when Slav tribes from the Croatian mainland sought refuge here from Ottoman attacks. You’ll see several medieval churches that reveal its time-honoured past.

Vela Spila Cave

Vela Spila Cave

Located on the island’s west side above the town of Vela Luca, is Vela Spila, an important prehistoric archaeological site. Classified by scientists as the “cradle of Western civilisation, many fascinating finds have been uncovered here. That includes human remains, pottery fragments, whole vessels, obsidian, traces of volcanic ash, and other remarkable archaeological materials. They provide evidence that multiple prehistoric communities once lived in the area and used the cave for daily life as well as to bury their dead, dating as far back as 25,000 years ago. From the mouth of the cave, admire a panoramic view of the harbour, the sea, and nearby islands, and then marvel at the collection of artefacts in Vela Luka’s Culture Centre Museum.

Vela Luka

Vela Luka

Last but not least on our list of best things to see in Korcula on your Croatia holiday, the coastal town of Vela Luka is spread around a crescent-shaped bay at the western end of the island. It’s the main port for car ferries from Lastovo and Split, with an attractive row of sea-facing 19th-century homes bordered and lush palms. As noted, it’s also home to the Culture Centre Museum with finds from nearby Vela Spila. It’s especially ideal for relaxation with a more tranquil feel as compared to busier Korcula Town, whilst offering idyllic beaches for sunbathing and swimming. Just offshore is tiny and idyllic Proizd Island. Accessed by water taxi, it boasts unspoiled nature and pristine white sandy beaches.

Discover Korcula

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