These days Croatia is very much on the mainstream travel map of Europe, a far cry from 1993 when I first came out to this deeply dramatic country to cover the war. Today peace reigns and the Croatian coast – Dubrovnik especially – is a emerging as a glittering tourist superstar. Take a scenic drive up the coast from Dubrovnik or a fun ferry ride from Split and another remarkable old town awaits in the form of Korcula Town.
Local legend has it that Korcula Town is the birthplace of legendary explorer Marco Polo. He is said to have returned here after his global meanderings, which says it all about the chocolate box Venetian-era beauty that is Korcula Town. This picturesque wee town – whose old quarter ripples spectacularly down an Adriatic peninsula with water on three sides – is the capital and heart of Korcula, one of the most appealing islands anywhere on Croatia’s increasingly popular coastline.
I’ve written six guidebooks to Croatia and 100s of articles. I have just been back down to spend some proper time in Korcula Town and I’d like to share my top 5 reasons you should visit Korcula Town. You can find my full guide, on my 10 great places in Korcula Town on the ace new Pearlshare app.
I’ve been doing some other guides for Pearlshare. More on what I am doing for them is available along with links to my other Pearlshare guides here. Enjoy!
Korcula Town Old Town – This epic Venetian-era gem is ideal for aimless strolling. Just slip under the giant lion of St Mark and the centuries quickly slip back. The narrow stone clad streets are both deeply historic and deeply atmospheric. There are numerous little shops and cafes, but the highlight for me is the landmark cathedral. You will find Marco Polo’s House here too. The best advice is to ditch the guidebook and just wander around for yourself
Lesic Palace – One of my favourite hotels in Croatia lies right within the old town. This award winning Relais & Chateaux property spreads across the numerous buildings that used to comprise an ornate old bishop’s palace. You can stay in one of their quintet of multi-room ‘residences’, which all come with a striking of the old and new in their décor. Handily their restaurant, LD, is the best in Korcula Town.
Massimo – Ok, so the drinks list atop this sturdy old fortification is limited, but you can forgive them as everything has to be hauled up on a pulley system you can watch creaking up the stone walls! This is an utterly unique bar sitting atop a Venetian-era tower. I recommend coming at sunset when the swallows are flitting in and out of the old town rooftops and the sun blasts across the channel that separates Korcula Town from the wine rich Peljesac Peninsula.
Konoba Mate – It’s well worth heading out of town to enjoy this glorious traditional konoba tavern. They really get the best out of the local produce here with most things from the island and organic too. Book a table (you really need to) on their terrace and settle in for a delicious feast washed down with the excellent local wine, Grk. Let your waiter guide you through what is best that day, but don’t miss the hand rolled pasta.
Cathedral of St Mark – It is no surprise that Korcula Town’s Cathedral is dedicated to St Mark, given the very strong connections to Venice. It dates form the 15th century and it is beautifully crafted from Korcula limestone, the work of a school of Italian craftsmen and artists. Look out for live classical concerts in this grandest of venues.